02-22-2018 Outdoors

Fishing The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers that the mandatory ice shanty removal dates are approaching. Regardless of the date, shanties must be removed as soon as the ice is unable to safely support them. Following the mandatory removal date, ice shanties still may be used but must be removed daily from the ice. Mandatory removal dates are as follows: Lake St. Clair-must be removed by sunset Sunday, February 28; counties in the southern Lower Peninsula, must be removed by midnight Thursday, March 1; in the northern Lower Peninsula the deadline is midnight Thursday, March 16; on Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters, the deadline is midnight Thursday, March 15; and for all Upper Peninsula counties, it is midnight Saturday, March 31. Shanty owners whose structures fall through the ice are subject to penalties of up to 30 days in jail, fines of $100 to $500, or both. If a shanty is removed by a government agency, the court can require the owner to reimburse that agency for an amount of up to three times the cost of removal. For more information on Michigan’s ice fishing regulations and shanty removal dates, check out the 2017 Michigan Fishing Guide. The DNR reports that overall the inland lakes have some ice, and now slush because of all the snow. The warm up this week has weakened the ice further. The bite was good in the evening just before dark for Bluegill and Crappie using wax worms and tear drops. The pike action was good for those using tip-ups or spearing. Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports inland lake ice is mostly gone due to the warm up this week. Fishing will be poor until open water or another hard freeze. The fish are out there, it’s just the problem of getting to them. The St. Joseph River and the Kalamazoo River had frozen up during the cold spell, but the warmer temperatures this past week should help to open them up. Anglers have caught Steelhead during the warm ups on the St. Joseph River and anglers should look for Steelhead and Walleye up near the Allegan Dam on the Kalamazoo River. The DNR conservation officers remind individuals venturing onto the ice to use extreme caution as temperatures rise. The repetitive thawing and refreezing of ice in the spring weakens its integrity and decreases its ability to support additional weight. Deteriorating ice, water currents and high winds increase the probability of pressure cracks, which can leave an individual stranded on ice flows or at risk of falling through the ice. High’s Marine at 409 E. Delaware Street in Decatur will be holding Free Fishing Seminars on March 9 and March 10. March 9 at 7:00 p.m., Clear H2O Tackle answers questions about all the new gear and techniques while Gold Coast Fishing goes in-depth on Coho. On Saturday, March 10, at 10:00 a.m. learn about Bass fishing from the WMU Bass Fishing Team; how to fish local lakes, seasonal changes, patterns and success. Then at 12:00 noon, discover great Walleye locations and talk jigging and trolling with the West Michigan Walleye Club’s Sportsman of the Year. For further information, contact Ahminda or Brian at High’s Marine, 269-423-7065. The DNR has released a new five-year strategic plan that will guide future fisheries management activities. “Charting the Course: Fisheries Division’s Framework for Managing Aquatic Resources” expands on the DNR division’s 2013-2017 plan and can be found online at www.michigan.gov/fishing. This plan again focuses on five goals: Ensuring healthy aquatic ecosystems and sustainable fisheries; promoting effective communication, outreach and education; improving and building strategic resource partnerships; developing strategically focused assessment and decision support tools; and fostering efficient division operations.

Hunting Squirrel hunting, Fox and Gray (black phase included) will end next week on March 1, 2018. Red squirrel, ground squirrel, skunk, opossum, porcupine, weasel, woodchuck, feral swine, feral pigeons, starling and house sparrows may be taken year-round with a valid Michigan hunting license. Crow hunting season, cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare seasons do not close until March 31. Drawing results for the Spring Wild Turkey Application results will be posted online, March 5. Leftover licenses will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. March 12 for unsuccessful applicants only and on March 19 for over-the-counter sales.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on Saturday, March 10, 2018. Class registration is held on Sunday, March 4 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 $100. For more information or to be put on the list, please call (269) 621-3370.

Scientists need organization, especially when discussing the myriad of living things on earth. Carl Linnaeus developed a system based on the morphological characteristics (what something looks like) of the organisms, and all was well. However, the advent of DNA sequencing technology has provided new data that allows scientists to consider an organism’s evolutionary history. This information is revealing how closely (or not as closely as once believed) two species are related. Although the observable traits of two species could lead one to believe they are quite dissimilar from one another, a study of their genetic code may result in a different opinion. For example, scientists now classify birds as being related to crocodiles. Other animal classifications may change as more data becomes available. That will still take a while. The cost of analyzing the DNA of every living animal is unimaginable. Finding every living animal is another gigantic hurdle, especially considering that the majority of animals are tiny or microscopic. So, for now, scientists use two classification systems: one based on morphology and one based on ancestry. Learn about bluebirds on February 25 at 2:00 p.m. A Bluebird House Building Workshop will follow the presentation. Admission for the presentation only is $3 for adults, $1 for children. The Workshop fee is an additional $20 for each house. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. Please call (269) 927-4832 to register.

Registration now open for Lory’s Place Run, Walk, and Rock event

Runners, walkers, and other supporters are invited to register for the 14th A