The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) weekly fishing report noted that the bass opener was off to a good start with plenty of action for anglers. Anglers are reminded that bass season on Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River and the Detroit River does not open until June 17. Water temperatures are still cold especially on the large inland lakes and the Great Lakes.
Grab a fishing rod and enjoy some of the finest fishing Michigan has to offer during the 2017 Summer Free Fishing Weekend, this Saturday and Sunday, June 10-11. Everyone, residents and non-residents alike, can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.
The DNR will waive the regular Recreation Passport entry fee for vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks and recreation areas. Several of these locations will host official 2017 Summer Free Fishing Weekend events perfect for the whole family.
Official Summer Free Fishing Weekend activities are being scheduled in communities across the state to assist with public participation. These activities are coordinated by a variety of organizations including constituent groups, schools, local and state parks, businesses and others. A full list of these events can be found online at www.michigan.gov/freefishing.
Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported excellent fishing for all species. Nice bluegill catches have been taken on gnats, flies, red worms and wax worms. They are still by the beds. Farther out you find crappie and they are biting on minnows and jigs. Lots of bass have been taken on crank baits and crawler harnesses.
Walleye were biting well into the evening on Big Paw Paw Lake. One angler brought in a 21-pound channel cat that he had caught in the Black River. Anglers are happily reeling in their fish on all the surrounding inland lakes. Big Paw Paw and Little Paw Paw Lakes have been excellent. Others mentioned were Rush and Van Auken.
In the southwest Lower Peninsula, St. Joseph boat anglers who went out on Lake Michigan found a decent number of trout and salmon. They were caught on blue and green spoons in 80 to 120 feet of water. Meat rigs were also taking fish. The odd steelhead was caught also. Pier fishing was inconsistent.
On the St. Joseph River walleye fishing was good in the lower river when drifting crawlers. In Grand Haven pier fishing for steelhead and Chinook was slow but those casting spoons and alewife caught freshwater drum.
South Haven boat anglers had good fishing with coho and the occasional Chinook caught. Most were taken on blue spoons and meat rigs. A few were caught in 70 feet, but most were found in 150 feet and deeper. Pier anglers caught the odd steelhead on shrimp.
It may feel like a long way off until fall, but if you intend to try some upland bird hunting this fall the DNR suggests now is the time to start planning a fall adventure. Michigan’s 17 GEMS are great places to start looking. Grouse Enhanced Management Sites (GEMS) are found across the Upper and Northern Lower Peninsulas. They are large blocks of land open to hunting that are managed for young forests that offer excellent spots to hunt and see wildlife because of the thick cover and great food sources provided.
GEMS are ideal places to get started for nonresidents unfamiliar with the area, new bird hunters or folks who just thought they’d try a new spot. Visit www.michigan.gov/gems for an interactive map and information about individual GEMS and custom maps.
Michigan’s grouse season runs September 15 to November 14 and December 1 to January 1, 2018. Woodcock, a migratory bird, has an abbreviated season, September 23 to November 6. To hunt grouse and woodcock, hunters need a base license. To target woodcock, they also need the free woodcock stamp. Everything can be purchased online at E-License or at one of the many license agents across the state.
The DNR is reminding the public to remember safety and use caution when stopping along roadsides to look at moose and other wildlife. Lt. Pete Wright, a DNR district law supervisor said, “We have recurring concerns reported about motorists stopping along roadsides in the Upper Peninsula to watch and photograph moose.”
“We understand seeing a moose is an once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people and it can be tremendously exciting.” However, Lt. Wright continued, “People need to be mindful of the dangers posed by passing traffic and the animals themselves.”
A few steps to keep you safe are pull your vehicle completely out of the traffic lanes to park; watch traffic from both directions before exiting car; respect moose and other wildlife as the wild creatures they are. Watch or photograph wildlife from a safe distance. For more information on wildlife viewing, visit www.michigan.gov/wildlife.
Coloma Rod & Gun Club
The Coloma Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on June 10. The class is taught by a certified NRA and RSO instruct