Considering how fast safe ice is fading in our northern areas, let's lead this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors with the first outdoors show of the season. [Please note the correction for muskie speakers below]
SHOWTIME: Show season around Chicago outdoors begins Saturday with the Gotcha Outdoors Adventure Sport Show at the First Church of the Nazarene in Kankakee. This started four years ago as a small one-day show. It is now the fastest growing show in the area and has expanded to two days.
I am not sure what this says about our nearby shows, but Hank Parker, who headlines at 1 p.m. Saturday, may be the biggest name appearing anywhere this year. The show does a nice mix of local star power--Rick McCarty and Larry Coleman, two top guys from the Kankakee area--and national stars.
ICE FISHING: They got three good days of ice fishing around the Chain O'Lakes. But by today, conditions are going south, so to speak, rapidly. What an odd year. I suspect by the end of next week, ice will finally lock in for good.
CORRECTEDMUSKIE MANIA: With the Chicago Muskie Show Friday through next Sunday at Harper College in Palatine, the local muskie clubs are having a big week with the gathering talent. On Tuesday, Wisconsin/Minnesota guide Lee Tauchen will speak to the Chicagoland Muskie Hunters chapter of Muskies, Inc. at 7:30 p.m. at Park Ridge VFW. . . . At 7 p.m. Thursday, superstar Pete Maina will speak to the Fox River Valley chapter of MI at the Schaumburg Golf Club. . . . Guide Gregg Thomas will speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to the Midwest Musky Fishing Club at the Village Sportsman Club in Alsip.
PERCH FISHING: With dirtier water, fishing has been tougher again. But there's still perch around at Navy Pier and Diversey. The Hole-in-the-Wall in East Chicago, Ind. reopened again with the warm-up. They have been picking up a few whitefish there, too.
SNOWY OWLS: The remarkable fall and winter for snowy owls just keeps going. They have become a fact of life at Montrose, but there's plenty to see from Waukegan to Michigan, Ind.
ILLINOIS HUNTING: In the north zone, goose season ends Saturday. It has been a slow season. I canceled two hunts this fall and winter. . . . Upland game--pheasant, rabbits and quail--end Sunday in the north zone. Only got a few days in with moderate success.
OPEN-WATER FISHING: Powerton Lake outside of Pekin is open to shore fishermen. . . . Jeff Lampe at Heartland Outdoors mentioned crappie are on fire at Rend Lake. . . . Our local rivers are open, safe and at good levels.
INDIANA STREAMS FOR STEELHEAD: Streams still have steelhead in them, Indiana fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said. For those without experience on the Indiana streams, click here for access points on Salt, Trail and the Little Cal.
PERSONAL PICKS: I plan to hit the Gotcha show on Saturday. The family will do a hike, probably on Sunday. . . . I am back into the swing of my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1), for which I am soloing now. And I am enjoying pulling shows together. . . . And I am back to working feverishly on an ongoing writing project.