Summer comes to this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors: from heat to free fishing days to an in-water boat show to perch fishing to wading.
BOAT SHOW: This is your chance to check out the new 31st Street Harbor and see the first Chicago In-Water Boat Show. It runs through Sunday. Click here for details and to register for seminars.
FREE FISHING DAYS: Speaking of wading, if you are just a casual fisherman, this is a perfect weekend to go in Illinois. It's free. Free Fishing Days in Illinois runs through Monday. No licenses or stamps are required. Other regulations apply. . . . Michigan has its summer free fishing weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
WADING: Looking at the forecast, I can only think: perfect time to wade. All rivers around Chicago fishing normally waded should be in perfect, or even low wading condition. Ken Gortowski, who is back to guiding again for waders with the Fox River Guide Service, recommended checking here for the USGS gauges in Illinois.
LAKEFRONT PERCH: The bite is underway at Montrose. The shift to soft shells started last weekend.
SHABBONA LAKE BASS OPEN: In time for free fishing days, Lakeside hosts a bass open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday at Shabbona Lake. Heaviest bass earns a $100 Cabela's card. Click here for details.
KIDS STUFF: There are many kids events associated with free fishing days. Check with your local park district or forest preserve. One of the more comprehensive, including Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle expected to show her continued support of the outdoors with an appearance, is the Beaubien Woods Celebration and Environmental Day on Saturday. Click here.
BOOTMOBILE: And now for something different: the L.L.Bean Bootmobile, part of L.L.Bean's 100th anniversary celebration, will be at Navy Pier from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. today in advance of national Get Outdoors Day, which is Saturday.
PADDLING: Summer weather is here and a good option is paddling, such as Chicago River Canoe and Kayak and its many options, including the downtown paddle I keep meaning to do.
ILLINOIS SALMON: The great reports just keep coming for salmon. With this weather, it should only stabilize the fishing: Chicago to Waukegan to North Point.
LAKEFRONT SMALLMOUTH: Hearing some very good whispers from boaters and saw some shore guys playing around earlier this 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.
DALEY DERBY: In June, catfish, carp, perch, coho and chinook are the species 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.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
PERSONAL PICKS: I am gone fishing the Spring Classic for Muskies Inc. at Eagle River, Wis. with Joe McCartin. See how we do. I expect many fish to be caught. Hopefully we get ours. . . . Wading will call me next week. . . . As will perch on the Chicago lakefront. . . . Otherwise, I am catching up my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1). I am enjoying pulling shows together. . . . Work nears the end on a writing project, sorta.