There are options far and wide for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors; but, if you happen to have downtown Chicago on your agenda for the Memorial Day weekend, I lead with four possibilities there.
I thought about leading with Chicago beaches opening, but you have to be fairly desparate for a swim to take even a quick dip in 55-degree water. That is a lot colder than it sounds.
And this gave me a chance to sneak in some Geoffrey Baer.
LAKEFRONT SMALLMOUTH: The water should finally be clearing on the Chicago lakefront. And the smallmouth have been up shallow for awhile, so it should be a go for one of my favorites of Chicago fishing. And there is something neat about fishing the lakefront on a holiday weekend, especially if catching.
WORLD-WIDE LIVING: The Nature Conservancy's Design for a Living World Exhibition is at The Field Museum through November 13. Click here for details.
LIVING WORLD PHOTO ESSAY: TNC also said we ``enjoy the complementary Design for a Living World Photo Essay at the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park now through November 13.'' It showcases various TNC project from around the world, including in Illinois. Click here for details.
FISH HOTEL: The Fish Hotel, a floating aquatic habitat, is back on the Chicago Riverwalk at Dearborn. I need to get my kids down to see that thing.
MAZONIA FISHING: This should be the best weekend at Mazonia lakes for just about any species, and it is one place that will likely be less crowded than other good fishing spots on this holiday weekend.
PEDDLE & PADDLE: A good beginners trip is ``Peddle & Paddle,'' a combination of biking and paddling on Chicago's North Side. It begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Clark Park. Staff at Chicago River Canoe & Kayak figure the paddle is about four miles, the bike ride about 4.5 miles. So figure 2 1/2 hours. Make reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773 704-2663.
WOLF RIVER WHITE BASS: Guide Bill Stoeger figured there is more than a week of good fishing for white bass, a bonus for Memorial Day trips north to Fremont, Wis.
HEIDECKE FISHING: Hybrids, muskie, walleye and the surprise of crappie are all possibilities as Heidecke hits it prime.
FREE FLY FISHING: I should have started mentioning this a few weeks ago, but Orvis offers free clinics for fly fishers on weekends through July. Click here. After completing the 2 1/2-hour class, students receive coupons and free membership to Trout Unlimited. And the Chicago Orvis has Joseph Meyer, the area's great fly fishing teacher.
ILLINOIS PERMITS: Residents may apply for fall shotgun turkey permits through July 12. Click here.
DALEY DERBY: The Richard J. Daley Sportfishing Derby is open. In May, the species are coho and perch. In June, the species are carp, catfish, perch, coho and chinook. Register fish at Henry's Sports & Bait, Park Bait or Vet's Bait. Go to henryssports.com or call (312) 225-8538.
WILD ASPARAGUS: I am finding plenty of wild asparagus. The problem is finding some undiscovered non-woody stalks, I say undiscovered because I am finding a lot of it neatly sliced.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
PERSONAL PICKS: Listen it is a holiday and I expect to be somewhere on Monday. Don't know where yet and it might not be my decision. . . . Today is spent celebrating with the 14-year-old is graduated 8th grade last night. . . . I need to decide between trying Heidecke or Mazonia this weekend. Since I usually try to do Mazonia on Father's Day, I lean toward Heidecke. . . . I am on a good roll with finding wild asparagus. Finding eatable stalks is tougher, so to speak. This weekend will probably end my searching for the year. . . . I think next week will be prime to hit the Chicago lakefront for smallmouth, and I need to fit that in. . . . As always, a fair amount of my spare time is spent working on ``Outside,'' the radio show Joel Greenberg and I are doing at 4:30 p.m. Mondays on WKCC-FM (91.1).