Variety again is the main feature of this Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors.
OPEN HOUSE/ARCHERY: Time on the Water Outdoors holds a major open house this weekend with emphasis on its new archery department and archery range. That's the former Riverview Marine in Spring Valley, right before the bridge over the Illinois River.
Click here or call (815) 663-1000.
Included are ``Time on the Water Outdoors Director's Shoot,'' a bowfishing event on Saturday, and a state championship in bowfishing afterward. The Illinois River is high, just coming off flood stage, which should make the bowfishing better.
If you're an archery person, this is a prime event.
There's all kinds of stuff, including a beer tent and food to go with watching the bowfishing events and checking out the range.
NO-WAKE FISHING: It seems odd until you think about it, but one of the prime times in the summer to fish the Chain, for multiple species, is when the Chain is at no-wake. It's been there for quite awhile and fishing has been good. During no-wake, there are two things working in the favor of fishermen. No pleasure boaters, and I use that term loosely, are rocketing around you; and there's lots of current to improve walleye fishing and to push other fish shallow.
Click here for updates on no-wake status.
PERCH: It has been variable, sometimes without much logic to why it is variable since the season reopened on Sunday. Best from shore has been at Montrose, though it takes sorting for keepers; but there's also been some at Northerly Island/Burnham and around Casino Pier. Boaters have been doing OK to great in the weed beds off Navy Pier.
SQUIRREL HUNTING: Weather will be borderline in terms of heat for squirrel hunting in Illinois. Iroquois County SWA is one nearby public site open now. Most other local sites open in September.
WADING: Ken Gortowski checked all the rivers in the northern quarter of Illinois and said only the Mazon and Vermilion are right for wading. The Kankakee is right on the edge. I checked Wednesday and the Kank was just above the island marker where I consider it safe to wade.
Click here to check the status of rives around Chicago.
PADDLING: Chicago River Canoe & Kayak holds its Chicago River Canoe and Kayak Lagoons to Dempster North Branch trip at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. You need reservations, so call (847) 414-5883 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. . . . The Chicago River Canoe and Kayak Skyscraper Canyon Trip begins at 6 p.m. Sunday. You need reservations, so call (773) 704-2663 or e-mail email@example.com.
SHOOTING: The Amateur Trapshooting Association Grand American Trapshooting Championships at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta runs through Aug. 14. Don't think I will make it.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses regularly. Click here. . . . On Sunday, the Chicago Archery Club at Washington Park has a 900 metric tournament with scoring beginning at 9 a.m. Click here. . . . Chicago Bow Hunters has its last field shoot for 2010, Hunter Round, in Bolingbrook on Sunday. Registration is open from 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. Click here.
GREAT BEAR WILDERNESS: The Brookfield Zoo has good summer exhibit of the Great Bear Wilderness. Still haven't done it with the family and it's August already. Click here for details.
PERSONAL PICKS: The younger kids and I will do a hike this morning. Not sure yet which of our favorite excursions, but that is a good Friday summer routine. . . . I hope to at least get one morning in wandering around the woods for squirrels. That will depend. . . . And I need to check my deer stand. The farmer wasn't sure how it had stood up to the storms this summer. . . . Everything else will be pieces, maybe some scum frog action on the town pond for largemouth. Haven't done much of that this summer.