Aptly enough, this weekend we officially enter fall as this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors shows, beginning with Northern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS HUNTING & FISHING DAYS: There’s the usual gluttony of outdoors possibilities for kids–casting, fishing pond, climbing wall, fly tying/casting, fishing simulator–and adults/families– canoeing, dog training, fishing seminars, hunting seminars, archery range, trap range, BB-gun range–at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area in Yorkville. It’s both a busy time and a chance to connect with people again. I enjoy it. Click here for schedules and seminars.
SHORELINE SALMON: Reports are spotty, but shoreline Chinook are in harbors, shorelines, streams and rivers in all four Lake Michigan states. Along the Chicago lakefront, I’ve heard of several 15-pound-plus kings caught. Mornings or evenings, as usual, have been better. Spoons–classics like K.O. Wobblers, Krocodiles, Cleos to new ones like Moonshine–have been good, but crankbaits are also doing well. This is probably the top of Chicago fishing this weekend.
INDIANA STREAMS: Indiana Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said steelhead, coho, browns and a few Chinook are entering all the Indiana streams. I would only expect that to get better this weekend. Breidert said spawn, shrimp and spinners are best.
Click here for the Indiana DNR’s map of Trail Creek access.
DOVE HUNTING: Dove hunting in Illinois enters its fourth week tomorrow. Public sites are tough. Some private areas, especially around recently harvested fields, are holding some; but the number of doves I have seen in the last week dropped considerably.
SQUIRREL HUNTING: Most nearby public sites are open for the rest of September for squirrel hunting. Cooler weather will help with hunter effort, too.
DOING GOOD: SEED HARVEST: If you’re looking for a chance to both do some good and enjoy one of the coolest spots in Illinois outdoors, help with collecting native seed at Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes.
Here’s the word from The Wetlands Initiative:
Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes Saturday, September 22, 2012 9:00 a.m.-Noon Join us to celebrate the first day of fall by volunteering outdoors! We’ll walk through the prairie collecting native seed, which will be planted over the winter in less-diverse Refuge areas. This is an important and easy way you can help establish rich biodiversity at one of the finest restored prairies in Illinois. Bring a water bottle; snacks and tools will be provided. Please wear appropriate clothing for fieldwork (e.g., long pants, closed-toe shoes). Children 16 years old or younger must be accompanied by a parent or other chaperone. The Dixon Waterfowl Refuge is located just south of the town of Hennepin, two hours west of Chicago and 40 miles north of Peoria. Meet at theobservation tower parking lot at 8:45 a.m. Please email us if you plan to attend. Driving Directions to the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge
HUNTING BITS: Teal season runs through Sunday. It is very variable. . . . Rail (Sora and Virginia only) season is open. I don’t know anybody who hunts them.
DALEY DERBY: We are nearing the end. In September, the species are 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.
WISCONSIN FALL COLOR: Click here for the fall color report for Wisconsin. Peak is drawing nearer in northern areas.
PADDLING: Considering the weather forecast, this might be the last time to run this for awhile.
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.
PERSONAL PICKS: On Sunday, I will be at Northern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days. . . . Weather permitting, I should hit fall salmon on the Chicago lakefront in the next week. . . . Still pending on the very exciting change in my work life about which you may hear more very shortly. Heck, I want to know. . . . I am lining up some good shows for my my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1). 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.