04-13-2017 Outdoors

Fishing

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that another round of snow and colder temperatures across the state, once again put a damper on fishing conditions but the warm up this past weekend should help.  Windy conditions have kept anglers off the Great Lakes. (Last week South Haven had 20-foot waves one day).

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters in South Haven reports Coho are still biting well in about 200 feet of water, in the top 20 feet.  They are biting on body baits and spawn.  Pier fishing has been very slow.  The Black River water is still quite high and dirty.  Inland lake fishing is starting to improve with some nice Bluegill and Crappie being taken out of Duck Lake and Van Auken Lake.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports anglers buying panfish bait and checking out the local lakes.  The catfish anglers have been doing well with dip bait and catfish bait.

The pier fishing in St. Joseph has been very slow for Salmon and Steelhead.  Those targeting Salmon did catch a couple of catfish.

When anglers can get out on Lake Michigan, the boat anglers from St. Joseph found Salmon and Lake Trout.  Anglers were trolling small crank baits along the shoreline in 40 feet or less.  The St. Joseph River still has a good number of Steelhead throughout the system including Berrien Springs, Buchanan and Niles.  The Kalamazoo River continues to produce some nice Steelhead even with the higher water levels.

The DNR Law Enforcement and Fisheries Divisions and the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow in Cheboygan County are seeking volunteers to join in its effort to help protect Lake Sturgeon from illegal harvest during the annual spawning run.

Every spring, mature Lake Sturgeon, a fish species that is threatened in Michigan and rare throughout the United States, become vulnerable to poaching as they briefly leave Black Lake for spawning sites upstream in the Black River.

Hundreds of volunteers are needed to stand guard during the spawning season, from mid-April through early June, to report any suspicious activity and deter the unlawful take of this iconic fish.  Volunteers, individuals or groups, interested should contact Mark and Ann Feldhauser at 906-201-2484, or 906-346-9511.

The DNR recently stocked 3,350 adult trout in the Huron River at Proud Land Recreation Area in Oakland County and Spring Mill Pond at Island Lake Recreation Area in Livingston County. The Huron River was stocked with 900 Brown Trout and 1,650 Rainbow Trout, both sized 15 to 21 inches long.  Spring Mill Pond was stocked with 200 Brown Trout and 600 Rainbow Trout, also measuring 15 to 21 inches long.

This annual stocking activity uses unneeded Brown and Rainbow Trout brood stock from Michigan’s state fish hatcheries. Every year there are surplus adult trout in the hatchery system, which then are stocked in special regulation areas. For more information about this stocking effort, contact the DNR offices at Proud Lake at 248-685-2433, Island Lake at 810-229-7067, or the Waterford Fisheries Office at 248-666-7445.

Hunting

A reminder to bear hunters; the hunting application period is coming up, May 1 to June 1.  Learn more by watching a video about the bear drawing process or by visiting www.michigan.gov/bear.

The DNR’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program; (BOW) is offering a Turkey Hunt workshop for women.  The program is scheduled for the weekend of May 12-13 in the Cass City area.  Participants must be at least 10 years of age; enrollment is limited to 10; and registration deadline is May 1.  This is a rain-or-shine event.  For more information contact Sharon Pitz at 906-228-6561 or email at pitzs@michigan.gov.

Coyote can be found everywhere – forests, fields, farmlands, backyards, neighborhoods and cities.  Resourceful members of the dog family, coyotes have learned to survive in urban landscapes, even near people.  As humans, we play a role in reducing potential conflicts with wild animals, including coyotes.

Removing food sources such as trash bins, bird feeders and pet food; fencing off gardens and fruit trees make an area less appealing to a coyote because it is harder to find an easy meal.  Clapping, yelling and chasing off a coyote will let it know that it is not welcome in a person’s territory and help it retain its natural fear of humans.  Learn more about these wild canines by visiting www.michigan.gov/wildlife or by watching the DNR’s Coexisting with Urban Coyotes video.

SARETT

April is a popular month for outdoor enthusiasts and foragers. It marks a popular time for collecting wild mushrooms, like the favorite morel. Spring wildflowers make their debut before trees’ leaves shadow the forest floor.

One plant that takes advantage of leafing early and providing a new source of spice to spring cooking with wild edibles is the ramp.

Allium tricoccum, or more commonly known as the ramp, wild leek or wild garlic, prefers sandy, well-drained soil, usually near hillsides or streams. The native eastern American plant has smooth, broad, green leaves with purple or burgundy tints near the base of the leaves, which reach 6-12 inches.

When searching for wild ramps make sure to stay on your property or in a place where collecting is allowed, pick sparingly and make sure to leave some plants. A little of this flavorful green goes a long way when cooking. Prepare the leaves chopped in stir-fries, baked with fish or sautéed with spinach. Try using it in place of green onions or garlic. The bulb of allium tricoccum is also edible, with its radish-like texture and garlic taste.

Join a naturalist for an early wildflower walk on the trails at Sarett on April 22 at 2:00 p.m. On Saturday, April 22 at 8:30 p.m., take an evening walk with a naturalist to look and listen for the courtship song and display of the American woodcock. Cost is $3/person.

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