06-01-2017 Outdoors

Fishing

Salmon activity on Lake Michigan has been very active over the past few weeks the Department of Natural Resources reported in their weekly fishing report.  There were quite a few catches of Chinook and coho on the big lake.  Activity elsewhere is starting to pick up and consistently warmer temperatures should help even more.

Anglers are reminded that the catch-and-keep season for bass opened on most waters last Saturday, May 27.  The season on Lake St. Clair and St. Clair and Detroit rivers doesn’t open until June 17.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported some excellent coho being caught in Lake Michigan; pier fishing was very slow as was river fishing.  The DNR had reports of anglers catching good numbers of lake trout also.  They were in 70 to 90 feet of water and the blue and green spoons seemed to work the best.  No reports on perch.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle reported excellent fishing in all the local inland lakes with plenty of bluegill and crappie being caught.  Anglers have also been getting some nice walleye and bass in both the big and Little Paw Paw lakes.

Boat anglers out of St. Joseph continued to make good catches of trout and salmon.  Fish were caught well past 200 feet.  There were also nice catches of fish from 80 to 100 feet, with most caught on spoons and spin doctors and flies.  Pier anglers in St. Joseph were still catching lots of channel catfish.  Most were caught on night crawlers and stink bait.  The occasional steelhead was also caught on shrimp.

Anglers drifting night crawlers and trolling small crank baits on the St. Joseph River were catching lots of walleye – most in the lower river.  The Kalamazoo River was giving anglers nice catches of walleye around Saugatuck.

Roy Beasley is the new record holder of the state-record bigmouth buffalo.  This marks the first state-record fish caught in 2017 – and it was caught by an angler who held the previous state record for bigmouth buffalo from 2008.

Beasley caught the fish in the River Raisin (Monroe County) Saturday, May 13 at 11:00 a.m. while bow fishing.  The bigmouth buffalo weighed 27 pounds and measured 35.25 inches long.  To view a current list of Michigan State fish records, visit www.michigan.gov/staterecordfish.

The DNR announced that all four of their fisheries research vessels (R/V) are beginning their annual surveys of the Great Lakes fish populations.  This information on all aspects of the lakes’ fish communities and their habitats are essential in supporting the DNR’s mission to conserve, protect and manage the billion-dollar Great Lakes Fishery resource that started in the 1960s.

Throughout the summer, DNR vessels are visible residents of the Great Lakes ports.  When in port, the public is encouraged to visit the vessels and talk with the crews about fisheries assessment operations.

When the vessels are on the lakes working the public is asked to give the vessels plenty of operating space as they often cannot easily steer out of the way and have a lot of mechanical equipment operating that requires the absolute attention by the crews for safe operations.

To learn more about the efforts of each of the DNR’s vessels, visit the DNR Fisheries Division’s Research website at www.michigan.gov/fishresearch.

Proper disposal of pets or aquarium items is very important to protect Michigan’s waters.  Each year the DNR receives numerous reports of unique species showing up in water bodies throughout the state.  While oftentimes these reports consist of a single animal being found, occasionally they point to large populations of non-native species where you wouldn’t expect to find them.

One method that is often the culprit and it is 100-percent preventable.  Pet and aquarium owners often face the dilemma where they no longer want to keep their various organisms, so they sometimes opt to release them into the wild.

“Pet release is almost never humane.  Pets released from confined, artificial environments are poorly equipped to fend off predators and may be unable to successfully forage for food or find shelter,” Said Nick Popoff, manager of the DNR’s Aquatic Species and Regulatory Affairs Unit.

Dumping fish or other aquatic animals into public water bodies is illegal, as doing so requires a permit from the State of Michigan.  This includes the release of aquarium fish like goldfish or pacus, or farm-raised fish from private ponds.  If you catch an unusual fish or other aquatic species, keep it and preserve it on ice.  If that is not possible, then take photos of the fish, do not return it to the water.  Contact Seth Herbst, DNR aquatic invasive species biologist, at 517-284-5843.

The DNR Outdoor Skills Academy will hold two Fly Fishing Clinics in June.  The first clinic will be held on June 10 at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise.  The second clinic will be held June 17 at Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center (Mitchell State Park) in Cadillac.  For more information and to register, visit www.michigan.gov/outdoorskills.

Hunting

The last day of the spring turkey hunting season was Wednesday, May 31.  The DNR is interested in your turkey hunting experience and would like you to take a minute to tell them about your season by completing the spring harvest survey.  Visit www.michigan.gov/turkey for more information or call 517-284-9453 for further assistance.

The DNR is reminding drone, and other unmanned aircraft system operators that state laws restrict drone use at the scenes of wildfires in Michigan.  When a drone is in the air of a wildfire, it poses a safety hazard to DNR pilots and firefighters, which could require that the DNR has to ground spotter planes and fire suppression aircraft.

Michigan is joining other states, including Wisconsin, in working toward a goal of an area free of non-emergency aircraft, including drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, within a 5-mile radius of wildfires.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club

 The Coloma Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW class on June 10.  Class registration is held on Sunday June 4 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 $100.  For more information or to be put on the list, call 269-621-3370.

Watervliet Rod & Gun Club

The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on June 8 and 10.  Registration is on June 6 between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.  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.

A quick withdrawal of the pointing finger and a “Yikes!” is the usual reaction when a student is informed of this bug’s name. The fearsome-sounding water scorpion is actually rather docile… although small water invertebrates may beg to differ.

This aquatic insect vaguely resembles the venomous land scorpions in that it has two pincers on its forelegs. The water scorpion also has a long tail-like appendage that someone imagined was like the land scorpion’s stinging tail. The “tail” is a tube that the water scorpion uses to breathe atmospheric oxygen. Tiny hairs connect an air bubble collected at the water’s surface with the insect’s abdomen within which the respiratory organs reside.

The pincers are used to skewer prey that makes the mistake of wandering by the water scorpion’s hiding place in the vegetation. Water scorpions are voracious predators. One specimen observed over 45 minutes consumed four dragonfly nymphs, an insect easily half the size of the scorpion. Nymphs of mayflies and water beetles, freshwater shrimp, isopods and segmented worms are also on the menu.

Water scorpions are homebodies. They can swim for short distances or slowly walk about but, they prefer to just hang out in their favorite pond plant.

Kayak the Paw Paw River on June 4 at 10:00 a.m. The $20 fee includes transportation and equipment rental. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. Please call (269) 927-4832 to register.

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