At first a guttural noncommittal sound forms in my throat while I consider this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors, then I move higher and think shed hunting; then deeper and think coho.
SHED HUNTING: It's shed hunting time. I wish I was as good at finding shed antlers as dedicated shed hunter Sean Hensley, who found these around New Year's Day in the south suburbs.
A friend of his, Cindy Gustafson, sent the photo and said, ``He found one right away and while looking for the second one, he found the skull of the big buck. It was only about 100 yards from his tree stand, probably died in the `blue tongue' outbreak we had last year. Then he found the second antler. Not a bad day.''
Other photos of successful shed hunters started coming in this week.
COHO IN INDIANA: One of the blessings of this mild winter is that the few guys who have their boats inside or haven't put them away have kept right on fishing on southern Lake Michigan.
So we have reports of coho--one of the early signs of the seasonal changes around Chicago fishing--much earlier than usual. A couple weeks ago, Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond reported the first smattering of coho catches at Michigan City.
Since then, Indiana fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said they caught a few in the harbor by Trail Creek, by the Ditch, outside of East Chicago Marina and in the shipping channel.
PERCH FISHING: Perch have picked up again, including some quality jumbos, this week around Montrose and Navy Pier. But others report a much tougher bite in the river by 92nd.
SHOWTIME: With the Big Game this weekend, there's only one outdoors show around Chicago outdoors.
Curt Samo, Jim Crowley, Mike Reynolds, Dan Basore, Dan Ihrke and the Shabbona Lake experts headline the Great Outdoors Fishing, Hunting, Boat, and RV Expo today through Sunday at the Best Western Timber Creek in Sandwich.
MUSKIE SEMINAR: On Saturday: muskie legends Jim Saric and Spence Petros do the first Time on the Water Outdoors Musky Academy from 10-a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Time on the Water Outdoors in Spring Valley. It's $25 in advance, $30 at the door, Click here or call (815) 663-1000.
ICE FISHING: There's still ice fishing going, especially in southern Wisconsin and north. A few minutes ago, Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports in Antioch said people were still getting out yesterday. But he said realistically, you're probably looking at Deep Lake, with Jack and Lydia's, or the south end of Rock Lake across the line in Wisconsin around the far north suburbs.
If you're going ice fishing at a time like this, you are probably good enough or risk-taking enough not to need any advice from me. All I will say is go enjoy and my hat is off. I like those who push the edges.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
PERSONAL PICKS: I don't know what the family outing will be yet for the weekend, I am leaning toward a hike in an area with a shot of finding sheds. . . . There's part of me considering wandering around today and trying to pick off a cold water smallmouth or walleye from the Kankakee. See how my day shapes up. . . . I am still undecided on the Sandwich outdoors show. . . . 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 on an ongoing writing project, but not as feverishly as I should be.