A definite shift toward fall leads this Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors.
FALL MUSHROOMS Two different readers, one from the south suburbs and one from the north, have sent photos and recipes for fall mushrooms: one for puffballs and one for Chicken-of-the-Woods.
Because I am that sort of guy, I looked both up in Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States, the wonderful book by Joe McFarland and Gregory M. Mueller (p. 38 for chicken mushrooms and beginning on p. 129 for puffballs). And I came across these priceless sentences on p. 130 about giant puffballs:
The real problem most people have with food this big is the same problem people would have with a giant zucchini or a gallon of pudding; it's impossible to enjoy it all without getting sick of it. Eventually, you will give up trying to find ways to cook and eat this monster mushroom, especially if the laxative effect some people experience after too many puffballs kicks in.
All in all, that is a good problem to have though.
BOWHUNTING Bowhunting for deer and turkey opens today in Illinois, as does early archery season for deer in Indiana. Better to have weather like this than the blazing hot that sometimes plagued us this time of year.
SHORELINE SALMON/TROUT: In Chicago fishing, this remains the top bite, as it should be; but action remains very spotty. There's been more emphasis toward the inside of harbors and more fishing with spawn and bait. Two different fishermen in different spots on Thursday said they thought the action would explode overnight or today with the weather change. We shall see.
NORTH WOODS COLOR: The Fall Color Report for Wisconsin lists much of the northern area at peak fall color and the central part near peak.
HEIDECKE GOOD-BY: Tuesday is the last day for fishing at Heidecke Lake, the former cooling lake near Morris.
WADING: Should be a good weekend for wading. Rivers remain in good fall levels. Not sure how much the cooler water and air temperatures will impact fishing.
Click here to check the status of rives around Chicago.
FISHING DERBY: The Blue Island Park District is holding a fishing derby as part of Harvest Moon Carnival at Memorial Park today through Sunday. Call (708) 385-3304 or go to blueislandparks.org.
CONTROLLED PHEASANT HUNTING: The first reservation period for the online permit reservation system for the 15 sites for controlled pheasant hunting operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources runs through Sunday midnight. Click here.
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.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses regularly. Click here.
BUTTERFLIES: The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has extended its visual media exhibit, Sanctuary: Flight of the Majestic Monarch, through Sunday. Click here.
PERSONAL PICKS: I usually try to pay one final good-by to Heidecke. Not sure if I can this year or not. If I do, it will likely be Saturday, or Monday. . . . In the next week or so, a buddy and I need to finish up placing our duck blind. We really don't know what we are doing. . . . Otherwise, a buddy wants to fish muskie Downstate on Sunday. Not sure if I can fit it in or not. . . . And I still need to do my own salmon fishing on the lakefront, not just watch and talk to others about it.