Sarley: Time to cure the winter blues with sports shows

It’s that time of the year again, folks. It’s time to leave the cold and enter the warmth of a convention hall to attend a sports show. We are down one show from years past, so make sure you get a show on your calendar and don’t miss out. In fact, I am a little delinquent this year because two of the shows already are underway, but don’t fret. Both shows are running through the weekend for your enjoyment.

The two shows that are here right now are what I call the “dream shows.” Every fisherman’s dream is to take a trip of a lifetime north of our border for the chance to chase trophy fish, and the All-Canada Show is the place to fulfill that dream. Every fisherman dreams of having a boat, or if they own one, then the dream is for a bigger and better watercraft. The Chicago Boat, RV and Sail Show is the place to chase those dreams.

The All-Canada Show is at the Pheasant Run Mega Center, 4501 E. Main St., in St. Charles through Sunday. The show’s hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The cost of admission is $12 for adults with a weekend pass available for $14, and children 17 and younger will be admitted free of charge. Veterans will be admitted for free Sunday. “Free parking” always is a phrase that puts a smile on a fisherman’s face.

The show features raffles and door prizes, and everyone that places a deposit down on a Canadian hunting or fishing adventure at the All-Canada Show will be entered into a drawing for $2,000 worth of fishing equipment.

There are several great seminars available, and I’d recommend them all. Check for a seminar schedule. Jim Crowley will be on hand to share tips on monster pike. Chase Parsons will explain how to catch the delicious Canadian walleyes, and The Musky Hunter himself, Jim Saric, will be on hand to talk about, well, you know what he’s there for.

McCormick Place in Chicago is the site of the Chicago Boat, RV and Sail Show. The show runs through Sunday.

The show hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The tickets are $15 for those 13 and older, with children 12 and younger admitted free when accompanied by an adult. You can save $2 on full-price admission when you purchase tickets in advance online at

Whether you are in the market for a 14-foot aluminum fishing boat with a 9.9-horsepower outboard or a monster yacht suitable for a trip around the world, the Chicago Boat Show will have something to interest you.

There is nothing that warms me up better than walking the aisles of the Boat Show and dreaming about being on the water in one of the countless boats displayed on the show’s floor.

There is plenty to do at the Chicago Boat, RV and Sail Show besides look at boats. Don’t forget it has a full display area with the latest in recreational vehicles. It has plenty of educational seminars on boating, and sailing is featured predominantly. You can try your hand at paddle boarding and kayaking on a huge pool. There is a remote-control boating exhibit on hand. Kids always enjoy trying to catch a whopper at the Huck Finn trout pond. Believe it or not, you will be able to watch an oyster shucking demonstration. They have it all, don’t they?


Local ice expert Trevor James reports that you’ll have to head up to Waukesha County in Wisconsin to find safe ice, but the forecast says we could be seeing safe ice around here in a matter of days. You can call Dave Kranz from Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake at 815-455-2040 for an updated ice report.


Deer hunting report: Through Jan. 1, Illinois hunters harvested a total of 57,237 deer, compared with 55,599 for the same period in the 2017-18 season. The harvest to date has consisted of 47 percent does and 53 percent males. During the past two weeks, antlerless deer have comprised 75 percent of the harvest. Sixty percent of the harvest has been taken using compound bows, 39 percent by crossbows and 1 percent by traditional bows (longbows and recurves).

The top five counties for archery deer harvest as of Jan. 1 were Pike (1,958), Fulton (1,479), Jefferson (1,369), Adams (1,316) and Williamson (1,073). Totals for some northern Illinois counties are McHenry (539), Winnebago (438), Kane (296), Lake (288), Cook (127), DuPage (23), DeKalb (150) and Boone (122).

• Steve Sarley writes about the outdoors for Shaw Media. Write to him at Steve does a weekly podcast about fishing called “WeFishASA.” You can find it at

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