WWW Chicago outdoors: Opening weekend

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This is the weekend where spring truly seems to arrive for Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors, at least by the calendar and things scheduled.

One of the bigger deals is the Grand Re-opening Weekend of Geneva Kayak Center in Yorkville, a celebration of the new Yorkville whitewater park on the Fox River. The YouTube video above was taken last fall.

This is one of those things I wish I could attend. It opens today and runs through Sunday.

Tonight there is the “Call of the River” at Kendall Pub in Yorkville. The Call of the River… A Hundred Years of Whitewater Adventure from Kent Ford. There’s prizes and food, and river legend Kent Ford will be there.

Saturday kicks off with a Geneva to Yorkville paddle, beginning at 7 a.m. The GKC, now in Yorkville, will hold its grand opening from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Demos will be done. Ribbon-cutting is at 1 p.m.

On Sunday, there is a paddle with the pros–GKC coaches, owner Ryan Rushton and Kelly Blades–for a fun day trip from Yorkville to Silver Springs. Start upstream of the whitewater park or immediately downstream, beginning about 1 p.m. Kendall Pub is revisited at 5 p.m.

Click here for the web site or call (630) 232-0320.

LICENSE REMINDER: I am not being frivolous about this, but remember to have your new licenses as of today. I just remembered (after writing that about four times in the last week) to get mine late last night. This also applies in neighboring states.

SPRING TROUT: The big thing for thousands of fishermen around Chicago fishing is the opening of spring trout on Saturday.

In my perfect world, this season would be restricted for kids only on opening weekend, but that ain’t gonna happen. So I will just suggest that adults should show some basic human decency toward the parents who have their kids out tomorrow or Sunday and let them fish the spots where the stocked trout are congregated.

Area lakes include Axehead, Belleau and Sag Quarry East (Cook County); Grove, Pickerel and Silver (DuPage); Gebhard Woods State Park Pond (Grundy); Bird Park Quarry and Rock Creek at Kankakee River SP (Kankakee); Big Lake at Silver Springs SP (Kendall); Sand Lake at Illinois Beach SP and Banana Lake (Lake); Lake Atwood, Hollows Conservation Area, and Piscasaw Creek (McHenry); Lake Milliken at Des Plaines Conservation Area (Will).

Steve Palmisano of Henry’s recommended live bait (butter or wax worms, or rosy red minnows) under a float, small in-line spinners or jar baits.

For those 16 and older, a fishing license and inland trout stamp are required.

SMELTING: Smelt netting opens on the Chicago lakefront tonight. Nets may go in at 7 p.m. Regulations and expectations (low) are about the same. One difference is 31st is not available because of harbor work this year.

HEIDECKE LAKE: The former cooling lake near Morris reopens to fishing. I expect to be there, rain or shine, later this morning. Boat launch opens at 6 a.m., bank angling opens at 6:30 a.m.; close is dusk. The concessionaire has not been able to sell yet, so have your bait, tackle and food before arriving.

SAUGER FISHING: The hottest bite around Chicago fishing is the sauger on the upper Illinois River. Biologist Ken Clodfelter thought the peak of the spawn bite should hold through next weekend. And the river is in stunningly good shape, unlike most of the recent springs.

LAKEFRONT COHO: Coho, those favorites of Chicago fishing, are being picked up, primarily by powerliners. The bite by boaters around the Indiana state line has been wonderful. The hot spot has been the shipping channel, but at other times it can be Gary Light, Buffington Harbor. or the front of East Chicago Marina.

MORELS: I suspect this is the weekend when more will be out looking in southern Illinois. Before the cold front last week, I know of a couple who were out and at least one report of a few small black ones. It’s time.

HUNTING: Turkey hunting opens in the south zone on Monday. . . . In the north zone, the youth turkey hunt is this weekend.

SCHOOL GAMES: If you’re fascinated by the idea of high school bass fishing, check out the first of District 230’s bass fishing series on Saturday. The district, a leader in high school bass fishing locally, holds the tournament out of Big Basin Marina in Channahon. In the tournament, launch begins at6:45 a.m. Weigh-in at 1:30 p.m.

BANQUET: On Saturday, the Will County Cutters chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation holds its banquet at the Beecher AMVETS Hall Post No. 67. Contact Troy Claus at blacklab99@comcast.net.

PERSONAL PICKS: I will be at Heidecke later this morning. . . .Not sure when I will poke my head around smelting. It won’t be tonight, but maybe tomorrow or Sunday. . . . I don’t know where the family hike will be. . . . . I hope to stick my head in for the launch of the high school bass tournament Saturday morning. . . . 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). There is some news coming shortly on the show. How’s that for a tease for those who read to the very end. No official announcement yet.

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