It's a mixed batch of hope
for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
While I hope it rains, actually I hope it rains a lot but slowly for the sake of my yard and garden, may it rain when I am not doing something. Or may it rain where my buddy is fishing or looking for morels.
I could have listed river fishing, but didn't because there may be some potential for enough rain to drastically alter what currently phenomenally good wading conditions.
Probably should have also listed crappie fishing, that will likely be one of the top inland pursuits this weekend.
PERCH: The great flotilla of boats chasing perch out of East Chicago Marina in Indiana on the Indiana shoals and by Gary Light was grounded most of this week. But it will be out this weekend between storms. I expect this to be the great fishery of the weekend as weather settles some. It's minnows on the bottom.
MORELS: Reports disappeared in the last week. I would expect this to be a much better weekend with the combination of warmth and rain. Usually, I run the weekly celebration of morels in May on Sundays in the Sun-Times outdoors page. With the historic March weather this year, MOTW started on April 1 and will continues. Email nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TURKEY HUNTING ILLINOIS: I already received a bunch of good stories from the north zone youth hunt, so Turkey of the Week already started and will run for awhile Wednesdays in the Sun-Times outdoors page. If you stories and photos for TOTW, I would love to hear about them and seem them at email@example.com. . . . The first season in the south zone ends today, its second season opens Saturday. First season for the north opens Monday.
WILD ASPARAGUS: Jason Johns told me he found some a couple weeks ago around Rend Lake. So I started checking my good spots in the past week. Nothing yet, but it will come.
SMELT: Smelt runs the month of April in Chicago. Nets may be set at 7 p.m. Netters must be out of the parks by 1 a.m. Reports have been poor, but the forecast suggests this might be the weekend to try and relive the memories. Water in the low 50s is not helping with one of the great traditions of Chicago fishing.
HEIDECKE: The former cooling lake east of Morris is open daily to fishing. Launch opens 6 a.m.; bank fishing, 6:30 a.m. Close is sunset. Better walleye reports are coming again, and there are small muskies being caught.
DUCKS UNLIMITED: It's a bit of a late notice, but the West Suburban banquet is at Willowbrook Ballroom in Willow Springs tonight. Contact Keith Bucholz at (630) 364-9337, or Rick Scheer at (708) 860-1602
ILLINOIS' SPRING TROUT: Might still be able to find some trout, but I expect with the nice weather last weekend that few trout remain. Spring trout season opened last Saturday in Illinois. Click here for sites around the state and other information.
BIKES AT THE NOTEBAERT: The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has its newest, self-produced exhibition, "Bikes! The Green Revolution." The Notebaert is one of Chicago's hidden treasures.
Admission to the Nature Museum, including special exhibitions, is $9/adult, $6/child 3-12, $7/seniors and students. Thursdays are suggested donations days for Illinois residents. Located at 2430 North Cannon Drive in Chicago's Lincoln Park, the Nature Museum is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit naturemuseum.org or call 773-755-5100.
ILLINOIS HUNTING PERMITS: Random daily drawings for spring turkey permits in Illinois is underway. Click here . . . Resident Illinois deer hunters may apply online for first firearm and muzzleloader permits through April 30. Click the ``Online Services'' tab at dnr.illinois.gov.
ARCHERY: On Sunday, there is a 300 championship round at Lincoln Park Archery Club at Archery Bow Range Chicago. Click here for info. http://lincolnparkarcheryclub.org/events.html . . . Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
PERSONAL PICKS: I will keep looking for morels and wild asparagus. It would be a hoot to find both on the same weekend. . . . With bird migration well underway, I suspect the family hike will be at Whispering Willows. . . . I should check smelters some evening, but doubt it. . . . Otherwise, I am back into the swing of my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1). I am enjoying pulling shows together. Some good ones are coming up. . . . Work nears the end on a writing project.