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01-16-20 Outdoors

Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fishing report this week warns that those wanting to go ice fishing will have to head north, as the southern half of the Lower Peninsula had no safe ice. Those heading out will need to use caution, especially with warmer temperatures and rain in the forecast. Small lakes and ponds in Southwest Lower Peninsula may have skim ice but no safe ice! Some anglers are chasing steelhead in the rivers; however, above-average flows are making it difficult to fish. The St. Joseph River was high and catch rates were slow for the week. The Kalamazoo River was also high and had slow catch rates. The Grand River at Grand Rapids water levels was still high, but anglers are finding some steelhead when using a jig and wax worm, spawn or beads near the dam. Some big brown trout were also caught. The Rogue River is also producing some steelhead. On Muskegon Lake the water clarity was low after runoff from the river. Those targeting walleye might want to use bright colors or glow-in-the-dark bait. A few shore anglers were casting for pike off Heritage Landing. The DNR fishing tip this week is how to target perch on Lake St. Clair. When anglers think of Lake St. Clair, they often think of bass or muskellunge fishing, but during the winter months many think of it as yellow perch destination! There are a few techniques to target fish on the lake, including staying on the move and focusing on areas where the perch are most likely to be found. Perch on Lake St. Clair often will hang out on the vast, shallow flats as they look for smaller fish to prey on. Since structure is limited during the winter months, they will use the shade of the ice cover to fill in that role. Fishing these areas can often offer anglers great success with large-size fish. For more tips on fishing yellow perch – and not just on Lake St. Clair – visit the yellow perch page on the DNR website. An experimental regulation that allowed for 33 streams (about 8% of the total mileage for Type 1 streams) in the Upper Peninsula to have a 10-fish daily possession limit for brook trout is no longer in effect. During its regular meeting in Lansing, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission voted to return the five-fish daily limit to those streams, effectively immediately. Hunting Tune in to the DNR Facebook page at noon Friday, January 24, to find out who the three lucky people are that will experience the hunt of a lifetime in 2020, Pure Michigan Hunt. Viewers do not need to have a Facebook account to watch the announcement video, but for those who do use Facebook and “like” the DNR Facebook page, they can get a notification when the video goes live. The three people drawn will be contacted via telephone after the broadcast for final confirmation. Drawing results for the Pure Michigan Hunt also will be posted on the Hunt Drawing Results webpage on Monday, January 27. A misprint in the Hunting Digest indicated results would post January 21. The 2019 base licenses are valid through March 31, 2020, so there is still time to get out for some small game hunting. Cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare and squirrel (fox and gray) hunting are open statewide through March 31. See the 2019 Hunting Digest for small game season dates and bag limits. Waterfowl hunting dates, bag limits and regulations are available at For 2019 fur harvester hunting: Raccoon hunting is open statewide through January 31 and bobcat hunting began January 1. See pages 28-29 of the Fur Harvester Digest for open areas and bag limits. Also for fur harvesting, fox (gray and red) hunting opportunities are available statewide through March 1 and coyote hunting is open year-round, statewide.

Coloma Rod and Gun Club The Coloma Rod and Gun Club no longer has regular monthly Concealed Pistol License (CPL) classes. Individuals interested in taking a class needs to contact the instructors through the Coloma Rod and Gun Club web page so the instructors can set up times when they have enough students. The class costs $100 and is taught by NRA Training Counselors and certified instructors. An attorney presents the law portion per state/NRA requirements. Hunter Safety Classes are also held two or three times a year at a cost of $5.

Watervliet Rod and Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes for January on the 16th and 18th. Registration was Jan. 14. February’s classes will be on the 6th and 8th with registration on Feb. 4. The cost of the Concealed Pistol License Classes (CCW) is $100; taught by NRA Training Counselors and NRA instructors. The club will loan firearms. Instruction includes three hours of outdoor range time with 1-on-1 student to instructor. Call 269-468-3837 to register.


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