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Framed by awe-inspiring evening skyline Mike Callas goes fishing Northerly Island. | dale-BOwman~For Sun-Times

Framed by the awe-inspiring evening skyline, Mike Callas goes fishing at Northerly Island. | dale-BOwman~For the Sun-Times

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Updated: November 10, 2011 3:00PM



Classic snapshots lifted from a weekend of organized Chicago fishing.

◆ When Jackie Smith lifted her trophy Saturday afternoon, it towered over her. The 7-year-old from Miller Beach, Ind. had caught the biggest fish, a 61/2-inch perch, at the 20th annual Fishin’ Buddies! event at Wampum Lake in Lansing.

“I just threw in and reeled the thing in,’’ she said. “Dad [Anthony] helped.’’

◆ “One of the kids said, “This is the best day of my life,’ ’’ said Steve Silic, chief fisheries biologist for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, a co-sponsor of the FB event. “Doing events like this is great.’’

Every kid who entered caught fish with help from a who’s who of Chicago’s fishing teachers.

◆ Best quote of the weekend came from Julian Kidd, 37, son of John Kidd Jr., one of the main founders of FB.

“I was a founder by default, [my dad] made me go,’’ said Julian Kidd, then 16 and a young student at Chicago Ag. “I didn’t know what I was getting into. I think we have done a lot. Actually seen some of these former students bring their children.’’

◆ As night settled over the Chicago scene Sunday night at Northerly Island, as seen through the lens of off-and-on rain, it was a beautiful time for the eighth annual Salmon Classic, hosted by Henry’s Sports and Bait.

The idea that Northerly Island, formerly an exclusive tiny airport, has been open to the public for more than eight years staggers me. Fishing was slow, so I walked the peninsula once again. It remains one of the coolest places in Chicago outdoors. The prairie plantings are beginning to look like prairie and not just flowers and weeds.

◆ One fish was caught, a 5-pound, 9-ounce coho by Dr. Adam Isadore, at the Salmon Classic.

“I made a pact with myself that I would catch a salmon [this year],’’ said Isadore, in his residency at UIC with a specialty in interventional radiology.

He accomplished his goal with a 15-pound chinook caught at Montrose Harbor earlier this month. In his younger years, the St. Charles native honed his skills fishing carp on the Fox River, bass and pike at Geneva Lake and muskie around Hayward, Wis.

On Sunday, he caught his coho minutes after the opening horn in about 10 feet of water with a salmon classic, a green and silver K.O. Wobbler spoon. He also had a float and salmon eggs on a second line, another classic fall presentation.

◆ As the rain fell harder, I talked with Mike Callas, a lakefront regular, and marveled at the sheer beauty of Chicago’s night skyline, one of the most stunning urban settings for fishing in the world.

It was time.

National days

Geocaching was added to the usual outdoor activities at the Northern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days (nihfd.org) at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area in Yorkville on Saturday and Sunday.

◆ National Public Lands Day is Saturday. One work site is Barrens Access near New Lenox, beginning at 8 a.m. Call (815) 263-7900. For other sites, go to publiclandsday.org/npld-sites.

Wild things

Ruby-throated hummingbirds have been thick. As many as three have held territorial battles around our feeder and my wife’s hanging baskets. FPDCC fisheries biologist Jim Phillips, also a top birder, said to keep watch because now there’s a chance of sighting a rarer hummingbird like the rufous.

Stray cast

Is Jay Cutler more like an American bison or a passenger pigeon? The Bears’ offensive line more like Shabbona Lake dam or the Berrien Springs fish ladder?



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