Fishing The Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that a 2019 Michigan fishing license is required by April 1. While the calendar says spring is here, the weather is taking its time with the transition. Ice fishing continues to the north, but caution needs to be used. Open-water fishing can be found to the south. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported a few boats were going out on Lake Michigan but staying in the shallows because there is still ice in the lake. They have reported some nice numbers of coho being taken with a few brown trout and steelhead. South Haven pier fishing was slow, but anglers got a few coho and steelhead. Captain Kenny was very lucky and caught a lone perch off the pier. He said he should be putting his boat out the end of April as many others will. The Black River and Kalamazoo River are producing nice numbers of steelhead and suckers. The Allegan Dam has had some great catches. He has not heard about any inland fishing, but assumes without the ice, the panfish bite will be improving with the weather. Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported the panfish bite is slow and crappie is biting like they do in the winter under the ice. Steelheads have been reported in the Paw Paw River. Ellinee is still holding its 20% off ice fishing equipment sale. Fishermen can take advantage of the 20% off by mentioning this note in the Tri-City Record. Boat anglers that are fishing the shallows of Lake Michigan are getting good catches of coho. Reports are good at New Buffalo, St Joseph, South Haven, Saugatuck, Grand Haven and Grand Rapids. Pier anglers at St. Joseph are catching steelheads and a few coho. The St. Joseph River is producing steelheads and suckers. Steelheads are moving quickly through the ladders, and good catches were reported below the Berrien Springs Dam. The camera at the fish ladder is up and running and can be viewed at https://paddleandpole.com/berrien-springs-fish-cam. The DNR reminds anglers that if they haven’t gotten a new 2019 fishing license, they can purchase it online or at a retailer near them. There are several license options available to residents and non-residents. A resident annual license is $26; a resident senior annual license (65 and older) $11; non-resident annual license, $76; a 24-hour license $10; a 72-hour license $30; resident hunt/fish combo – $76; a senior resident hunt/fish combo – $43 and a non-resident hunt/fish combo, $266. For more information on Michigan fishing and hunting licenses, visit Michigan.gov/DNR. Each spring an estimated 3.5 million-plus walleye push up the Detroit River from Lake Erie to spawn. To better accommodate boaters who want to experience the spring walleye run, William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor along the Detroit riverfront is preparing to open a month early, April 1-30. It costs $200 to reserve a harbor slip for the month, or $20 per day. Due to the early opening, amenities typically available during the regular season will not be available. The fee covers only the cost of docking vessels. No trailers will be allowed in the parking lot. There are 52 slips available. For more information contact Karis Floyd at 313-821-9844. Hunting Hunters, get ready for turkey hunting season with the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy class at the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center in Cadillac on Saturday, April 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The introduction to turkey hunting will cover law, habitat, gear, calling and much more. Cost is $30 and covers lunch and door prizes. Contact Ed Shaw at 231-779-1321. Turkey Tracts are unique turkey hunting areas across the Lower Peninsula that provide great hunting opportunities for a variety of hunters including youth, adults new to the sport and seniors. The Holly Turkey Tract – over 300 acres with many miles of hunter walking trails, located on the Holly State Recreation Area off Jossman Road – will be open to turkey hunting this spring. Additional locations are available at Allegan, Barry and Flat River state game areas. The official opening is Saturday, April 13. Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on April 12 and 15, 2019. Registration is on April 10, 2019, between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. and 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. Sportsmen’s Dinner April 13 in Watervliet Midway Baptist Church between Watervliet and Coloma will hold their annual Sportsmen’s Dinner on Saturday, April 13. Doors will open at 3:30 and dinner will be served at 5:00 p.m. There will be displays of outdoor gear, fishing, wildlife mounts, archery and taxidermy. Over $1,400 worth of door prizes will be given away. Tickets will be handed out at the food line, and you must be present to win. There will be a fish fry on site and a featured speaker, Cam Woolford, a fishing enthusiast who has fished Europe, Central America and South America. There is no cost, but donations will be accepted to help with speaker expenses. Please register online at www.midwayministries.org/sportsman or call 269-463-3195 with your reservations and what dish you will bring to pass. Shed Hunt Trials in Coloma Saturday & Sunday On April 6 and 7 ECHO Dog Training Club of Buchanan will hold two Shed Hunt Trials at the Coloma Rod and Gun Club (CRGC) located at 6145 Angling Road. The trials start at 9:00 a.m. both days and will run until around 3:00 p.m. Almost 30 dogs are pre-entered to compete each day, including some of the top dogs in the sport. A United Kennel Club sanctioned dog sport, shed hunt requires the dog to hunt for deer antlers by scent in an area the size of a football field. The five “sheds” are hidden on either a field or a forest course and the dog has 15 minutes to search them out and bring them back to the handler. ECHO has conducted two shed hunt classes since last summer to help train dogs and their handlers in the sport, in addition to the obedience, rally, agility and nosework classes that they routinely offer at their Buchanan facility. CRGC volunteered the use of its approximately 80 acre facility to support this family friendly sport, which offers the opportunity for both adults and children to participate. Spectators are welcome, although dogs that are not entered in the event are not allowed on the grounds. All of the CRGC ranges, which include pistol, archery, 3D archery, and a 300-yard rifle range, will be shut down while the event is in progress to ensure the safety of the dogs, handlers and spectators. Spectators are welcome both days. Those that attend Sunday morning will have not only the opportunity to watch some impressive shed hunt dogs, but also be able to purchase a great hot breakfast that the CRGC members cook to order every Sunday morning from 8:00 until 12:00. For more information about the shed hunt trials, contact Mary Beth Depuydt at 269-470-6649.
Tree buds demonstrate that nature is not a procrastinator. Last summer, when the tree completed its growth for that year, it started preparing for the following year by producing new leaves and flowers. Because these leaves and flowers wouldn’t be needed until spring, they were tightly folded and specialized scales grew over them. The scales protect the bud from drying out during the winter. As spring progresses, the buds swell and push the scales apart. About half of the prepared buds will open; the others will remain as reserves. If, after a year or two, a bud never opened, it will shrivel and fall off. As you are walking in your yard (or your favorite nature center) take a closer look at these marvels of nature. Support the Nature Center by running or walking in the Spring Stampede 5K on our trails this Saturday, April 6 at 9 a.m.! Walk-ins are welcome and can sign up the day of the race. The cost is $25/person and includes eligibility for door prizes and refreshments after the race! Kids Fun Run 1-mile race starts at 8:30 a.m. and is $1 to participate. Race registration and race number pick-up begins at 7:30. Call the Nature Center at 269-927-4832 with any questions.