As usual, this is the busiest weekend of the fall for Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors, led by Hunting and Fishing Days, National Public Lands Day and the usual fall doings.
And the weather looks fall perfect for outdoor activities.
HUNTING AND FISHING DAYS: This is the event for the weekend, especially for kids: archery and BB ranges, paddling, climbing wall, kids casting and fishing, fly tying, voyageur canoe (above), fishing simulator and water colors. Parking and admission are free. There are a ton of seminars and demonstrations from dogs to deer to fishing to cooking. One of my favorites is usually the deer skinning event. It's at Silver Springs SFWA in Yorkville. Click here for details.
MUSKIE BREAKFAST: Not it is not muskie for breakfast, but an annual fundraiser. On Sunday, the Quad County Hawg Hunters chapter of Muskies Inc. holds its annual fundraising breakfast from 7-11 a.m. The idea is to hit before going NIHFD. The breakfast is at the Plano American Legion, 510 E. Dearborn St., Plano. The menu includes: eggs, sausage, pancakes, French toast, potatoes, biscuits & gravy, milk, juice and coffee. Adults are $7; seniors and those 6-12, $5 and 5 and younger, free.
NATIONAL PUBLIC LA DAYNDS: Saturday is the day. This is one major event that probably doesn't draw enough attention. But there are a ton of activities. Click here to find some local events. For example, Mike O'Brien of Summit, who pointed out we need to emphasize this more, will be helping at Isle a la Cache Preserve near Romeoville. . . . Tom Tidwell, chief of the U.S. Forest Service, will be at NPLD at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington Saturday morning. . . .
SALMON UNLIMITED'S KIDS' SHORE FISHING DERBY: Salmon Unlimited holds its kids derby at Waukegan Harbor from 7 a.m.-noon Saturday. There are two divisions: 13 and younger and 14-18. Admission is free, and there are hot dogs, chips and drinks for participants. Click here for info.
HENRYS SPORTS AND BAIT'S FALL SALMON CLASSIC: The seventh annual Salmon Classic is in one of my favorite settings, evening at Northerly Island, Sunday. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. with the main event from 6-9 p.m. Registration and parking are free. Call (312) 225-8538 or click here.
SHORELINE SALMON: In Chicago fishing, this is the top bite right now, as it should be. It continues to be a smattering of reports along the Chicago lakefront. The change has been a few more reports of trout in Chicago and Waukegan on bait or spawn. Kenosha, Wis. continues to be the spot, especially for night fishing.
WADING: Should be another good weekend for wading. The rains we had this week should only help flows. More of a problem may be the series of fronts and the yo-yoing of temperatures, which may put fish in a funk.
Click here to check the status of rives around Chicago.
CONTROLLED PHEASANT HUNTING: The online permit reservation system for the 15 sites for controlled pheasant hunting operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources opens at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Click here.
SQUIRREL HUNTING: This is the last weekend for most of the public sites in northeast Illinois open for squirrel hunting: Iroquois County SWA, Matthiessen SP, Marseilles SWA (Monday-Thursday), Silver Springs SFWA, Momence Wetlands and Kankakee River SP. I think all of them run until Sept. 30.
UP NORTH COLOR: As of Thursday, the Fall Color Report for Wisconsin had more areas in northern Wisconsin reaching peak or near peak.
WISCONSIN STURGEON: Wisconsin's September hook and line sturgeon season is open. Minimum length for harvest is 60 inches. I haven't been up in a couple years, but I love doing it at the Dells. Usually, a buddy and I stay at River's Edge near the Wisconsin Dells, then go night fishing for them. As of Tuesday, River's Edge had not registered any keepers. Click here to see and read about the first legal checked in earlier this week.
Click here to read more on the season.
HAWK WATCH: The Illinois Beach State Park Hawk Watch runs through Nov. 28. At least one counter/observer is there from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily (weather permitting). Click here for details.
PADDLING: The Chicago Park District has a Fall Color Canoe Trip at Jackson Park is 1- 4 p.m. Saturday. Register at (312) 742-4914 . . . Chicago River Canoe & Kayak has its ``That Dam Lagoons'' Tour in Winnetka. Reservations required at (847) 414-5883 or firstname.lastname@example.org. . . . Then on Sunday, there is the Chicago River Canoe and Kayak Skyscraper Canyon Trip. This is not a beginners trip. It gets a little too interesting downtown. Register at (773) 704-2663 or email@example.com.
GREAT BEAR WILDERNESS: The Brookfield Zoo's good exhibit of the Great Bear Wilderness keeps going. Click here for details.
BUTTERFLIES: The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has extended its visual media exhibit, Sanctuary: Flight of the Majestic Monarch, through Oct. 3. Click here.
PERSONAL PICKS: Our town has its annual fair this weekend, which includes me grilling all day Sunday for my kids 4-H club, so I am limited. On Saturday, I had planned to visit HIHFD, but now will visit Midewin and the USFS chief. . . . If I have enough energy, there's a slight chance I will hit the Salmon Classic Sunday at Northerly Island. . . . At some point, I have to get out for a morning or evening of shoreline salmon fishing in Chicago.