WWW Chicago outdoors: Down to the water

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Though the excessive heat drags on and on, there’s a mix of stuff to do in this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors, but getting in or on the water is high on my list.

One of the things that irritates me professionally is those who write or post that the heat doesn’t matter, particularly in fishing. That’s a hack or shill who needs to back away from the computer for even an hour and go outside and actually feel what it feels like.

This is a brutal and long heat spell. I am fascinated by it, but it matters greatly in what we can and cannot do outside. Very few or almost none will be sitting on a lake at midday. Even evenings and early mornings slow during heat like this.

But on the water or in the water is another story.

I like wading in this stuff. Even with water temperatures in the 80s, that’s a lot more comfortable than air temperatures in the 95-100 range.

Then there is Lake Michigan with waters much cooler in the 70s, cool enough to make that freak fog a couple days ago.

Salmon/trout fishing for boaters off Chicago, though it has slowed from a couple weeks ago, continues to hold well with some big coho, steelhead and lakers being caught and kings picking up. . . . For those who want a bit of drive, there has been very consistent and good perch fishing from about Gary Light east to Michigan City. And it is relatively shallow.

WADING: Pick your river around Chicago fishing. Mine again will be the Kankakee.

And follow the advice of Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com, he is talking about the Des Plaines but it applies more broadly:

Due to heat wave fishing is poor. River levels are at their lowest since last fall, and temperatures have turned into bath water at the 80-85 degree range. Get out and fish before sunrise, or else at sunset and into the nighttime hours.

As posted earlier this weekend in the rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report, river wanderer/ChicagoNow blogger Ken Gortowski sent this:

The prevailing thought on fishing rivers during the summer when the water is low, is to dredge the bottoms of the deeper pools. On clear water rivers like the Kankakee, DuPage and the Apple, as well as all of the clear water creeks that feed all of the rivers around here, that’s exactly what I would do. The Fox River is a completely different story. The Fox River as of now is flowing lower than I’ve seen it in a good 5 years. Like usual, the clarity of the river is less than a foot. That’s what happens on the Fox during the summer.

“Catfish Dave” Bradigan has been doing well for solid catfish–“3-7 pounds”–wading around Momence on the Kankakee.

PERCH FISHING: Mik-Lurch and Indiana fisheries biologist Brian Breidert both report good perch fishing for boaters in Indiana waters. Probably the best access point is to go out of Portage, a very nice launch. The Donut and a few places east of there have been good. Breidert reported the Indiana DNR measuring perch to 13 inches. They have been holding shallow, generally in the 18-20 foot range. But I have heard of catches as shallow as 8 feet.

PADDLING: At 10 a.m. Saturday, Chicago River Canoe and Kayak give canoes lessons at the Chicago launch. Make reservations at (773) 704-2663 or info@chicagoriverpaddle.com

DOG DAYS: On Sunday, the Northern Illinois chapter of National Shoot to Retrieve Association holds an introduction to NSTRA next Sunday for pointing breeds. Dogs are welcome and will be worked on birds under trial settings. The day, including lunch and birds, is free. Contact Frank Susi at (815) 588-1377.

SCAVENGER HUNT: On Saturday, the Great Urban Race will be held in Chicago. For the fourth year, teams will navigate around the city solving clues and completing various challenges. The first 25 teams to complete the race will have the opportunity to compete in the National Championship race in New Orleans for a chance at the $10,000 prize. It is also a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Cost is $60 per person through today, then $70 Saturday. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration begins at 11am at Joe’s on Weed, 1840 N. Clybourn Ave. Race begins at noon. Click here.

DALEY DERBY: The Richard J. Daley Sportfishing Derby is open. In July, the species are carp, catfish, coho, chinook, steelhead and perch (for those 15 and younger). Register fish at Henry’s Sports & Bait, Park Bait or Vet’s Bait. Go to henryssports.com or call (312) 225-8538.

ARCHERY: On Sunday there is a Lake of the Woods (round targets) tournament at the Lincoln Park Archery Club. Practice begins 9:30 a.m., lincolnparkarcheryclub.org/events.html . . . Also on Sunday, from 2-4 p.m., there is a free clinic (walk-in archers welcome) at the Lincoln Park Archery Range lincolnparkarcheryclub.org/clinics.html . . . Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.

PERSONAL PICKS: I will be wading the Kankakee at least once, maybe more, this weekend. . . . I think the kids and I will do either a wade/exploration of the Kankakee or at Perry Farm. . . . Work continues on an ongoing writing project. . . . 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).

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