In a winter like this, you're either ready to stick your head into an industrial fan (I have a chair pulled up there) or wrap the weather in a love embrace. We're all over the map, literally, for winter stuff with this Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors.
TV WATCHING: Maybe this is a good stay inside weekend. Illinois, which made history with the first statewide, high-school bass-fishing championship, will be featured on ``Babe Winkelman's Good Fishing'' on Fox Sports Midwest on Saturday. My problem is I can't find it on my cable system. If somebody can help an idiot, I would love it.
Zion-Benton (shown above), which finished second on Carlyle Lake last May, is expected to featured. Coach Brad Rubin said they were interviewed on the water. Click here for more on IHSA bass fishing.
ICE FISHING: The low pressure is expected to lead to one of the better stretches of ice fishing. For that very reason, I had an invite for the Chain yesterday, but I had to turn down. . . . Some other sports work prohibited me from ice fishing this weekend with old friend Mike Norris, who has revived his ice fishing interests on southern/central Wisconsin lakes. . . . A couple days ago, I bumped into Rick LaBuda on his way to Willow Slough, where a few guys continue to pull out bluegill limits. But the big story at Willow Slough continues to be big (well big for our area) northern pike and some good largemouth. . . . Otherwise, perch fishing (takes sorting) continues on Belmont, Montrose and the east side of Burnham (be forewarned there's been access hassling there the past two weekends).
WINTERFEST: Maybe this is simply the best idea for a winter like this, just revel in it. Up in Lake Geneva, they celebrating Winterfest, a festival for the family, through Sunday. It is capped by the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship on Saturday. Go to lakegenevawi.com
HUNTING NOTES: There's some odds and ends to remember as a hunter. . . . This is one I always worry about forgetting, but the Feb. 15 deadline is fast approaching for hunters who received free permits to access specific IDNR public sites during the past year need to complete and return harvest report surveys. . . . For those with young turkey hunters, Feb. 16 is the deadline for applications for the 2010 Illinois resident spring youth wild turkey season for hunting at IDNR Special Hunt Areas. Over-the-counter sales of county permits for the youth season will begin on March 2. Dates for the youth season are March 27-28 in the south zone, April 3-4 in the north. . . . Wednesday is the end of raccoon and opossum hunting in the north zone.
PHEASANT FEAST: The annual banquets are the bread and butter of Pheasants Forever chapters. The Lake County chapter of PF is holding its inaugural banquet at the Antioch Moose Lodge located on Rte 173 on Saturday. Doors open at 4 p.m. for cocktails, dinner will be held at 5:30 p.m. with raffles and auctions around 7:30 p.m. There's several guns. Chapter president Jack Fields may be reached at (847) 274-3958.
EAGLE DAY FESTIVAL: I know this is a bit of a drive, but the annual Eagle Day Festival is at Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown on Saturday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. There's kids stuff, eagle viewing in Havana along the Illinois River. Call the museum at (309) 547-3721 for details.
FAMILY HOOT: I've done a few nighttime nature walks with our kids over the years, but we have never done an owl prowl. There's a good one (should be interesting with the light snow) planned for tonight at North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski, from 6-8.
PERSONAL PICKS: I know this, I am glad for a break from outdoor shows. . . . LaBuda may convince me to hit Willow Slough or I may try my hand at one of the Chicago harbors on Saturday. . . . As for Sunday, I am a good American, I will be stocking up provisions and preparing for our annual big coffee-table feast around the Super Bowl.