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Chicago outdoors: Sandhill cranes at home, Dresden fishing, Winnebago ice shanties, Nature not Paradise

Sandhill cranes settling in around Chicago, the possibility of fishing at Dresden, the dearth of Winnebago ice shanties last spearing season and “Nature is not Paradise” are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors.

Sandhill cranes strolling the neighborhood, a more common sight. Photo provided by Glenn Kondz
Sandhill cranes strolling the neighborhood, a more common sight.
Photo provided by Glenn Kondz

Notes come from all around Chicago outdoors.


Sandhill cranes are truly settling in, as many have noticed in this pandemic year. Glenn Kondz photographed the two above while walking the dog.

WOTW, the celebration of wild stories and photos around Chicago outdoors, runs most weeks in the special two-page outdoors section in the Sun-Times Sports Saturday. Submit nominations by message on Facebook (Dale Bowman), on Twitter (@BowmanOutside) and Instagram (@BowmanOutside) or email (



Sept. 19-20: Kankakee, (815) 935-2700

Oct. 24-25: Joliet, (815) 935-2700


Through Sept. 13, next Sunday: Northern Illinois Anglers Association’s 37th Kankakee River Annual Fishing Derby,


Through Sept. 20: Teal hunting


“I just read an article regarding the closure of the Dresden power plant in November of 2021. Does Exelon/the state have any plans to open it to fishing or ideas on fishery management that you know of?” Nathan Lesiecki

A: Lesiecki was one of several readers who wondered something similar. Like other anglers, I gazed on those Dresden waters with unbridled lust. In past decades, there have been discussions within the Illinois Department of Natural Resources about shore angling possibilities, but it did not happen. I also think ComEd and the state are in a high-stakes poker game on Dresden.


2,439: Low number of shanties on Lake Winnebago on opening day of sturgeon spearing in February; that was a massive drop (because of poor ice) from the five-year average of 4,483 shanties, according to the 2020 Winnebago System Lake Sturgeon Spearing Season Post-Season Synopsis.


“Nature is not Paradise. If you think Nature is Paradise, you mistaking it. Nature has wonderful things, but it also has great dangers and Nature can kill you.”

Naturalist/journalist Michael McMarthy on the “On Being” broadcast on Sunday, Aug. 30 on WBEZ-FM.