Fishing Avid anglers are constantly looking for tips and tricks to have more successful fishing trips. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said many anglers turn to sonar technology to achieve this goal. Although a bit of an investment (units start at $100 and go up), sonar products offer a variety of benefits on the water. Most units can provide anglers with readings on temperature, vegetation and structure in the water, type of bottom surface, fish in the area, depth, current speed of the vessel, GPS navigation and waypoints for future trips. Some even allow users the opportunity to purchase nautical charts. Last Saturday, April 27, was the opener for walleye and pike fishing for the Lower Peninsula inland waters. It was also the statewide trout opener on all Type 1 and Type 2 streams as well as all Type A and Type D designated trout lakes. Be sure to purchase a 2019 fishing license. The Ellinee Bait & Tackle shop on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports inland fishing has slowed down with the cooler temperatures. Crappie and bluegills are still out deep and not ready to come in closer to bed yet. Bass are just starting to bed in some places, like the Mudd Lake side of Paw Paw Lake. The Paw Paw River has slowed down, although a few steelhead are still being caught. When the water cooled off last week, the bite did too. With a good warm up, fishing will be popping. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports good fishing on Lake Michigan, although the bite slowed with the temperature drop. Captain Kenny’s boat is in the water now and has taken several charters out, (269-767-6734), where the anglers were able to catch lake trout and a few coho. When it warms back up, the bite will too. The Black River isn’t seeing much action, but the Kalamazoo River by the Allegan Dam has a few steelhead yet and some walleye. Boat anglers out of St. Joseph were trolling just past the piers and along the shoreline for steelhead and coho. Catch rates were slow as the fish were scattered. Those targeting salmon had mixed results. A few chinook were found in 30 to 40 feet and the coho were scattered in 15 to 50 feet. Small spoons, dodgers and flies worked best. Pier anglers caught a few coho on spawn. Trout anglers hoping to find a great new spot to fish in 2019 should check out Trout Trails, the DNR’s web application. The Trout Trails is not a downloadable app but is compatible with all types of electronic devices. Each destination entry features extensive information, including; Available Trout species; fishing regulations; presence of stocked or naturally reproducing fish; driving directions; and area lodging, restaurants and noteworthy information (such as presence of fast water, canoe/ kayak/ tube accessibility, best times to fish, recommended bait or lures, etc.) Contact Elyse Walter at 517-284-5839 with any questions. Don’t forget the Beginners Fly-Fishing Clinic to be held on May 4. For more details and to register contact Ed Shaw at 231-779-1321.
Hunting Spring is the perfect time to start preparing your area for deer habitat. One place to start is evaluating the existing habitat elements and cover types that are already on your property. After you’ve assessed your property you can start thinking about what you want to change or improve. Learn more about white-tailed deer habitat and habitat planning. With the recent ban on baiting and feeding of deer, in order to help slow the spread of chronic wasting disease in the Lower Peninsula, the DNR wants to provide some alternatives for those who hope to have hunting success this fall. People should mimic what deer already can find in nature and is a healthier alternative to baiting and feeding, which can cause unnatural congregation of deer. Planting annual or perennial food plots can provide a good source of supplementary nutrition and, depending on what you plant, may also serve as cover. The baiting and feeding deer ban does not include planting and creating food plots. If you are looking for a way to attract deer to your property for hunting or viewing this fall, you may consider a food plot. Pheasant hunters soon may be finding and harvesting more pheasants afield thanks to the Michigan Pheasant Hunting Initiative, through which select state game areas in the southern Lower Peninsula will receive released rooster pheasants over the next two seasons. Pheasant releases this year will take place on 11 different state game areas: Bay County, Pinconning SGA; Cass County, Crane Pond SGA; Clinton County, Rose Lake SGA; Lapeer County, Lapeer SGA; Monroe County, Erie and Pointe Mouillee SGAs; Saginaw County, Grow Island SGA; Sanilac County, Minden City SGA; St. Clair County, St. Johns Marsh SGA; St. Joseph County, Leidy Lake SGA; and Van Buren County, Cornish SGA.
Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CPL Class on Saturday, May 11, 2019. Class registration is held on Sunday, May 5, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The class is taught by a certified NRA and RSO instructor and the cost of the class is $105. For more information on the CPL class or Hunter Safety Class, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.colomarodandgunclub.com.
Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on May 10 and 12, 2019. Registration is on May 8, 2019, between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. and cost of the class is $100. They will have a lawyer explaining the law pertaining to concealed carry during class. Please call (269) 468-3837 or (269) 470-9191 for more information.
Female painted turtles begin nesting soon, leaving their ponds to dig nests in which they will deposit a clutch of eggs. But, hatchlings have already been spotted by observant hikers, including a group of 8th graders hiking with a naturalist last week. How is that possible? These young turtles actually hatched late last fall. Instead of heading right to water, like their early fall-hatching compatriots, they hunkered down in their nest for the winter. The warmer spring temperatures triggered the emergence and migration of the hatchlings. The turtles utilize a physiological adaptation similar to that of wood frogs to survive the winter temperatures. They literally freeze in a controlled manner. The liquid parts of their body develop ice crystals but their cells do not. Once they emerge, the turtles lose the ability to develop anti-freeze and must hibernate protected by soil. Welcome back the spring migrants with Sarett’s annual Saturday morning birding bunch on Saturday, May 4 starting at 8 a.m. Bring binoculars and a desire to learn about and see birds. Join us for a Butterfly House Volunteer training day on Wednesday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to noon for anyone who would like to help with the Butterfly House. We’ll learn about the butterflies, the gardens and how you can help with this exciting exhibit for school groups or weekend visitation. Please call 927-4832 to register for either event.