For a change, the Memorial Day weekend will feel like a summer one and options for it lead this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
WADING: It just feels good to put wading in the Friday suggestions. Although as goofy as our historically hot March was, I did some wet wading of the mighty Kankakee River in March. Speaking of historically hot, Sunday looks like a record-breaker. Levels on the rivers normally waded around Chicago fishing all look good. If I wasn't going to be gone, that would be aim for the weekend.
PADDLING: This weekend should be a doozy for paddling or floating. I expect the Fox and Kankakee rivers will look like flotillas are coming down them. If you're more urbanly (not necessarily urbanely--and I'm not sure if urbanly is a word) adventuresome, try the Chicago River. Chicago River Canoe and Kayak has it's Chicago rentals open.
BLUEGILL AND THEIR COUSINS: It looks like the best weekend bite, especially for the casual fisherman/picnicker will be bedding bluegill and redear. That pretty much applies across the area and beyond. For those who are more causal fishermen, remember light line (6-pound or lighter), ice jigs tipped with small bait (maggots, wax worms, red worms, wigglers) under small floats. For those who want fishing suggestions: My top two recommendations would be Mazonia lakes (go wander and explore) and Willow Slough, especially for boaters.
PERCH: There are signs that perch are about to take off, especially for boaters in Indiana and from shore in Chicago. I expect to hear more good reports after the weekend.
FREE FLY FISHING CLASS: Orvis is offering free fly fishing lessons weekly. Click here for details. Though it's free, you have to reserve a spot: Chicago Orvis at (312)587-8713; Lombard Orvis at (630) 932-6573 or Trout and Grouse in Northbrook at (847) 480-0111.
BIKING: On Saturdays through June 9l, REI Chicago with Climate Cycle is offering free training rides for Ride to Recharge, beginning at 8 a.m. Click here.
LAKEFRONT SMALLMOUTH: Boaters in Indiana and Illinois report smallmouth around the bedding areas or bedding. Downtown shore fishermen are picking some up, including some quality fish. I would expect next weekend nearer the full moon to be peak.
DALEY DERBY: In May, perch, coho and chinook are the species for the Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby. There's been some nice kings and perch checked in already. Check fish in at Henry's Sports & Bait or Park Bait. It runs through September with cash prizes for the heaviest three fish from selected species caught around Chicago fishing each month.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
PERSONAL PICKS: Over the weekend, we are getting out of town for a change and I plan to spend every day fishing on Table Rock Lake: bass, crappie, bluegill, I don't care. I haven't had a good fishing getaway in some time. . . . I will hit the perch on the lakefront next week. . . . I still haven't properly scratched my Mazonia itch. I am guessing next week. . . . Otherwise, I am back into the swing of my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1). I am enjoying pulling shows together. . . . Work nears the end on a writing project.