01-31-2019 Outdoors

Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) speculated that the cold snap most likely shut the steelhead fishing down along the piers, beaches and some rivers across the state. Ice fishing on the inland lakes continues to get stronger as ice conditions improve. Safety is a must, so be sure to use a spud and check the ice ahead of you. Remember all anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license. The DNR fishing tip this week is how to use a bass technique to target steelhead. Anglers might want to think about using lures that would normally be more difficult to reach when using standard steelhead fishing techniques. Choose medium-diving crankbaits and be sure to use braided line, which will aid in navigating obstacles under the water. Cast across the current and retrieve just fast enough to get the lure under the water but not so fast that it will snag the bottom. During the retrieve, let the lure swing downstream. Another successful approach to try is to position directly upstream of a deep hole and cast straight downstream. Retrieve the lure directly through the hole. Again, make sure to retrieve the lure fast enough to get in under the water but slow enough to keep it from snagging up on the bottom. Steelhead are one of Michigan’s most popular sport fish, don’t miss the opportunity to target them this winter. Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports good ice on most of the local inland lakes in our area. Anglers have been reporting good catches of bluegill and crappie from all around. They have been catching a few yellow perch and plenty of pike. Again, the most important thing is safety, using the spud to test the ice is not a waste of time. Another safety item that would be important to have is a pair of safety spikes that hang on a strap around your neck. They are not in your way, but if you fall through the ice, they are handy for fast retrieval to pull yourself across the ice to safety. The DNR reports that in the Southwest Lower Peninsula anglers are out on most of the inland lakes and catching bluegill and crappie. The large lakes still have areas with marginal ice conditions. Anglers will need to check the ice as you head out. Save your seat for the Great Lakes Conference; registration is now open for the 2019 Great Lakes Conference – attend to learn about key Great Lakes issues including fisheries history, Asian Carp prevention, the cultural and ecologic significance of wild rice, best management practices in the Lake Erie Basin, water restoration efforts and Great Lakes Wildlife. The event is Tuesday, March 5, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kellogg Center Auditorium, in East Lansing. The cost is $15.00 in advance if paid by March 1 and $20.00 at the door. The conference is supported by the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan State University, Michigan Sea Grant and other partners . Hunting Kids of all ages are invited to attend the U.P. Trappers Association’s 14th annual Midwinter Trappers Workshop on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Hermansville Community Center in Menominee County. This annual event has helped many hundreds of kids decide if they would like to become trappers, and if so, how to get started on the road to trapping success. Organizers said this year’s event is shaping up to be the best workshop ever. The first part of the program will teach youngsters how to track, identify and trap weasels. Later in the program each of the younger kids will get a weasel box and trap so they can go out and use their new-found knowledge. Next the group will be taught how to catch muskrats, mink and raccoons. The Association is anticipating a shipment of brand-ne, dog-proof raccoon traps. If they arrive on time, they will be given out to the older kids instead of weasel boxes. For more information on the event or about the Upper Peninsula Trappers, visit www.UPTrappers.com. The DNR conservation officers are partnering with the Michigan Snowmobile Association and others on a “Ride Right” safety campaign this winter. The conservation officers continued with safety and enforcement patrols over the weekend… a deadly weekend that claimed the lives of five snowmobilers in a single day. “This recent rash of deadly crashes illustrates the critical importance of snowmobile safety,” said Lt. Ryan Aho, a DNR district law supervisor in Marquette. “Many fatalities occur because of drinking and driving, high speed or carelessness, all of which are preventable actions.” To find out more about snowmobiling in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/ Snowmobiling.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Class registration is held this Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The class is taught by a certified NRA and RSO instructor and the cost of the class is $105. For more information or to be put on the list, please call (269) 621-3370.

Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on Feb. 7 and 9, 2019. Registration is on Tuesday, Feb. 5 between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. and cost of the class is $100. 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.

VB Conference Center to host Good Horsekeeping Expo The Good Horsekeeping Expo on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Van Buren Conference Center in Lawrence will offer something for both horse owners and non-owners. The expo runs from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is free to attend. Panel discussions ranging from “Pasture Management” to “Getting Your Horse Spring Ready” will begin at 10:30 a.m. and others will take place throughout the day. There will also be a special panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. for anyone interested in “Getting A Child Involved in 4-H Horse Project”. The day will also include an Equine Artist Showcase – featuring several Michigan artists. In addition to a wide variety of equine product and service vendors, the expo will also have ag equipment dealers and a gourmet chocolate company in attendance.

Milder temperatures and fresh snow last weekend brought out many people eager to enjoy snowshoeing on our snowshoe trails. Around here, the more snow, the better the snowshoeing. Snowshoes allow the weight of the user to be distributed more evenly over the snow so they stay above thick snow, not sink into it. This winter pastime was originally developed as a mode of transportation for people in snowy climates and allowed less energy to be spent slogging through the snow and more spent finding food. Snowshoeing began thousands of years ago in central Asia and was also practiced by indigenous people of North America before Europeans arrived. There are many different styles and sizes of snowshoes, depending on the landscape and resources available to make them. The modern snowshoes of today are made of metal, plastic, and synthetic materials. Traditionally snowshoes were made of wood and animal hide and tied together with rawhide lacings. Some traditional snowshoes were small for wooded areas and some were longer for more open areas. Traditional wooden and modern snowshoes are available for a 2-hour rental at Sarett at $5 for adults and $3 for children. Join us Sunday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. for a Winter Bird Outing with a Sarett naturalist. We will use a Sarett van to travel to where the birds are in the area. Call (269) 927-4832 to register.

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