Ice-fishing events, Boat Show, some free museum days: WWW Chicago outdoors

SHARE Ice-fishing events, Boat Show, some free museum days: WWW Chicago outdoors

A classic scene from the Hardwater Classic last year.
Credit: Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

Good mix of stuff, indoors and out, over the Martin Luther King weekend for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.

I am in a bit of a quandary of what I will end up doing, some of it may be weather dependent.

The night fishing at Shabbona Lake intrigues me. I haven’t been able to do it for years, because normally it is on a February weekend and I am usually covering Beat the Champs for the Sun-Times. But this year Shabbona also have a January date, Saturday night, so I may be able to juggle the family car in time to get there. We shall see.

I was supposed to get back to the Boat Show on Wednesday night, but our daughter’s college visits ran long, so I may try to fit it in this weekend.

Monday, weather permitting, we plan to take advantage of the free day at the Field Museum or the Shedd Aquarium. I always look forward to that. We haven’t decide that.

On Wednesday, I plan to drive to Peoria for the Farm Bill Forum.

With that, on to general Wild Weekend Wandering, led by the ice-fishing stuff.

ICE FISHING EVENTS: The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County holds its Hard Water Classic ($20 in advance, $25 day-of) from noon-3:30 p.m. Saturday at Silver Lake in Warrenville. Click here to register or for more information. Or call (630) 933-7248.

Shabbona Lake has it’s first of two nights of late-night ice-fishing on Saturday. Key is that you must be off the ice by 9:30 p.m., then out of park by 10 p.m. Lakeside will be open until 7 p.m.

SHOWTIME:The “Boat Show,” the Chicago Boat, RV & Sail Show, runs through Sunday at McCormick Place South. It is the most venerable outdoors show around Chicago and is one of the great family shows.

The All-Canada Show also runs through Sunday at Pheasant Run in St. Charles. It’s the place to do your Canadian trip planning.

Then there is something a little more esoteric and farther afield in the West Michigan Fly Show in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Saturday and Sunday.

And one I just got an email on is that Musky Road Rules 2018 will be at Cabela’s in Hoffman Estates on Saturday. Click here for more info.

Click here for the complete general list of shows this winter. If you have any adds or tweaks for the master list of shows, please let me know.

FREE DAYS: The Field Museum has another free day on Monday, Martin Luther King Day. Illinois residents, with proof of residency, get the free basic admission.

Click here for more information.

The Shedd Aquarium has a free day for Illinois residents on Monday, Martin Luther King Day, and also Thursday and Friday, Jan. 18 and 19.

Click here for more information.

FARM BILL:I realize some urban and suburban people may wonder why give a damm about the 2018 Farm Bill. To which I say, particularly in a state such as Illinois with very limited public land, the Farm Bill is important for habitat issues in particular.

Well, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, in cooperation with the Illinois Conservation Foundation, has scheduled three public forums, entitled “Illinois Sportsmen’s Guide to the 2018 Farm Bill.’’ The first is Tuesday in East Alton, the second is Wednesday in Springfield and in the evening at Peoria. I plan to do the Peoria one.

Click here for more information and to register (it’s free).

OTHER ICE FISHING: The slop on top should be firmed up by today or tomorrow and we set up for continued nearly universal ice fishing. I have the special events in ice fishing listed above. If you have any to add in coming weeks, let me know.

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

PERCH:Well, conditions certainly changed, but the perch are still there around  the Chicago lakefront, especially the Southeast Side slips (no-trespassing on the private property spots has been enforced more in recent days) and Navy Pier. But ice-up is also here. You will be busting ice, ice fishing or walking out on the piers with with a pier pass.

PIER PASSES: With ice-up, good time to remember pier passes for select Chicago harbors. Pier passes for the select Chicago harbors 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.

GOOSE HUNTING: Goose hunting in the north zone runs through Thursday. But the central zone spots, which is near many readers, goes through Jan. 31. Birds have been moving with the variable weather.

DEER HUNTING: This is the closing weekend in Illinois with both the long archery season and the three-day second late-winter/CWD seasons all ending on Sunday. I am very curious to see how the season harvests break out.

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