It's a good to be wet for this Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors.
With brutal heat today and tomorrow, then breaking slightly on Sunday, this is a time to find water. Fortunately, there are good options, such as wading our rivers. This was a still life from Sunday, when I was wet-wading the Kankakee.
RIVER WADING: All rivers should be in at least decent wading shape, some like the Kankakee are even heading toward the low side. The problem is the storms pounding southern Wisconsin and far northern Illinois. That could turn the Fox, and maybe even the DuPage, nasty, so keep an eye on the gauges to see what the storms upstream bring down through. Click here.
The Kankakee could actually use some water. I was wading the Kankakee with the two of the kids yesterday and the river was getting low (not drag-your-canoe-over-sand-for-long-stretches low yet, but close) and, surprisingly, is quite dirty. Not sure what is going with that. On the good side, even in the middle of the day, there were people wading for catfish and pike; which for some reason made me happy that it wasn't just guys chasing smallmouth or walleye.
PADDLING/BIKING: This is a good weekend to be on the water and Chicago River Canoe & Kayak has a packed schedule leaving from 3400 N. Rockwell.
You need reservations, so call (773) 704-2663 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday, there is the Chicago River Canoe and Kayak Dinner Cruise at 6 p.m. It's $45.
Sunday is a double-up day. The Chicago River Canoe and Kayak Paddle & Pedal leaves at 10 a.m. ($35/person in canoes or tandem kayaks, $40/person in singles). . . . The Chicago River Canoe and Kayak Skyscraper Canyon Trip leaves at 6 p.m. This is not a trip recommended for beginnings, the downtown section can take some experience. ($50 for single kayak, $35 per person in tandem.)
NEAR-SHORE FISHING: One function of our hot weather and the west and/or south winds has been to make this an outstanding stretch for near-shore salmon and trout fishing. The cold water is so stacked up near shore that Billy ``The Coach'' Miller even reported a run of steelhead in Burnham this week for shore fishermen.
For boaters, the magic range appears to be 30-60 feet, from Indiana through Chicago and Waukegan and all the way into Wisconsin at Kenosha and Racine.
It has been something. Once again the Fish of the Week was for a king relatively close to shore. Since then, I've received other notes about good fish caught relatively shallow.
KIDS PERCHING: Maybe you just want to sit on shore and pray for ``cooler by the lake.'' Although perch fishing is closed to those 16 and older on Lake Michigan in Illinois during July, perch fishing is allowed by those 15 and younger with a reduced daily bag of 10. With the cooler water on shore, there have been some perch around. There's some around, though it feels like there should be more with all the cold water.
MAC RACE: On-water or from shore, you can view the 300-some sailboats of the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac take off this weekend. The bulk of the fleet leaves early Saturday afternoon. I have watched it from the water and from shore, and it is something to behold. Another option is to view the parade of boats past Navy Pier, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.
WATERFOWL BLIND DRAWS: As usual, the general rule is the local blind draws are Saturday and the Illinois and Mississippi rivers blinds are drawn Sunday. Click here for details.
CLIMBING CHAMPIONSHIP: The Morton Arboretum in Lisle hosts the 34th annual International Tree Climbing Championship for the International Society of Arboriculture on Saturday and Sunday in a stand of oaks. Now there's something different.
GREAT BEAR WILDERNESS: The Brookfield Zoo has good summer exhibit of the Great Bear Wilderness. Still haven't done it with the family and summer really is slipping away. Click here for details.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses regularly. Click here. . . . On Sunday, there's a Lake of the Woods tournament at the Lincoln Park Archery Club, beginning at 9 a.m. Click here.
THEATRE-HIKES: The Morton Arboretum in Lisle has weekend Theatre-Hikes from 1-3:30 p.m. In July, it is Robin Hood. Tickets are $8 to $19. . . . Peter Pan is at North Park Village Nature Center at 1 p.m. Saturday.
PERSONAL PICKS: I am tied up some covering and keeping an eye on the Mac race this weekend. . . . Saturday, I will try again to draw a blind. Not positive where I am going yet, but probably Kankakee River State Park. . . . Today, the kids and I will do a hike and nature center, just haven't decided which one yet. . . . I would like to wade again, but if that happens, it will likely have to be early Sunday morning before church, my Friday and Saturday are disappearing.