Our Pledge To You


Coho, frogs, berries, doves, cooler end to holiday week: WWW Chicago outdoors


The sun rose Friday as a thing of beauty and joy, rather than the instrument of death-dealing heat.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

I couldn’t believe how many doves were sitting on roadside wires Monday when the boys and I drove to Indiana to buy stuff to blow up. I guess it is July already. Usually I don’t start looking for my annual “Doves on the Wires” photos until August. Should have started that Monday.

Well, we certainly had changes since yesterday and they impact this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.

Noticeable changes. This morning when Lady, our family mutt, and I rambled off at 5:30, I almost turned around to put on jeans and a hoodie instead of my shorts and T-shirt. It was that cool walking into a stiffening north wind.

Mind you I am not complaining. I might actually get in some hiking this weekend, maybe even my annual summer hike around Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.

Otherwise, today I am doing my usual volunteer time working on an edible trail (yes, some day when we get farther along I will write about it),.

Then this afternoon I am sneaking into a sold-out presentation by Snakehead Ed and will be SROing (yes, I made that word up) it in back. Hopefully, I can sneak our youngest son in, too. OK, in full disclosure, the organizer told me, too. Click here if you want info on Snakehead Ed. Any excuse to type that name again is good by me.

Otherwise, I am going with the flow this weekend on what I do outdoors, though Midewin sounds more and more appealing and likely.

And back to doves, I checked status of my application for a spot in the draw at public sites and was really happy to see I drew a permit for the second day at the best public dove-hunting spot in Illinois: Jim Edgar Panther Creek State State Fish and Wildlife Area.

As to broader WWW activities, coho fishing from Chicago to Wisconsin has taken off in the last week.

Berry picking is in full bloom, so to speak.

The Kankakee River Valley Fishing Derby runs through Sunday. Details are below.

With that, on to this Wild Weekend Wandering.

COHO: I will add this caveat, the passage of the cold front and the shift to a strong north wind may change things, but as Capt. Scott Wolfe noted earlier this week for fishing out of Waukegan, “Fishing is absolutely as good as it gets now.” Capt. Bob Poteshman seconded that for the “big chunky coho” at both North Point and Chicago.


Provided/John Vukmirovich

BERRY PICKING: I have already done my fair share of berry picking this year. I did notice lots of mulberries still hanging on while doing the Ramble with Lady this morning.

John Vukmirovich sent me the photo above and this explanation yesterday:

As for the pix I sent you yesterday, the black raspberries are just starting to ripen around here. That strainerful was, hopefully, the first of many. Deer flies were dive bombing me despite lathering up with Deep Woods Off.

KANKAKEE DERBY:  The Kankakee River Valley Fishing Derby runs through Sunday. The river is coming up slightly again, not sure how that will change things other than push fish up the creeks or closer to shore.

As of this morning, notable entries on the big board included Daniel Guenette (13-8 channel catfish) and Joyce Siwicki  (12-6 northern pike).

Click here for Derby details.

LAKEFRONT PERCH: Perch fishing on the Chicago lakefront has been up and down. 

THE DRUM ALTERNATIVE: On Tuesday, Stacey Greene at Park got going on the drum at Montrose Harbor and said, “When the wind blows out of the right direction, you could walk on water on drum–I didn’t even know there were that many in the lake–once that wind blows out of the north.’’

Well, the wind is out of the north.

POND FISHING: In terms of shore fishing, I would say the best thing going is pond fishing. Good time for bluegills (and redears if your pond or lake has them). One of my options this weekend is to get out this and work a frog for largemouth bass, one of my favorite  ways of fishing. We’ll see.

WATER ALERT: The Fox River is at no-wake as of Friday morning from the Stratton Lock and Dam down. I suspect that could change soon. Click here to check updates on the Fox and Chain.

DOVE PERMITS: You can check status of your application for the first lottery for public site dove permits by clicking here. Beginning tomorrow, you can enter the second lottery, too Click here for that.

FROG SEASON: Frog, bullfrogs only, season is open in Illinois. Daily bag is eight. A fishing license is required and legal means of taking them are “hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.” Our youngest and I still have not gotten out. He has been out on his own with buds a couple times.


Yellow coneflower, rosinweed, wild bergamot, goldenrod, compass plant and big bluestem, reaching to 10 or 12 feet, splashed color at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in late July 2015.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

MIDEWIN: As I mentioned above, this is one of my main options this weekend.

The seasonal guided tours at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie run weekends through October. The Ranger Trailer is open weekends, weather permitting, at the Iron Bridge Trailhead. Trails are open daily 4 a.m.-10 p.m.

For a complete list of events and programming go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd535052.pdf.

JAZZIN’AT THE SHEDD: “Jazzin’ at the Shedd” runs Wednesday nights through Oct. 10. Click here for more info.

ZOO TURNS 150: The Lincoln Park Zoo has the exhibit, From Swans to Science: 150 Years of Lincoln Park Zoo, through the summer. Click here for details and much more information.