Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

WWW Chicago outdoors: Smallmouth, openers, derbies & stalks

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The start of the Daley Derby, downtown smallmouth and the start of inland fishing opener up north lead this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.


full moon is this weekend. Need I say more.

SMALLMOUTH DOWNTOWN: Carl Vizzone called Thursday afternoon and said the smallmouth bite is on. He didn't say which harbor specifically, but he said he has landed a couple 19-inchers in the past week.

DALEY DERBY: The Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby opened Tuesday. In May, the species are perch, coho and chinook. 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 each month.

WISCONSIN INLAND OPENER: Inland season opens Saturday for walleye, sauger and northern pike in Wisconsin. The largemouth and smallmouth bass southern zone also opens, while the northern bass zone is catch and release only through June 15. Musky season opens in the southern zone Saturday, May 26 in the northern zone. Minimum length goes to 40 inches.

Guide Kurt Justice of Kurt's Island Sport Shop in Minocqua has some good general points for a very odd spring. With the warm water, he said, ``Fish are really flocking to shallows afternoons. Everything is going to push up with the clouds and warm weather. Most fishing will occur in less than 8 feet.'' Lakes have more weed growth than usual. Perch and panfish are shallow. ``Start out with a couple dozen leeches,'' Justice said. `` We usually don't think of that until Memorial Day weekend.'' For walleyes, he suggested also throwing stickbaits shallow evenings. ``If you get a limit of walleye, turn attention to crappie,'' Justice said. ``Crappie have been fantastic.''

MORELS: Sill looking. Looking back over the lest few years, May 5-8 tends to be when I find them the most. 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 be going for at least a couple more weeks. Email nominations to

WILD ASPARAGUS: What I have found so far is already woody. I keep looking for fresh shoots.

TURKEY HUNTING ILLINOIS: Turkey stories, alas not my own, keep coming. Turkey of the Week will be running 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

CHICAGO RIVER FRIENDS: Friends of the Chicago River celebrates its 20th anniversary with ``Chicago River Day 20/20'' through May 12. There are many events, including a contest for four to stay overnight in the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. Click here.

ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.

PERSONAL PICKS: My weekend is being spent covering the IHSA bass fishing on Carlyle Lake. When I catch up on work I should get in a bit of fishing time. And a night of camping. . . . I will keep looking for morels and wild asparagus. . . No idea what the family hike will be this weekend. . . . 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.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 3, 2012 8:51 PM.

Turkey of the Week: Big tom for first was the previous entry in this blog.

IHSA bass fishing: Opener delayed is the next entry in this blog.

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