Ice on the way back, Christmas perch: WWW Chicago outdoors

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navypierlakesideview.jpg

Navy Pier viewed from Lake Michigan.
Credit: Dale Bowman

I sure hope everyone has an outdoors tradition fitted into their long holiday plans. In our family, it is a simple as taking a vigorous hike on Christmas before we go and pig out at Chinese buffet.

For most of us, especially those of us with kids, I suspect the long holiday stretch will be our main focus the next week or so.

But to the Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors. Ice fishing will be back and should be widespread by later next week, all the same the main thing remains the same in perch fishing on the Chicago lakefront.

Even in the down years, the Christmas tradition of perch fishing in the morning at Navy Pier rolled on. Well, this year, there should be perch and perhaps even some lake trout caught. I am even debating trying it Christmas morning before the family gets up and going.

As for my plans otherwise, while you read this Friday, I will probably be out goose hunting with Frank Lagodny at Jeff Norris’ Fox Valley Guide Service in the western suburbs.

If ice comes, as I expect it will, I should be out some time next week for a bit of ice fishing. Otherwise, my weekend is concentrated on family stuff around the holiday from Chinatown Saturday night with all four kids, then our traditional Christmas Eve candlelight service, which is my favorite service of the year, then on Christmas our usual gift exchange, hike and Chinese buffet.

As to more general Wild Weekend Wandering, here goes.

FYI OR BIRD’S EYE VIEW: Speaking of Christmas traditions, Christmas bird counts have a long rich tradition. Just in case you wonder who are all those people wandering around with big binoculars.

PERCH:The perch just keep rolling. Remember Henry’s is open to 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, then closed Christmas. Slez’s in Lake Station will be open until noon Christmas.

ICE FISHING:Ice fishing will be back, maybe even as early as this weekend in the Chain O’Lakes area. I suggest checking with Triangle Sports and Marine  in Antioch–(847) 395-0813– for general conditions on the Chain or with Hermann’s Lowlife Bar and Grill about Nielsen’s Channel in Port Barrington at (847) 639-9644 or on the Hermann’s Facebook page.

The weather forecast suggests that those on holiday break should have fairly general ice fishing next week.

SANDHILLS:Be aware if you were planning a holiday visit toJasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, southeast of Valparaiso, Ind. to view sandhill cranes that the count was down on Tuesday to 8,891 sandhills. All the same, I think it would be a nice break. Click here for details on how to do the sandhills at Jasper-Pulaski.

WATERFOWL HUNTING:As noted above, I am goose hunting this morning, so will know more later; but I suspect the weather will help move some of the geese more.

Tuesday is the final day of duck hunting in Illinois’ central zone. It looks like many areas will nearly complete the season without losing more than the last couple days to ice up.

SHOWTIME:In case you’re buying stocking stuffers of tickets for outdoors shows, click here for the general list of shows this winter.

ILLUMINATION: Lots of friends are talking about their experiences in doing“Illumination–The Experience” at Morton Arboretum. Click here if you want to read my take on a night there with my wife. It runs through Jan. 1. I highly recommend it. Click here for more on “Illumination.”


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