GOOD DEED INDEED! Boy Scouts of Hartford’s Troop 196 were hard at work last weekend as they helped Mr. Harte with a major yard cleanup project. Scouts (from the left) Erick Blocker, Quinten Sharpe and Aiden Apreza are working towards their Citizenship in the Community merit badge says Troop Leader Stacey Blocker. The Scouts learned how such efforts bring people together and lift up the community.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that boat anglers are starting to head out and fish shallow waters in the southern Great Lakes. Most are targeting steelhead, coho and brown trout. Pier anglers are also out. There are fewer ice anglers as most are now gearing up for open water fishing. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported more boats are going out on Lake Michigan and catching plenty of coho, lake trout and even a few king salmon. The kings are running around 25 pounds right now. The South Haven pier anglers have been doing well with catches of coho also. Coho and steelhead are being caught in the Black River. The Kalamazoo River is producing plenty of steelhead, especially at the Allegan Dam and below the Calkins Dam. Not a lot of anglers are on the local inland lakes yet because of the action in the rivers, but the crappie and blue gills are biting. Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports excellent crappie fishing on Paw Paw Lake and the surrounding other inland lakes. The crappie are very deep and seem to be in schools right now, where if you catch one you usually catch several in the same spot. Steelhead fishing on the Paw Paw River has picked up with fish being caught on both sides of M-140 in Watervliet. Anglers are using spawn and lures with good success. Overall in Southwest Michigan anglers are slowly starting to get out on the inland lakes however, most of the activity has been focused on steelhead fishing in the rivers. Anglers are reminded that walleye caught accidentally from inland waters must be released immediately. The St. Joseph River continues to produce steelhead and suckers. The steelhead run has been good below Berrien Springs. Pier anglers are targeting steelhead and brown trout in the channel. Some have caught the occasional coho. A few boats were heading out and trolling in shallow waters along the shoreline. The Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow and the DNR are seeking volunteers to join in the effort to help protect lake sturgeon from illegal harvest during the annual spawning run from mid-April through early June. They become vulnerable to poaching as they briefly leave Black Lake for spawning sites upstream of Black Lake. Many opportunities are available for those who want to help. In addition to guarding the sturgeon, volunteers also can play a key role by recording the number and activity of fish they see. This has become a popular activity for families, scouting and church groups, as well as students interested in natural resources management. Artists, especially photographers, often participate too. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Mary Paulson at 989-763-7568. The Little Manistee River weir, located in Stronach Township, Manistee County, has served as the sole source of winter-run steelhead eggs for fish hatcheries in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. These hatcheries help keep the steelhead population stocked and healthy. The annual collection of steelhead eggs at the weir tentatively will begin next week, when the weir grates are lowered, stopping the upstream migration and diverting the fish into holding ponds. Usually during April, the fish ripen (meaning they are ready to release eggs or milt) and egg-take operations begin, continuing until the established egg quota is reached. The weir grates then are removed and all remaining fish are allowed to migrate upstream. Call the Little Manistee River weir hotline, 231-775-9727, ext. 6072, to check the egg-take schedule. The facility is open to the public for viewing during egg-take operations and fish can be observed in the river below the weir at any time. Anyone with questions can contact Joe Mickevich, 231-389-2551 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.
Hunting Spring turkey hunting season starts throughout the state on Monday, April 22. Visit www.michigan.gov/turkey for a list of drawing winners. Any limited-quota licenses that remain 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. Hunters can only purchase one spring turkey hunting license. Don’t forget the Turkey Hunting Clinic on Saturday, April 13 at the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center in Cadillac, running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is an introduction to turkey hunting and will cover law, habitat, gear, calling and much more. For more information contact Ed Shaw at 231-779-1321.
Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on Thursday, April 11 from 6-10 p.m. and Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cost of the class is $100 and pre-registration is required. 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.
It’s starting to feel like spring and springtime in nature means baby animals. Many species take advantage of the longer days, warmer temperatures and more importantly, more food sources as a time to raise young. This also means there is more interaction with people and animals as they seek out spots to place their nest, den or eggs. If you think you have found a baby animal in need of help, the best thing you can do is go to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website and find the closest wildlife rehabilitator and give them a call. The volunteer rehabilitators are licensed by the state to care for specific species and can help you determine if the animal needs help and what to do if it does. The web site is www.michigandnr.com/dlr. Most of the time, unless the animal is visibly injured or orphaned, the young are best left alone. Deer leave their fawns for most of the day camouflaged in grasses or trees. Fledgling birds that have left the nest but aren’t able to fly are still cared for by their parents. Join a naturalist for an evening walk on Saturday, April 13 at 8:30 p.m. to listen and look for the American woodcock, a bird that has an interesting courtship song and aerial display. Cost is $5 per person. Call (269) 927-4832 to register.