01-12-2017 Outdoors

  The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stated that the ice is forming on the inland lakes and along protected waters across the state.  Anglers will still need to use extreme caution and watch for pressure cracks especially with the windy conditions.  Remember to never fish alone, tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return, test the ice ahead of you with a spud and wear a life jacket because it could save your life.

Captain Kenny of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports mostly the Black River has been closed by ice.  Kalamazoo River has been freezing too, but is open by the Allegan Dam where a few Steelheads were being taken.

Captain Kenny said most anglers are fishing from the inland lakes as the ice thickens with the arctic blast we had.  Swan Lake and Big Lake located by Martin have been producing some nice Bluegills and Crappie.  Van Auken and Lake of the Woods had slowed down a little on the catch.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle located by Paw Paw Lake in Coloma reports ice fishing has been real good on all the local lakes as they freeze up and anglers can get out.  Paw Paw Lake has been producing Bluegills, Crappie and even a few Perch.  Anglers are using wax worms and spikes.  Those targeting Pike are using shiner minnows with success.

Overall anglers willing to brave the changing elements have gotten some nice catches of Bluegills, Crappie and Pike from the local area.  Anglers were mostly fishing the smaller shallow lakes, as the ice on the bigger lakes was not uniform.  Anglers would be wise to stay away from inlets, outlets and pressure cracks.

Starting last December 1 the spear fishing season for Northern Pike and Muskellunge began on all waters through the ice except designated trout lakes, designated trout streams and other specific waters.  No Muskellunge spearing is allowed on Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, the Detroit River or the St. Clair River as well.  Many anglers will try their hand at this historical method of fishing until the season concludes on March 15.

The DNR has announced that the 2017 Lake Sturgeon fishing season on Black Lake in Cheboygan County will begin at 8:00 a.m. Saturday, February 4.  All anglers must register to participate in the season.

The 2017 total recreational harvest limit for Black Lake is seven Lake Sturgeon.  However, to reduce the chance of exceeding the harvest limit, officials will close the season when one of two scenarios occurs: 1. Once the sixth fish is harvested or 2. If five fish have been harvested at the end of any fishing day.

Fishing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day of the season.  The season will end either at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 8 or when one of the above scenarios is met, at which point anglers will be notified on the ice by DNR personnel that they must immediately stop fishing for Lake Sturgeon.

For more details, anglers may call the DNR Customer Service Center in Gaylord at 989-732-3541 or visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.


  The DNR reminds hunters that the spring turkey hunting application period opened January 1.  Michigan is ranked seventh in the nation for turkey harvest, harvesting over 30,000 turkeys while providing a variety of quality hunting options.

Now through February 1, a $5.00 spring turkey application may be purchased anywhere hunting licenses are sold or online at www.mdnr-elicense.com.  Hunters may purchase only one spring turkey hunting license.  The application is for one of the limited-license turkey hunts.  If you want broader statewide options, you may want to wait until March 20 for Hunt 234 which offers the most days to hunt, May 1-31 and is open statewide except on public land in southern Michigan.  No application is required for Hunt 234.

Beginning March 6, applicants can check whether they were drawn for a license at www.michigan.gov/turkey.  Any leftover licenses will be sold until the quota is met in each hunt unit and hunt period.

The DNR is teaming up with several sporting groups and local businesses to sponsor a youth rabbit hunt on Saturday, January 21 at the Flat River State Game Area.  The day kicks off with breakfast and will conclude with a free lunch.  All events will occur at the Belding Sportsman’s Club at 10651 Youngman Road in Belding.

There is no fee to participate and maps of potential hot spots on the 11,000 acres of nearby public hunting land will be available.  Participating youth will be eligible for a number of raffle prizes, including hunting equipment.  You should register by January 16.  For more information or to register, contact the Flat River State Game Area at 616-794-2658.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club

  The Coloma Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on January 14.  Class registration was held on Sunday, January 8. The class is taught by a certified NRA and RSO instructor and the cost of the class is $100.00.  For more information or to be put on the list, call 269-621-3370.

Watervliet Rod & Gun Club

  The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on January 12 and January 14.  Registration was on January 10. They will have a lawyer explaining the law pertaining to concealed carry during class.  Please call 269-468-3837 or 269-470-9191 for more information.

Sweet potatoes are a favorite food of our resident bearded dragon, box turtles and red-eared slider. While preparing food one day for our animals, I decided to break off a piece of warmed sweet potato for our Madagascar hissing cockroaches to try.

Fifteen seconds after placing the cooked sweet potato chunk in their cage, almost all of the cockroach’s antennae were moving back and forth in the air, as if they were getting excited by the vegetable addition. The cockroaches are usually very inactive during the day, so this was new. Within a minute, two of the females were munching away at the vegetable. The Madagascar hissing cockroaches were using their long antennae to smell the sweet potato.

Insect antennae are sensory organs, mostly used for smelling, but many insects have adapted special antennae purposes such as breathing, sensing heat or vibrations, and even mating and swimming. Olfactory receptors on insect antennae bind to molecules in the air, such as water vapor and odors. These receptors connect to the brain and allow the insect to determine what it is sensing.

Join us for Trivia Night on Saturday, January 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Sarett Nature Center to test your knowledge on a variety of categories. Buy a table of 10 for $100 or join a table for $10/person. $200 prize to the first place team and there will be a cash bar and door prizes!


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