Changes come--you can feel it in the air--and so does show season to lead this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
SHOW SEASON: This is one of the busiest weeks of the winter for shows.
I hit the Progressive Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show on opening day Wednesday. It was busier than I expected at McCormick Place. There were the usual boats and RVs, some old friends.
The coolest new thing is the Rockin' Rollers Bubbles, even if it is a kids' thing.
The All-Canada Show is at Pheasant Run in St. Charles. I plan to hit Friday afternoon.
The Chicago Muskie Show opens at noon Friday at Harper College in Palatine. I hope to arrive for the opening.
ICE FISHING: I think you are going to have to head across the border to southern Wisconsin or farther north. Rain and wind are no friends of safe ice. Maybe by Monday there will be some ice fishing again on the Chain and other northern areas. But that is a big if.
PERCH FISHING: On Thursday, some boaters were out trying in Indiana out Burns Ditch. I think some of the boaters will get into them again Friday and Saturday, before the wicked front drops through again late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
Otherwise, there are still some perch being caught in the Chicago harbors and around 92nd and 95th in the river, but it takes sorting for keepers.
GOOSE HUNTING: Goose season in the north zone ends next Thursday. Plenty of birds are around the suburbs. I plan to chase some in the final days.
INDIANA STREAMS: Some steelhead are in at Michigan City and in the streams.
``Expect more with the rain coming [Thursday and Friday],'' Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert emailed.
Click here for the Indiana DNR's map of Trail Creek access.
RADIO WAVES: Not sure why it piles up like this, but I am talking about the Muskie Show around 12:45 p.m. with Dan McNeil and Matt Spiegel on 670 The Score. . . . On Sunday about 6:15 a.m., I will be on Mike Jackson Outdoors Radio, talking about a variety of topics.
WATCHING SANDHILL CRANES: It is past peak, but Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, southeast of Valparaiso, Ind., still holds many sandhills.
The best times to view them and fully grasp the wonder of them is near dawn or dusk. 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. This is another weekend to do with an extra long New Year's weekend.
POWERTON SHORE FISHING: If you're itching for some cooling lake fishing, shore fishing is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at Powerton, just outside of Pekin. HeartlandOutdoors.com reported some big blues being caught.
ARCHERY: On Sunday, Chicago Archery Club holds a 300 Round Robin at Hamilton Park at 10 a.m. Sunday. Click here for more info.
Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
ILLINOIS PERMITS: Friday (today) is the deadline for the second lottery for spring turkey permits.
YOUTH TURKEY PERMITS: Youth (younger than 16 years old before turkey season) may apply now for outdoors access for youth turkey hunting in one of 23 counties. Click here.
BUCK OF THE WEEK: With show season underway, I have BOTW on hold. However, I can be persuaded otherwise by the right buck or right story. BOTW, the celebration of big bucks taken around Chicago outdoors, runs Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page. Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHICAGO PIER PASSES: With iffy ice likely to form again next week, 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.
PERSONAL PICKS: Packing in a day Friday. First goose hunting, then the Chicago Muskie Show, then the All-Canada Show. Plan on leaving about 4 a.m., hence the posting tonight. . . . On Saturday or Sunday, we plan to hit the Boat Show as a family. . . . Listeners/readers keep sending ideas for my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1). I am doing more recordings on Monday, trying to get ahead for the crush of show season.