The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) weekly report reminds anglers that as of last Saturday, April 1 all anglers 17 years of age or older will be required to have a 2017 fishing license. Be sure to hang on to the current fishing guide that covers the regulations for both 2016 and 2017 or check out the latest version by visiting www.michigan.gov/fishingguide.
The DNR said those looking for Steelhead should be seeing some activity in certain parts of the state while other areas are proving the season has shifted as boats are starting to head out.
To buy this year’s fishing license which is valid until March 31, 2018, there are two ways in which to purchase, either buy a Michigan license at your local license retailer and make a purchase in person, or use the E-License system to buy a license online 24 hours a day 7 days a week, just visit www.mdnrelicense.com to get started. For additional information on licenses in Michigan including requirements, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.
Ellinee Bait & Tackle reported weekend panfishing was in high gear. Most inland lakes produced lots of Bluegill and Crappie. Rivers are too high and muddy for fishing and this week promised rain and snow.
Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters, out of South Haven, reported that boat anglers were still catching Coho, and trout, in shallow waters 25-30 feet deep in the top 20 feet. The Black River is running high and dirty, not encouraging anglers. Anglers on the pier fishing in the lake water are catching Steelhead. Inland lake fishing has been slow but some nice Crappie has been caught.
The Kalamazoo River is flowing higher than average but good numbers of Steelhead were caught at the Allegan Dam. Those using crawlers caught suckers. Saint Joseph River anglers reported Steelhead running through the Berrien Springs fish ladder in high numbers at the end of March, so there should be good numbers of fish throughout the system. Fish were also in the ladders at Buchanan and Niles.
The DNR has expanded its popular Outdoor Skills Academy, which began at the DNR’s Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center in Cadillac, to other locations around the state, both beginners and those with more experience are welcome. Most of the classes are designed for adults, youth ages 16 and older and children over 10 who are accompanied by an adult.
Coming up Saturday, April 15, Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling will hold a fly-tying workshop. The Au Sable River runs through Hartwick Pines and what better place to learn to tie your own flies. Whether someone has tied flies before or are a beginner, these instructors will teach the best fly-tying techniques, and which materials are best for landing those elusive trout. For more information and to register for Outdoor Skills Academy classes, visit www.michigan.gov/outdoorskills.
The DNR staff soon will be collecting Steelhead eggs at the Little Manistee River weir in Stronach (Manistee County). Since 1968, the Little Manistee River weir has served as the sole source of Steelhead eggs for fish hatcheries in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. Yearling Steelhead produced through hatchery operations are stocked in select tributaries for all the great lakes.
The facility is open to the public for up close viewing during egg-take operations. Egg taking scheduling information is available from the Little Manistee River hotline at 231-775-9727, ext. 6072.
The DNR has announced the 2016 results from its Master Angler program, this program in place since 1973, recognizes large fish caught by recreational anglers. This past year 1,807 anglers representing 24 states and the countries of Canada and Austria submitted catches that were recognized as master angler fish. That is an increase from the 1,542 fish in 2015 and nearly doubles the 987 fish recognized in 2014.
Of the entries accepted, 1,078 were in the catch-and-keep category, while 729 were in the catch-and-release category, a total of 241 received certificates for placing in the top five for both categories. The most popular entries were for 201 Bluegills, 101 Smallmouth Bass, 93 Crappie, 90 Common Carp, 89 Pumpkinseed Sunfish, 88 Walleye, 87 Freshwater Drum, 75 Chanel Catfish, and 73 Rock Bass.
Submissions already are being accepted for the 2017 Master Angler program, and will be until January 10, 2018. To download an application, visit www.michigan.gov/masterangler.
A DNR Outdoor Skills Academy will present a Spring Turkey Hunting Clinic at Eddy Discovery Center (Waterloo Recreation Area) in Chelsea on Saturday, April 8. Join DNR Conservation Officer Dan Prince for a broad look at the basics of hunter safety, shotgun patterning, tactics and calling. Prince will also cover decoys, blinds, and other tricks of a successful hunt. Cost is $20 and includes lunch for ages 16 and older (ages 10-15 with an accompany