It's one of those Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors with options; I'm talking raptors to the deer expo to high school bass fishing.
RAPTORS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS: The Stillman Nature Center in South Barrington is holds its first winter raptor photography day from 3-4:30 p.m. Saturday. For $20, photographers should be able to get close-ups of a peregrine falcon, broad-winged hawk and red-shouldered hawk, and also great horned, barn, barred, and screech owls. Daniel Simpson took the photo above of a great horned owl at Stillman.
SHOW SEASON: The Field & Stream Deer & Turkey Expo opens at 2 p.m. today at a different venue in a different town, the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield. I am leaving later this morning to be there. It is one of the great gatherings in Illinois outdoors. . . . The Great Outdoor Expo is scheduled for Friday through Sunday at Timber Creek Convention Center in Sandwich.
HIGH SCHOOL BASS FISHING: Jim O'Neil posted this on Facebook, and it pretty well describes the doings tonight for high school bass fishermen:
I would like to invite all Anglers to the Fishing 2 the Limit High School Fishing Night. The event is Friday, February 1st at Marist High School located at 4200 w. 115th street, Chicago IL. Frank Hyla from T.V. Show Time on the Water and other fishing industry pros will be there as well. There will be a casting contest for all High School students. There will be door prizes and raffle prizes. Vendors will be there selling different types of fishing merchandise. Doors open at 6:30 pm and dinner will be served at 7:30. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults. All are welcome, to call for more info at 708 590 9706.
ROCKFEST POSTPONED: Rockfest scheduled for Saturday at Shabbona Lake has been postponed until Feb. 16.
ICE FISHING: North and west of the city safe ice should rebuild and is already in place in spots.
Greg Dickson at Triangle said things on are on a ``positive upswing'' and he expects ice to be fairly universally fishable in the Chain O'Lakes area, other than right in current areas. South end of the Channel has been one of the better fishing spots.
South of the city is another matter. For instance, Willow Slough, the great ice-fishing spot for panfish and northern pike, was completely open Thursday and staff were not anticipating a return of ice fishing.
CHICAGO PERCH FISHING: With ice conditions changing almost daily in the Chicago harbors, the most consistent results have come from 92nd and 95th in the river on Chicago's Southeast Side, but it takes much sorting most days for keepers. Earlier in the week, there were some perch being picked up in the harbors by those punching holes in the ice. We shall see.
CHICAGO PIER PASSES: Probably a good time to remember that the $6 pier passes for Chicago harbors, except 31st, are available now at Henry's Sports and Bait, 3130 S. Canal.
INDIANA STREAMS: They are high, but some steelhead are moving up, according Indiana's Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert. Click here for the Indiana DNR's map of Trail Creek access.
SLEDDING: It has been an appalling year for sledding. One evening, we received a glancing 1-inch snow. My daughter asked to go sledding. I am so glad we did, because so far that was the one chance we have had to sled. This weekend might present the next possibility. We shall see.
POWERTON 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. And boat fishing is coming soon, on Feb. 15.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
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.
PERSONAL PICKS: Later this morning I head toward Springfield for the Deer Expo. Can't wait. I love that show. . . . I still want to try the Bait Flare technique I saw at the Rosemont show. I think the ice on the south end of our town pond might be safe enough by Saturday morning to give ice fishing a shot. I will see. . . . Working on some changes and upcoming shows for my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1). . . . If we get enough snow, and by that I mean even an inch or two, Saturday will include some sledding with the kids. . . . And I am an American, so I will join my fellow countrymen in the great, non-denominational feast of the Big Game.