Wild and wacky around Chicago: Chicago River loach, lakefront beaver & an IN bear; plus the Stray CastDale Bowmanon August 25, 2021 at 11:39 am

Sometimes things just get wild and wacky.

A loach is caught near the confluence of the North Branch of the Chicago River and the North Shore Channel. A beaver swims around Northerly Island. A dead black bear is found near the Indiana Toll Road in Elkhart County.

o On Friday, George Watford messaged that a loach was caught near the former dam where the North Branch and the North Shore Channel meet at River Park. Watford, whom I had the good fortune to profile when he was 19 in 2008, said it was released because the angler didn’t realize it was a non-native.

Jason Duracka, the owner of Animal Island Pet Shop in Midlothian, agreed it was a loach, but he wasn’t sure what kind.

A loach caught at River Park near the confluence of the North Branch of the Chicago River and the North Shore Channel.Provided by George Watford

o Joe LaMonica was biking at Northerly Island last Wednesday when he thought he saw a beaver. So he stopped on the bridge over the lagoon, located it, then took video of it swimming.

”What a beautiful asset to our lakefront,” he emailed.

That’s the truth. Beavers have become a more common sight on the lakefront.

o A dead black bear ”in an advanced state of decomposition” was found near the Indiana Toll Road in Elkhart County last Wednesday, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. It’s the fifth black bear documented in modern Indiana and is a different one than the one seen rambling around southern Indiana earlier this year.

In memory

Capt. William ”Augie” Ralph of Fishfood Charters was one of the youngest people to get his captain’s license some 37 years ago at 18. Capt. Ralph died last week. His wife, Lori, texted that details of arrangements should be coming soon. They have had the Salmon Stop bait/tackle shop in Waukegan for decades.

Capt. William “Augie” Ralph, who passed away last week, printed out my license at the Salmon Stop bait/tackle shop in Waukegan this spring.Dale Bowman


Paula Kosin caught my forgetting the redesignation of Indiana Dunes National Park in my column Saturday. Andrew Morkes had it designated correctly in his book, ”Nature in Chicagoland.” Click here to read the review.

Jet this

A crackdown on the speeding, disrespectful users of personal watercraft downtown on the Chicago River would be nice.

Boundary waters

The Superior National Forest on Saturday announced a closure of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for at least seven days because of fire activity, extreme drought and limited resources. Click here for details on the closure.


The full moon Monday traditionally is known as the Sturgeon Moon, according to ”The Old Farmer’s Almanac.” Click here for more on the sturgeon moon.

Stray cast

The health of a river is inversely related to the number of dams on it. The same goes for the intelligence level of a community and the percentage of lawns with ”Unmask Our Children” signs.

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