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02-07-2019 Outdoors

Fishing Last week’s weather kept even the hardiest anglers indoors. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) apologized for not putting out a fishing report last week, all State of Michigan offices being closed due to the weather. As this past weekend approached and the temperatures began to rise and melt the huge amount of snow in the area, ice fishing went into high gear.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported excellent catches were being taken on all inland lakes in the area. Bluegills, crappie and perch were plentiful and making anglers happy. Pike anglers were getting good catches too. The warm-up put a layer of water on the ice, but the ice was still good, just slippery. Use care going out on the lakes and check with your spud before putting a foot down in an area. The cooler temperatures moving in should firm up the ice again. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven echoed the conditions of inland lakes in the area around him. Good ice, good catches of panfish once most of the snow was gone. He also cautioned that care should be taken when going out on the ice after the cool down this week. Be safe rather than sorry. Lake Michigan is iced over far enough out that fishing from the piers or shores in South Haven cannot be done. The bluegill catch on Swan Lake has been really good. The Black River had quite a bit of ice so no steelhead were being taken, but the St. Joseph and Kalamazoo rivers were both open in spots and some steelhead were being taken.

The DNR’s 2018 fall fish-stocking totals are in. From September through December fisheries crews stocked nine different species, more than 1.1 million fish that weighed in at over 17 tons. These fish were stocked at 153 different locations throughout Michigan and – when combined with spring and summer efforts – bring the total number of fish stocked last year to more than 22 million. Species stocked this fall included Atlantic Salmon, Channel Catfish, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Coho Salmon, Rainbow Trout (Eagle Lake and Michigan strain Steelhead), Lake Sturgeon, Walleye and Muskellunge (northern and Great Lakes strains). You can see a breakdown of which state hatchery stocked which fish at Wondering if any fish were stocked in your favorite spots? Visit the DNR’s fish stocking database at For more information, contact Steve Vanderlaan at 269-668-2696 or Elyse Walter at 517-284-5839.

Hunting Hunters, finish gathering those punches for the Consumers Energy sponsored Wetland Wonders Challenge, then turn in or mail in your punch cards. The contest runs through February 14. Fennville Farm will have staff available to validate and collect punch cards during its hunting draws until February 14. Cards with three or more punches can be mailed to DNR Detroit Metro Customer Service Center, Attn. Holly Vaughn, 1801 Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207. Punch cards must be received by February 22. Seven lucky winners will be chosen. All seven winners will take home a “golden ticket”, good for one first-choice pick at a managed waterfowl area drawing (non-reserved) for the 2019-20 waterfowl hunting season. In addition, winners will receive a $500 gift card for waterfowl hunting gear and a Zink Custom duck call. Contest partner Michigan United Conservation Clubs will select winners on March 1. Those who hunt at all seven areas will automatically win a prize. For more information, visit and for questions, contact Holly Vaughn at 313-396-6863.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), whether you’re talking about confirmed cases or just the threat of finding a CWD positive deer, is a reality across much of the state’s hunting landscape. Now that CWD is confirmed in nine Michigan counties, the DNR is working to build awareness among non-hunters too. The department recently overhauled its CWD website: adding information for non-hunters, especially landowners and wildlife watchers, and elevating and expanding other information and resources that non-hunters might be interested in, such as the wildlife observation tool to report a sick deer, signs and symptoms, and maps showing CWD distribution and testing results. They also expanded and organized FAQs to make it easier for people to sort and find information relevant to them. They rearranged the website content based on what people most often are searching for on the site. Hunters also should be aware that after January 31, 2019, no baiting for feeding is allowed in the Lower Peninsula.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on Saturday, February 9, 2019. 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 February 7 and 9, 2019. 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.

“Windmill Sails and Millers Tales” in South Haven Feb. 13 The Michigan Maritime Museum’s Maritime Lecture Series will continue Wednesday, Feb. 13 featuring presenter Alisa Crawford, America’s first Dutch certified miller, who operates the De Zwaan Windmill in Holland, Michigan. Find out what it takes to run a real working windmill by someone who knows it well. Crawford will share the behind the scenes stories from a miller’s perspective and will also discuss the crossovers to sailing vessels, another important part of Dutch culture and heritage. Alisa Crawford has been working in mills since the age of 17. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Kalamazoo College and a master’s degree from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in History Museum Studies. In 2002, she returned to her love of mills by joining the staff of Windmill Island in Holland. In 2006, she began her training in the Netherlands and in September of 2007, became the first overseas student to become a Dutch certified miller. She continues to blaze a trail that is all her own. The lecture will take place from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13. For more information, contact the Museum at 269-637-8078 ext. 3.

The recent snowfalls have afforded us a glimpse into the travels of the tinier mammals of the forest. In deep snow, the mice and voles move around unseen beneath the surface. They create a labyrinth of tunnels by pushing through the pellets (or snow BBs as we like to call them) that form when the earth’s warmth slightly melts the snow. In this subnivean environment they have plenty of food (seeds that fell from the autumn plants) and water (snow melted by earth heat). However, they lack a continuous supply of fresh air. To remedy this situation they construct air tunnels to the surface. Many times they are near a plant stem, but in a field they are randomly placed. Occasionally the tiny rodents will run from one surface hole to another. Voles leave a left, right, left, right pattern similar to ours. Mice leave a typical bounding pattern: two footprints right next to each other, then another set. Mice tracks also have a dashed line between the tracks caused by the dragging of their tail.

Junior Naturalist Club meets on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 10 a.m. to noon for kids ages 7-12 who are really interested in nature. Cost is $6.

Join Sarett Director and Naturalist Dianne Braybrook as she recounts her recent experiences to South Africa on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 3 p.m. Cost is $5 for nonmembers.


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