This is one of those Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors where you have to pick and choose from a wildly varied lot: climbing legend Sonnie Trotter's appearance at Patagonia Chicago, fishing lakefront smallmouth, stateline perch or the walleye open at Shabbona; the first Paddle & Peddle on the North Branch; an odd outdoors-related play (below), kayak classes and an outdoor challenge.
LAKEFRONT SMALLMOUTH: Wednesday night, I was driving down Lake Shore Drive to a showing of Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators, a nature documentary at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and couldn't believe the number of guys fishing around Monroe harbor. That is not the easiest place to reach for shore fishing, but they had made the walk. From several reports, it was a trip worth making. The biggest one I heard of this week was near 18 inches from shore. I still think the next couple weeks (full moon is the 28th) will produce the Illinois record smallmouth.
PADDLING/BIKING: Chicago River Canoe & Kayak holds its first Paddle & Pedal beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday, leaving from Clark Park. Call (773) 704-2663 or click here. chicagoriverkayak.com
MOREL HUNTING: I have done some casual searching this week, but today I might try to search harder. It is so dry (in a perverse way that full-blown fire warning yesterday was amusing) I'm not sure how good a year it will be.
SHABBONA WALLEYE OPEN: The annual walleye open at Shabbona Lake is 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday. Lakeside will award $100 for heaviest legal walleye, another $100 for a lake record (9.9 pounds) and another $500 for a state record (14). By Saturday, conditions may be conducive to a good walleye. Click here or call (815) 824-2581.
CRANE PLAY: This is one of those things that just intrigue me. ``A Whooper's Tale,'' tells the tale of George Archibald, founder of the International Crane Foundation, and a whooping crane named Tex at Chicago Theatre Building on Belmont on Sunday and Monday. Click here.
HEIDECKE LAKE: The former cooling lake near Morris hit the magic 60-degree mark this week. It should be one of the hotspots this weekend.
INDIANA PERCH: For boaters, this is the prime spot. If the weather allows, there will be ``a village,'' as one fisherman described it, off Gary Light. Numbers have been fair, but the size has been unbelievable.
KAYAK CLASSES: The Chicago Kayak Club offers kayak classes ($75) this weekend on the Skokie Lagoons. Click here.
STURGEON SPAWNING: The Wisconsin DNR sent word that the sturgeon spawn along the Wolf River went so fast it might be ending by Saturday morning. If you happen to be heading north this weekend, it might worth checking out. Click here for details on how to view them.
PERSONAL PICKS: I will play a bit this afternoon, not sure where yet, Heidecke Lake tempts me. . . . Then tomorrow, I have a Fishin' Buddies! fundraiser tomorrow, and that may be my chance to finally put in the time for lakefront smallmouth afterward. . . . There will be some casual searching for morels.