With nothing of football interest, there seems like a hole in the weekend, but winter doings, some inside, pace this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
The Morton Arboretum holds its Husky Heroes this weekend. This is one of those things I keep meaning to do with the family, and never do. In part because I usually am hitting an outdoor show. The events are free with the regular Arboretum admission. Click here for details.
AMERICA'S OUTDOOR SHOW: The big one, America's Outdoor Show, runs through Sunday at Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. There is a ton of stuff going on this weekend. I expect the joint to be jumping both days. We haven't seen a lineup of speakers like this in many years. If you're a one-show person, this is the show.
BIKING AND A BOOK: At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Greg Borzo will sign his Where to Bike Chicago, which includes 45 rides for adults and 27 for families, at the Rapid Transit Cycleshop, 1900 W. North Ave, Chicago. Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, formerly Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, will also speak. Phil Latz, founder of BA Press, will be on hand to talk about the growing series of Where to Bike guidebooks in the U.S.
ICE FISHING: It seems like the winter doldrums for many. I think it may be a combination of the length of the winter, and the increasing thickness of ice (likely to add even more next week) and snow, and the usual mid-winter slow down. Yet, I keep getting some photos for Fish of the Week of multiple species from all around the area. So good fish are being taken through the ice.
Local retention and farm ponds remain the top stop. Otherwise, I would stick with Mazonia South or Mazonia North, especially Clear Lake, as the best spots. In part because they just opened this month and have had less pressure. The Chicago harbors continue to give up perch, but it takes sorting, and I'm hearing of more panfish.
EAGLE WATCHING: The formal event is over at Starved Rock State Park, but that is still a great spot to simply go and watch the eagles. With this stretch of weather and what is forecast for next week, this weekend and next should be perfect to see eagles. Don't forget to utilize the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, which is on the other side of the river and offers great viewing opportunities.
OPEN-WATER FISHING: If you're sick of ice, shore fishing is open at Powerton Lake, the cooling lake outside of Pekin, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. It is a wonderful lake for white bass, catfish, flatheads, blue catfish and smallmouth.
Ken Gortowski found some long stretches of open water on the Fox this week. There's not much open on the Kankakee, other than below the dams, which is the logical place on any river. Carp fishermen have been finding success and open water on the Chicago River.
SNOWSHOEING: Conditions permitting, L.L.Bean's Walk-On Adventures includes snowshoeing on Saturday and Sundays this month and next at both the Skokie--(847) 568-3600--and South Barrington--(888) 552-5548--stores. Might want to check, but conditions should be at least close to permitting this weekend.
WILD THINGS: Sunday is the deadline for early registration for Wild Things 2011, the biennial nature conference. It will be held March 5 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Click here for the schedule. After today, registration goes from $28 to $40. Click here to register.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses and much more regularly. Click here.
PERSONAL PICKS: My Saturday will be filled with America's Outdoor Show, where I will most likely spend all day. I will primarily be based at the Heartland Outdoors booth. . . . My daughter is asking to go sledding, so we will try a new place or one of our old standbys tonight or Sunday. We had a blast at Goodenow Grove last Saturday. The sledding hill there, near Crete, is our family favorite. . . . Otherwise, it is much the same with my spare time spent working on ``Outside,'' the radio show Joel Greenberg and I are doing at 4:30 p.m. Mondays on WKCC-FM (91.1).