There's a good mix for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors, and what looks like good weather too.
FALL MUSHROOMS: They just keep coming. The latest is some puffballs from Barrington, these are from Brian Floetl. At this point, I am beginning to think I may need to expand my rambling to include fall mushrooms.
Once again, I offer this nugget from p. 130 of Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States, the wonderful book by Joe McFarland and Gregory M. Mueller (beginning on p. 129 for 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.
I can see how.
WADING: The smallmouth have been on a tear the last few days, according to a call from Norm Minas. He is using a Spook in relatively shallow quiet water just off the riffles. He said weeds are a problem but it worth cleaning off salad regularly for the fish caught.
The Fox is in the best shape in four years. Most rivers are as low as they have been.
Click here to check the status of rives around Chicago.
ROOT RIVER OPEN HOUSE: I have been meaning to go to this. It just sounds fun to do the open house at the Root River Steelhead Facility near Racine, Wis. It is on Saturday. For information, click here.
OPEN HOUSE ON HACKMATACK: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold two open house comment meetings in Illinois on the proposed Hackmatack National Wildlife Area along the Wisconsin/Illinois line. Tuesday is at the McHenry County Government Center Administration Building in Woodstock; Wednesday is Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park in Ringwood. Both are 4-8 p.m. Click here.
SHORELINE SALMON/TROUT: In Chicago fishing, this remains the top bite, as it should be; but action remains very spotty. In fact, the most common question in the last couple weeks has been why the season is so off. There's been more emphasis toward the inside of harbors and more fishing with spawn and bait.
YOUTH HUNTING: The youth deer hunt in Illinois is this weekend. . . . And the youth north zone waterfowl is also.
BOWHUNTING Bowhunting for deer is off to a great start in Illinois. Turkey has been OK. Weather may be almost too nice.
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA GOOD-BY: Tuesday is the last day for fishing at Braidwood/Mazonia, except. Monster at Mazonia South remains open year-round.
PADDLING: On Sunday, there's the Chicago River Canoe and Kayak Skyscraper Canyon Trip. This is not a trip for beginnings and reservations are required at either (773) 704-2663 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for more.
NORTH WOODS COLOR: The Fall Color Report for Wisconsin lists many areas more toward central Wisconsin near peak.
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.
PERSONAL PICKS: I will work on my duck blind with a buddy this afternoon. May even wade one last time in trunks. Sounds perfect with temperatures pushing 80. . . . Otherwise, my weekend is tied up covering the Chicago Marathon for the Sun-Times. . . . Hopefully, next week I will either play with salmon and trout on lakefront or accept a faithful reader's invite to chase smallmouth on the state line on lake Michigan. (My heart is with chasing smallmouth.)