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Shindigs and Thanksgiving: Chicago WWW

Ballot-box stuffing, a counple gatherings, perch from boat and shore, Thanksgiving hunts and sandhill cranes highlight this Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors.

Oh, there are options this weekend.

The top photo was sent by Jim Giglio, who took it last Saturday while perch fishing in a pack of boats off Gary Light that he estimated at 100. The second photo is of Tom Matug stuffing a pheasant into the vest of Phil Palmisano Thursday at Des Plaines Conservation Area while Fredo comes over to investigate the doings.

STATELINE PERCH: Weather allowing, the boat fishing for jumbo perch is just keeps going off Gary Light. Check at Mik-Lurch or call (219) 989-0575 for latest on any access issues, though there shouldn’t be any because you can reach East Chicago Marina by coming north on Cline Avenue off I-80.

Capt. Chuck Weis of Ace Charters and others think the deep water (48-52 feet) will keep the water clean from all the but the worst of northeast blows.

SHORE PERCH: Shore fishing for perch has already taken off at 92nd Street. They have been getting some very small ones with a few keepers in the Chicago harbors. It has to take off and become more consistent one of these days at Navy Pier.

SANDHILL CRANES: Actually, you don’t have to travel far, so many sandhill cranes are coming through the Chicago area. But, the count is peaking at Jasper-Pulaski FWA southeast of Valparaiso, Ind. Tuesday’s estimate was the season’s high of 14,500. I highly recommend this a Thanksgiving brief getaway.

ICE FISHING GATHERING: It’s that time already. Henry’s Ice Fishing Extravaganza is from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Henry’s Sports & Bait, 3130 S. Canal.

Daryl Dourado has one seminar at 10 a.m., Jim Kopjo does another at 1 p.m. In between there is raffles and the usual free lunch of an Italian sausage and Jambalaya.

MUSKIE SEMINAR/FUNDRAISER: Gregg Thomas of Battle the Beast Guide Service headlines the South Side Muskie Hawks seminar/fundraiser Marie’s Ashton Place in Willowbrook on Sunday. Doors open at 11 a.m. and it runs to 5 p.m. or so. There’s lots of nifty raffles, including a boat, and such too. It’s $10 at the door.

ARCHERY TOURNAMENT: On Sunday, there’s a 600-round at Chicago Archery Club in Hamilton Park. Open practice begins at 9 a.m. Go to

THANKSGIVING HUNTS:The Thanksgiving bird or small game hunt is a rich tradition. I know it has become harder in Illinois, dramatically the past 20 years. But there is still the option of put-and-take pheasant hunting at many public sites. All have standby slots available. Click here for more details.

BALLOT STUFFING: McHenry rocker Rob McAndrews of PIST sent his urging to stuff the ballot box for the Ice Men show, which features the work of local ice fishing star Mike McNett. Here’s the info:

ICE MEN made the Finals for the 2009 Sportsman Choice Awards

Viewer Voting in Final Round Starts Today 11-19 & ends 12-14.

Following the tabulation of more than 10,000 votes-a record participation level-Sportsman Channel announced today the finalists for each category of the 2009 Sportsman Choice Awards. By casting their votes over the last month, Sportsman Channel viewers have narrowed the field to just five finalists in the following categories: Best Hunt Show, Best Shoot Show, Best Fish Show, Best Combination (hunting and fishing) Show and Best Show Host(s).

Today marks the beginning of a fresh new round of voting, so everyone is encouraged to log on to to cast their ballot, regardless of whether they voted in the first round or not. Winners in all categories will be based exclusively on the opinions and the votes of viewers. Voting ends December 14 with finalists announced thereafter.

The finalists for the 2009 Sportsman Choice Awards are:

Sportsman Choice-Best Fish Show:

Addictive Fishing


Fly-Rod Chronicles with Curtis Fleming

Ice Men

In-fisherman TV

Lastly, a Best New Series category has been added to the second round ballot. Best New Series eligibility is based upon shows that have never aired on Sportsman Channel prior to 2009.

VOTE FOR ICE MEN TWICE!!!</blockquote

PERSONAL PICKS: It feels odd for me to be around for Thanksgiving weekend. Normally, I go east to buck hunt with my dad in Pennsylvania the Monday and Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Not this year.

So I am doing a bunch of stuff this weekend. I already did a hunt at Des Plaines Conservation Area on Thanksgiving. Today, I plan to kick out a couple fencerows for rabbits (if we’re really lucky, we will roust a pheasant) with my neighor. Saturday I may try to sneak up and try for perch from shore at Navy Pier, that has to go one of these days, then maybe poke my head in at Henry’s ice-fishing event. I should stop over at the South Side Muskie Hawks event on Sunday, but that may be overreaching of my wife’s tolerance on a holiday weekend.