Well, the hope I had to play with the jumbo perch holding in the weeds off Olive Park this morning were put on hold while I wait to see whether biologist Steve Robillard declares Charles ``Mac'' Sloan's gar, a shortnose or longnose. William Meyer, the New Lenox gar aficionado who holds the shortnose record, thought it was a longnose. Otherwise, as befits a back-to-school weekend, there's a bunch of kids' stuff mixed for this Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings, and a sign of the times with the return of salmon and the surprising continuation of the perch bite. And Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair goes through Sunday.
CONSERVATION WORLD: That's IDNR director Marc Miller lending a hand at archery in a photo by IDNR photographer Adele Hodde.The last day for this 30-acre bastion of outdoor options for kids and adults alike is at the Illinois State Fair is Sunday. It's open daily from 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.
SHORELINE KINGS: Aug. 20 tends to be something of the return date for shoreline salmon in southern Lake Michigan, and a smattering have been reported in the past week. [SATURDAY ADD] Well, Anthony Johnson weighed in two 17-pounders caught at Montrose Saturday morning.
``SGT. TOMMY'S KIDS'': The third annual kids fishing event for those who have military, police or fire personnel in their families is at Herrick Lake in Wheaton on Saturday. The kids come away with not only a good fishing experience but a wealth of gear. It's all free of charge. Officially, you're supposed to be register in advance at http://sgttommyskids.org, but the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance's Mike Clifford assured me those who show at the last minute on Saturday will be taken care of.
HAWK WATCH LEARNING: The 10th annual Hawk Watch Seminar for the Illinois Beach State Park Hawk Watch is 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Volo Bog Visitor's Center, Ingleside. Reservations are required, contact Vic Berardi at VBirdman@aol.com
POND BASSING: I am not sure if it was the cool weather this summer allowing more effort by fishermen or what, but I have never had so many pictures of good bass caught from Chicago-area ponds. The FOTW this Wednesday, caught by Nicole Lalka, was not even the biggest one submitted last week. Whatever it is, I would suggest playing around with bass on your local retention or farm pond.
DIFFERENT KIDS STUFF: The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County hosts a ``Spiders and Snakes'' event at Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn (costs $3) form 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday. Make reservations at (630) 942-6200.
LAKEFRONT PERCH: The boat fishery for jumbo perch off Olive Park in the Navy Pier area continues to amaze with both numbers and size. Considering that school has been fished daily since Aug. 1, it is holding up amazingly well. Shoreline fishing has been more variable but there continues to be good days. Waukegan has had a surprisingly steady bite from shore too, with boaters taking some south of the harbor in 20-40.
BENEFIT PICNIC: The first B4Kidfs/IFOR Picnic in the Park ($25 for adults, $5 for kids, 12 and younger free) is at Northern Illinois Conservation Club in Antioch from 3-8 p.m. Saturday. It benefits both Benefit4Kids and Illinois Federation for Outdoor Resources. Contact Tom Holmes (holmestjhy@gmail) or Ron Salee (firstname.lastname@example.org) for ticket information. . . .
PERMIT REMINDER: Monday is the deadline for the second lottery for fall shotgun turkey permits.
PERSONAL PICKS: I think we (well, at least some of the family) are hitting the State Fair and Conservation World on Sunday, but maybe that will disappear in the back-to-school hubbub. . . . I sense a window Saturday afternoon and evening, so I may finally get in some playing with bass on the town pond. . . . Usually, I wrap up my Sunday outdoor stuff for the Sun-Times by Thursday night and have Friday to pursue things. But waiting on the gar call will tie up what had been my free play window Friday morning Oh well, I love big fish stories, so that will be fun either way.