03/22/2018 Outdoors

Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported that the fishing slowed down again with the return of cold temperatures and snow. Walleye, Pike, and Muskellunge season on the Upper Peninsula Great Lakes, inland waters, St. Mary’s River all the Lower Peninsula inland waters closed at midnight March 15. Walleye and Pike season is open all year on the Lower Peninsula Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River and the Detroit River. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports anglers with boats are trying Lake Michigan. They have mostly been catching Lake Trout. Pier fishing is slow, but anglers have caught Brown Trout, Steelhead, a few White Fish, but mostly Coho Salmon. Steelhead is being taken in the Kalamazoo River, St. Joseph River and the Black River in South Haven. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported anglers going out to catch panfish are light, but those that do have been successful. One angler reported catching their limit of Crappie on Pipestone Lake while another got his limit of Bluegills on Van Auken Lake. The Bluegills and Crappie in the local inland lakes have not come into the shallows yet but have moved in closer. All local lakes are seeing action. If you have not gotten a 2018 fishing license, remember the old one expires on March 31, so be sure to get the new one.

Overall, Coho Salmon and Brown Trout fishing was picking up in the waters south of St. Joseph. Most of the action came when trolling along the beach but some anglers were going out to 200 feet when the weather allowed. On the St. Joseph River Steelhead action was good as the fish ladders are open and Steelhead could be seen. Boat anglers were doing the best, but shore anglers caught a few. Kalamazoo River is still a bit high, but anglers have caught Steelhead and Walleye up near the Allegan Dam. Michigan’s numerous piers and breakwalls offer great fishing opportunities throughout the year. Anglers often participate in this activity to target a variety of species, with Trout and Salmon being two of the most popular. If you decide to partake in this type of fishing you’ll need a high-quality rod and reel. Technique-wise you’ll want to vary the depth and speed of your retrieves and consider fan-casting as opposed to casting perpendicular to the pier/breakwall. There are lots of bait options to consider, including spawn bags with Steelhead, trout or salmon eggs, live alewives, or night crawlers. You’ll also want a long-handled net to aid in landing your catch. As always, take plenty of safety precautions when fishing piers and breakwalls. Michigan’s hand netting season opened March 1 and closes May 31. The dip netting season opened March 20 and also closes on May 31. Visit www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests for full details. For those interested in dipping for smelt later this spring, visit the DNR’s smelt dipping and fishing opportunities page online.

The DNR will offer two Steelhead Clinics, one on March 24 and one on April 7. You must register for this two-day class that costs $40 and includes lunch Saturday some tackle and instruction. The program will be held at the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center in Cadillac. To learn more about the program, visit www.michigan.gov/huntfishcenter. Boaters are reminded to get your boat registered with the Michigan Secretary of State. Registrations expire on March 31 in the third year of issuance. Registration can be renewed online, by mail or in person. The DNR urges boaters to attend a safety class. If born after June 30, 1996, and most personal watercraft operators must have a boater education safety certificate. Michigan’s boating law administrator, 1st Lt. Tom Wanless encourages all boaters, regardless of age or experience, to take a safety class. For more information, look at the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/ boating.


The DNR will offer a spring turkey hunting clinic at Waterloo Recreation Area located in Chelsea on Saturday, March 31, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The cost is $20 and includes lunch; registration is required by March 23. For more information, contact park interpreter Katie McGlashen at 734-475-3170. The DNR Outdoor Skills Academy offers in-depth, expert instruction, gear and hands-on learning for a range of outdoor activities at locations around the state. The DNR will also offer a turkey hunting clinic at the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center in Cadillac on Saturday, March 31. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/huntfishcenter.

DNR conservation officers remind new hunters that it is not too early to sign up for safety classes. All first-time hunters born on or after January 1, 1960, must successfully complete a hunting safety course. Visit www.michigan.gov/huntereducation for more information on hunter education and to find a class near you. The DNR announced the winners of the 2017 Consumers Energy-sponsored Wetland Wonders Challenge. Challenge grand-prize winner Steve Bartlett of Midland, took home a War Eagle boat, motor and trailer and a “golden ticket” good for one non-reserved, first-choice pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area for the 2018-19 season. Gene Tornow of Center Line, Ben Harris of Saginaw, Daniel Sabourin of Frankenmuth, Scott Irwin of Saint Clair, Jacob Stevens of Grand Rapids and John Bismack of Oakland Township also won a “golden ticket” along with a prize waterfowl hunting package worth approximately $1,500

TEC Barn Team in need of  volunteers

Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Watervliet is in need of members for their Barn Team. They have several openings, for either the a.m. or p.m. shifts, to provide the daily care of their horses. Time commitment may only require 1-2 hours once a week. Time is on a volunteer basis. For those who cannot commit to two hours a week, subs are always needed to fill time slots as they come up. If interested please contact Lynn Pica at lynnpica@yahoo.com, or text her at 269-861-6886. The TEC barn is located at 615 N. M-140, Watervliet.