Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

September 2009 Archives

We are on the cusp of the change to fall fishing, if it was a couple days later this week the Midwest Fishing Report would be different. Or as northern Wisconsin guide Kurt Justice put it, ``Well, summer is over.''

I simply planned to visit Fred Lutger at his Freddie Bear Sports last week so the oldest boy could check out recurve bows, and we ended up with much more.


By the looks of Ben Mikrut's 17.4-pound king the first Salmon Unlimited Kids Shore Fishing Derby at Waukegan harbor on Saturday went well. Well enough for Mikrut to earn best fish in the adult member division there and Fish of the Week honors here.


Deer program biologist Tom Micetich said he expects a bowhunting deer harvest similar to the 2008-09 season, second highest on record. Those numbers and others on deer lead this Illinois Hunting Report as bowhunting for deer and turkey opens Thursday.


Ladybugs in 2009, or the seeming lack of them, is the sort of question that makes me wonder if my world view is skewed.


Salmon Unlimited of Illinois' first Kids Shore Fishing Derby at Waukegan harbor on Saturday sure looked like and sounded like a success, according to the photos and report sent by Bill Krawisz, S/U editor and photographer.


It has been an odd year at our house for sightings of ruby-throated hummingbirds. The year became even odder Saturday morning.


Paul Pezalla had a couple thoughts after one of his regular customers rescued a man who fell into the Chicago River near Columbus late at night this week.

Tomorrow, Sunday, Sept. 27 is the deadline for essays to earn a free youth waterfowl hunt in Illinois' north zone. So far we have zero essays.


At this point, seeing wild turkeys are not much of a surprise around Illinois. OK, if they show up on Northerly Island it might be a surprise.


A couple of lakefront fishing events, one in Chicago and a new one in Waukegan, along with Northern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days make this a packed time for Wild Weekend Wanderings in Chicago outdoors.


``Dude, wait until ice fishing, they'll catch one-pounders,'' ``Chef Todd'' Kent said Wednesday afternoon.

Monster buck: A record?

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Bowhunter Wayne Schumacher bagged ``Lucky Buck,'' a 30-pointer that dressed out at 225 pounds, west of Fond du Lac, Wisc. on Sunday.

Jeff Knor's wonderful shot of a green heron gave me a good excuse to examine the impact of our goofy weather on Chicago outdoors.


It's a bit of an in-between time as we wait for the weather to come back toward more normal fall patterns, otherwise, a couple Illinois shoreline fishing events headline the Midwest Fishing Report.

So I get paranoid.

This Fish of the Week goes back to earlier this month when salmon were coming on shore on the Chicago lakefront with some authority.


Joel Greenberg, Bill Anderson and I all had different takes, and means of describing, an excursion to the confluence of the Kankakee and Des Plaines rivers on Sept. 11.


The crap that ends up in our rivers just pisses me off.


Adam Galardini caught the big bass Sunday to help Batavia win a 17-boat, eight-school high school bass tournament on Shabbona Lake.


eDNA testing indicates the presence of Asian carp within a mile of the electric barriers at Romeoville, according to the latest from the Army Corps of Engineers. Also comes an admission that flooding on the Des Plaines could allow bypassing of the barrier by exotics, something wild man advocate Eddie Landmichl has pointed out for years.

So I'm grabbing a few things at the grocery store last night, and bump into Norm Minas.


Naturally, our conversation turned immediately to our river. And rivers lead this Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors.

About 18 miles northeast of Chicago's Monroe Harbor on Lake Michigan Saturday morning, several of these birds circled.


This sight of Capt. Bill Kelly filleting salmon in Monroe Harbor Saturday afternoon pushed Andy Mikos to wax poetic.


From rain barrel art at Navy Pier to a moonlight paddle on the Chicago River to a Fishin' Buddies! event at Tampier, there are events far and wide for ``It's Our River Day'' on Saturday. I think I will put in some time with my kids on the Kankakee and Iroquois cleanup.

Warmer water has slowed the shoreline salmon fishing, but the late warmth has also made for some fine late summer early fall river fishing.

smallmouth 091109 foxriver



Here's a reminder for kids 15 and younger, there's a chance to win a youth waterfowl hunt with a winning essay. Click here. Otherwise, a slow crop harvest, an uptick in teal during the aerial surveys and updated deer regs headline the Illinois Hunting Report.

Late Monday, the International Game Fish Association received the application for the largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), caught July 2, by Manabu Kurita, 32, of Aichi, Japan. It would tie fishing's most hallowed record.


Monster muskie: Update

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Photos and more details of a 61-inch muskie caught by Garrett King in northwest Ontario is posted here at today.

Here's my favorite quote when tracking down the story of the likely world-record brown trout caught by Tom Healy from the Manistee River in Michigan on Wednesday.

world record brown trout

At the end of last month, Jimmy Barnes caught the third pacu caught around Chicago since the end of June.


Illinois 2009-10 deer regs

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The IDNR announced the final deer regs for 2009-10 today. Most was already known. The additional stuff is primarily on the late winter hunt, which includes 11 counties with unlimited permits.


So this lanky young guy with dark curly hair is carrying a light spinning rod and reel and wading through the 100,000 or so stuffed into Jackson Park Sunday morning for the Chicago Half Marathon.

You can't make this stuff up.

When not one but two naturalist sorts agree that it was a red fox and not a coyote pup Chris Howe captured on his phone, I will go with the biologists. The original entry is posted below.


Brad Brown obit

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Brad Brown died Friday morning. On Sunday, Mark Tupper gave him a proper send-off in the Decatur Herald-Review.

The weather was perfect for the Chicago Yachting Association Salmon Classic today out of Monroe Harbor.


The plan had simply been to show naturalist Joel Greenberg where the Des Plaines and Kankakee join to form the Illinois River (below). But Friday turned into so much more.


An outing so friend and naturalist Joel Greenberg could see the confluence of the Kankakee and Des Plaines rivers turned into something special Friday about lunchtime.


Chicago WWW: Gone fishin'

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No, Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings this weekend, because I have been doing too much wandering myself, and enjoying it immensely.

World record brown? (update 2)

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The Ludington Daily News is reporting a possible world record brown trout (41 pounds, 7.25 ounces) was caught by Tom Healy Wednesday morning in the Manistee River. Click here.

world record brown trout

1 billion: That's dollars

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There are things the government does well. One of them is the North American Wetlands Conservation Act program, which passed the $1 billion mark in federal grants allocated yesterday.

Sept. 19 will be a special free fishing day at state parks in Illinois.

Shoreline kings, hit and miss as they have been, are becoming steadier in southern Lake Michigan and lead the Midwest Fishing Report. But don't forget bass in local ponds.

barbs fish

The IDNR tweaked youth deer permits and spokesman Chris McCloud said they become available for sale from DNR Direct vendors beginning Tuesday.

Harvest--what harvest?--dominates the Illinois Hunting report.

Sam Schwager had his opportunity for Fish of the Week with this 10-pound plus catfish caught in Crest Hill.


Last week Jeff Norris (below) of Fox Valley Guide Service said he would like to offer a hunt during the youth waterfowl hunting days in Illinois' north zone on Oct. 10-11 to the winner of an essay contest and his or her guardian.


This is one of the neater photos I have seen, and it is a beautiful way to lead into a holiday weekend loaded with options for Chicago's Wild Weekend Wanderings.


Tuesday's aerial surveys found good numbers of blue-winged teal along both the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, just in time for the opening of teal season in Illinois on Saturday.

The IDNR unveiled an interactive youth events calendar at

It seems impossibly early, but Wisconsin's fall color reports have started.

Bill Anderson sent a photo in last week of a banded bird he saw at Heidecke Lake and asked if I could find help IDing it. It turned into a nice quest.

tagged bird

Here's a familar sight in northeast Illinois, Canada geese grazing in an urban park.


More than kings highlight the Midwest Fishing Report.


I pulled the early dove reports for Tuesday's opener in a separate post. The other big news for the Illinois Hunting Report for all hunters, including those trying to get a jump on scouting for deer is the slow harvest. Monday's crop report listed corn and beans at one percent harvested and I think that may be optimistic.

Final update, I think anyway. I'll leave Iroquois County SWA ahead of Green River SWA in an otherwise fair to poor opener at public sites near Chicago.


Cast and blast: Blast

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Even in southern Illinois, the sunflowers are behind.


Some stories make Fish of the Week as much as the fish. Take Joey Finnegan's first muskie.

FOTWJoeys first Musky

Cast and blast: Cast part

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We did OK on the cast portion of a cast and blast day at Rend Lake this morning.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2009 is the previous archive.

October 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.