Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported that while the extremely cold weather had slowed the bite, anglers are hoping this past week’s warm-up will improve fishing. Walleye and pike season on the Upper Peninsula Great Lakes, the St. Mary’s River and inland lakes as well as all the Lower Peninsula inland waters will close at midnight on March 15.
The ice on Lake Michigan by South Haven has kept any anglers from fishing on the lake or off the piers. The ice is breaking up, but it will take awhile for it to clear out. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported slow but good steelhead fishing on the Kalamazoo River and the St. Joseph River. The Black River being narrower and slower has frozen over right now, but should start opening up as the temperature rises. Inland lakes in the South Haven area mostly have good ice now, but anglers must be careful. The bite has been slow but steady with good catches of panfish from Eagle Lake, Swan Lake, and Duck Lake in the area.
Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports good fishing on the inland lakes. Some nice bluegill and crappie catches are being taken. The ice on most inland lakes in the area is from five to seven inches thick yet care has to be taken in getting to your spot. Use of a spud to check the ice is recommended. Right now, at the bait and tackle shop, Tom said anyone coming in and asking for a 20% discount on winter equipment will get it if they say they saw it in the Tri-City Record.
In Allegan County, when anglers could find the fish, they would get near limit catches of panfish on several inland lakes including Duck Lake and Swan Lake. Again, use caution on the ice. Bristol Lake in Barry County was producing a fair to good number of panfish. On Muskegon Lake anglers will need to use caution as the lake has had some ice issues. There is not much snow on the ice however there were some bad spots where the ice might only be a couple inches thick. Foot traffic is opposed to machines would be wise and anyone venturing out should be sure to take a spud to check the ice ahead of them. Perch were caught on the west side in 45 feet and in the bays and marinas in as shallow as 10 feet. Steelhead fishing on the Muskegon River was slow. Anglers heading out on White Lake need to use caution as a couple anglers went through the ice and had to be rescued. Hand-netting season opened March 1 while dip-netting season starts on Wednesday, March 20. Both seasons close on May 31, 2019. A Michigan fishing license is required. The following species can be taken during both seasons: bowfin, carp, gizzard shad, goldfish, 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. Mary’s River, including all tributaries to those waters from the mouth to a half-mile upstream. Waters open to dip netting include all Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula streams except designated trout streams and other streams, as noted. For full season details, check the 2018 or 2019 Michigan Fishing Guide. For those interested in dipping for smelt later this spring, visit the DNR’s smelt dipping and fishing opportunities webpage. Questions? Contact Christian LeSage, 517-284-5830.
Hunting Spring Turkey drawing results were posted on March 4, 2019. Visit www.michigan.gov/turkey to find list of winners. Please remember that only one spring turkey hunting license may be purchased. Any licenses that remain were available to unsuccessful applicants for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis beginning March 11. Any limited-quota licenses that remain as of March 18 at 10:00 a.m. may be purchased by any hunter, including those who did not apply for a spring turkey license. Hunt 0234 licenses are sold as leftover licenses and are available for purchase throughout the spring turkey hunting season.
This time of year, it is not uncommon to hear about more coyote sightings. That’s because coyotes are more visible during their breeding season (January to March), as well as in the spring and summer months when they’re caring for pups. Coyotes are extremely adaptable and have learned to survive in urban landscapes throughout Michigan. When food sources are available – things like trash bins, bird feeders, and pet food – coyotes may become more comfortable around people. To minimize potential conflicts and protect your small pets, remove the temptations right away. And never try to intentionally feed or try to tame a coyote: leave wildlife in the wild. Coyote hunting is open year-round. Michigan residents need a valid base license to hunt them. See the current-year Fur Harvester Digest for coyote hunting and trapping regulations. If you have questions, contact Hannah Schauer at 517-388-9678.
Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod and Gun Club offers classes for a Hunter Safety Course including archery with Tom Fogarty. For more information this DNR recognized and approved instructional course, call Tom Fogarty at 269-325-2019. For more information on CPL classes or Hunter Safety, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.colomarodandgunclub.com. Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on March 14 and 17, 2019. The 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.
Cub Pack 602 Food Drive; donate & receive free breakfast Mar. 16 On Saturday, March 16, 2019 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Watervliet Cub Scout Pack 602 is conducting a food drive at Coloma Rod & Gun Club, 6145 Angling Road. Bring a donation of non-perishable food items and receive a FREE Pancake, Sausage, & Fruit Breakfast. All items collected will be given to the Living Water Food Pantry operated by Watervliet Free Methodist Church for distribution to area residents in need. For anyone wishing to donate to this community food drive but unable to attend the breakfast please contact den leaders Caitlin Baltazar at 269-369-1153 or Tasha Baumeister at 269-259-2462. Support your local scouts and your community.
If you hear the loud, piercing call of a red-tailed hawk, be sure to check twice that you aren’t being tricked by a blue jay. Blue jays, among other bird species, are great at mimicking sounds, particularly other bird sounds. Researchers think they may be making these fake hawk calls for a variety of reasons. One way the jay may use the call to its advantage is that it may cause other birds to abandon their nests, fearing a hawk, while giving the blue jay the opportunity to steal and eat the eggs or young in the nest. Blue jays aren’t the only good mimickers. The whole bird family of mimidae, including mockingbirds and thrushes, are known to sing long series of complex phrases, often repeating phrases and calls of other species. The Northern Mockingbird has a repertoire of 150 to 300 phases and repeats them the same way every time. This may be used for individual recognition within the species and attracting a mate. I’ve heard the mimicry skills of a pet European starling firsthand, saying the phrases, “Hey buddy, I’m a pretty bird,” and even replicating the sounds of a cat’s meow. Come out to join Sarett naturalists on Sunday, March 17 from 2 – 4 p.m. for a spring trail clean-up and workday as we prepare for the hiking season! Work clothes, boots, and gloves are recommended.