05-11-2017 Outdoors

According to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fishing report, the Walleye and trout opener was off to a slow start because of recent rains and continued cold weather.  Rivers across the state were running high and currents were fast.  On the inland lakes, panfish were holding in deep water but were moving up into the shallows midday when the sun is out.

The DNR fishing tip for the week is things to think about when fishing for trout.  Many anglers search for the latest tips and tricks when fishing for trout and one of the best may also be the most simple: don’t forget that trout can see!

Trout are known to have excellent vision so consider the following as you head out this spring: Cast far ahead of yourself to prevent the trout from seeing you; When wading, do so carefully and avoid rapid movement which could spook the fish; Don’t wear any shiny objects – including watches or tools on your vest; Stay away from wearing bright colors, stick to dark browns and greens; Remember that trout usually face into the current, so cast upstream.

For more information about fishing for trout, check out the DNR’s Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported fishing has been good this past week on Lake Michigan.  It was quite windy, but when they could get out, the Lake Trout were plentiful and they were getting Salmon in 60 to 100 feet of water.  Coho could be found in 200 feet of water.

The river was quiet, and pier fishing was very slow for Salmon, but a few freshwater Drum were taken.  Perch fishing was very slow.  Inland lakes have cooled off and the bite was weak.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake reported slow fishing this past week with the cooler temperatures and all the wind.  Anglers were still going out for Walleye and panfish on the smaller lakes.  River fishing was quiet except for the catfish, they were being caught.

Anglers out of St. Joseph found Perch and pier fishing very slow.  Those targeting Salmon reported slow fishing.  The few caught seemed to have moved and were found inside 100 feet.  A couple Chinook Salmon were taken on small spoons.

The DNR’s Outdoor Skills Academy will hold two Fly Fishing Clinics, May 20 and June 17 for beginners.  They will also hold a Beginners Bass Fishing Clinic on May 13.  For more information or to register for any of these classes, visit www.michigan.gov/outdoorskills.

The DNR announced that test results on fish collected in the ongoing fish kill event on Lake St. Clair were confirmed to be positive for viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSv).  Fish were collected during late March and early April and included gizzard shad, bluegill and black and white crappie.

A total of 165 fish have been tested thus far using pooled samples of five fish and of the 33 pooled samples, 31 of them have been positive for VHSv.  These results confirm what they had initially suspected, given the external signs on the fish, species involved, and timing of the fish kill, all had strongly implicated VHSv as the cause of the fish kill.

The DNR also announced that it will not collect eggs from Great Lakes Muskellunge in the Detroit River this month due to recent fish kills in Lake St. Clair that are attributed to a confirmed, widespread infection of VHSv. Normally the DNR collects eggs from the Detroit River’s Muskellunge population to be reared at Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan and stocked each fall in Michigan waters throughout the state.  With an increasing number of dead Muskellunge being found in the river and the confirmed presence of VHSv in Lake St. Clair, DKNY fisheries managers feel the risk of contaminating this hatchery is too great to proceed with this year’s rearing efforts.


The 2017 bear and elk hunting application period is open now through June 1.  A total of 200 elk and 7,140 bear licenses will be available for the 2017 seasons.  The DNR encourages applicants to take a few moments to watch the videos explaining the bear and elk drawing process: Michigan Elk Weighted Lottery System Explained and Michigan Bear Draw Preference Point System Explained.

Applications are $5.00 and a base license is not required to purchase an application.  Only Michigan residents are eligible to apply for an elk license.  Bear licenses are available for both residents and nonresidents; however, no more than five percent of licenses in any bear management unit will be issued to nonresidents.

Drawing results will be posted online at www.michigan.gov/bear or www.michigan.gov/elk starting June 26.  If you have questions, call the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453 by June 1 for assistance with applications.

The DNR reminds fur harvesters that the 2017 fur harvester license and kill tags are now available.