A sure sign of spring is American robins feeding on earthworms.
March has arrived, which means it’s time for anglers to think about springtime fishing. Rainbow trout season opens on Saturday, April 4 at 6 a.m. Three locations will be stocked for the season: Silver Lake at Blackwell, Pickerel Lake at Pratt’s Wayne Woods and Grove Lake at Wood Dale Grove. These three locations will be closed March 15 through opening day.
Young anglers have a special opportunity to experience the fun. During “Tout Fishing for Kids” on Saturday, March 28 from 8a.m. to noon, Grove Lake will be opened up just for kids 15 and younger. Adults may not fish on their own. The even it free and reservations are not required.
Whether heading out for trout or searching for the best bass or bluegill, anglers should also remember that 2014 fishing licenses are expiring soon, and 2015 licenses are required beginning on April 1. Anyone fishing for trout must also have an inland trout stamp. The District is now offering fishing and other state licenses from its headquarters office on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call Visitor Services at 630-933-7248 for more information.
Rangers report that they’ve seen a few coyotes moving through the preserves these days. Large groups of deer have also been seen, particularly near Blackwell and Greene Valley. A great horned owl was heard at St. James Farm, and an immature bald eagle made a few visits to Blackwell. On Friday around noon, it stopped by White Pine Pond for a bit.
If weather predictions hold true, we’re in for some warmer days in the coming weeks, which means more opportunities to look for signs that spring is on its way.
As flowing waters warm, many species of waterfowl will be visible on our area’s rivers. Look for red-breasted and hooded mergansers, common goldeneyes, pied-billed grebes, American coots and buffleheads, particularly along the Des Plaines River near Waterfall Glen.
Many other species pass through on their spring migrations, and some arrive to stay for the season. The bold call of the red-winged blackbird is an important harbinger for many folks. Males of this species actively defend their territories from interlopers. Listen for them near wetland areas. American robins are also some of the first to be active. They are a common sight in manicured yards and natural areas, where they feed on earthworm, insects and fruits.
Spring is also a time for amphibians to become active. Spring peepers and wood frogs are likely to be heard only around high-quality natural areas. Chorus frogs are even easier to hear. They have been known to gather in wet areas even near busy roadways, and their trilling calls can carry nearly a mile. The photo below is of chorus frog. Their tiny size, only about 1 to 1.5 inches, makes them difficult to spot outdoors.
Western chorus frogs may hard to see but they are easy to hear when spring has arrived.