Chicago outdoors: Elegant perch fishing description, winter redpoll, Mel Johnson’s buck, suburban eagle

A vivid description of perch fishing at 87th, Mel Johnson’s world-record buck, a suburban bald eagle and a winter redpoll are among the notes from around Chicago and beyond.

SHARE Chicago outdoors: Elegant perch fishing description, winter redpoll, Mel Johnson’s buck, suburban eagle
A redpoll in winter. Credit: Emil Baumbach

A redpoll in winter.

Emil Baumbach

Notes come from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.


Emil Baumbach sent another of his iconic bird photos, this time of a common redpoll at the Chicago Botanic Garden. “These winter visitors feed on birch and alder catkins,” he emailed. “They tend to form large flocks and are quite vocal in flight.”

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. To make submissions, email or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).



Jan. 29-30: Diamond, (815) 907-7345


Click here for the complete list of shows, classes and swap meets for the coming months.

Friday, Jan. 7,- next Sunday, Jan. 9: Muskie Expo Chicago, Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles

Friday, Jan. 7,- next Sunday, Jan. 9: Let’s Go Fishing Show, Gateway Convention Center, Collinsville


Sunday, Jan. 2: First segment of CWD/late winter antlerless deer season ends

Next Saturday, Jan. 8: Pheasant, quail, partridge seasons, north zone, end

Next Sunday, Jan. 9: Second dove season ends


“Merry Christmas!!! . . . Well the best reference I can give you is he flew to Montini High School (Oakbrook Terrace /Lombard area).” Mike Maher, who tweeted a photo of a flying adult bald eagle

A: I just find it encouraging that we see bald eagles almost routinely now and yet they bring a thrill, especially for those of us old enough to remember when they were on the brink.


56: Years since Mel Johnson arrowed his buck (Peoria County, Oct. 29, 1965), the world record scored by the Pope and Young Club for whitetail typical at 204 4/8 inches.


“Arriving at 87th Sunday to see the entire length of the slip shoulder to shoulder, Chicago Blues from a radio far away, and the duck hunters’ greeting of concussive birdshot was one of my all-time wow moments of fishing. There was something spiritual about this particular Sunday after Christmas. It could have been 1987 if I didn’t know otherwise.”

Michael Poczatek, eloquently describing perch fishing at the 87th Street slip

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