It has felt like fall much of this week, for better or worse, and as typical for mid-October, there are beginnings, endings for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
ROOT RIVER OPEN HOUSE: I keep meaning to do this, but it always falls on a busy Saturday for me. Here's the word from the Wisconsin DNR:
4TH ANNUAL ROOT RIVER STEELHEAD FACILITY OPEN HOUSE, SATURDAY OCTOBER 13TH, 2012 9AM-3PM
A SATURDAY SALMON SPECTACULAR:
It's time once again for the annual Salmon Spectacular, showcasing the Root River Steelhead Facility. The Department of Natural Resources Root River Steelhead Facility will be hosting its 4th public open house of the facility on Saturday October 13th from 9am-3pm at Lincoln Park in Racine, WI. The open house will showcase the facilities operations and promote Lake Michigan fishing opportunities. The open house will include guided tours, interactive demonstrations of fish spawning, fish and fishing information stations and hands on fishing rod casting lessons. In addition, knot tying, fly tying, hourly seminars focused on tips and techniques for getting started in Lake Michigan salmon and trout fishing will be highlighted during the event. A fishing boat used on Lake Michigan for trout and salmon fishing will be on display to give novice anglers the opportunity to ask questions from the experts.
This will be a day to be marked on your calendars; the open house will have something for anyone interested in Lake Michigan and its world class fishery. The WDNR, Salmon Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, and Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust strongly encourage people of all ages to take part in a great day at a great place along the beautiful Root River.
For questions please feel free to contact: Jeff Zinuticz (WDNR) at Jeffrey.Zinuticz@wi.gov or by phone (414) 750-8382.
Thank you and see you in October!
NORTH ZONE YOUTH WATERFOWL: The youth waterfowl hunt in the north zone is this weekend.
The usual ducks--woodies, a few mallards and some teal--are around. If you have access to a good field, there are plenty of Canada geese in the area.
Open public sites are Chain O'Lakes State Park, Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area, Lake DePue SFWA, Sinnissippi Lake Wildlife Area, Mississippi River Pools (all located in North Zone), William W. Powers State Recreation Area.
FALL COLOR: Northern Illinois is nearing peak for color. I live south of the city, and we are getting close to peak color already. In other words, it might be a good weekend for that drive along the Illinois or Fox rivers for some sightseeing.
If you are heading north to double up on fall colors in Wisconsin, some areas are already in or past prime. In other words, get moving. Click here for the fall color report for Wisconsin.
INDIANA STREAMS: There's still not a lot of water in the Indiana streams, but they received some Tuesday night, which brought this report from Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert on Wednesday:
Chinooks are certainly on the move. We collected and passed 150 kings out of the sea lamprey trap today. We also passed 60 coho. They are all jumping at the barrier with the increased water level and velocity as a result of the rainfall last evening. Largest fish was 20+ pounds with many averaging in the middle teens. Lots of large males and females in the mix. They are all moving up river for anglers to catch. Some fresh steelhead are also making it up stream as well. Cohos are of all different sizes and at different phases of spawning. Most of the male kings are ripe and running but the females are still holding eggs. The next month should provide some exiting fishing action for all species.
Capt. Rich Sleziak of Slez's Bait in Lake Station said No. 3 spinners, skein and spawn sacs are best. He said those doing best in the low-water conditions are bushwhacking to rarely fished holes and beyond the old faithful spots.
Click here for the Indiana DNR's map of Trail Creek access.
BOWHUNTING: EHD and rapid crop harvest are the two wild cards this fall for archery deer season. Officials expect about the same harvest as the last few years.. . . Archery hunting for turkey is also open.
BUCK OF THE WEEK: I am already receiving enough nominations that I might start running Buck of the Week next week already on Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors. Email nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COOLING LAKES: Sunday is the last day to fish LaSalle Lake.
CRAPPIE FISHING: With the cooling waters, crappie fishing is picking up on smaller farm and retention ponds to bigger waters like the corn channel on the Indiana side of Wolf Lake.
ILLINOIS DEER PERMITS: Tuesday is the big day when over-the-counter sales of remaining county deer permits begin at IDNR vendors.
SHORELINE SALMON: Reports are variable, not unlike the weather, but shoreline Chinook are in harbors, shorelines, streams and rivers in all four Lake Michigan states. It has been very sporadic around Chicago; Milwaukee has been the hot spot. For boaters, the winds have been relentless.
DOVE HUNTING: Seeing very few in recent days. Dove hunting has ended at most public sites.
SQUIRREL HUNTING: With the random frosts, foliage has thinned considerably in the past week. However, most public sites are closed.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
PADDLING: I will run this at least this week, maybe another..
Chicago River Canoe and Kayak holds many 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. 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.
RAIL HUNTING: Season is underway. But I will admit that I know no one who hunts them.
PERSONAL PICKS: Saturday I plan to cover the massive Rayjus Outdoors - Oak Lawn High School Bass Tournament, which is the biggest high school bass tournament in northern Illinois. . . . Otherwise, the weekend is locked up with family stuff until I leave Sunday for several days of fishing and wandering around southern Illinois, particularly Williamson County. . . . I can use some good suggestions for guests on my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1). I am enjoying pulling shows together. . . . Work nears the end on a writing project. Been saying that for too long without crossing the finish line.