The developing green frog chorus at Sarett is being enhanced by another voice. The gray treefrog breeds from now into the summer. The males are advertising from the shrubs or trees where they usually “hang out.” The call is a short, melodic trill that can be confused with a bird or insect call. Usually they call in the evenings but an overcast day can lead to a daytime concert. The frogs will continue to call after the breeding season ends especially during humid or rainy weather. Explore the Michigan DNR website and treefrog species account to hear a sample of a gray treefrog’s call. This treefrog is one of our smaller species, growing only to 2.5 inches. They can change their skin color from gray to green to blend better with the perch of the day. The adhesive toepads on a treefrog allow it to spend most of its time above ground in trees and shrubs, looking for insects. Many homeowners will find them sitting on outside potted plants or even the sides of houses and windows where they will eat the insects attracted to outside lights. The grey treefrog is actually divided into two species, the Eastern Grey Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) and the Cope’s Grey Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis.) They look identical but can be told apart by their call – the Eastern has a loud, musical trill lasting from 1/2 to 3 seconds and the Cope’s has a harsher, faster, and nasally trill. Sarett Nature Center building is closed at this time. Trails remain open! Please practice social distancing while hiking and do not bring pets on the trails. Currently there is not fee to hike the trails but please consider making a donation to support the center.
Fishing In southwest Michigan the anglers are happily pulling catches out of their favorite lake, stream and river. The weather has been good and the bite has been great this past week. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported the bite slowed some on Lake Michigan late last week as most of the salmon traveled north. Lake trout are biting on Laker Takers near the bottom in 100 to 200 feet of water. An occasional steelhead has been taken in the same depths. There has not been a sign of perch yet, but anglers are going out on the pier and catching Skamania now and then. The water is a little too warm for a good run yet. Inland lakes in the South Haven area are producing plenty of bluegills and crappie to keep the local anglers happy. Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Big Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported the lakes are really producing. This past week they sold out of live bait twice and had to reorder. New fishing rods and reels are coming in too as their stock sold out also. The majority of fish being caught are bluegills and crappies on all the local lakes. Anglers are taking some bass and walleye also. People who regularly fish Michigan waters likely are familiar with the state’s marked and tagged fish program. Through assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Great Lakes states, including Michigan, are mass marking popular gamefish (like steelhead, chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon, brown trout and lake trout) before those fish are stocked. As more anglers get out on the water this summer, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds them that catching a trout or salmon with an adipose fin clip could be worth a $100 reward. The adipose fin is the small, fleshy lobe on the fish’s back, just forward of the tail fin. Most trout and salmon with an adipose fin clip also have a coded-wire tag in the snout. Because the tags are small, they must be removed by lab technicians. If anglers catch and want to keep a clipped fish, they are asked to turn the head in at one of the local drop-off stations. According to Jay Wesley, Lake Michigan Basin coordinator, fish tag returns help biologists understand survival, age and movement of important sportfish. The Great Lakes Salmon Initiative recognized the need for citizen science in this effort and teamed up with Captain Chucks II in Ludington and Moonshine Lures to sponsor 33 rewards worth $100 each. Fish with tags submitted before November 1, 2020, will be eligible for the rewards which will be randomly selected. The drawing will occur around January 2021. For more information on how to recognize a tagged fish and how to fill out the proper information, visit Michigan.gov/TaggedFish.
Hunting Hunters looking for a place to hunt, or wanting to try a new one should check out the DNR suggested places to look. Check the DNR Grouse Enhanced Management Sites (GEMS) for premier bird hunting locations. Try HAP lands to find a complete list of private lands available to hunt through the Hunting Access Program. Or find places to hunt using Mi-HUNT, a mapping tool that shows lands open to public hunting. Registration is open through July 10 for the DNR Bear and Elk Hunt Transfer Program waiting list. The program allows hunters who are drawn for a bear or elk license to transfer their drawing success to an eligible person they know, or to an individual on the DNR hunt waiting list. Those eligible to receive a hunt through the transfer program: Youth hunters, up to 16 years of age, who applied for the current-year bear and elk drawings and were not selected for a license, are eligible. Any person who has been diagnosed with an advanced illness is eligible. An application for a license in the current-year drawing is not required. Advanced illness is defined by the Public Health Code and requires a Physician Certification of Advanced Illness (PDF). The DNR has announced opening dates for campgrounds, harbors and other outdoor spaces. Dispersed camping on state-managed lands resumed May 29. Camping at the state’s more than 140 rustic state forest campgrounds and overnight stays in DNR-managed harbors resume Wednesday, June 10. Camping, overnight lodging facilities, day-use shelters and sanitation stations in state parks and recreation areas reopen Monday, June 22. Please note that a handful of campgrounds have extended closures due to construction that was delayed due to the COVID-19 stay-home order and associated spending restrictions. Many park amenities, such as bathroom buildings, hand-washing stations, trash services, concessions, playgrounds and play equipment, viewing platforms, etc. are beginning to open in phases. As anticipated opening dates are finalized, they will be posted to the DNR COVID-19 response page.