Perch, ducks fundraiser, free days, river paddle, frogs: WWW Chicago outdoors

SHARE Perch, ducks fundraiser, free days, river paddle, frogs: WWW Chicago outdoors

A yellow perch swimming at the “At Home on the Great Lakes” exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

So Wednesday I was at the kickoff for “Jazzin’ at the Shedd’’ and I could not resist taking the photo above. It seemed too perfect, perch perfect, for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.

The timing was there to take a close-up of a jumbo yellow perch at the Shedd just days before perch fishing reopens Saturday on the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River system and the Calumet River.

All I know is that is what I will be doing tomorrow morning. Otherwise, today I will work again on building an edible trail.

On Monday, I am doing the Gary Zilian Memorial tournament with Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters. It is a captains day out, so it should be interesting. I like the set up on that tournament, where a premium is placed on trying to catch the five big species of salmon and trout: Chinook, coho, steelhead, lake trout and brown trout.

Otherwise, I am not sure how and when, but I will get out with my son to do some frog hunting. Though he might beat me to it. Frog hunting opens today in Illinois.

This weekend is a big one for Ducks Unlimited with ``Ducks at the Track Waterfowl Classic and Super 66 Great Gun Giveaway’’ at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. I don’t think I can make it, but we shall see.

With that, on to this Wild Weekend Wandering.

PERCH:I am looking forward to this, in part because there have been a lot of incidental reports of perch being around. With this typical hot summer weather settling in, I hope it sparks some perch. We shall see. The season reopens Saturday on Lake Michigan, the Chicago River system and the Calumet River. I suspect I will end up at Montrose, but we shall see. I do enjoy wandering around, so maybe I will hit some other places.

DUCKS AT THE TRACK:This is a big deal for Ducks Unlimited.“Ducks at the Track Waterfowl Classic and Super 66 Great Gun Giveaway’’ is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. Click here for more information or contact Vicki Mandurano at or (847) 553-7565.

DRESS UP PADDLING: Urban Rivers holds its inaugural kayak race and parade (costumes welcome) on the Chicago River. Click here for more info.

FROG SEASON: Frog hunting opens today. Had hoped to do the opener with our youngest boy, but that is going to have to wait. We will probably do it next week.

Here are the regulations from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

FROGS (Bullfrogs Only) Methods of Taking and Capture A sport fishing license is required to harvest bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net. No person shall harvest bullfrogs or any other reptile or amphibian by commercial fishing devices, including, hoop nets, traps or seines or by the use of firearms, air guns or gas guns or during bowfishing tournaments. All other species of unprotected reptiles and amphibians (excluding common snapping turtles and bullfrogs) may only be taken by hand. This shall not restrict the use of legally taken reptiles or amphibians as bait by sport fishermen. Any captured reptiles or amphibians which are not to be retained in the possession of the captor shall be immediately released at the site of capture, unless taken with a lethal method (such as bow and arrow, gig, spear, pitchfork) which does not permit release with no harm. All such taken common snapping turtles and bullfrogs must be kept and counted in the daily harvest. No culling of such taken species is permitted. No person shall harvest or possess any species of reptile or amphibian listed as endangered or threatened in Illinois (17 Ill. Adm. Code 1010 except as provided by 17 Ill. Adm. Code 1070). Season Bullfrogs may be taken only between June 15 and October 15, both dates inclusive. Daily Harvest and Possession Limits The daily Harvest limit for bullfrogs is 8 with a possession limit of 16. For indigenous amphibian and reptile taxon, which may only be taken by hand, (excluding common snapping turtles and bullfrogs) the possession limit is 8 collectively with no more than 4 per taxa.

FREE FISHING DAYS: Illinois holds free fishing days today through Monday, where no licenses or stamps are required, but other regulations apply. There are bunch of events associated with this, so check with your forest preserve or park district.

WET WADING? As hot as it is supposed to be, this might be a weekend to try some wet wading. I have only been able to do it once so far this year.  Just might be time to do it again.

JAZZIN’AT THE SHEDD:The general opening is Wednesday night. I find it quite the deal and write about it for Sunday. “Jazzin’ at the Shedd” runs Wednesday nights through Oct. 10. Click here for more info.

FREE DAYS:The Field Museum has free days for Illinois residents on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Click here for details.

The Shedd has free days on Monday and Tuesday for Illinois residents. A piece of advice from an old hand at doing free days at the Shedd. Spend the $3 transaction fee for reserved tickets online, it is more than worth it in terms of what it saves you in time and waiting in long lines. The 4-D Experience is a separate upgrade of $4.95. Click here for details.

MAKING WAVES: “Third Friday” at the Chicago Maritime Museum–7-10 tonight–features a showing of “Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes.” Click here for details.

MIDEWIN: The seasonal guided tours at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie run weekends through October. The Ranger Trailer is open weekends, weather permitting, at the Iron Bridge Trailhead. Trails are open daily 4 a.m.-10 p.m. For a complete list of events and programming go to

ZOO TURNS 150: The Lincoln Park Zoo has the exhibit, From Swans to Science: 150 Years of Lincoln Park Zoo, through the summer. Click here for details and much more information.

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