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.
There must be something in the air at this Kroger's. Nate Bass also works there. Who is he? He is the first young man to weigh in a bass during Illinois' world-first statewide high school bass fishing tournament in May.
At any rate, Minas, the bearded great prowler of the Kankakee, told a story of catching 36 smallmouth from a pool, including five on topwaters. That's livin'. And how on Saturday, he will have volunteers from the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance meeting at the concession stand at Kankakee River State Park to work the cleanup.
``It's Our River Day'' on Saturday is the main event this weekend. Oh, for me it will also be speaking at a fundraiser in Alsip.
I plan to have my kids and some of their friends working the cleanup at Aroma Park along the Kankakee and Iroquois rivers Saturday morning.
These are some of the kids, shown playing in the river at the Davis Creek youth camp ground last summer, who will be out helping with cleanup Saturday.
IT'S OUR RIVER DAY: There are a host of cleanup and related events for ``It's Our River Day,'' a from-the-heart favorite of Gov. Quinn and IDNR director Marc Miller. Yesterday, I posted the list of Chicago-area and northern Illinois events.
WADING: As Minas noted, this is a prime time for wading. Months late, we are finally stringing together a stable weather pattern and the fishing is patterning better. And most rivers are as low as they have been for the entire year. It may be a perfect time to truly get personal with our river or your river.
FUNDRAISER: I will be the featured speaker (about 2 p.m.) at a joint fundraiser by Village Sportsman's Club and the Midwest Musky Club a the Sportsman's Club in Alsip from 1-5 p.m. Saturday. There's kids stuff, booths by groups and raffles. There's free admission and parking. Check midwestmuskyclub.com
I plan to speak on ``Sizing up Illinois outdoors.'' Maybe a post on that later today.
ON THE PRAIRIE: The Nature Conservancy holds its 20th annual ``Autumn on the Prairie'' festival at Nachusa Grasslands in Franklin Grove on Saturday. Call (815) 456-2340 or go to Nature.org/IllinoisEvents
Here are more details:
Autumn on the Prairie
20th annual celebration of Illinois' native landscape
What: Nachusa Grasslands presents the 20th annual Autumn on the Prairie festival with guided tours of prairie and savannas, educational exhibits and self-guided plant tours. Participants may ride through the prairie on a horse-drawn wagon, listen to live music, watch local artists at work and explore a children's tent.
Nachusa Grasslands preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy. Its 3,000 acres feature large stretches of native prairie.
Who: This free event is open to the public. Donations are appreciated. Lunch and refreshments will be available for purchase. There is no rain date. There is no registration.
When: Saturday, September 19, 2009
10am to 5pm
Where: Nachusa Grasslands Preserve is located between Oregon and Franklin Grove at
8772 S. Lowden Road, Franklin Grove, Illinois 61031 Phone: (815) 456-2340
The Autumn on the Prairie site is located at the visitors' entrance on the west side of Lowden Road, a quarter-mile south of the preserve headquarters.
MUSKIE OPEN: Lakeside at Shabbona Lake holds its final fish open of the year on Saturday with the Muskie Open. Go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581
TEAL HUNTING: Sunday is the last day in Illinois. Monday's aerial survey looked better than usual. And its another year where I did not get out for teal season.
PERSONAL PICKS: As mentioned earlier, I plan to have my kids and their friends helping with the cleanup of the Kankakee and Iroquois rivers Saturday morning. Then I will be speaking and hanging out at the fundraiser at the Sportsman's Club in Alsip. I would hope to sneak in some wading on the Kankakee around the Bears/Steelers game on Sunday, but that may be dreaming.