Of ice and snow, that we can know, away we go: WWW Chicago outdoors

SHARE Of ice and snow, that we can know, away we go: WWW Chicago outdoors
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An ice fishing set-up by Bruce Bergren in an earlier December in the Chicago suburbs.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

Winter sets the tone for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.

The arrival of true-blue (catch that?) winter weather has certainly altered options in wandering around outside.

But there will be some of the usual things to do, such as perch fishing and deer hunting, but even they will be impacted by the winter weather. But dominating it all is ice fishing.

Bruce Bergrenposted the photo above yesterday with the simple explanation:

Ice fishing time

I like the chairs in his scene-setting shot.

As for me, I am meeting someone at Bridgeport Coffee to talk city outdoors and kids. I mention Bridgeport Coffee specifically because it is a business that actively supports local conservation.

Saturday I hope to get the kids, at least the younger two, out for a bit of sledding. Our go-to spot is at the great hill at Plum Grove Nature Center, near Beecher in Will County, which has tube and snowshoe rental.

When we only had one kid, many years ago, and lived on the North Side, our go-to spot was Mount Trashmore in Evanston.

I digress.

On to general Wild Weekend Wandering:

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And no surprise, I lead with ice fishing.

ICE FISHING:By the forecast, ice fishing should be locked in for a long time, virtually across the whole area. They’re even already ice fishing the lakes of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Ryan Whitacre texted the photo above and this note:

Thought you’d like the pic of this iced kitty from yesterday. Cook county forest preserve.

I do think catfish through the ice are interesting addition to the usual fare of ice fishing.

Considering the recent weather and the forecast, I think ice fishing will be under way on any of your usual spots.

Click here for the update on ice-fishing regulations for local waters.

FREE DAYS AT THE FIELD:If, like me, you’re the spouse home while the kids are on winter break, this is an important note. The first free days of 2018 at the Field Museum for Illinois residents is Wednesday and Thursday. Click here for more information.

DEER HUNTING: Illinois’ first late-winter/CWD deer season runs through Sunday. Between the snow bursts and the cold, I will be curious how the harvest totals shape up.

PERCH:Well, conditions certainly changed, but the perch are still there around the Southeast Side slips and Navy Pier. But ice-up is here. Capt. Ralph Steiger spent Wednesday watching the cam of Navy Pier as it iced over. Bob Anderson dropped me a note yesterday to say that he thought it was about 3 inches of ice already at North Slip (the one at 87th).

PIER PASSES: With ice-up, good time to remember pier passes for select Chicago harbors. Pier passes are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait. The passes allow for legal access to select piers. They cost $6 cash with one per valid fishing license. I suspect there will be people on the ice in the harbors this weekend and over the holiday.

WATERFOWL HUNTING:Local duck hunting is over, but geese will be moved around and moving around with these bursts of snow. Be curious if it will be enough today to push some of the geese into southern Illinois, briefly.

SANDHILLS:Birds are headed south. That’s the word on sandhill cranes from staff at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, southeast of Valparaiso, Ind. Here is the basic update from this week:

Most of the cranes have headed south. There are still a few thousand using the NIPSCO generating station and Jasper Pulaski FWA. Northbound cranes usually begin arriving in late January and peak in March. This will be the last update until fall 2018.

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

ILLUMINATION: “Illumination–The Experience” at Morton Arboretum runs through Monday. I suspect the winter weather will add another layer of experience, so to speak. Click here if you want to read my take on a night there with my wife. I highly recommend it. Click here for more on “Illumination.”


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