04-27-2017 Outdoors

Fishing

The 2017 Michigan Fishing Forecast video is now available on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website.  This year’s video features information on several parts of the Lower Peninsula and the eastern Upper Peninsula.

The DNR fishing report states that when the weather allows, boat anglers are getting out and trolling for trout and salmon.  Across the state, various rivers are still running high, fast and muddy, so be extremely careful.  Boat anglers have been fishing the smaller inland lakes because windy conditions have made it difficult to fish the larger ones.  Catch and immediate release bass fishing has started to pick up.

Saturday, April 29 brings the opening of the inland Walleye, Northern Pike and Muskellunge seasons in the Lower Peninsula.  Northern Pike like to spend their time in the weedy shallows of both the Great Lakes and inland waters.  In rivers they can be found around log jams or fallen timber.  They are often taken with live bait (such as large minnows) or different kinds of artificial lures.

Many anglers like to use a six to eight-inch wire or steel leader directly in front of hook or lure.  Pike have large, deep mouths with extremely sharp teeth.  They are known to engulf the entire bait or lure and sever the fishing line with their teeth when it is attached directly to the hook or lure.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports that boat anglers on Lake Michigan are catching Lake Trout trolling off shore.  The fishing is slow but they are getting a few Coho as well.  No Perch out there yet.  The Black River is still high and dirty, making fishing difficult.  Pier anglers are having the same slow bite, but do catch the occasional Steelhead that is through spawning and headed out to the lake.

Anglers will have to deal with some construction in South Haven and should follow the detour signs.  The road to the north pier is under construction; however the boat launch is open.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle reported pan fishing has been picking up beautifully.  Anglers on Little Paw Paw Lake have taken some nice 12-inch bluegills.  Big Paw Paw and Rush Lake have been giving up some very nice catches of Crappie and Bluegills.  They are not on their beds yet, but are close to shore.  The Paw Paw River has been extremely slow with only an occasional Steelhead.  Channel cats are biting on stink bait.

The fishing pressure has been low out of St. Joseph.  Most boat anglers reported inconsistent catch rates but a few managed to find a decent number of Coho.  The fish were very deep, well past 150 feet and were hitting on small spoons.  Pier fishing was slow for Coho and Brown Trout with only a few taken on spawn.

The St. Joseph River had some fresh Steelhead using the Berrien Springs ladder.  Water levels were high but were coming back down and clearing up.  The Kalamazoo River water levels are coming down but the water temperatures are on the rise.  Cooler water up near the Allegan Dam is producing Steelhead, but as the water temperatures rise, that fishery will not last much longer.

Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery by Mattawan will hold a Kids’ Fishing Pier Celebration on Saturday, April 29.  Join the DNR staff and partners for the ribbon-cutting and dedication of the new kids’ fishing pier.  There will be special hatchery tours every 30 minutes after the ceremony and light refreshments.  For more information contact the visitor center at 269-668-2876.

Hunting

The DNR reminds hunters that the bear hunting application period is coming up Monday, 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 unveils 2017 turkey cooperator patch designed by Sylvia Smith of Lake Orion High School.  Young hunters, 17-years-old and younger, who have a valid wild turkey hunting license, may receive a free patch.  Please send name and complete address, along with a legible copy of the youth’s valid wild turkey hunting license, to National Wild Turkey Federation, Wild Turkey Patch Program, P.O. Box 8, Orleans, MI, 48865.  Adult hunters, collectors and other interested individuals may purchase the patch for $5.00, including postage and handling.  Send orders to above address and make check or money order payable to the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Ladies Day at Watervliet Rod And Gun Club

The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their annual “Ladies Day” of basic firearm safety and training on May 6 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The cost of the class is $30.00; this includes lunch; and firearms and ammo will be provided.

For information or to sign up, call 269-468-3837 or 269-470-9191.

Our office is enjoying the serenade of an amorous Eastern American toad. The early spring breeders (Eastern chorus frog, wood frog and spring peeper) are done with their performances. Now it’s time for the toad.

Each one of his calls can outlast a human’s attempt to imitate it. Unlike us, they don’t breathe out when they vocalize. The balloon-like vocal sac, common in many frogs and toads, allows them to project their sound with very little effort.

The sac is filled with air from the lungs. When the air is pushed through the throat and across the vocal cords, sound is produced. The air stays in the sac. The elasticity of the skin of the pouch pushes the air back into the lungs where it can be cycled back across the vocal cords over and over. Some vocal sacs can be inflated to a size greater than that of the frog!

The “hollow” space within the vocal sac can also amplify the frog’s vocalizations; all the better to be heard by fertile females looking for mates. Some biologists theorize that the colors of the sacs provide additional visual attractiveness and chemical pheromones may also emit from the sacs.

Travel with Sarett to Dowagiac Woods on April 29 at 1:00 p.m. to view early spring wildflowers. Price is $10 per person (includes transportation). Please call (269) 927-4832 to register.

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