‘From Morgan Park to Vilas County,’ an outdoors report from Christian Howe

Christian Howe gives a complete outdoors report – fall colors, muskie, suckers shortage, duck movement, buck rut – from Morgan Park on Chicago’s South Side to Vilas County in northern Wisconsin.

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A cropped file photo of Christian on a fall perch fishing outing on the South Side.

Dale Bowman

I have come to enjoy Christian Howe’s general outdoors report from the Morgan Park neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side to Vilas County in northern Wisconsin. If you want a primer on how to write an outdoors report, here is how with straightforward and vivid writing on nearly all things outdoors: fall colors, fishing, ducks, buck rut.

Keeping with what is becoming a tradition, here is his late October report in all its glory:

Here is my Fall colors report, from Morgan Park to Vilas County WI via I94/41 (Illinois split) to US45 North. Cook county colors are beginning to appear. Won’t be long before the various Maples become vibrant, the tone on my oak and locust have changed in the past few days. I’d venture to say next week will see starved rock start it’s show. Lake county is getting better. Colors near Illinois beach State Park vary with some spots getting vibrant. Cheddar Curtain to Wauwatosa nearing at peak colors. Maples vibrant with oaks almost golden, red oaks about to kick off. Wauwatosa to Oshkosh has red oaks vivid, maple at peak to almost done and a few birch still colorful. Tamaracks starting. Oshkosh to Antigo tamaracks nearly at peak, oaks at peak, the few birch with leaves still nearing the end, maple past peak, willows, alders and scrub going. Ferns and grass brown already. Antigo to the WI/MI border has tamaracks at peak. Most of the maples have dropped with the big blow the past few days, some oaks are still gold but dropping fast, red oaks still vibrant in places. The surprise here are a few birch, still green and turning. Fishing wise, Reports from the local guides are not good. The terrible rain/snow/wind and temperature swings have resulted in limited efforts the past week or so for musky. Those who have been successful are favoring suckers if you can find any. The high water has effected the bait guys harvests. Walleye taking chubs and xl fatheads on outside weed edges on 1/8-1/4oz jigs in 12+ water. Some walleye being taken over shallow weeds or wind swept shores at night in 6-10’ on #11 rapalas in blue and yellow, shiner flicker shads ok too on the deep side/edge. Most lakes haven’t turned over yet, but it looks to be any day. Crappie are fair on jigs and Minnows under a slip float when you can find them. Perch are out there somewhere. Maybe I’ll find them. Lots of duck movement up here too. Today I had nearly 50 stacked up in the bay behind the island, calling to others that we passing by. Mostly mallards. A few teal too. Canada geese and a few snow geese also in and out today. The Rut is in getting going, lots of deer out and about. Despite the terribly hard winter last year, Im pleased with the numbers I’m seeing. I hate that it’s that time of year to shut it down up here. But, before I know it I’ll be back. Plenty in Chicago to keep me occupied this winter. Thanks Dale, Chris Howe.

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