Enticing vacation destinations, newest hunting gadgets and the latest lures are the stuff winter daydreams are made of. Outdoors shows bring them all together in one place.
Surprisingly, a plethora of regional shows continue to thrive in spite of the ease of internet shopping and the growth of one-stop mega stores like Bass Pro and Cabelas. Perhaps, folks just need to get out of their homes when the winter doldrums set it.
The Muskie Expo (www.muskieexpo.com/chicago) kicks the show season off, running Friday through Sunday at the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
A pair of events take place the following weekend with the All Canada Show (www.allcanada.com) on Jan. 14-17 at Pheasant Run Expo Center in St. Charles, Ill., and the Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail show going Jan. 14-18 at McCormick Place South.
The Chicago Outdoor Sports Show (www.chicagosportsmenshow.com) is Jan 20-24 at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, and runs concurrently with the Chicagoland Gun Show and Hot Sauce Expo. Also Jan. 20-25 is the Outdoor Sports, Lake & Cabin Show (www.outdoorsportslakecabinshow.com) at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne.
The Michiana Boat & Sports Show (www.michiana-boatshow.com) hits the South Bend Century Center Jan. 29-31. Also, Jan. 28-31 is the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo (www.sportshows.com/chicago) at the Schaumberg Convention Center.
The Tinley Park (Ill.) Fishing & Outdoor Show (www.tinleyparkfishingshow.com), which many consider the best "small town" show around, is set for Feb. 13-14 at Tinley Park High School.
The huge Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show (www.indianapolisboatsportandtravelshow.com) is Feb. 19-28 at the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Within this event at the fairgrounds is the Great Amercian Fly Fishing Expo on Feb. 19-21 and the Deer, Turkey & Waterfowl Expo on Feb. 26-28.
Finally, the most popular among Michigan City sportsmen, the Ultimate Outdoor Show (www.showspan.com), is set for March 17-20 at Devos Place in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Youth Pheasant: The annual Art Kreighbaum Youth Pheasant Hunt is set for Jan. 31 at the sprawling Deer Creek Hunt Club near Three Oaks, Michigan.
Organized by the Galena Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the hunt is free for youth, age 17 and under and possessing a Hunter Education Certificate. Preregistration is also mandatory by contacting Rick Glassman at email@example.com or (219) 324-0316.
Upon checking in, youngsters get a speech on safety, gun handling and ground rules, warm up on clay targets, then go afield for a European-style (driven) pheasant hunt. Adults can accompany, but may not hunt.
Again, its all free courtesy of the Galena River Chapter of the NWTF in the name of the late Art Kreighbaum.
The club provides youth with a one-day license, ammunition, pheasants, clay targets, dog handlers, lunch and even shotguns if needed.
Fish on: Steelhead catches were surprisingly good, or at least the best they've been in months, during the week. Some dandy brown trout were being landed on Trail Creek as well.
Spawn, beads, jigs and waxworms were taking a few fish throughout the length of the stream. Alas, a blast of normal January weather is set to strike the area later this weekend and likely will lock things down on the stream for a while.
Should be some fish — trout, whitefish and perhaps a walleye, available to pier anglers as long as the weather hold out.
The ice fishing outlook is not good at the moment. The 10-day forecast, while cold and normal for January, doesn't appear severe enough to build safe ice around here.