Fishing The Department of Natural Resources, (DNR) reported that very few updates on fishing have come in this past week as few anglers were out. Rain and warm temperatures have many of the rivers at or above flood stage. Anglers should avoid the rivers until water levels recede. In the Southwest Lower Peninsula inland lakes in the area have taken a hit after the rain and warm temperatures. Rivers in the area are running high and fast and anglers might want to think about getting the spring and summer gear ready to go. Both Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma and Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported little fishing was going on in our area due to flooding conditions and ice melt. River fishing should pick up as flood waters recede and you can look for fish near the dams when it does. It looks like open water fishing on local lakes has arrived, so get those boats out there. Try your hand at catching a channel catfish this year. They are capable of living more than 15 years, and individuals up to 24 years of age have been reported. In productive waters, channel catfish often grow to more than 30 inches and weigh more than 10 pounds. The current state record channel catfish weighed 40 pounds. Channel catfish live in a diverse array of habitats, including four of the five Great Lakes (Lake Superior excluded), inland lakes and medium to large rivers. They are most common in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula. In rivers, young channel catfish generally are found in shallow riffles, while adults typically inhabit deep pools with log jams or rocks for cover during the day and move into shallow water at night. The best fishing periods for channel catfish are from dusk until midnight or when water levels are rising (i.e., after rains have washed food into the lake or stream).
Hunting Hunters that put in applications for the Spring Wild Turkey Hunt can see the drawing results posted online, Monday March 5 at www.michigan.gov/turkey. Leftover licenses go on sale at 10:00 a.m. March 12 for unsuccessful applicants only and over-the-counter sales for anyone on March 19. Hunters are reminded that squirrel season ended Thursday, March 1. Reminder for fur harvesting season: The last date to purchase a 2017 base license was February 28. The 2017 fur harvester licenses are valid May 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018. A 2017 base license is required to purchase a 2017 fur harvester license. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/trapping. No matter where you are in Michigan you can find public hunting/trapping land with MI-HUNT. This interactive map application, which now works on mobile devices, contains the most up-to-date information to help you plan your next hunting trip. MI-HUNT includes both public hunting land and private land open to the public for hunting. The DNR is seeking instructors for its off-road-vehicle (ORV) safety education program. This volunteer opportunity allows ORV enthusiasts to pass along their love and knowledge of the sport to new riders, while teaching them safe and responsible ORV operating skills for an enjoyable, safe riding experience. Applications are available by calling 517-284-6055. A background check will be conducted once a completed application is submitted. Successful applicants then will be contacted to schedule their attendance at one of the mandatory instructor academies. The DNR is seeking volunteers throughout the state to assist with its annual frog and toad survey, an effort that helps biologists monitor frog and toad abundance and distribution in the state. Declining populations of frogs, toads and other amphibians have been documented worldwide since the 1980s. Studies suggest amphibians are disappearing due to habitat loss, pollution, disease and collection. Michigan is the second longest running such survey in the country, after Wisconsin’s. Those interested in volunteering should contact Lori Sargent at 517-284-6216. More information on the frog and toad survey and other projects supported by the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Fund is available at www.michigan.gov/wildlife.
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.
Annual Tree and Shrub Seedlings Sale The Berrien County Conservation District would like to announce that orders are being accepted for their Annual Tree and Shrub spring fund-raiser sale. A variety of bare root seedlings of evergreens, deciduous trees, shrubs, and fruit trees are being offered. Rain barrels and composters are also available. Orders may be placed on-line at www.berriencd.org or, order forms may be obtained from the office at 3334 Edgewood Road, Berrien Springs, printed from the website, or you may request one to be mailed by calling at 269-471-9111 ext. 3. Orders are due by April 6. Quantities are limited.
Michigan Spring Peach Meeting Tues., March 13 Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Peach Sponsors will host the annual Michigan Spring Peach Meeting March 13, 2018 at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center, 1791 Hillandale Road, Benton Harbor. This is a one day meeting to learn about all aspects of peaches and peach growing. Attendees will be eligible for credits toward their recertification of their Michigan pesticide applicators license. Deadline for early registration is Monday, March 5. Early registration is $45 per person or $35 for current Michigan Peach Sponsor members, with catered lunch, coffee breaks and handouts included. Registrations mailed after March 5 or at the door are $5 more per person. Registration information is available online at: msue.anr.msu.edu/news/ michigan_spring_peach_meeting_scheduled. Registration at the door is payable with check, money order or cash. Credit cards will not be accepted. Registration, coffee and socializing begin at 8:00 a.m. with the program starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m. For additional meeting information contact Dr. Bill Shane at 269-944-1477 ext. 205, 269-208-1652, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Record flooding around Berrien County and the state of Michigan has affected many people, their homes and businesses. Here on Sarett’s property located along the Paw Paw River Valley, the Paw Paw River and the surrounding creeks and wetlands are very flooded. The Nature Center building and many of our trails are located in the upland forests and were not affected by the record flooding. The trails and boardwalks on the wetland trails, however, are still submerged under water.
While it does mean some trails are inaccessible, the flooding of the wetlands, although not to this extent, is common with the spring thaw and rains every year. The wetland absorbs the access water and is doing its job of reducing the flooding of the Paw Paw River. Wetland areas are lower than the areas they drain and collect the overflow of water. They act like a giant sponge, absorbing the water. The multitude of plants in wetlands helps slow the overflow water down as it slowly is absorbed into the groundwater. This groundwater will eventually make its way back to the river and be much cleaner, after passing through roots of wetland plants filtering out pollutants. Join us for Trivia Night at the Nature Center on Saturday, March 10 at 7 p.m. Cost is $10/person or $100 for a full table. Reserve a spot by calling 269-927-4832.