There’s been a few lurches along the way–if you are on lakefront on a day with a north wind or lake breeze it feels like more than a lurch–but we head towards more usual spring, even summery, conditions, for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.

I know the natural world has certainly turned the corner in many ways. I am seeing hummingbirds at our feeder almost every day now. Wild asparagus is going full-bore, even bolting. Morel reports come. Absurd numbers and varieties of warblers are being spotted.

I am in Carlyle, just outside of St. Louis, for the IHSA state championship for bass fishing. It’s the 10th year already. So I am here today and Saturday.

I will get in some hiking and wildlife viewing. Depending on the weather and how work shakes out, I will get in some crappie fishing on the main lake and some fishing for whatever bites in the Kaskaskia River below the dam.

I need to hit Mazonia lakes. That is probably my main agenda for next week in terms of outdoors stuff.

As for general outdoors, there is a ton of stuff and I am leading with the Lincoln Park Zoo turning 150. There’s a couple good fishing events and conservation work, as well as the spring fishing in a sort of a mad rush.

With that, on to the regular stuff of this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors, and it is another eclectic mix of stuff.

ZOO TURNS 150: The Lincoln Park Zoo, a major family favorite for us, turns 150 and an exhibition begins Sunday.

For 150 years Lincoln Park Zoo has connected people with nature in the heart of Chicago. Lincoln Park Zoo will celebrate this anniversary with a free, commemorative on-grounds exhibition: From Swans to Science: 150 Years of Lincoln Park Zoo, opening May 20 and spanning the summer.

Considering our two youngest are about to be out of school for the summer, I expect we will be visiting the exhibit soon enough.

Click here for details and much more information.

FISHING EVENTS: The Fox River Valley chapter of Muskies, Inc.s “Challunge on the Chain” is Saturday on the Chain O’Lakes. Click here for more information. It should be an interesting tournament with the Chain at no-wake. Sometimes, that can work to the advantage of fishermen in keeping away–how to put this?–extraneous people on the water.

The Wauconda Lions Club’s “Lions’ Pride Big Bass Tourney” is Saturday on Bangs Lake in Wauconda. Click here for more information.

CLEANING CHICAGO RIVER: The Chicago River Clean Sweep 2018, hosted by TODO Interactive and Kayak Chicago, is 1:30-5:30 Saturday. Click here for more information.

FISHING: All I will say is that it is an odd crush of multiple species in various stages of spawning on lakes and rivers alike.

PLUG PLANTING: If I was home this weekend, I would probably try to make this. On Saturday, The Wetlands Initiative is holding a plug planting day at Dixon Refuge (Hennepin-Hopper). Click here for more information.

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C Plug planting.
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WILD ASPARAGUS: I have found some asparagus already bolting and so have some other readers. But others have sent nice photos of good finds, including Richard Lanting with the the photo below. Should have a couple more weeks I think of prime picking.

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MORELS: Well, we have the moisture now and the ground temperature is warming enough to be better, but we are also getting late in May.

The map on the Facebook page for Illinois Morel Mushrooms is blanketing the entire state.

PERCH REMINDER: Perch fishing on the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River system is closed through June 15.

MIDEWIN: The seasonal guided hikes at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie run weekends through October. The Ranger Trailer is open for the weekends, weather permitting, at the Iron Bridge Trailhead.

Throughout the season, you can talk to volunteer rangers at the Ranger Trailer from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. During April, check updates–at www.facebook.com/Midewin or on Twitter at @MidewinNatTP –on whether, depending on weather, the Ranger Trailer will be operating.

Trails are open daily, 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Come out and explore. #ItsAllYours! For the full list of 2018 programs, activities and events at Midewin, see: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd535052.pdf.