There's enough of a nice variety of things traditionally connected to crappie fall weather to make an eclectic Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
NORTH AND CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL HUNTING: The north zone enters its second week of hunting, as the central zone opens Saturday in Illinois. I know the Canada geese are flying in the suburbs with the corn picked. Even here in northeast Illinois, it three-quarters picked, while it is virtually complete across central Illinois. Otherwise, it is primarily wood ducks.
I don't know if the cold front, which seems to have stalled over us because of the building Frankenstorm on the East Coast, will help birds fly or not.
CRAPPIE FISHING: With the cooling waters, crappie fishing is picking up all over. Virtually every bait shop I talked to this week mentioned it. But it is almost November, we are in crappie fishing time.
CRANE CRUISE: The Medaryville Lions Club holds its annual Crane Cruise on Saturday with bike rides of 12-50 miles around the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, southeast of Valparaiso. Sandhill cranes started arriving by the thousands several weeks ago. The count earlier this week topped 8,000. I've done it with my oldest boy and highly recommend it.
For more, contact Mick Capouch at (219) 843-4491 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAKERS AT THE PORT: Lakers came in about a week ago at the reef by the Port of Indiana. Early in the week there were some good catches. By Wednesday, it slowed, but some of that might simply be that boaters are having a hard time with boat control and staying on top of the reef. The lakers are there and should be for a couple more weeks. Winds have made it tough in the last day or so.
CHALLUNGE ON THE CHAIN: The Fox River chapter of Muskies, Inc. holds its fall Challunge on the Chain 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday from Famous Freddies on Fox. You can register day of.
BOWHUNTING: This is the weekend I expect to hear hunters saying more bucks are moving. . . . Archery hunting for turkey is also open.
BUCK OF THE WEEK: Enough nominations came in that I started running Buck of the Week on Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors. Email nominations to email@example.com.
PADDLING IN COOK COUNTY: The Forest Preserve District of Cook County holds its ``Pumpkin Paddle--North'' at Skokie Lagoons on Saturday, then its ``Pumpkin Paddle--South'' at Beaubien Woods on Sunday. Sign up by calling (708) 771-1189.
INDIANA STREAMS: Capt. Rich Sleziak of Slez's Bait in Lake Station said salmon are slowing down, but there are still some steelhead and coho active in the streams. He thinks we are in the period of waiting for winter-run steelhead to arrive.
Click here for the Indiana DNR's map of Trail Creek access.
PERCH FISHING: Wishin' and hopin'. Ed McCain at Mik-Lurch said that Halloween is typically when the perch bite on southern Lake Michigan in Indiana starts. So far, there's been virtually nothing from Michigan City to Cal Harbor. It sure would be nice to get a bump in perch for a few weeks before true winter arrives.
WOODCOCK HUNTING: Birds are around. We jumped two duck hunting on Wednesday.
ILLINOIS DEER PERMITS: Over-the-counter sales of remaining county deer permits is underway at IDNR vendors. I need to do this.
FALL SHOTGUN TURKEY: Fall shotgun turkey season ends Sunday. Some over-the-counter permits remain, I think.
SHORELINE SALMON: It is winding down, though snaggers are still getting some.
DOVE HUNTING: I saw plenty again on Wednesday. First season ends Sunday.
SQUIRREL HUNTING: Trees are baring. However, most public sites are closed.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
RAIL HUNTING: Season is underway. But I will admit that I know no one who hunts them.
PERSONAL PICKS: We will do a family hike, most likely today since it is parent/teacher conferences and the kids are off. Otherwise, that will be Sunday. . . . I got in some duck hunting on Wednesday, but would love to do more. Not sure when though. . . . I tried for lakers from shore last Saturday with Ray Hinton on the South Side. . . . About 6:30 a.m. Sunday, I am doing Mike Jackson Outdoors Radio. . . . I still can use 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. Actually I am beginning to feel like the finish line is running away from me.