06-15-2017 Outdoors

Fishing

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stated in their weekly fishing newsletter that fishing activity across the state, especially walleye, bass and pan fishing has been heating up on the inland lakes.

In the Southwestern Lower Peninsula bluegills are on their beds in most of the inland lakes.  The deeper and colder large lakes are seeing more spawning activity. Anglers have been catching limits of bluegill and crappie using flies or leaf worms.  The DNR has had good reports of bass and walleye fishing along with pike hitting in rivers and inland lakes.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports fishing has slowed down on the big lake.  The big fish in Lake Michigan have gone out deeper in 120 to 200 feet and anywhere in the water column from 20 feet, down to the bottom.  They are taking some lake trout, coho, and the occasional king.

Pier fishing has been slow with the occasional steelhead being caught.  No sign of perch by South Haven.  Inland lakes in the area are filling limits of bluegill and crappie.  The bass have been hot with small mouth bass hottest in the Kalamazoo River.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake in Coloma reported all the local inland lakes producing limits on panfish; bluegills, crappies, and bass.  Those targeting walleye have done well also.

Boat anglers going out on Lake Michigan said the salmon and trout fishing is slow and the fish have moved out to 120 feet or more.  No sign of perch in the area.  Pier anglers are taking a few steelheads with shrimp.  They are catching catfish and freshwater drum also.  St. Joseph River is still very good for walleye in the lower river.

Lake trout regulation changes on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron went into effect on June 9, 2017.  The new regulations will prove to be expanded angling opportunities on both Great Lakes, including:

In Lake Michigan Management units, mm1 through mm4, the new minimum size for lake trout and splake is 15 inches.  The maximum size was removed.

On Lake Michigan, mm6 through mm8 management units, the lake trout and splake possession season change is that it is open all year.

On Lake Huron, management unit’s mh3 through mh6, the lake trout and splake possession season has been changed to open all year.

In Type F drowned river mouth lakes, lake trout and splake possession is open all year.

The online version of Michigan Fishing Guide has been updated to reflect the new changes.

The DNR announced its annual update to its web application designed to inform the public on local and regional trends in abundance, growth and survival of important fish populations in selected streams across Michigan is now complete.  The Stream Fish Population Trend Viewer app can be found at http://www.megi.state.mi.us/fishpop/#.

The DNR has reared fish at its state fish hatcheries for more than a century.  This summer, the DNR encourages the public to pay a visit to these unique facilities and see this important work up close.  To encourage additional visits in 2017 the DNR has launched its Hatchery Passport Program, which will reward visitors with a collectible sticker representing each respective location.

To participate in the Hatchery Passport Program, visit www.michigan.gov/hatcheries or stop by any of the participating locations to download or pick up a copy of the official Hatchery Passport Program document.  Additional instructions are within the document.  There is no time frame attached to this program; it can be completed at any time by anyone.

There are six State fish hatcheries and two select egg-take weir facilities with a collectible sticker representing each respective location. Those that fill up the passport can then collect a small token of appreciation, courtesy of the DNR.

Hunting

The DNR in collaboration with DJ Case & Associates released a report on a nearly yearlong study of Michigan deer hunters.  Following up on recent DNR research into deer hunting participation trends, the project was designed to be completed before the 2017-2019 deer hunting regulations were established.

The full written report, which includes more than 100 pages of detailed information on the study process and results, is available online at www.michigan.gov/deer, under “MI Deer Resources.”

A few key findings included:

Most respondents (79 percent) did not think the current deer hunting regulations are too complex.

Differences of opinions across age categories were greater than differences between males and females.

Regulations changes did not receive a majority of support among any group of hunters, though younger hunters generally were more supportive of changes than older hunters.

As the hunter population ages, differences of opinions across age categories indicate the DNR should re-examine future support for regulations changes.

Among options for possible discounts and prize drawings, a majority of younger hunters did believe they would be likely to purchase a multiyear license bundle at a discounted rate.

Gardeners that notice ants on their plants may worry the ants are damaging the plants. In some cases that may be true. Many of the ants, however, may actually be protecting the plants from ravaging herbivores.

One of the many weapons available in a plant’s arsenal is the ability to convince other animals to provide defensive services. The plants “pay” their protectors with sugar- and amino acid-rich nectar. However, the guardians collect their pay from sites that differ from their pollinator counterparts. Extrafloral nectaries (EFN), nectar-producing glands, have been found in 4,000 plants on every part of the aboveground plant parts that a crawling or flying insect can easily access. The most common places are on the outside of flower buds and the vulnerable areas of leaves (the base and underside). If a plant is attacked by an herbivore the EFN produce more nectar to entice insects.

The nectar is rich in sugar and contains some amino acids but it is not a complete food. Therefore, the visiting insects still need protein. The plant hopes that the protein consumed will come from the attacking herbivores. Ants are the predominate consumer and predator attracted to EFNs. Mites, ladybird beetles, some wasps, lacewing larvae and spiders are also attracted to the nectar.

Meet Sarett’s turtles on June 22 at 3:00 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults, children are free.

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