Show Time, really nearly time: Chicago outdoors update

SHARE Show Time, really nearly time: Chicago outdoors update

The opening of the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo last year drew waiting lines at the Schaumburg Convention Center, which stretched back to the hotel.Credit: Dale Bowman

I’m glad the winter show season around Chicago outdoors seems to have sorted itself out.

The annual list of top shows is below. If you have additions, let me know.

I am particularly glad that again the major fishing show, the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center, will not go head to head with “The Rosemont Show,’’ the Chicago Outdoor Sports Show at the Stephens Convention Center.

I was glad last year to see waiting lines stretching back to the hotel for the opening of “The Schaumburg Show,’’ the top show after only four years. It is Jan. 28-31.

National headliners include Michael “Ike’’ Iaconelli, who has become a Chicago favorite, Tommy Skarlis, Chicago’s own Jim Saric and Joe Bucher. Local headliners range from Mark O’Neill, fast becoming a national figure, to Denny Sands.

MUSKIE EXPO Chicago kicks off the show season, opening on Jan. 8 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. I am glad that another show knows how to spell muskie right.

The following week is the most storied of Chicago shows, the Chicago Boat, RV and Strictly Sail Show. I’m not sure if it was the move to the McCormick Place South Hall or the rebound of the economy, or both, but “The Boat Show’’ had a buzz last year, something missing for years. It returns to the same hall and it’s five-day run goes through the Monday of Martin Luther King Day.

It will overlap with the All-Canada Show, Jan. 14-17 at Pheasant Run in St. Charles.

The big change is the Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic returning to Bloomington. I am glad it’s coming back to the Interstate Convention Center. The switch should draw Chicago-area hunters again. I’m not sure what the switch to Aug. 12-14 will mean.

Later this winter, I will tackle the cluster on March 5.

Below is the list of shows, complete as I could make it. It includes a couple that already happened.


Nov. 8: Early Show was co-presented by DRiFT and ISA at the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook

Dec. 11-13: Milwaukee Ice Fishing & Winter Sports Show, Wisconsin State Fair Grounds, West Allis, Wis.


MUSKIE EXPO Chicago opens the main portion of the Chicago show scene on Jan. 8 at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

Credit: Dale Bowman

Jan. 8-10: MUSKIE EXPO Chicago, Sears Centre Arena, Hoffman Estates

Jan. 9: St. Anne Outdoorsman Show, St. Anne Community High School, text or call (815) 214-8167

Jan. 14-18, Progressive Chicago Boat, RV and Strictly Sail Show, McCormick Place South Hall

Jan. 14-17: All-Canada Show, Pheasant Run, St. Charles

Jan. 16: Musky Road Rules, Cabela’s, Hoffman Estates

Jan. 17: Musky Road Rules, Cabela’s, Hammond

Jan. 20-24: Chicago Outdoor Sports Show, Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont,

Jan. 22-24: Chicagoland Gun Show, co-located with the Chicago Outdoor Sport Show

Jan. 22-24: Outdoor Sports, Lake & Cabin Show, Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Jan. 23-24: Chicago Travel & Adventure Show, Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont

Jan. 28-31: Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo, Schaumburg Convention Center

Jan. 29-31: Illinois Fish & Feather Expo, Interstate Center, Bloomington, (Facebook)

Jan. 30-31: Great Lakes Angler Super Salmon Clinic, Lake Michigan Angler, Winthrop Harbor, (847) 395-5730

Feb. 13-14: Tinley Park Fishing and Outdoor Show, Tinley Park High School

Feb. 14: Henry Decoy Show, Henry-Senachwine High School

Feb. 12-14: MUSKIE EXPO Milwaukee, Washington County Fair Park & Conference Center, West Bend, Wis.

Feb. 17-21: Chicago RV & Camping Show, Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont

Feb. 19-28: Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show, Indiana State Fairgrounds

Feb. 19-21: Great American Fly Fishing Expo, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis

Feb. 19-21: Rockford Boat, Vacation & Fishing Show, Indoor Sports Center

Feb. 20: DRiFT’s 23rd annual auction, Villa Park VFW

Feb. 20: Midwest Musky Club’s inaugural winter swap meet, Village Sportsmen’s Club, Alsip

Feb. 25-28: Deer, Turkey and Waterfowl Expo, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis

Feb. 26-28: Lake Home & Cabin Show, Schaumburg Convention Center

Feb. 26-28: Our World-Underwater, Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont

[ADDED} Feb. 27: Ultimate Outdoor Show, Legend’s Sportsplex, Bourbonnais, Saturday

March 2-6: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show, Wisconsin Exposition Center, West Allis, Wis.

March 3-6: Northern Illinois Boat Show, Lake County Fair Grounds, Grayslake

March 5: Indoor Fishing Flea Market, Rolling Meadows High School

March 5: Lake Michigan School with Capt. Ralph Steiger (smallmouth, perch, salmon) and Bobby Bergren, Knights of Columbus, Hammond (Ind.), infor at, sign-up at or 219-688-3593

March 5: Salmon Unlimited Swap Meet, River Park Moose Lodge, River Grove

March 5: Illinois Smallmouth Alliance’s Bronzeback Blowout

March 5-6: Elmwood All Outdoors Show, Elmwood High School and Grade School

March 11-13: Canoecopia, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis.

March 17-20: Ultimate Sports Show, DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, Mich.

March 19: Fish and Hook Show, American Legion No. 80, Downers Grove

March 26: Walleyes Unlimited swap meet, Fox Lake Legion Hall

[ADDED] March 20:Indoor Fishing Flea Market, Plano American Legion, (815) 286-7170 or

April 16: Chicago Maritime Festival, The Old Town School of Folk Music

April 19-23: North American Vintage Decoy and Sporting Collectibles Show, Pheasant Run, St. Charles

Aug. 12-14: Illinois Deer & Turkey Expo, Interstate Convention Center, Bloomington

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