WWW Chicago outdoors: Feels like fall

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‘m not sure how we can go from historic heat only six weeks ago to talking about fall patterns for Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors, but we are.

And a rack of big bucks seems apt enough. These were in one of the tents at Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair last Sunday. As I wrote in Wednesday’s column, the Illinois State Fair shows some of the great divide between Chicago and Downstate, but I love it. Conservation World, the 30-acre park on the north end of the state fairgrounds, offers all kinds of outdoors-related activities for families.

Of course there are state fair scenes, too.

INDIANA STREAMS: By what happened at the mouth of Trail Creek on Lake Michigan this week, I suspect this is a good time to hit Trail Creek and even the St. Joe for steelhead and maybe even some salmon. Early in the week, Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said they collected 80 adult steelhead for broodstock at the Trail Creek Sea Lamprey Barrier. They also passed up nine brown trout, one 12-pound female Chinook, three coho and three small steelhead. On Wednesday, Randy Brindza said they captured another 50 skamania at the barrier. He said they passed another seven nice browns and four small coho.

Brindza added this advice for anglers, I especially love the not on the cooling water and the change to spinners, “Anglers are catching steelhead throughout Trail Creek on small pieces of shrimp. With water temperatures dropping (64 Wednesday), steelhead have become more aggressive and spinners will take aggressive fish. Spinners, size No. 3 and 4 with orange blades are perennial favorites.”

WADING: We received enough water to help flows and general conditions, but not enough to blow things out. Should be a perfect weekend for wading. And Ken Gortowski emailed a glowing report from the Fox River yesterday:

Stopped keeping track at 30 smallies landed and paid no attention to how many I was missing. It was considerable. Minnows and crayfish. They were puking up both when caught. I kept with smaller lures of each. Smallest fish caught was barely 4 inches. Biggest around 16. Every imaginable size in between. That’s the way I like it. Not sure if this cold front will do anything to shut things down, but I’m not liking those next 4 days of north/northwest winds. Let’s hope the fish don’t care.

I am with him on that.

SHABBONA LAKE CATFISH OPEN: Lakeside at Shabbona Lake holds a final salute to summer with its Catfish Open on Saturday. Here are the details from Denny Sands:

Catfish Open Saturday, August 18th Catfish is King for the Day on Saturday, August 18th atTHE SHABBONA LAKE CATFISH OPEN!!! Concoct your best stink bait, brew up your best chicken liver receipt and put on the liver hook and head for Shabbona Lake. The catfish have been very active this warm summer and they have provided many a battle for an unwary angler. Shabbona Lake’s record Catfish is a whopping 22.75 Pounds caught August 7, 2010, by Dave Todd on Chicken Liver. The catfish open is also a family event !!! You can combine your family’s best catfish to weigh in your six fish limit. Weigh ins, at Lakeside Bait, Tackle & Boat Rental, begins at 6 AM and closes at 7 PM. Fishing Open Rules Saturday, August 18th, 2012 – 4th Annual Catfish Open Sponsored by Cabela’s Outdoors of Hoffman Estates – Heaviest Limit of 6 Catfish will win a gift card from Cabela’s Outdoors. Please stop and sign in at Lakeside and donate $5.00 to our walleye restocking fund, to double your first place prize to $200, before you going fishing. The Catfish must be caught and weighed in at Shabbona Lake during the fishing open hours of 6AM to 7PM. 1st Place gets $100.00 Cabela’s gift card ($200.00 Cabela’s gift card if you donate to our walleye fund. You must donate and sign in at Shabbona Lakeside before going fishing to be eligible for the extra $100.00) 2nd Place gets $50.00 Cabela’s gift card 3rd Place gets $25.00 Cabela’s gift card How fishing open winners are decided. Catfish Open: Heaviest Limit of 6 Catfish – This is a family event and family members may combine their 6 heaviest Catfish. For updates – checkwww.shabbonalake.com

WINGSHOOTING CLINIC: This is the last minute, but there are wingshooting clinics for youth and women this weekend at Shabbona Lake State Park. Call (815) 758-2773.

ILLINOIS PERMITS: Monday is the final day to apply for fall shotgun turkey permits, second lottery. Click here. . . . Applications for free upland game permits run through August. I pulled my application together this week. And am hoping. In my world, this is the coolest hunting program in Illinois. Luck of the draw is about one in three. I usually make a deal with several friends. If one of us gets lucky, the others get first invites to come along. Click here. . . . Running through Aug. 28 is the first lottery for controlled pheasant permits–click here or click here. The first lottery, residents only, for duck/goose reservations–click here for ducks or click here for geese also runs through Aug. 28. . . . Running through Sept. 10, permit applications are accepted for random daily drawings for 2012 Illinois firearm and muzzleloader deer permits, Click here.

SQUIRREL HUNTING: With the weather change, more hunters were out in the last week. Just across the Indiana line, staff at Willow Slough said they had 25 hunters out one day this week. Iroquois County State Wildlife Area is one of the few local sites already open in August for squirrel. Most of the other nearby sites open in September.

PADDLING: I will keep running this, even though we have the first moderate weekend of the summer ahead of us.

Chicago River Canoe and Kayak holds many trips and outings, especially on the Chicago River. Click here or call (773) 704-2663. Right now, they are running a good deal at Skokie Lagoons, where it is $10 per hour rental after 5 p.m. Week days. Click here.

Reed’s Canoe Trips offers rentals for the Kankakee River. I take them about once a year. I still need to do it this year. Click here.

On the lower Fox, Geneva Kayak Center’s Yorkville Outdoor Center has many options, including whitewater ones, but also simple tube rentals. Click here.

DALEY DERBY: In August, the species are carp, catfish, panfish, steelhead, Chinook and perch for the Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby. Check fish in at Henry’s Sports & Bait. It runs through September with cash prizes for the heaviest three fish from selected species caught around Chicago fishing each month.

FALL HUNTING CLASSIC: The Fall Hunting Classic at Bass Pro Shops, and we have Gurnee, Bolingbrook and Portage, Ind. in our area, runs through Sunday. Click here.

ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.

BULLFROGGING IN ILLINOIS: And yes, that subtitle is having a little fun with Trout Fishing in America, as I give away my age and tangential interests. Here is the general words on bullfrogging:

A sport fishing license is required to take bull-frogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hand, pole and line fishing methods, pitchfork, landing net, bow and arrow or bow and arrow device, spear or gig. Firearms, air guns, gas guns or commercial fishing devices such as dip nets, hoop nets, traps or seines are not allowed in the taking of bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken from June 15 to August 31 (both days inclusive). The daily limit is 8 bullfrogs with 16 bullfrogs being the possession limit.

WISCONSIN WOLF HUNTING: Running through Aug. 31, Wisconsin holds a unique application period, weighted in the future for unsuccessful applicants, for permits for its inaugural wolf hunt. Permits are $10 and can be purchased from license agents, online (click here) or by phone at (877) 945-4236. The season is Oct. 15 to Feb. 28, 2013. Beginning next year, half of the draw will be for those with preference points, so applying this year, even if unsuccessful, could help in the future.

PERSONAL PICKS: Today, the last Friday for the kids free before school, so we are making a trip to see if frogs respond to the mango wood frog call we bought as a souvenir at the state fair last Sunday. Our youngest boy is just a magician at finding, chasing and catching frogs and toads. It is one of the coolest souvenirs we ever bought. . . . Saturday morning, I am doing Region Bass Buzz on WJOB-AM (1230) in Hammond at 7 a.m. Look forward to that, expect we will be all over the fishing world of Chicago and northwest Indiana. . . . The kids want to get a final fishing outing in, I suspect that will be Saturday afternoon. . . . On Sunday morning, I am doing Mike Jackson’s Radio show at 6:30 a.m. I am sure we will wander all over.Listen to WSBC-AM (1240) or WCFJ-AM (1470) or click here for online listening options. . . . I still need to get my morning of chasing squirrels in. . . . Still pending on the very exciting change in my work life about which you may hear more very shortly. . . . Otherwise, on Monday, I am doing a bunch of shows I feel very good about for my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1). I am enjoying pulling shows together. After the final recording, I am going fishing with the final guest and a mutual buddy. . . . Work nears the end on a writing project, been saying that for awhile.

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