Fishing For those looking for some inside scoops on where and when to fish different Michigan regions in 2018, check out the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 2018 Michigan Fishing Forecast on the DNR site. It is full of content provided by the Fisheries Division staff. Spring fishing just cannot get started because of the constant weather swings taking us from warm right back to freezing temperatures. At this rate, we may end up going from winter to summer and miss spring fishing altogether. Even though many have put their ice fishing gear away, some ice fishing continues in the Upper Peninsula. In South Haven fishing was limited due to poor weather conditions. When boat anglers could get out on Lake Michigan they were able to catch Coho in 30 feet of water and Lake Trout in 40 to 60 feet of water. Pier fishing was slow for all species. In St. Joseph, anglers had limited fishing opportunities due to the weather. Pier anglers caught some Coho on spawn. Steelhead anglers in the St. Joseph River caught fish up at the Berrien Springs Dam and Kalamazoo River boat anglers reported catching a few limits of Steelhead near the Allegan Dam. The DNR fishing tip this week is where to find Smallmouth Bass this spring. Since anglers can practice catch-and-immediate-release fishing on Bass all year, many are having fun targeting Bass this spring. There are plenty of locations throughout the state that offer exceptional Smallmouth Bass fishing but check out the list below if interested in finding trophy-size fish. LAKE ST. CLAIR; cover lots of ground if you visit this water body and cast to the edges of weed patches. LAKE ERIE; the shallow areas of this lake are good places to start, after the water warms up, head to deeper water. SAGINAW BAY; target around the Charity Islands which separate Lake Huron’s deep water from Saginaw Bay’s shallow depths. GRAND TRAVERSE BAYS; look for structures such as drop-offs, sand points, rocks or weed beds at this spot. It’s time to dust off your fishing poles and make sure your license is up to date as two fishing seasons open Saturday, April 28. The statewide Trout season (Type 1 and 2 streams and Type A and D lakes) and the Lower Peninsula, inland Walleye and Northern Pike seasons all open that day. For more information refer to the 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide at www.michigan.gov/ dnrdigests. More than 4,000 adult trout – fish that had been used for breeding at our state hatcheries – recently were stocked in the Clinton River and the Spring Mill Pond making southeast Michigan a great destination for spring fishing. The River was stocked with 800 Rainbow Trout and 650 Brown Trout, all upstream of Yates Dam. The Huron River took 1,600 Brown Trout and 1,200 Rainbow Trout, all ranging in size from 11 to 22 inches. And 400 Brown Trout between 14 and 22 inches now call the Spring Mill Pond home. Remember that special fishing regulations apply. For additional details, see the 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide or contact Jeff Braunscheidel at 284-666-7445 or Sara Thomas at 248-666-7443.
The 2018 spring turkey season officially starts on Monday, April 23. Didn’t get a license? You still have time. Several options are available for anyone looking to harvest a turkey anywhere in Michigan. Staggered seasons mean you have different “openers” to choose from. Hunt ZZ and Hunt 234 can be bought over the counter and give you more hunt days. Videos and additional information can be found at www.michigan.gov/turkey or call the DNR at 517-284-9453. April stewardship volunteer opportunities are available in southern Michigan state parks: April 21, Saugatuck Dunes State Park in Allegan; April 22, Warren Dunes State Park in Berrien; April 28, Warren Dunes State Park in Berrien; and April 29, P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon. Questions should be directed to Heidi Frei at 517-202-1360. Mark your calendar for two free ORV weekends this summer. Take an opportunity to test Michigan’s off-road trails yourself or introduce friends to the ORV trail system during two free ORV weekends, June 9-10 and August 18-19. During these weekends, both residents and out-of-state visitors can ride nearly 3,700 miles of DNR-designated routes and trails without an ORV license or permit. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/orvinfo.
Al-Van Humane Society to open new Adoption & Community Education Center
Al-Van Humane Society will be opening the doors to their new Adoption and Community Education Center on Monday, April 30. It is the consummation of a 3-year, $500,000 C.A.R.E.S. (Community and Resources Enhance Shelter) Capital Campaign. Originally a 5-year fundraising plan, the new shelter is ahead of schedule, and will be celebrating their Grand Opening in conjunction with National “Adopt a Shelter Pet Day.” The milestone comes at the perfect time as Al-Van celebrates 50 years of service to its community this year. The capital campaign was supported by over 350 individuals, businesses, grant sources, and anonymous monetary donations. On Saturday, April 28, in preparation for the grand opening, staff and volunteers will be transferring adoptable cats and dogs from the current shelter at 73303 8th Ave. in South Haven, to the new building just around the corner at 07591 Blue Star Hwy. On Monday, April 30, the Chamber of Commerce, local politicians, business leaders and community members will take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. with refreshments to follow. All are welcome. Formerly known as Blue Star Glass, the new building was purchased by Al-Van in 2015, to support its no-kill mission, adopted in 2012, and increase space to care for more animals. The building itself required a complete renovation in order to provide the necessary care, safety and protection for the animals. The new adoption center is over 6,000 sq. feet, doubling the square footage at the 8th Avenue location, and includes three cat rooms, an open play cat area, small dog and separate large dog adoption rooms. In addition, the centrally-located community room provides the much-needed space to offer educational opportunities for bite prevention programs, puppy training courses, volunteer training and shelter animal enrichment. Executive Director Jennifer Nuernberg wants the community to understand the impact of this. “This space is something we are lacking at our current shelter. The lobby area is cramped, with only a couple offices lending space for meet and greets or volunteers training. When the weather is bad, our ability to work on enrichment and training for our animals is also very limited. Having a large enough indoor space to do this will have an immediate impact on their adoptability, which is the reason for it all. We cannot wait to increase adoptions, educate our community, and reduce the number of homeless and needy pets!” With the addition of the new adoption center, the current 8th Avenue shelter will be used exclusively for intake and medical isolation of animals until they are physically and emotionally ready for adoption. Anyone needing to surrender their own pet will be asked to call ahead and make an appointment. Rescued Treasures, Al-Van’s resale shop, will remain at the Blue Star location and takes donations of new or gently used goods (no clothing or large appliances). For information on Al-Van, upcoming events, and ways to donate, visit their website at www.al-van.org.
Otis, our gray phase Eastern screech owl, surprised us by laying four eggs over the course of the past two weeks. Each egg was found cracked. They were most likely infertile. Nesting is a complicated, hazardous endeavor. Taking care of one’s own eggs is hard enough. When your neighbor decides to abandon her duties and leave her eggs in your nest, things become even more complicated. The brown-headed cowbird is a notorious nest “parasite.” The female adds one or two of her eggs to a nest that is temporarily unguarded and leaves the host mother to care for the cowbird babies. Wood ducks are also nest parasites. However, they usually dump their eggs with other wood ducks. And, they don’t leave just one or two eggs. They have been known to leave ten or more in a nest. The unknowing host mother (ducks aren’t great at counting) does her best to care for all the eggs. If the total number of eggs is too high (more than 24), bad things happen. The mother may inadvertently damage eggs as she tries to incubate such a large amount. Her resources may be so stretched that only a few eggs are successfully hatched. Many times the host just gives up and abandons the nest completely. Come visit the newly renovated children’s playroom. Admission is $3 for adults, free for children.