Treats on air, water and land lead this Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago Outdoors.
Let's start with perch, but remember to go early or late because of the Chicago Air & Water Show. I haven't done it in a long time, but it can be good to combine lakefront fishing with the show.
The photo above came from a family outing off North Side beaches during a practice day last year. It was my annual outing with the PR folks from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, based here in Chicago, which has a couple neat boats at DuSable Harbor.
PERCH: It has been variable, sometimes without much logic to why it is variable, since the season reopened on Aug. 1. The most consistent bite has been the one for boaters in the weed beds off Navy Pier. Best from shore has been at Montrose and Northerly Island/Burnham. though it takes sorting for keepers just about everywhere. As Mike Repa at Park Bait put it as only he can a few minutes ago, ``There's a million miniature jumbos and a few keepers.'' To translate, it takes sorting.
It can be fascinating to sit at Montrose perch fishing and get buzzed by jets in formation. It puts some perk in your perching.
CHAUNCEY'S ROAD TRIP:
WADING: The Kankakee, Mazon and Vermilion are all good to go. The Fox, no. DuPage may be borderline. Click here to check the status of rives around Chicago.
The waders on the Kankakee are starting to come out. For the last few days I am see some dot favorite wading spots all over the Illinois side of the river.
PADDLING/BIKING: Chicago River Canoe & Kayak holds its Chicago River Canoe and Kayak Paddle & Pedal, leaving from 3400 N. Rockwell at 10 a.m. Saturday. You need reservations, so call (773) 704-2663 or e-mail email@example.com.
ILLINOIS PERMITS: Monday is the last day to apply for the second lottery for firearm/muzzleloader deer permits. Click here for updates.
PADDLING: Chicago River Canoe & Kayak holds its Chicago River Canoe and Kayak ``That Dam Lagoons'' Tour, leaving from Tower Road lagoons in Winnetka at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. You need reservations, so call (847) 414-5883 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses regularly. Click here.
CONSERVATION WORLD: With the opening of the Illinois State Fair, which runs through Aug. 22 in Springfield, Conservation World is open and free with fair admission from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Here are highlights from the IDNR:
Among the most popular activities at Conservation World are the youth fishing clinics - which include a chance to bait a hook and go fishing - five times each day. All bait and tackle are provided. The free fishing clinics for youngsters are part of the IDNR Urban Fishing Program and are scheduled at 10:30 a.m., 12 noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. each day of the fair.
Kids can also practice their casting skills from the pier at the Conservation World Lake or enjoy a ride on the 20-passanger Voyager canoe.
Fishing is also the focus during the free programs at the Bass Tub, a 5,000-gallon climate-controlled water tank stocked with bass, crappie and a variety of other Illinois sport fish. Experts will provide tips on proper baits, casting and other fishing techniques four times daily at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Volunteers from outdoor recreation organizations and the IDNR Safety Education Program invite children to test their archery and shooting skills at specially-designed bow and BB gun ranges in Conservation World. The practice ranges are open from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily during the fair.
Visitors can see a display of mounted deer heads, purchase Illinois hunting and fishing licenses, get a photo and application for a FOID card and learn about the duties of a Conservation Police Officer at the IDNR Law Enforcement tent.
In the IDNR Director's tent at Conservation World, visitors will find displays highlighting the state's natural resources, can subscribe to Outdoor Illinois magazine with a chance to win an exciting outdoor prize package, and learn about youth, habitat enhancement and outdoor recreation programs supported by the Illinois Conservation Foundation.
IDNR fisheries, wildlife, and habitat restoration biologists and staff host displays and are available to answer questions about fishing and hunting prospects, habitat enhancement programs available to assist private landowners, endangered species protection and conservation activities.
Conservation World displays also feature recreation opportunities at state parks, the state's important mining and oil production industries and regulation, forestry management and tree farming, and flood protection and improvements on Illinois waterways.
Information on home landscaping, plants and gardens is available at the gazebo adjoining the Illinois Green Industry Association Amphitheater in Conservation World.
Demonstrations by sporting dogs and their owners are planned for the first three days of the fair (4 p.m. on Aug. 13-15) in Conservation World, and a popular antler dog demonstration includes canines that can track down shed antlers in the field.
Chris Camp, "The Whip Guy," will present his whip-cracking show on the hillside near the IDNR Law Enforcement tent daily at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Chainsaw artists Wendy and Mike Rhodes will demonstrate their unique artistry throughout the fair.
I highly recommend Conservation World. For that matter, I think going to the State Fair matters too.
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 is one nearby public site open now. Most other local sites open in September.
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: Not sure if we will get in what has become traditional this summer, our Friday hike, today or not. . . . I need to look at my deer stand. The farmer said he wasn't sure how it stood up to the weather this summer. I was waiting for the weather to break, but that now looks like it will be Sunday or Monday before the weather settles down. . . . There's a slight chance I will sneak in a morning or evening of squirrel hunting. I'm sorry, but when the weather is like this, the thought of carrying a gun through the woods does not sound fun. . . . Much more likely is some wading in the Kankakee. . . . We will likely do Conservation World as part of a trip to the Illinois State Fair, but I think that will be next weekend or some night next week.