Better enjoy this mild weekend while we can, so the late fall favorites of perch hunting, deer hunting and sandhill crane watching lead this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
ILLINOIS DEER HUNTING: This will be my view again later today. The second firearm deer season in Illinois runs through Sunday. It is a touch warm, so I suspect harvest will taper down significantly.
Some over-the-counter permits remain. Click here for remaining OTC permits.
BUCK OF THE WEEK: Just a reminder with the second firearm season running through Sunday: Buck of the Week, the celebration of big bucks taken around Chicago outdoors, runs Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page. Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PERCH FISHING: Shore fishing is rebuilding, especially at Diversey Harbor and Navy Pier; and somewhat at Montrose Harbor. Should be a good weekend for it. Those going very early have been doing best.
Arden Katz reported he is doing best for action with Mini-Mites and spikes; but most are using minnows and that does seem to give a better shot at bigger ones.
Looks like those boaters who have not winterized and put away their boats have a few days to enjoy the resurgence of boat fishing for perch in Indiana.
``They have until Tuesday to do it,'' said Capt. Rich Sleziak from Slez's Bait in Lake Station. ``It will be south winds.''
He said the best action has been out of ``The Ditch'' around No. 4. Best presentation is large fatheads or baby roaches on perch flies (color changes daily).
Other spots are closer to home out of East Chicago Marina off Inland and by Gary Light.
Shore fishermen are catching them at the Hole-in-the-Wall, including some limits, and quality fish.
CHICAGO PIER PASSES: Considering the arrival of the perch bite, now is a good time for a reminder that the $6 pier passes for Chicago harbors, except 31st, are available now at Henry's Sports and Bait, 3130 S. Canal.
WATCHING SANDHILL CRANES: Last Friday was the great flight day around Chicago outdoors with thousands of sandhills passing overhead in the city and suburbs.
Many ended up at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, where 28,126 were counted on Tuesday. It is located southeast of Valparaiso, Ind. The best times to view them and fully grasp the wonder of them is near dawn or dusk. The next week or so should be peak.
Ed Bowen among others have made this trek. I realize this is a trek, so take some time to explore Valparaiso, just a wonderful town, or do a leisurely drive on back roads through the Indiana countryside.
ICE GATHERING: Lake Michigan Angler in Winthrop Harbor holds a free admission ice event Saturday.
Open at 9:00am - Free Admission 9:30am - Ice Fishing for Brown Trout and Steelhead in the Harbors Speaker - Frank Juzwik (Lake Michigan Angler) will discuss the methods, techniques, tactics and equipment used for catching Brown Trout and Steelhead Ice Fishing. Popular fishing locations in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin will be discussed.
11:00am - Fishing for Northern Pike, Walleye, and Bass
Speaker - Kerry Paulson (Automatic Fisherman LLC) will discuss the methods, techniques, tactics and equipment used for catching Northern Pike, Walleye and Bass Ice Fishing. Kerry is the owner of Automatic Fisherman Tackle.
1:00pm - Fishing for Whitefish and Perch in Green Bay
Speaker - Craig Bender (past president of Salmon Unlimited of Wisconsin and avid angler) will discuss the methods, techniques, tactics and equipment used for catching Whitefish and Perch in Green Bay. Popular fishing locations in Green Bay will be discussed.
2:30pm - Ice Fishing Techniques for Panfish We have a change in the line up for our Dec 1st seminars. At 2:30 we will feature ice fishing masters Warren Scaman & his partner Jim "The Crappie Professor" Kopjo.(Professional Tournament Ice Anglers) they will discuss the methods, techniques, tactics and equipment used for catching Panfish. They are a professional tournament Ice Angler team and they participate in the North American Ice Fishing Circuit series of Ice Fishing contests. Warren & his partner Jim have qualified for the North American Ice Fishing Circuit Championship on Isle Bay and Wahkon Bay on the southeast end of Mille Lac's, Dec 15th & 16th. This is the 5th Championship that they are in. And the 7th years together. They won Big Fish Last Year on Lake Thompson for the Championship.
In Store Specials, Door Prizes and a raffle will be available
ICE FISHING: Maybe this weekend in northern Wisconsin. But better check online or call first.
ILLINOIS HUNTING PERMITS: Saturday is the deadline to apply for spring turkey hunting permits. Click here.
CRAPPIE FISHING: With this weather, more than just the hard-core guys will be out crappie fishing on local ponds and lakes. Lots of good reports.
INDIANA STREAMS: Some winter steelhead are starting to show Indiana's tributaries of Lake Michigan, especially Salt and Trail.
Click here for the Indiana DNR's map of Trail Creek access.
WATERFOWLNG: Weather looks too nice, but mid-week next week would be what I bet on.
UPLAND HUNTING: Hunting for pheasants, rabbits, quail and gray partridge is underway, though I suspect far more will be deer hunting this weekend.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
PERSONAL PICKS: Deer hunting is my focus this weekend. If I fill my tag, then I might do the family hike. Otherwise, that will be the job of my wife. . . . Next week, I hope to do the perch fishing from shore in Chicago. . . . On the radio front, Monday is the fund-raising show and for the first time, I will be live during the breaks with station GM Mike Savage; so whip the checkbooks. I received some good suggestions for guests on my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1), but can always use more. I am enjoying pulling shows together.