The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers that the 2017 fishing licenses went on sale starting March 1. This gives anglers one month to purchase their new licenses before they are required on April 1. Be sure to hold onto your current copy of the Michigan Fishing Guide as it covers the rules and regulations for both 2016 and 2017.
Anglers are also reminded to make sure that their boat registration is up to date. All watercraft, unless exempt, must be registered with the Michigan Secretary of State. Registrations expire March 31 in the third year of issuance. Boaters can register their watercraft online, by mail or in person at the Secretary of State. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/boating.
Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported fishing has slowed with the cooler temperatures. The Black River, Kalamazoo River and St. Joseph River are running high, but anglers are still catching Steelhead.
Anglers trolling along the shore by Saugatuck and Grand Haven have been catching Coho, Steelhead and the occasional Brown Trout. Most are using spawn bags, but also are using skein, wax worms or wigglers. Pier fishing is slow.
Ellinee Bait and Tackle reported fishing slow with the cooler weather. Anglers are catching Steelhead in the Paw Paw River and at Watervliet. St. Joseph boat and pier anglers have been catching Coho, Steelhead and Brown Trout.
All the fish ladders are now open on the St. Joseph River. Steelhead fishing continued to be good, and the bite is better when the water is warming, so the warmer days are the best.
The DNR reminds anglers about the netting season dates: The hand netting season opened March 1 and closes May 31. The dip netting season opens on Monday, March 20 and also closes May 31.
The following species can be taken during both seasons; bowfin, carp, goldfish, gizzard shad, longnose gar, smelt and suckers. Waters open to hand netting include all Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River and the St. Marys River including all tributaries to those waters from the mouth to half-mile upstream. Waters open to dip netting include all Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula streams, except Designated Trout Streams.
Using seines, hand nets or dip nets for minnows is allowed all year on all waters (except Designated Trout Streams and those waters closed to minnow harvest), while cast nets can be used for alewives, minnows, smelt and gizzard shad all year on the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River and the St. Marys River.
Spring Wild Turkey Hunt drawing results were posted online March 6. They can be found at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings. Any leftover licenses will go on sale for applicants that were not successful on March 13, 10:00 a.m. Any licenses left will be sold over the counter on March 20, at 10:00 a.m. to any hunter, even if they did not put in an application.
The DNR announced the winners of the 2016 Consumers Energy sponsored Wetland Wonders Challenge. They are: Robert J. Dick of Holland, Matthew Gross of Auburn, John Krohn of Lansing, Zachary Pellow of Petersburg, Alek Poirier of Essexville, Bruce E. Schuster of Saginaw, and Mike Scott of Belleville. The seven lucky winners each will receive prize packages worth approximately $1,500 including a waterfowl 12-gauge camouflage shotgun, custom Zink duck and goose calls, premium Avian X duck and goose decoys, other waterfowl hunting accessories, and a “Golden Ticket” good for one non-reserved first-choice pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area for the 2017-2018 season.
To learn more about the wetlands and programs, visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders.
Coloma Rod & Gun Club
The Coloma Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW class on March 11. The class is taught by a certified NRA and RSO instructor and the cost of the class is $100.00. For more information or to be put on the list, call 269-621-3370.
Watervliet Rod & Gun Club
The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on March 16 and March 19. Registration is on March 14 between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. 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.
“The Big Tree Hike”, a self-guided walk, makes its debut this week. It will highlight some of Sarett’s larger tree specimens. One of these is an unusually large musclewood tree.
The smooth, longitudinal ridges on the trunk of younger trees resemble flexed muscles. As the tree ages the bark thickens somewhat so the resemblance is not quite as obvious.
The name musclewood also speaks to the hardness of the wood. Pioneers used it to fashion tool handles, levers and wood-splitting wedges. Its use for ox yokes led to another common name, American hornbeam. This very dense wood rots quickly when the tree dies and falls onto the soil. It must be especially tasty to decomposers.
A live tree’s wood is not particularly tasty. Desperately hungry deer may chew on twigs. Otherwise, it is not browsed. Birds and squirrels like the buds, flowers and seeds.
Make a wooden maple syrup jar lid on March 11 at 1:00 p.m. in Sarett’s woodshop. Fee is $18 (includes program, woodshop instruction with materials, and a 4-oz. jar of maple syrup). You MUST pre-register; space is limited.
Another of Sarett’s popular Trivia Nights takes place on March 18 at 7:00 p.m. Teams of 10 for $100 or individuals for $10. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for teams to share snacks. You MUST pre-register.
Please call (269) 927-4832 to register for programs.