Chicago Sun-Times
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WWW Chicago outdoors: Hot and wild

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Trying to get some odd page views with the subtitle, but seriously relief from the heat is again the theme for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors, however, there's some varied options and we will begin with them.

That's Capt. Bob Santangelo of Kankakee River Valley Guide Service fly fishing for drum on Heidecke Lake. Now that's something different. I love his comparison to redfish.

WADING AND FISHING: Rivers are low, near record low in spots, so fish are getting concentrated with advantages and disadvantages.

The one disadvantage is that streams biologist Bob Rung thinks fishermen might need to consider not fishing until we get some rain and put some water into the rivers so they can better handle the rebuilding heat.

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. I haven't figured out yet how to tell record lows there.

If you do fish, handle fish as little as possible and get them back in the water quickly. Or if keeping fish to eat, having ice to put them on immediately. Quick icing makes quite a difference in taste.

SHABBONA BLUEGILL OPEN: Denny Sands sent this on the Bluegill Open held Saturday by Lakeside at Shabbona Lake.


The Bluegill is the State Fish of Illinois. It is Illinois favorite fish! Every year thousands of anglers of all ages catch the mighty Bluegill and every catch brings a smile to those fishing or observing. There is nothing like seeing that bobber slowly disappear, as the bluegill swallows your bait and swims off. We all grew up fishing for Bluegill and they will always be a big part of our fishing experiences. We may have moved on to fishing for others species, but Bluegill was and always will be Number 1.

Saturday July 14th is Shabbona Lakeside's 4th Annual Bluegill Open. It is always our most popular, as it attracts families that spend the day together, combining their catches, to come up with the heaviest stringer of the day of 10 Bluegill.

The last 4-5 years Shabbona Lake has been stocked by over 200,000 Hybrid Redear Sunfish. They grow to much larger proportions than the typical Bluegill. You will find them suspending in the deep trees 8-12 feet down in the tree tops. You will also find them along and in the weed beds. Fish Cribs and brush piles will also be loaded with Bluegills, as that is their summer habitats.

So grab the kids, Grandma & Grandpa, and come out to Shabbona Lake for this truly Family Event. See you on the 14th!!!

Don't forget when there is a Fishing Open, There is DOLLAR DAYS AT POKANOKA"S!!!!!

Fishing Open Rules

Saturday, July 14th, 2012 - 4th Annual Bluegill Open Sponsored by Cabela's Outdoors of Hoffman Estates - Heaviest Limit of 10 Bluegill will win a gift card from Cabela's Outdoors. Pokanoka's Café will have its famous dollar days as well.

Please stop and sign in at Lakeside and donate $5.00 to our walleye restocking fund, to double your first place prize to $200, before you going fishing.

The Bluegill must be caught and "weighed in" at Shabbona Lake during the fishing open hours of 6AM to 7PM. You may "weigh in" fish at any time at Shabbona Lakeside.

1st Place gets $100.00 Cabela's gift card ($200.00 Cabela's gift card if you donate to our walleye fund. You must donate and sign in at Shabbona Lakeside before going fishing to be eligible for the extra $100.00)

2nd Place gets $50.00 Cabela's gift card

3rd Place gets $25.00 Cabela's gift card

How fishing open winners are decided.

Bluegill Open: Heaviest limit of 10 Bluegill - This is a family event and family members may combine their 10 heaviest Bluegill.

For updates - check

KIDS OUTSIDE: Kids' Fest, a cooperative effort of Fishin' Buddies Inc. and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Wampum Lake in Lansing. It's a camping, boating and fishing expo with a lot of stuff for kids in a big setting. It's free, but click here for information. Preregistration is sold out or rather filled, but you can register on site.


I am rerunning the paddling suggestions and would note that Chicago River Canoe and Kayak is offering a deal on their downtown ``Canyon'' trip on many days this month.

CRCK holds many other trips and outings, especially on the Chicago River. Click here or call (773) 704-2663.

Reed's Canoe Trips offers rentals for the Kankakee River. I take them about once a year. Click here.

On the lower Fox, Geneva Kayak Center's Yorkville Outdoor Center has many options, including whitewater ones, but also simple tube rentals. Click here.

BERRIES: I am still finding ripening blackberries, but mulberries and raspberries look about done. And it was a pathetic season for mulberries and raspberries.

SALMON: Weather early in the week limited effort, but salmon fishing is the best bite going. This is a good year to book a charter or find a buddy who goes out. There's both numbers of kings, steelhead and coho, and size on some of the kings already.

PERCH FISHING: The hated July closure for perch fishing in Illinois waters is here; however, those 15 and younger may catch and keep 10 perch daily in July. Perch have been in and out on the Chicago lakefront. Take a kid fishing.

BULLFROGGING IN ILLINOIS: And yes, that subtitle is having a little fun with Trout Fishing in America, as I give away my age and tangential interests. Here is the general words on bullfrogging:

A sport fishing license is required to take bull-frogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hand, pole and line fishing methods, pitchfork, landing net, bow and arrow or bow and arrow device, spear or gig. Firearms, air guns, gas guns or commercial fishing devices such as dip nets, hoop nets, traps or seines are not allowed in the taking of bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken from June 15 to August 31 (both days inclusive). The daily limit is 8 bullfrogs with 16 bullfrogs being the possession limit.

DALEY DERBY: In July, catfish, carp, perch, coho, Chinook, steelhead and perch (15 and younger) are the species for the Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby. Check fish in at Henry's Sports & Bait. It runs through September with cash prizes for the heaviest three fish from selected species caught around Chicago fishing each month.

ILLINOIS HUNTING PERMITS: The second lottery for free dove hunting site applications run through Tuesday. Click here.

On Sunday, the Lincoln Park Archery Club holds an American Round tournament at the Lincoln Park Archery Range. Practice starts at 9:30 a.m. Click here.. . . Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.

PERSONAL PICKS: The kids and I will hit Whispering Willows today for a hike. . . . On Saturday, I plan to visit Kids' Fest at Wampum Lake. . . . And with the building heat, I suspect we will be wading the Kankakee again this weekend, but I am debating the ethics of fishing the river in this combination of heat and low water, but I may be wading and fishing this evening. . . 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.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on July 13, 2012 6:38 AM.

Fish of the Week: Fox River flathead was the previous entry in this blog.

Low water & heat: A double whammy for rivers is the next entry in this blog.

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