04-25-2019 Outdoors

ILLEGAL CATCH… Conservation Officer Jaime Salisbury is pictured with 80 walleye that were poached from the Detroit River April 18. Salisbury and fellow CO Pete Purdy were patrolling Livingston County when they received an anonymous tip that was called in to the DNR’s RAP hotline. The officers pulled over the suspected poachers’ vehicle in a routine traffic stop, and the anglers admitted to exceeding the daily possession limit.

Fishing Three walleye anglers fishing together on the Detroit River face losing their fishing licenses after being caught with 80 walleye – 65 over the river’s legal limit of five per person, per day. The three males admitted to fishing earlier in the day and that they had all caught and kept too many fish. An Ingham County judge will determine the reimbursement fee and whether the poachers should lose their fishing licenses. Reimbursement is calculated by weighing each individual fish and then assessing at $10 per pound fee. If you witness or suspect a natural resource violation, call or text the Report All Poaching hotline, available 24/7 at 800-292-7800.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported that not very many anglers were out last week because of the weather. Until spring is here to stay, those heading out especially the boat anglers are reminded that water temperatures are very cold and hypothermia will set in fast. Be safe and wear a life jacket. Off the South Haven piers, fishing has been slow but anglers have taken a couple of brown trout and a few steelhead. Suckers are being taken out of the Black River along with a few steelhead. The Kalamazoo River continues to produce steelhead below the Allegan Dam. Smaller steelhead was moving up into the river as well. Those targeting suckers have done well. Get ready to fish several openers this Saturday, April 27. The statewide trout opener, as well as the start of the Lower Peninsula inland water walleye and northern pike seasons begins. The DNR reminds anglers to have their 2019 fishing license for the current season which opened on April 1. A few reminders: In Upper Peninsula waters, the walleye and northern pike possession seasons open Wednesday, May, 15; Michigan’s muskellunge possession season on all Great Lakes, inland water, the St. Mary’s River, Lake St. Clair, and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers opens Saturday, June 1 – though catch-and-release fishing for muskellunge is open all year; Catch – and – immediate – release season for largemouth and smallmouth bass is open all year on nearly all waters (unless otherwise closed to fishing, check the current Michigan Fishing Guide for specifics); the possession season for bass opens statewide Saturday, May 25, except for Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers, which open on Saturday, June 15. If you have questions, contact Christian LeSage, 517-284-5830 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839. A reminder from the DNR that as of April 12, 2019 the daily possession limit for lake trout in Lake Trout Management Unit MM 4 (which includes the port of Elk Rapids, Traverse City and Northport) has been changed from two fish to one fish. This regulation will remain in effect until the season closes after September 20, 2019. Taking lake trout over the daily possession limit is considered a misdemeanor and may include up to 90 days in jail or a $500 maximum fine, along with reimbursement of $10 per pound for each fish taken illegally.

Hunting The most recent Pure Michigan Hunt recipients, Jesse Jubb of Bath, Greg Burks of White Lake and John Murphy of Lapeer are gearing up for their first hunt of the season – Spring Turkey. Hitting the woods in pursuit of gobblers is their first opportunity to put some of the items they took home from Pure Michigan Hunt sponsors to good use. To get a chance at the Pure Michigan Hunt for next year, all interested parties need to do is apply. Each $5.00 application gets a shot at Michigan’s ultimate hunt experience with licenses for elk, bear, spring and fall turkey, and antlerless deer and first pick at a managed waterfowl area for a reserved hunt. Applicants also could walk away with a hunting equipment package. With warmer weekend weather in the forecast for southern Michigan, many people likely will be outside cleaning up their yards or maybe enjoying the first bonfire of the season. The DNR cautions anyone planning to burn leaves or other yard debris to first check with local officials to see if conditions are right for safe burning. Though fires can happen just about any time of year, most wildfires in Michigan occur in April, May and June. DNR fire supervisor Don Klingler said, “The dead grass and leaves from last year are still very dry and it only takes one spark to start a wildfire.” So far this year, the DNR already has responded to 23 wildfires that burned 180 acres.