Top stories in the outdoors around Chicago during 2022

Bait shop changes around Chicago, record crossbow usage by Illinois bowhunters, pink salmon records, cougars in Illinois and northern pike on the Chicago lakefront are among the top stories in the outdoors around Chicago during 2022.

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Henry’s Sports and Bait’s second location at 2222 Silverton Way, about where the McCormick Hilton is now; one of several significant changes in bait and tackle shops around the Chicago area in 2022. Provided photo

Henry’s Sports and Bait’s second location at 2222 Silverton Way, about where the McCormick Hilton is now; one of several significant changes in bait and tackle shops around the Chicago area in 2022.

Provided

Henry’s Sports and Bait served its last customer on Nov. 9.

It capped a notable year of change for bait and tackle shops in the Chicago area and leads a look back in 2022 in the outdoors around Chicago.

Hank Palmisano founded what became Henry’s, the iconic urban bait and tackle shop in Bridgeport, on May 21, 1952 at 2452 S. Wentworth. It’s final home would be 3130 S. Canal.

The oldest bait shop in the Chicago area, C.J. Smith Resort on Grass Lake Road in Antioch was sold this summer after being a family business for 93 years, but was bought and continued as Lily Bug Acres. Credit: Dale Bowman

The oldest bait shop in the Chicago area, C.J. Smith Resort on Grass Lake Road in Antioch was sold this summer after being a family business for 93 years, but was bought and continued as Lily Bug Acres.

Dale Bowman

The oldest bait shop in the Chicago area, C.J. Smith Resort on Grass Lake Road in Antioch, was sold on Aug. 12 after three generations of running a bait shop/boat rental there for 93 years. New owner Frank Visconti Jr. continues right on as Lily Bug Acres with boat rental, shore fishing and bait shop, even extending services into the winter months.

Bob Shirley, who was there when the Ed Shirley’s in Markham (later Anglers Outlet) had its grand opening on April 6, 1964, sold Anglers Outlet this fall and retired. Anglers Outlet continues on in Tinley Park with new owners.

  • The 2021-22 season was the first time Illinois bowhunters harvested the majority of their deer with a crossbow. That continued a a steady upward trend since general use of crossbows was legalized in 2017. In the 21-22 season, 51.5 percent of deer harvest by bowhunters was with a crossbow. Compound bows accounted for 47.4 and traditional 1.1.
Crossbows now account for more than half the deer harvest during Illinois’ bowhunting season. Credit: Dale Bowman

Crossbows now account for more than half the deer harvest during Illinois’ bowhunting season.

Dale Bowman

  • On July 10, Alex Niemiec caught an Illinois record for pink salmon with Capt. Gerry Urbanozo out of North Point Marina. Niemiec was out with his older brother Kevin and their dad Robert. It weighed 3.9 pounds at Lake Michigan Angler in Winthrop Harbor.

It was part of a rare super super slam: Chinook, coho, lake trout, brown trout, steelhead and pink salmon.

Cheryl Kranz (left) and Stacy Brady (right) with Karre Cromwell and her pending Illinois record pink salmon, caught Thursday on the “Confusion” charter boat out of North Point Marina. Provided photo

Cheryl Kranz (left) and Stacy Brady (right) with Karre Cromwell and her pending Illinois record pink salmon, caught Thursday on the “Confusion” charter boat out of North Point Marina.

Provided

That record for pink salmon only lasted weeks. On Aug. 4, Karre Cromwell caught the current Illinois record pink salmon (4.9 pounds, weighed at Lake Michigan Angler) while fishing on the “Confusion” charter boat out of North Point on the annual outing of Edward Jones.

(bullet) Illinois had two confirmed sightings of cougars, the first in Whiteside County on Sept. 28. That cougar was believed to be the one killed on I-88 on Oct. 16 in DeKalb County.

Then, a second one, with a GPS collar from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, was tracked around western Illinois. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services tranquilized the cougar in Springfield, then put it into a rescue center in Indiana.

According to wildlifeillinois.org, there are eight modern confirmed cougar sightings in Illinois since a cougar was killed by a train in Randolph County in 2002.

The Chicago Boat Show, shown in January 2020, should return for the first time in three years in January. Credit: Dale Bowman

The Chicago Boat Show, shown in January 2020, should return for the first time in three years in January.

Dale Bowman

  • Show season limped back in the winter, but without its three biggest shows. The Chicago Boat Show and the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo in Schaumburg remained shut for a second winter; and the Tinley Park Fishing Show closed permanently.

This winter looks closer to normal with both the Boat Show and the Schaumburg Show scheduled to return in January, while a new show, Tinley Park Fishing, Travel and Outdoor Expo, comes to the south suburbs in February.

  • It’s been a good year for northern pike on the Chicago lakefront. Lakefront pike have been around for years, but the size of them is increasing as is interest in fishing for them. Multiple reports came this year of pike 40 inches and longer.

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