Outdoors with Jim Kirby: Palos derby is fun and free

  • Written by Jim Kirby



The Palos Park Spring Fishing Derby is an event geared for the entire family and it is free.

The derby will be held from 8:30-to-11 a.m., April 15 at Papoose Lake on 123rd St. just west of LaGrange Road. The event is supported by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Bass Pro Shops of Bolingbrook and the Palos Park Recreation and Parks Department. For more information, call 708-671-3760.

          The contest begins with registration at 8 a.m. and fishing starts at 8:30 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to the largest fish caught in each age group. This is a great opportunity for the family to enjoy a day in the great outdoors. Fishing tackle will be provided and plenty of assistance will be available to help newcomers to the sport of fishing.

The joys of shotgun shooting

The Orland Park group Pheasants Forever, is offering the chance to experience the joys of shotgun shooting on from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Palos Sportsman’s Club, 24038 S. Harlem Ave. in Frankfort.

The group is inviting anyone who is new to shooting to experience shotgun shooting, including using clay pigeons as targets. Participants will learn from certified instructors. This is a free event, food and beverage will be provided.

By the way, you may remember the old Palos Sportsman’s Club was located on Rte. 83 in Palos Hts. That clubhouse is now the Administration Building at Lake Katherine.

If you do not have the release forms, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and complete the forms prior to the event. Anyone wanting to shoot must be present for the safety meeting. This event will be limited to the first 25 people who RSVP.

Remember, this is an outside activity, so dress appropriately.

Rainbow trout fishing close to home

The Annual Illinois Catchable Trout Season opened throughout the state Saturday. The Forest Preserve of Cook County and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources stocked catchable rainbow trout averaging 12 inches in length. These trout are easy to catch, easy to clean (no scaling or filleting) and are very tasty when pan-fried, preferably in bacon grease. The meat easily peels away from the bones and skin.

The nearby stocked bodies of water within the area include Horsetail Lake, (104th and McCarthy Road in Palos Park), an 11-acre lake, depths to 24 feet, that also has largemouth bass, bluegills and channel catfish and Sag Quarry East (Route 83 and Archer Avenue), which is 12 acres with depths to 18 feet and also has largemouth bass, bluegills and channel catfish.

Horsetail is close to home and offers plenty of level ground for shoreline fishing.

No fancy fishing tackle is required to catch these fish. You just need a simple fishing pole or rod with light line, small sinker, and bobber, small hook tipped with worms, night-crawlers or wax worms that can be purchased at your local bait and tackle shops. Experts at these shops can advise you on the way to go about catching these fish and the rules and regulations.

Spinning rods with small spinners and other lures will also do the trick and fly-rod fishermen will find this a great opportunity to hone their skills if you find the lakes too crowded, try it during the week.

Those thousands of trout won’t all be caught opening weekend.

          To legally fish for these trout you must have a current valid Illinois fishing license (last year’s fishing, hunting and trapping licenses expired on March 31) and an Inland Trout Stamp. Anglers age 16 and younger, the blind, or disabled or Illinois residents on active military duty are not required to have the stamp. There is a five-trout-per-day creel limit with no size restrictions. No more than two lines per fisherman with no more than two hooks per line may be used.

          For a list of all the lakes and waters open to public fishing within the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visit and download the fishing guide. The guide includes maps that show the location and depths of each lake, and list principal fish species.

Outdoor Calendar

Note: it’s very important to remember your Illinois fishing, hunting and trapping licenses expired March 31. It’s time to renew them!

          Apr. 8-13: Second spring shotgun or archery season for turkey, south zone.

          Apr. 10-14: First spring shotgun or archery turkey season, north zone.

          Apr.14-19: Third shotgun/ archery turkey season, south.

          Apr. 15-20: Second shotgun or archery turkey season, north zone.

          Apr. 15: Palos Park Free Fishing Derby, for more info, call 708-671-3760.

(subhead) Think about it

An optimist is a fisherman who takes along a camera.

Jim Kirby’s column will run the first and third Thursdays of each month. E-Mail Jim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .