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WWW Chicago outdoors: Openers from trout to waterfowl to woodcock

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It's an opener sort of Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.


There will be a lot of decoy spreads like this, especially with most fields harvested, on Saturday when the seasons for ducks and geese open in Illinois' north zone.

Canada geese and wood ducks will be the most likely targets. The draw for open blinds at William Powers SRA on Wolf Lake is at 6:41 a.m.

I have family duties this weekend, so my hunting will have to wait until probably next week.

FALL TROUT: Illinois' fall trout season opens Saturday. Those 16 and older need a license and an inland trout stamp. Daily bag is five.

Nearby lakes are Axehead, Belleau and Horsetail (Cook County; Pickerel, Grove and Silver (DuPage); Bird Park Quarry (Kankakee); Big Lake at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area (Kendall); and Sand Lake at Illinois Beach State Park and Banana Lake (Lake).

The basics are light spinning gear and use ice jigs, pieces of PowerBait, small minnows, cheese or tiny spinners.

Click here for more Downstate options.

CENTRAL ZONE YOUTH WATERFOWL HUNT: The youth waterfowl hunt in the central zone is this weekend. Open nearby sites include Braidwood Lake SFWA; Kankakee River State Park; Mazonia SFWA; Momence Wetlands State Natural Area (SNA).

DES PLAINES RIVER CLEAN UP: The Hofmann Dam River Rats hold their clean up on the Des Plaines River from 9 a.m.-noon on the south side of the Barrypoint Bridge in Lyons.

FALL SHOTGUN TURKEY: Fall shotgun turkey season opens Saturday and runs through Oct. 28. Some over-the-counter permits remain, I think.

WOODCOCK HUNTING: Season opens Saturday. I have heard of some birds being seen, though I have jumped any yet in my ramblings.

SHABBONA LAKE BLUEGILL/CRAPPIE OPEN: Lakeside tries another new thing, their first bluegill/crappie open on Saturday. Here are the details:

Shabbona Lake 5 Bluegill/5 Crappie Open October 20, 2012 This is the last Fishing Open of the year. It is a new addition this year. Bluegill have been very plentiful and above average. Crappie have been feeding heavily on schools of shad all summer. We could get some outstanding weights in this event. The weather looks like a perfect Fall Day, get out to Shabbona Lake one more time!!!

October 20th, 2012 - 1st Annual Crappie/Bluegill Open Sponsored by Cabela's Outdoors of Hoffman Estates - Heaviest stringer of 5 Crappie and 5 Bluegill will win a Cabela's gift card.

Catches may be weighed in any time prior to 5 PM. Prizes will be for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, $100, $50 & $25 respectfully. 2012 has been a very good year at Shabbona Lake. 

Cabela's will be offering a $100. gift card for the heaviest 5 Bluegill/5 Crappie caught on October 20th at Shabbona Lake.
We will have a Walleye stocking donation jar, set up at Lakeside Bait, Tackle & Boat Rental, for the event. If you donate $5.00 or more to the Walleye Fund, and you place 1st in the 5 Bluegill/5 Crappie event, Cabela's will double your prize to $200 Cabela's Gift Card.

You Must Sign Up and Donate $5. Prior To Your Catches To Win $200.

Lakeside is now taking reservations for Bass Boat, Pontoon, Motor Boat or Row Boat!!! Go to or call 815-824-2581.

INDIANA STREAMS: There's water in them there streams. And fish are a'comin' in.

Capt. Rich Sleziak of Slez's Bait in Lake Station said No. 3 or No. 4 spinners or skein are best. He said, ``Every time we get that rain, fish get active in the creek. Burns Ditch is full of fish. A fresh batch, mainly kings and some coho, pushed through Salt Creek on Wednesday. It is has been lively.''

Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert reported on Thursday:

We did pass 300+ fish earlier this week [on Trail Creek] in a 24 hour trap set.  Some fresh coho and steelhead beginning to show up.  Lake trout are moving closer to the POI reef for spawning as water continues to move towards the lower 50's .  the temp was 58 on Tuesday and they have taken the site down in preparation of removal of the buoy next week.  Plans to reset the buoy in April of May 2013 are also under way. 
Fish are there to be caught in large numbers and we are seeing some good success for coho and steelhead using spawn and spinners.  The kings are not biting much due to their focus on spawning.  Some fish are still being taken at the Camp 133 Deep River Dam near Liverpool Road.

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

BOWHUNTING: Should be a comfortable weekend for sitting in the stand. I would expect the young bucks to begin moving more any day now. . . . 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


FALL COLOR: Better head south. From my trip to southern Illinois earlier this week, I think color will peak this weekend around Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (above) and other places in southern Illinois, such as the Shawnee National Forest. Click here for some options around Marion and Williamson County.

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: Over-the-counter sales of remaining county deer permits is underway at IDNR vendors. I need to do this.

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. Fish are starting to turn darker around Chicago.

DOVE HUNTING: Seeing very few in recent days. Dove hunting has ended at most public sites. First season runs through Oct. 28.

SQUIRREL HUNTING: With the random frosts, foliage is nearly gone. However, most public sites are closed.

ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.

PADDLING: I think this is the last weekend to run this.

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: Family duties have me tied up much of the weekend. . . . We will probably hit North Park Village Nature Center on Saturday. . . . We will do a hike somewhere on Sunday. Have to take advantage of no Bears Sunday again. . . . I need to get in some duck or goose hunting next week. . . . I need to do a bunch of recordings on Monday and could 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. Actually I am beginning to feel like the finish line is running away from me.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on October 19, 2012 6:45 AM.

Illinois Hunting Report: Openers & good hunting was the previous entry in this blog.

Ramble with Storm: Jauss, geese, Manthey and bare trees is the next entry in this blog.

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