This is a good Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors to talk about a couple options for side trips if running down for Bears training camp in Bourbonnais.
The Kankakee River is the great ribbon of outdoor opportunity in the area.
Here’s two of the best options this week.
The Two Rivers Century Bike Ride, a scenic cruise, is Sunday. Distances vary from 22 to 124 miles. The various routes and lengths follow back roads I have taken many times on wanderings. Click here.
Otherwise, now is a perfect time to wade the Kankakee, as it is very low right now and wadeable.
For experienced fishermen, start in the Kankakee River State Park, especially around Warner Bridge. But frankly you can wade in at many spots and start fishing with success.
Otherwise I recommend both guides I’ve fished with on the Kankakee: Matt Mullady–(815) 932-6507–for a variety of approaches and Capt. Austin Adduci—grabyourflycharters.com or (708)403-1221–for a unique fly-fishing float. That’s Adduci above on an outing last fall.
I have not been out with Capt. Bob Santangelo of Kankakee River Guide Service. Our planned trip on something else last week had to be rescheduled. But he is another good option.
FALL HUNTING CLASSIC: The Fall Hunting Classic at Bass Pro Shops, and we have Gurnee, Bolingbrook and Portage, Ind. in our area, begins today and runs through Aug. 19. Click here.
WADING AND FISHING: Low water continues to concentrate fish, but water temperatures are warm but not catastrophic. There’s some excellent stream fishing. I’ve made it out on the Kankakee in the last few weeks more times than I have in the last few years.
MIDNIGHT MADNESS AT MONEE: The Forest Preserve District of Will County has Midnight Madness at Monee Reservoir from 6 p.m.-midnight Saturday. The preserve and concession stand at Monee Reservoir open until midnight. Click here.
ILLINOIS UPLAND GAME PERMITS: Applications for free upland game permits run through August. 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.
ILLINOIS HUNTING: Squirrel hunting opened Wednesday. I have not checked in with anybody yet and have not made it out myself. If you made it out in this heat, my hat’s off to you.
SWAP MEET: On Thursday, Riverside Fishing Club holds its third annual swap meet at the LaGrange American Legion Hall. Table set up is 6:15p-6:45 p.m. Others will not be admitted until 6:45 p.m.
FOREST PRESERVE SURVEY: Through Friday, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County is holding an online survey. The public may give input on things from new facilities to new activities at fpdcc.com/recreation-master-plan.
NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION: On Wednesday, the Southwest Suburban Strutters chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation holds its banquet at Crystal Sky Banquet Hall in McCook. Contact Jack Lazzara at (773) 586-1133 or firstname.lastname@example.org. . . . On Friday, Windy City Longbeards chapter of NWTF holds its banquet at Erie Street Cafe in Chicago. Contact Matthew Dunn at (773) 294-6851 or email@example.com.
BASS ON PONDS AND LAKES: Nominations for Fish of the Week for big largemouth bass from ponds and lakes just keep coming in. Apparently, there has been a good bite for them. It isn’t reinventing fishing. Go early or late with your favorite topwater–I will be teaching my daughter to throw a frog this summer–or, at other times, work weed lines with plastic worms or Senkos.
PADDLING: Considering the summer we are having, I am just going to keep running this.
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.
Chicago River Canoe and Kayak holds many trips and outings, especially on the Chicago River. Click here or call (773) 704-2663.
On the lower Fox, Geneva Kayak Center’s Yorkville Outdoor Center has many options, including whitewater ones, but also simple tube rentals. Click here.
SALMON/TROUT: As Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charters put it on Monday, we are in “summer patterns.” By that he meant the numbers frenzy of earlier this summer and spring is gone. But the fish being caught are big ones, including some quality 4-year-old kings. I repeat, this is a good year to book a charter or find a buddy who goes out. The depth pretty consistently all around southern Lake Michigan appears to be 80-120 feet and fishing near the bottom.
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.
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: Our family is tied up in various events and doings at the Kankakee County Fair (another wonderful side trip if down for Bears practice), so my outdoors endeavors may be limited this weekend. . . . But I probably will sneak in a morning or evening of wading the Kankakee. . . . I still need to get my morning of chasing squirrels in. . . . Next week, I have a couple adventures planned, but much of next week may be a very exciting change in my work life about which you may hear more very shortly. (See how many are reading closely and far down). . . . Otherwise, I am catching up my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1). I am enjoying pulling shows together. . . . Work nears the end on a writing project, sorta.