04-20-2017 Outdoors


The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) cautions anglers fishing the rivers to be extremely careful, especially where the water levels are high.  Boat anglers and those wading will need to watch for swift currents and floating debris.  Boat anglers on the Great Lakes are targeting trout and salmon and the bite is starting to pick up on the inland lakes.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports the fishing is good on Lake Michigan.  Anglers fishing in 60-89 feet of water, (on the bottom) are catching Lake Trout.  Fishing in 200 feet the Coho are biting on anything orange, gold or blue.  The occasional Steelhead is also being taken.

The Black River is quite dirty and the pier is very slow fishing on the lake side.  Inland lake fishing is picking up with lots of pan fish.  Duck, Eagle, and Van Auken lakes are being talked about as good.

Captain Kenny is chartering now on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  As the season picks up, he will be available seven days a week for charters.  His phone number is 269-767-6734.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake near Coloma reports the fishing for pan fish has been picking up on the surrounding inland lakes, along with the Big and Little Paw Paw lakes.  Bluegills are biting in deeper water, and the Crappies are starting to move into the shallows.

Last week the fishing out of St. Joseph was slow.  The few boats that had made it out struggled to find fish because the lake was churned up after the storms and strong winds.  Most were slow trolling just outside the piers and along the shoreline.  Pier anglers struggled as well, but some did manage to catch a few whitefish and the occasional Brown Trout when using spawn.

The Kalamazoo River had high water levels that limited fishing.  The river still has a good number of Steelhead as well as the closed tributaries have more fish than usual because of the high water levels.

The Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery visitor center in Mattawan is offering the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy program, Steelhead Fishing Clinic, on Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon.  This class is a must for those with no experience, those with some experience and those just looking to learn more about targeting Steelhead Trout in Michigan’s waters.

The Steelhead Fishing Clinic costs $45 and includes lunch and some program materials.  Day 1 is at the visitor center; day 2 is on the Muskegon River, below Croton Dam.  For more information about the program contact Wolf Lake Hatchery at 269-668-2876.

The DNR Outdoor Skills Academy will offer an in-depth opportunity to learn about Saginaw Bay Walleye fishing Tuesday and Wednesday, May 9 and 10 at the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center Bay City, Michigan.  For more information on the clinic, contact Valerie Blaschka at 989-667-0717.

The latest additions to the DNR online Trout Trails application now ensure quality Trout streams and lakes are pinpointed for anglers to visit throughout the State of Michigan.  Trout Trails is an interactive tool featuring fisheries biologist-verified Trout waters that are often lesser known, but considered outstanding destination points.  Interested anglers should visit www.michigan.gov/trouttrails to access the web-based Trout Trails application.  Please note, this is not a downloadable app, but it is compatible with all types of electronic devices.  It now features 300 destinations with extensive information.


Monday, April 17 was the opening day of Spring Turkey Season in Michigan.  If you haven’t purchased a license yet, you still have a chance to hunt one of the many seasons in both April and May.  You can check the list of available licenses.  Licenses are $15 and are available anywhere DNR licenses are sold or online at E-License.

Hunters can buy a Hunt 234 license over the counter at any time from now through the end of the season, which gives you 30 days of chasing turkeys in May.  Every resident and non-resident turkey hunter must purchase an annual base license before purchasing their turkey hunting license.  If you need further assistance, call 517-284-9453.

The DNR reminds Upper Peninsula spring beaver and otter trappers that their 2016 fur harvester license and 2016 otter kill tags remain valid until April 30, 2017.  The 2017 fur harvester licenses and kill tags will be available on May 1, 2017.  Information on beaver and otter season dates and regulations can be found at www.michigan.gov/trapping.

Spring is here, bringing warmer temperatures and the next generation of wildlife.  The Michigan DNR reminds those who are outside, enjoying the experience of seeing wildlife raise its young, to view animals from a distance so they are not disturbed.

It’s important to remember that many species of wildlife hide their young for safety and that these babies are not abandoned.  They simply have been hidden by their mother until she returns for them.

Our bird feeders have been busy with the arrival of many spring migrants. Red-winged black birds, purple finches and song sparrows are frequent visitors.

One group of birds we rarely see at our bird feeders are warblers. The reason we don’t see warblers is simply because almost all warblers are mainly insect, not seed eaters. One early spring migrant that defies the common warbler diet of insects is the pine warbler.

They eat a varied diet of insects, spiders, seeds and even fruits from bushes and vines. The small pine warblers are one of the first warblers to arrive north after wintering in southeastern United States, with individuals continuing north from southwest Michigan.

Last week, as a group of naturalists chatted in front of our bird viewing window, we were graced with the presence of not one, but three pine warblers on or near our feeders. Normally, the stout, thin-beaked bird is found in pine or mixed forests and can be recognized by their yellow throat, breast and belly and two white wing bars.

Join a naturalist for an evening walk to look and listen for the American woodcock bird on Saturday, April 22 at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $3/person.

Sarett’s Young Adult Adventure Club is hosting a geocache scavenger hunt on Sunday, April 23, at 2:00 p.m. where groups will race to find hidden caches along the trails. Cost is $4/person.


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