Spring signs, surer than the false ones in March, lead this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
The one sign, more of summer than spring, that has me less than happy are stalks of too old asparagus, such as those I found yesterday while on a jaunt along the Kankakee River.
It's good to find new spots with asparagus. I would just like to find some stalks that aren't woody, some nice ones tender to entice my wife and kids to accompany me on looking for it. Rather than acting as if I am slightly strange.
BLUEGILL AND THEIR COUSINS: Arden Katz called last night to say the bluegill are pulled up on Delavan Lake in southern Wisconsin. In the other direction, Bill Lanham said last weekend the shellcrackers were going at Mazonia, along with many other things. For boaters, Willow Slough just across the state line in Indiana is hot; shore fishing has been tougher.
But overall we are in that period where bluegill would get my vote as bite of the week.
WHITE BASS ON THE WOLF: Mother's Day is the traditional peak for white bass on the Wolf River in Wisconsin. From what Bill Stoeger said Tuesday, the water needs to warm a bit more to really peak.
PADDLING: In more spring signs: On weekends in May, Chicago River Canoe and Kayak has it's Chicago rentals open. The Lagoons rentals are already open daily.
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.
BANQUETS: There's a couple noteworthy banquets this week. On Wednesday, the Palos chapter of Ducks Unlimited has its dinner at the Lexington House in Hickory Hills. Contact Jim Mayer at (312) 563-5402. . . . The Chicago chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation holds its second banquet at Gibson s Steakhouse. Click here for tickets.
SMALLMOUTH DOWNTOWN: There's still smallmouth downtown for shore fishermen, though not as explosive as last weekend. Boaters in Indiana have been on them pretty good too, especially in the harbors, discharges and warmer water. I should be doing this. We shall see.
DALEY DERBY: In May, perch, coho and chinook (and some nice kings and perch have already been weighed in) are the spaces for the Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby. 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.
MORELS: Season is virtually done, I think. I usually 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 may be ending early this year. Email any final nominations to email@example.com.
TURKEY HUNTING ILLINOIS: South zone ended yesterday, while the fifth season in the north ends Thursday. So the season is winding down, but the turkey stories keep coming and I love it. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHICAGO RIVER FRIENDS: Friends of the Chicago River celebrates its 20th anniversary with ``Chicago River Day 20/20'' through Saturday. 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: Wandering Mazonia is on my agenda, not sure if it will be this weekend or next week. . . . And if they perch stay in, I need to do that. . . . I will keep looking for wild asparagus, hoping to find some that aren't woody. . . Should be back in a routine of a family Sunday hike at one of our usual spots, probably take the kids and give my wife some alone gardening time on Mother's Day. . . . 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.