Fishing Recent heavy rains have caused higher water levels in many rivers and streams. Boat anglers should watch for debris, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) cautions. The warm rain and warming temperatures is exactly what is needed to jump start fishing. The DNR fishing tip this week is using stick/body baits when fishing for Trout. Trout season is well under way with many anglers using dry flies and spinners. But what if you’re interested in waging battle with the largest Trout in the river? Why not consider using stickbaits or body baits? Many avid Trout anglers swear by using these types of lures if you’re looking to catch big stream Trout. Stickbaits and body baits mimic the minnows and small fish many Trout species love to eat. Keep in mind you won’t catch large quantities of Trout when you’re using this type of bait, but the ones you do find will be high-quality and worth the effort. Consider fishing with lures you would normally use when targeting Bass and/or Northern Pike and stick with natural colors for the best chance of success. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports good fishing on Lake Michigan. A lot of King Salmon have been caught and many were big in size. A few Coho were also caught in the waters that were 100 to 200 feet. Bate used were flies, spoons, and meat rigs. The Black River is running high and the water is dirty, so fishing is slow on the piers and in the river. Catfish are about all that is biting now. On all the local inland lakes Bluegill and Crappie are biting really well. Some lakes to try are Clear Lake, Scott Lake, Bass Lake, Saddle Lake, Eagle, Duck and Swan lakes also. Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports fishing is excellent for panfish on all the local inland lakes. Some local lakes you might want to try, besides Big and Little Paw Paw Lake are Rush Lake, Van Auken Lake, Round Lake, Magician Lake Sister Lakes, Shaffer Lake and Lake of the Woods. You can catch some nice Walleye on either Big or Little Paw Paw Lake if you remember they are called Walleye because of their huge eyes. You need to target these night time predators just before dawn and dusk to early evening when they hunt for food. Salmon fishing in the southern part of Lake Michigan continues to be on fire. Out of St. Joseph several limits of Chinook and Coho salmon were taken including several 15- to 20-pound fish. Anglers were trolling in 60 to 120 feet with most fish taken in 100 feet. Spin doctors and flies as well as yellow and green spoons seem to work best. Pier fishing was slow with only a couple Chinook salmon taken on alewife under a bobber. No Perch have been reported. The St. Joseph River water levels were very high after all the rain and there is a lot of debris in the river. Boaters should use caution. A small number of Steelhead was moving through the fish ladders. In Grand Haven, boat anglers caught a couple of Chinook salmon on orange spoons and white flies in 50 to 100 feet. Lake Trout were caught on the bottom in 160 to 220 feet with yellow spin-glo. Pier anglers caught a few Brown Trout on minnows. Great Lakes Muskellunge eggs are being collected this spring from the Detroit River by the DNR. These fish will be reared at Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan and stocked in Michigan waters this fall. Eggs were not collected in 2017 due to an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus in the Lake St. Clair/Detroit River system that affected Muskellunge. The DNR’s goal this year is to collect at least 400,000 eggs to meet the target of 30,000 fall fingerlings for stocking the state’s waters. To learn more about fishing in Michigan and the Great Lakes Muskellunge management effort, go to www.michigan.gov/fishing. Michigan is home to outstanding fishing with more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 11,000 inland lakes, and tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams. There is no shortage of recreational opportunities to explore. The 2018 Summer Free Fishing Weekend will be held on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10. Residents and non-residents can enjoy two back-to-back days of fishing without a license. All other fishing regulations apply. At the same time, the DNR is waiving the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that grants vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks. This weekend also lines up with the first Free ORV weekend of the year. Hunting, etc. The Spring Turkey Hunt is coming to a close next week on Thursday, May 31. You still have a week to get a license and set dinner on the table. Hunters are reminded that they have until June 1 to apply for a license to hunt Bear and Elk. Licenses are drawn for and the results can be found online June 25. During the Free ORV Weekend, June 9-10 residents and out-of-state visitors will get to explore the state’s trails system without an ORV license or permit. Test Michigan’s 3,700 miles of state-designed ORV routes and trails, introduce friends to the thrill of the ride, and consider purchasing an ORV license or trail permit for the season. Riders also will have access to five scramble areas. During the Free ORV Weekend, remember that all ORV rules and laws still apply. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/orvinfo. Hunter education is a must in Michigan Hunter education is a requirement in Michigan for any first-time hunters born on or after January 1, 1960. They have to take and pass a hunter safety course or will not be able to purchase a base license other than an apprentice license. Hunter safety courses teach new hunters responsibility, ethics, firearm safety, wildlife conservation and wildlife identification, game care, survival and first aid. Courses are offered year-round throughout the state. The typical hunter education course consists of two to five sessions with a total class time of 10-12 hours. The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will offer a Hunter Education Class on September 22 for classroom and a field day on September 23. A parent or guardian must accompany a child under 10 years of age. For more information, to sign up for the course or to reserve a field day, contact Ron Sefcik at 269-487-8567 or John Andras at 269-861-1824. To substitute for a classroom day, the new hunter may choose to take a home study course or the class online. It is important to note that home study or online course takers still have to pre-register for the skills/field portion of a regular class BEFORE taking either one. The field day and a written exam are required before Hunter Education is complete and the certificate is valid. Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Class registration is held on Sunday, June 3, 2018 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 or to be put on the list, please call (269) 621-3370.
MICHIGAN TREASURE… Maybe it’s not too late to look for Michigan morels! This beautiful display was found on a farm along Red Arrow Highway in Hartford, Wednesday May 16. A total of 94 mushrooms were harvested before it became too dark to see. (TCR photo by Angela Stair)
Hunting the Michigan Morel
By Angela Stair Although the season is mostly over, it may not be as the picture testifies to the unpredictability of the morel. They grow in different places year after year, but if a person is lucky enough to find one, be sure to cut it off or pinch it off, leaving the root to possibly grow there again. Morels grow in fields, forests, the edges of paved road and even in landscaping wood mulch. Although a large quantity of morels may not grow in an easily visible location like the lucky young man in Hartford found, a few might still be sprouting up and causing the fever to hunt earlier next year. A good way to find public locations that may yield a few is to drive around, keep an eye out for people in woods or fields walking slowly, watching the ground and carrying a mesh bag. The mesh bag is recommended so the mushroom spores can disperse while looking for more. Be sure to do the homework first and identify a true morel from the false morel, get a good mushroom identification book. Or better yet find someone that is experienced to take first-timers out and show them the ropes. A few other tips, be sure to carry a compass or GPS, it is easy to get lost when watching the ground. When a growing spot is found, take time and look around, they are hard to see and there may be more. And remember the number one unwritten rule, never tell where a good spot is! Have fun. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has an interactive map application that is called Mi-HUNT. It is a mapping tool that delivers a wealth of information right to computers or mobile devices. Target Morel Mushrooms at Mi-MOREL.
Last week a curious student wanted to know if butterflies were around when the dinosaurs existed. That was a stumper, so off to Google I went. The daintiness of a butterfly’s body makes the odds of finding fossilized remains nearly impossible. However, some sharp-eyed scientists have found some. Until recently, the oldest specimen dated to 130 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period, a time when dinosaurs also existed. These early butterflies were likely rather bland looking. It is hypothesized that the brilliant coloration did not develop until after the dinosaur extinction. Earlier this year, a team of researchers that had been studying a 200-million-year-old rock sample reported the discovery of fossilized wing scales that resemble those of modern moths. Apparently moths and butterflies, with their coiling mouthparts, have been around since the Triassic period… when dinosaurs were just starting to appear and, more importantly, when there weren’t any flowering plants. This is the newest conundrum for butterfly evolutionary study. Why did they have this elaborate feeding mechanism? It was very handy when flowering plants developed 50 million years later but wasn’t a necessity during the age of the gymnosperms. Sarett’s annual Native Plant Sale is on May 26 and May 27 during regular business hours. Butterfly-friendly plants and others for all types of landscapes, as well as growing information, will be available. Call (269) 927-4832 for more information.