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Chinook, Bubbly Creek, wilder/livelier Lake Michigan: WWW Chicago outdoors

Sean Tucker, of Team Oracle, takes a reporter on a flight past the Chicago skyline during the media preview day for the 2016 Chicago Air and Water Show, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The Chicago Air and Water Show will make for a louder and busier Wild Weekend Wandering around at least portions of Chicago outdoors.

I am fishing with Andy Mikos on Sunday. I suspect we will be in the area of the R4, a bit north and out on Lake Michigan, so we should only get tangential viewing and hearing of the Air and Water Show.

Where it will really impact is in driving. I planned to come via expressway early Sunday, then meander down Sheridan Road and Lake Shore Drive toward home on the return until Andy reminded me how traffic will be.

Otherwise, life eases up slightly with our youngest son already back in school and our daughter going back Monday. Amazing how much more work I can get done when I am home alone.

That comes just in time for a busy stretch of outdoors-related doings for me.

The soggy weather canceled my plans this morning.Usually on Friday mornings, I am putting in some work on helping set up an edible trail.

Saturday, my wife and I are considering do a couples outdoors activity, the Wine and Art Walk at Morton Arboretum. We’ll see if family commitments allow us to sneak in some couple time.

Sunday I am out with Andy, then Monday I at a meeting for an upcoming winter show. On Wednesday, I hope to take in the panel discussion on “The Past, Present and Future of Bubbly Creek” at the Chicago Maritime Museum.

Last week, I did get in an evening of trying for early returning kings to the Chicago shoreline on Thursday, then Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair the next day.

That was an interesting juxtaposition, casting Thursday at Montrose, then a few hours later wandering the state fair. If you want to enjoy the fair, get cracking, it ends Sunday.

With that, to the Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.

KINGS: A few kings reached shore last weekend in Chicago, a bit earlier than usual and despite very warm water piled up on southern Lake Michigan. All the same, if you hit it right latching into a fall Chinook can be the fishing highlight of the year.

RIVER FISHING: Largely depends whether you are in area hammered by heavy rains or not. As of this morning, the Kankakee basin remains extremely low and very wadeable. I would still put it near the top of weekend activities.

WINE AND ART OUTDOORS: Morton Arboretum holds a “Wine and Art Walk” 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully, my wife and I can take it in.

BUBBLY CREEK DISCUSSION: The most infamous waterway in Chicago is changing, like our waters. There will be a panel discussion, “The Past, Present and Future of Bubbly Creek”, Wednesday night at the Chicago Maritime Museum. I plan to be there.

POLLINATORS: The Forest District of Will County has the kind of event I often drag our kids, too. It is the “Hummingbird Fest & Nature Celebration,” 1-5 p.m. Saturday at Plum Creek Nature Center, which happens to be a family favorite. Click here for details and there is all kinds of stuff going on.

CONSERVATION WORLD: The 30-acre park with all sorts of outdoors and IDNR-related activities is on the north end of the State Fairgrounds and open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Sunday is the last day. I enjoyed my trip thoroughly last week.

FREE UPLAND GAME PERMITS: The coolest hunting program in Illinois is the free upland game permit program, where hunters can be king for a day. The application period runs through Aug. 31. And I need to get my application in. I said that last week and still have not done it. Maybe today. Click here for information.

OTHER ILLINOIS PERMITS: Through Monday, hunters may apply for the second lottery for fall wild turkey shotgun season (Oct. 20-28). Click here for information. . . . Aug. 25 is the deadline to apply for remaining free dove hunting permits, first come, first served. Click here for information.

SQUIRREL HUNTING: Squirrel hunting in Illinois opened Aug. 1. The one nearby public spot open during early season is Iroquois County State Wild Area. Other sites open in September, usually after the first few days of dove hunting.

THE DRUM ALTERNATIVE: All I need to say is that when the wind is from the north and Lake Michigan at its dammest, fishing for freshwater drum is at its best. Keep that in mind as an option. It might be the most exciting thing going on the lakefront.

NOTEBAERT NOTE: Just a reminder, for those looking to save and still see a cool place, Thursday is suggested donation day at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

FROG SEASON: Still haven’t gotten out with our son. That needs to change. Frog season, bullfrogs only, is open in Illinois. Daily bag is eight. A fishing license is required and legal means of taking them are “hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.”

MIDEWIN: To give an idea of what you might experience at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, click here for my column about a visit earlier this month.

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

JAZZIN’AT THE SHEDD: “Jazzin’ at the Shedd” runs Wednesday nights through Oct. 10. Click here for more info.