WWW Chicago outdoors: Perch & waiting on ducks

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That great favorite of Chicago fishing–perch–were in good for the traditional Thanksgiving outings, and that leads this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors; though I wonder what will be going with the blow.

Not sure we need more photos of food the day after Thanksgiving, but I figure a perch platter shot is a timeless illustration for perch fishing.

PERCH FISHING: Well, at least through yesterday, before the front blew through last night, perch were in good.

Carl Vizzone texted Thanksgiving morning, “They got perch today at Navy Pier. Bigger ones came on the east wall by where Rockys was. Perch were caught at Montrose also by the mouth on A dock. Better bite was early.”

The boat fishery was going big time for Thanksgiving in Indiana waters.

I think Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station put it best when he said he knows at least three guys who unwinterized their boats to go back to perch fishing on Lake Michigan.

“Perch is second to none,” he said. “Unfortunately, it had to happen this late in year.”

That is blown out now, I suspect. I have no idea what to expect for the rest of the holiday weekend.

CHICAGO PIER PASSES: Considering the arrival of the perch bite, now is a good time for a reminder that the $6 pier passes for Chicago harbors, except 31st, are available now at Henry’s Sports and Bait, 3130 S. Canal.

WATERFOWLNG: I know a lot of people are watching the weather change and wondering if birds will be flying in. I saw some hunters from way up north reported on Facebook that waters are starting to lock up, which should help move birds. Could be an interesting weekend.

ICE GATHERING: Henry’s Ice Fishing Extravaganza is at Henry’s Sports and Bait from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Jim “The Crappie Professor” Kopjo leads off on “Winter panfish” at 10 a.m.. Tony Boshold holds forth on “Modern Mobility, the Next Generation,” at 1 p.m. There’s the usual Italian sausage sandwich and jambalaya.

BOWHUNTING: I suspect the wind will slow things, as will the winding down of the rut, but there will be guys trying before the second firearm season opens on Thursday.

BUCK OF THE WEEK: Buck of the Week, the celebration of big bucks taken around Chicago outdoors, runs Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page. Send nominations to straycasts@sbcglobal.net.

WATCHING SANDHILL CRANES: The most sandhills (10,513) counted so far this fall were noted Tuesday at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area. It is located southeast of Valparaiso, Ind. The best times to view them and fully grasp the wonder of them is near dawn or dusk. The next few weeks should be peak.

I realize this is a trek, so take some time to explore Valparaiso, just a wonderful town, or do a leisurely drive on back roads through the Indiana countryside.

I debated doing this today with the kids off, but the wind convinced me otherwise.

CRAPPIE FISHING: Crappie fishing is the prime effort on smaller lakes and ponds.

INDIANA STREAMS: Indiana’s Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said winter steelhead are showing up in Michigan City and he expects them to start coming in good over the next two weeks. Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond said Trail Creek is holding the most “chromes.”

Click here for the Indiana DNR’s map of Trail Creek access.

LAKERS AT THE PORT? Well, before the blow, the action had come back, especially for jiggers. I have no idea if they will come back or if that is it for the year.

ILLINOIS DEER PERMITS: Over-the-counter sales of remaining county deer permits is underway at IDNR vendors. It’s how I am hunting. Click here for remaining permits.

UPLAND HUNTING: Hunting for pheasants, rabbits, quail and gray partridge is underway. I saw some hunters out doing the traditional Thanksgiving hunt. Which made my day.

ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.

PERSONAL PICKS: Wind and all, we will do a family hike today. . . . On Saturday, I plan to be at Henry’s Ice Extravaganza, in part for the feed but mainly to watch Tony Boshold in action. He’s one of Chicago’s rising stars and I have never seen him in action and would like to. . . . Should have went perch fishing Thanksgiving morning, but may try to sneak that in in the next few days. . . . On the radio front, I need to pull together our first live Outside show on Monday, Dec. 3, during fund-raising week. If you happen to have a favorite show over the past half year or so, please let me know so I can pull a segment from it for the fund-raiser. Otherwise, I received some good suggestions for guests on my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1), but can always use more. I am enjoying pulling shows together. . . . Work nears the end on a writing project. Been saying that for too long without crossing the finish line. Actually I am beginning to feel like the finish line is running away from me.

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