The Chicago Park District runs fishing programs for kids; for the latest details,
check out www.chicagoparkdistrict.com . One program, “Fish N Kids,” offers
rods, reels, bait, and instruction for four daily 45-minute sessions at all Chicago
Park District lagoons and at four lakefront locations. The Sam Romano Youth
Fishing Derby (named for a charter boat captain who loved fishing and kids),
which runs all summer, is open to kids ages 8 to 15. Kids enter their catches in
a category: rock bass, panfish, catfish, and carp. Twenty kids in each category
win prizes of new fishing equipment.
Want to do battle with the scrappy coho salmon, or tie into a tackle-testing,
arm-aching 20-pound chinook? Salmon fishing has been popular on Lake Michi-
gan since Pacific species were introduced in the 1970s. Gather a group of six
(to split the cost of $395 for 5 hr. of fishing) and be prepared to start at dawn.
You can find a charter boat through the Chicago Sportfishing Association
( & 312/922-1100 ), with boats available in both Burnham and Diversey harbors.
Lake perch are another popular Lake Michigan fish—they won't give you the
fight that salmon do, but they are fun to catch and good to eat. (Pan-fried is the
way to go.) They are plentiful from May to August. Jumbo perch weigh in at 1
pound and are caught with ultralight spinning tackle or hand lines rigged with
multiple hooks. Check sporting-goods stores for equipment and bait. The local
anglers' favorite spot is Montrose Harbor Pier, east of Lake Shore Drive at Wilson
Avenue. Harbor fishing is allowed in designated areas of Belmont, Montrose,
Diversey, DuSable, Monroe, Burnham, 59th Street, and Jackson Inner and Jack-
son Outer harbors. To find out more, call Chicago Park District harbor infor-
mation at & 312/747-7527.
Chicago has an impressive number of golf options within the city limits. The
Chicago Park District offers six courses, three driving ranges, and three learning
centers. Don't let a little cold weather stop you: As further evidence of the har-
diness of Chicagoans, the golf courses closed only 1 day in 2001, when there was
a blizzard. (Yes, you can golf in Chicago year-round, even on Christmas Day!)
For tee times and information, call & 312/245-0909. Most recommended for
kids is the Diversey Driving Range ( & 312/742-7929 ), located in Lincoln
Park just north of Diversey Harbor; it's a fun way to get outside after dinner on
a summer evening. This two-level range attracts all levels, from show-off scratch
golfers to shanking beginners. The price is right ($11 for a bucket of 50 balls),
and the setting is pretty much perfect.
One of the most popular golf courses operated by the Chicago Park District
is the 9-hole Sydney Marovitz Course, 3600 N. Lake Shore Dr., at Waveland
Avenue. Many Chicagoans refer to it simply as “Waveland.” Thanks to its pic-
turesque lakefront location, it's always busy on weekends, so make a reservation
well in advance, and don't expect a quick round—this is where beginners come
to practice. Another good bet, and one that's usually less crowded, is the 18-hole
course in Jackson Park at 63rd St. and Stoney Island Avenue. These city-run
courses are open from mid-April through November. For information on greens
fees, locations, and hours, call the Chicago Park District golf office ( & 312/
245-0909 ), or go to www.cpdgolf.com.
If you're planning on visiting the suburbs and want to play a round on one of
the many plush and pricey suburban courses, visit the website of the Chicago
District Golf Association at www.cdga.org.