Chicago outdoors: Lake Erie walleye, courting herons, longest turkey beard, Chicago smelt question

A photo of courting great blue herons, a note on the longest beard of an eastern wild turkey, a quote on Lake Erie walleye and a question on smelt netting in Chicago are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.

SHARE Chicago outdoors: Lake Erie walleye, courting herons, longest turkey beard, Chicago smelt question
A pair of great blue herons along the Des Plaines River. Credit: Rich Anzalone

A pair of great blue herons along the Des Plaines River.

Rich Anzalone

Notes come from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.

DALE’S MAILBAG

“Has anyone caught 10 smelt in a night anytime in the last 20 years?” Bill Savage tweet

A: Yes, there is usually some netted every April. The last opening night I witnessed more than 10 netted came in 2019 by “Jumbo Jimmy” Baczek and his crew just east of the Shedd. In one pull, Baczek had a dozen. As he put it, “You gotta have faith, Dale, you gotta have faith.” (Apparently faith is not enough this year.) Click here for that 2019 account in the Sun-Times.

WILD OF THE WEEK

Rich Anzalone, of Lemont, photographed great blue herons (photo at the top) courting along the Des Plaines River earlier this month.

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 BowmanOutside@gmail.com or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).

BIG NUMBER

18.125: Inches of the longest beard of an eastern wild turkey, taken by Robert Tremblay on May 2, 1998, in Rollins Fork, Virginia, as ranked by wildturkeyzone.com.

LAST WORD

“Walleye hatch success has been exceptional for six of the past eight years. Anglers will mostly catch abundant 2- to 4-year-old-fish ranging from 15 to 22 inches. Larger fish from 2015 and earlier hatches will provide chances to reel in a Fish Ohio qualifying walleye (minimum 28 inches).

Ohio DNR, in “Expectations High for Another Great Year of Lake Erie Walleye Fishing”

WILD TIMES

HUNTER SAFETY

April 30-May 1: Ingleside, shawnfrey33@gmail.com

WINGSHOOTING CLINICS

May 14 or 15: Introductory wingshooting clinic, Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area, (815)423-5326. Click here for registration.

DUCKS UNLIMITED

Friday, April 29: Lockport dinner, Crystal Grand Banquet Hall, Lemont

Friday, April 29: Marengo dinner, Starline Factory, Harvard

U.S. COAST GUARD AUXILIARY

Next Saturday, April 30: Boat America, Chicago, Dan O’Connell, cgaux.doc@gmail.com

SHOWTIME

Thursday, April 26, to April 30: North American Vintage Decoy and Sporting Collectibles Show, Westin Chicago Lombard

Next Saturday, April 30: Riverside Fishing Club swap meet, LaGrange American Legion

Next Saturday, April 30: DRiFT’s Fly Fishing Auction, VFW Post 2801, Villa Park

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

FISH GATHERING

Wednesday, April 27: Keith Hahn moderates panel, “Fishing the Fox Chain O’Lakes for Multi-Species,” Walleyes Unlimited, Gurnee American Legion, 7 p.m., walleyesunlimitedusa.org

ILLINOIS PERMITS/SEASONS

Through Wednesday, April 27: Fourth spring turkey season, south zone

Through Wednesday, April 27: Third spring turkey season, north zone

Thursday, April 28, to May 4: Fourth spring turkey season, north zone

Thursday, April 28, to May 5: Fifth spring turkey season, south zone,

Next Saturday, April 30: Deadline, first lottery, firearm and muzzleloader deer permit applications

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