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WWW Chicago outdoors: After the Blizzard of 2011

Pondering ironic and coincidence on a Wild Weekend Wandering through Chicago outdoors in the aftermath of the Blizzard of 2011.

What a convenient coincidence–no, I don’t think it is ironic–that the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship runs through Saturday at Lake Geneva, Wis. It’s part of Lake Geneva’s annual Winterfest celebration. Click here or call (800) 345-1020.

ROCKFEST POSTPONED: Because of the after-effects of the Blizzard of 2011, Rockfest, scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed until Feb. 12, the same day as the late-night ice fishing event at Shabbona Lake.

STORM CLOSURES: Many IDNR sites were closed or partially closed by the Blizzard of 2011, so keep that in mind if planning a weekend visit. Click here for the latest updates on site closures or reopening. It would probably be a good idea to check on local forest preserves, too.

SNOWSHOEING: Talk about a weekend to try snowshoeing. Conditions permitting, and they are, L.L.Bean’s Walk-On Adventures includes snowshoeing on Saturday and Sundays this month at both the Skokie–(847) 568-3600–and South Barrington–(888) 552-5548–stores.

SHOWTIME: Joe Bucher headlines the new Great Outdoors Fishing, Hunting, Boat, and RV Expo at Best Western Timber Creek in Sandwich Saturday and Sunday.

EAGLE WATCHING: With the icing of the rivers, eagle watching continues strong. Starved Rock State Park is a classic spot, but check for closures and such. If going there, also remember to go on the other side of the Illinois River to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center.

I would note that eagles have come back enough that there are now spots on the Fox and Kankakee, where at least an occasional eagle may be seen in winter. The starting points are in open water, especially below dams, just like on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

OPEN-WATER FISHING: There are swaths of open water on the Fox and Illinois, less on the Kankakee. The problem for boaters on the Illinois will be when or if the ramps are plowed.

Shore fishing is open at Powerton Lake, the cooling lake outside of Pekin, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. It is a wonderful lake for white bass, catfish, flatheads, blue catfish and smallmouth.

Guide Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service said Coffeen remains strong for crappie and bass.

ICE FISHING: I know some are starting to get out ice fishing again or are planning to try this weekend. With this snow cover, I can’t wait to hear those stories.

ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses and much more regularly. Click here.

PERSONAL PICKS: A bit of a kick-back weekend for me. . . . The family will do hiking/sledding on Saturday. I don’t know where yet. And we will probably extending the tunnel in one of the bigger drifts in the backyard. . . . . The Super Bowl is Sunday. And we make that a family event. . . . As always, a fair amount of my spare time is spent working on “Outside,” the radio show Joel Greenberg and I are doing at 4:30 p.m. Mondays on WKCC-FM (91.1).