Dove hunting and wading highlight this Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors.
DOVE HUNTING: This is actually mid-week, but dove hunting, the great signal to the start of fall hunting in Illinois, is Wednesday. Looking at the forecast, it looks like a slight cool-down again in time for opening day. But I'm going to bet that it will be very warm sitting out there, a gallon-jug day.
By Tuesday, I will have the site by site breakdown posted here. Sunflower conditions appear good and the weather should help with mowing; birds are variable. We'll see.
WADING: This will be the best weekend of the year for wading around Chicago fishing. I mean all the usual wading rivers of the DuPage, Fox, Kankakee, Mazon and Vermilion rivers. Some are even low.
Frank Macikas, my guy with DuPage reports, dropped this note the other day: ``No rain in the forecast and a beautiful weekend coming; I CAN"T WAIT!!!''
Click here to check the status of rives around Chicago.
CHICAGO RIVER TOURNAMENT: The first Bridgeport Bass Fishing Tournament on the Chicago River is Saturday. There's free entry. It begins with a meeting at 6 a.m. at Lawrence's Fisheries. The weigh-in will be there about 2:30 or so in the afternoon. Contact Jeff Nolan at Bridgeportbass@gmail.com or (312) 296-0218.
SHORELINE SALMON: Very sketchy reports. In fact, the perch reports picked up again on Wednesday. Go figure. But we are at the point where shoreline salmon should bust loose on the Chicago lakefront any day.
HAWK WATCH: The Illinois Beach State Park Hawk Watch opens its 11th consecutive season on Saturday and will run through Nov. 28. At least one counter/observer is there from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily (weather permitting). Click here for details.
FEDERAL LISTENING ON NATURE: Tell the feds your thoughts on America's Great Outdoors initiative. A listening event, where the public may speak and kids are much encouraged to do so, is scheduled for the Chicago Simpson Theater at the Field Museum beginning at 5:30 p.m. Monday. Or comment at doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors/Join-the-Conversation.cfm
SQUIRREL HUNTING: Weather will be beyond borderline in terms of heat for squirrel hunting in Illinois, at least in my world view. Iroquois County SWA and Matthiessen State Park are two nearby public sites open now. Marseilles SFWA opens Wednesday and is open Monday through Thursday. Most other local sites open the day after Labor Day.
GOOSE HUNTING: Early goose season, which opens Wednesday, depends on having a spot with an open field or water. I haven't seen any harvested fields yet, but I'm fairly certain at least a few fields will be picked by the opening morning.
PADDLING: The Chicago Shoreline Marathon, the only world-class race to paddle the Chicago shores, is Saturday. It includes 26-mile, 8-mile and relay courses. Registration for the shorter two courses is open through the event. Registration closed for the longest course, which spans the Chicago lakefront from Calumet harbor to Leone Beach on the far North Side. Click here for information..
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses regularly. Click here. . . . On Sunday, there's a 900-round tournament at Chicago Archery Club at Washington Park. Scoring begins at 9 a.m. Click here for details.
FROGGING: Bullfrog season ends Tuesday. And another summer slid by without my getting out to do it.
GREAT BEAR WILDERNESS: The Brookfield Zoo has good summer exhibit of the Great Bear Wilderness. I can't believe it, but school started for our kids and we didn't make it yet. Maybe the holiday weekend. Click here for details.
PERSONAL PICKS: Wading is on the agenda. Was out already trying a new stretch on Wednesday, and will try another one today as part of another outdoors expedition. . . . On Saturday, I plan to stop by the Bridgeport Bass event. . . . My Sunday is booked covering the Chicago Triathlon for the Sun-Times. . . . I have not decided where I am dove hunting yet on Wednesday. I try to alternate between public and private land. I think this is a public site year. I'm tempted to try somewhere new.