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WWW Chicago outdoors: Zoo, salmon, doves, beginnings & endings

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As befits a Labor Day weekend, there's good variety of options for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.

The wild card in this is the remnants of Hurricane Isaac. The path and amount of rain to be put down still is uncertain as of a few minutes ago, but it looks like south of I-80 could be soaked while north of I-80 will just receive showers or much lighter rain.

And it doesn't appear that the difference between heavy and light rain is much more than a few miles.

I mention Isaac because it could impact a lot of outdoors activity this weekend, including the opening of dove hunting.

And it could impact one of the neater innovations in a state site in a while, scheduled for Saturday night Shabbona Lake. And by all means I want to encourage innovation and anything that keeps interest revved up at our state sites.

Clint and Heather Sands, the relatively new operators of Lakeside at Shabbona, came up with an idea to have a ``Free Movie in the Park.'' It will be Saturday night with a showing of ``We Bought a Zoo.''

I just love the idea. Here's the word:

Shabbona Lake State Park Proudly Presents

"We Bought A Zoo"

Free Movie In The Park

Clint & Heather Sands, the concessionaires who own and operate the bait shop, cafe and camp store inside Shabbona Lake State Park, are pleased to announce their second family event of the 2012 season. This family event will be a "Free Movie In The Park". The movie "We Bought A Zoo" is a family friendly 2011 comedy-drama directed by Cameron Crowe, and stars Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.

This movie event will be reminiscent of the good ole days of taking the family to the local drive-in for movie night. Popcorn, candy, ice cream, water and pop will be available for purchase. Pokanoka's Cafe will be open until 8 PM.

This outdoor movie will be shown on a large outdoor 144 square foot screen, 16 foot by 9 foot, choreographed by Sunset Cinema on Saturday, September 1st at Shabbona Lake State Park near Pokanoka's Cafe. Prior to the movie, Pokanoka's Cafe will host free outdoor family activities and games from 4 PM - 6 PM. The movie is schedule to start at dusk, around 7:30 PM. Gather up your friends and family, bring your lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy an event that memories are made from.

This new annual Labor Day event is sponsored by Pokanoka's Cafe ( Pokanoka's Cafe is located on the shores of beautiful Shabbona Lake and is well-known for it's Friday Night Fish Fry. Shabbona Lake State Park is located just 30 miles southwest of DeKalb.

Clint & Heather are committed to expanding the role of the State Park. Traditionally the State Park has been a recognized mostly as a fishing destination. Their goal is to expand and feature some of the other great qualities of Shabbona Lake State Park, such as hiking, camping, bird watching, kayaking, picnicking or simply just enjoying the great outdoors. Several new free family oriented events are on the planning table for this Fall, Winter & next Spring. "Did I hear Ice Skating on Shabbona Lake?" Stayed tuned.

For more information, contact Clint Sands at 815-824-2581 or visit our website (

DOVE HUNTING: Dove hunting opens Saturday. Click here for the a preview of surprisingly good sunflowers and hopes for a good dove opener. Again, Isaac is the big question mark, both for doves and the hunters.

SHORELINE SALMON: Waiting. There are just a few hints and then nothing. I know Brian Breidert, the Lake Michigan fisheries biologist for Indiana, wondered if the weather change this weekend could spark something. With the holiday weekend, people are and will be trying.

INDIANA STREAMS: Breidert said a fresh batch of steelhead came in Tuesday. Trail Creek is the best, but some fish have come in all the streams. There's also a smattering of browns and kings.

Click here for the Indiana DNR's map of Trail Creek access.

WADING: It will depend on Isaac. I expect the Fox, DuPage and Des Plaines will be fine, while the Kankakee could get a little more exciting, depending on Isaac's track.

Watch the skies and water.

ILLINOIS PERMITS: Applications for free upland game permits end today. It's the coolest hunting program in Illinois. Luck of the draw is about one in three. I usually make a deal with several friends. If one of us gets lucky, the others get first invites to come along. Click here. . . . Running through Sept. 10, permit applications are accepted for random daily drawings for 2012 Illinois firearm and muzzleloader deer permits, Click here.

SQUIRREL HUNTING: Next week, after the first few days of dove hunting, most local public sites will open for the rest of September for squirrel hunting. Cooler weather will help with hunter effort, too. And I sometimes think that opening of dove season just puts hunters into more of a hunting mode.

PADDLING: Probably a weekend to watch the weather and the flows. It could end up being an absolutely perfect time to float all the rivers with a little more water.

Chicago River Canoe and Kayak holds many trips and outings, especially on the Chicago River. Click here or call (773) 704-2663. Right now, they are running a good deal at Skokie Lagoons, where it is $10 per hour rental after 5 p.m. Week days. Click here.

Reed's Canoe Trips offers rentals for the Kankakee River. I take them about once a year. I still need to do it this 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.

DALEY DERBY: In August, the species are carp, catfish, panfish, steelhead and Chinook for the Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby. In September, the species are Chinook and perch. 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.

ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.

BULLFROGGING IN ILLINOIS: Bullfrogging ends today.

WISCONSIN WOLF HUNTING: Today is the final day to apply for the Wisconsin wolf hunt. Permits are $10 and can be purchased from license agents, online (click here) or by phone at (877) 945-4236. The season is Oct. 15 to Feb. 28, 2013. Beginning next year, half of the draw will be for those with preference points, so applying this year, even if unsuccessful, could help in the future.

PERSONAL PICKS: I had a ball doing a run on the Chicago River and North Shore Channel this week. . . . Tomorrow is dove hunting. Still haven't settled on what I will do and where. My top pick might in the direct path of the heavy rains, so I might be adjusting. . . . If the salmon come in, I will need to spend an evening of casting for them. . . . I do not know what the family hike will be, but I have some ideas, especially since the oldest boy will be home for the holiday. . . . Still pending on the very exciting change in my work life about which you may hear more very shortly. Heck, I want to know. . . . I am lining up some good shows for my my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1). I am enjoying pulling shows together. Listeners have helped with some good guests. . . . Work nears the end on a writing project. Been saying that for awhile. Beginning to feel like I am channeling Jim Morrison.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on August 31, 2012 5:57 AM.

Illinois Hunting Report: Opening days was the previous entry in this blog.

In memory: Memorial set for Willie Greene is the next entry in this blog.

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