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06-20-19 Outdoors

Fishing The large and small mouth bass opener on Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River and the Detroit River was last Saturday, June 15. High water levels continue to hamper fishing on the Great Lakes, inland lakes as well as the rivers and streams, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported. While visibility may be factor, those putting in the time have caught fish. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported good fishing on Lake Michigan. Lake trout were being caught on the bottom with Laker-Takers. The king salmon that were caught were biting on spinners and flies. The steelheads were biting on orange or blue spinners. A few perch were reported to have been caught south of the piers, but the piers were unfishable because of the turbulence of the water. The Back River is high and very dirty, few are fishing it. The Kalamazoo River was reported to be doing well for anglers targeting the smallmouth bass. Inland lakes are producing good catches of bluegills and other panfish. The lakes very whether the fish are by the beds or out by the weed drop-offs, depending on how deep or shallow the lake is, making it warmer or cooler. Salmon fishing out of St. Joseph has slowed but fish were still being caught at 110 feet of water. Pier anglers caught a couple steelheads with alewife. A lot of freshwater drum was caught when casting spoons. Perch fishing was slow, but a few were taken in 45 feet. Recent weather conditions mean that many lakes, rivers and streams in Michigan are experiencing higher than normal water levels. The DNR encourages boaters, anglers and others to keep enjoying the water, but to do so with safety in mind and clear understanding of state boating rules and regulations and local watercraft controls. High water levels can cause flooding, deep water and strong currents, which can increase the amount of debris floating in the water and under the surface. It can create difficult conditions for anyone swimming or steering a boat or other personal watercraft. It can also eliminate or alter access routes to and between different bodies of water. Some boats are sitting so high in the rising water that they are almost floating over the docks. If you come in too fast, your boat could cause water to overflow onto a dock where people might be standing. Speed and no-wake restrictions are in effect for a reason – it’s important to know the watercraft controls for the area you are in. For more information on local watercraft controls, boating access sites, boating safety and facility closures, go to Charter fishing is a great option for novice and experienced anglers. It is an ideal way to experience Michigan’s world-class fishing. Licensed charter captains, who provide the boat, the equipment and the knowledge needed to pursue fish, can make a full or half-day of fishing easy and enjoyable. Explore your options by searching online for charter operators and regional charter fishing organizations, contacting area chamber of commerce or tourism offices, or visiting

Hunting The 2019 bear and elk license drawing results will be posted on June 25, 2019. Bear drawing results will be posted at Elk drawing results will be posted at If you are not successful at the drawing, you might want to try for a chance of winning licenses from the Pure Michigan Hunt contest for 2020. Applications are $5.00 each and you can enter as many times as you want. For more information on the Pure Michigan Hunt, go to the DNR web site. The 2019 Fur Harvester Digest and information about fur harvesting opportunities are available at Coyote hunting is available year-round. Remember that free 2019 kill tags for bobcat, fisher, marten and otter are available to licensed fur harvesters. Bobcat kill tags are only available through November 30, 2019. The DNR will be offering a wild mushroom clinic June 30 at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center, located in Mitchell State Park in Cadillac. This will be the first Wild Mushroom Clinic to be held by the Outdoor Skills Academy. The instructors will teach participants what it takes to sell/distribute wild foraged mushrooms under Michigan Law. It also will cover the proper handling techniques for transport, cleaning, consumption (including some sampling) and home preservation of wild mushrooms. For more information or to register, visit The class cost is $40.00 and includes lunch.

Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on June 21 and 23, 2019. The cost of the class is $100.00. 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.

Watervliet Airport 40C Fly-In and Camp-In 2019 Enjoy the fun of flight, family, food and friends!

The Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) Chapter 585, based at the Watervliet Municipal Airport, will be hosting its annual summer Fly-In celebration with a steak fry from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, June 29 and a pancake breakfast from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Sunday, June 30 at the airport. The Fly-In features appearances of general aviation airplanes and Warbirds as well as “experimental” aircraft; weather and availability permitting. The airport hosts some aircraft and their owners for the weekend Camp-In. The chapter is always busy restoring or building flyable aircraft. The money generated by the Fly-In’s food sales is used to purchase parts necessary to complete classic aircraft restoration, and maintain the airport. Attendees will see the north south runway has lighting along both sides, a project performed by EAA Chapter 585 members. All of the work on these projects is performed by a team of dedicated volunteers. To learn more on how to get involved in local aviation just ask any EAA member at the airport, or visit The airport is located after a right hand turn on Airport Road one half mile north of downtown Watervliet, one block north of Wesco gas station on M-140. Due to safety requirements no pets are allowed at the Fly-In and children should be supervised at all times by an adult. All aircraft arrivals are dependent upon weather conditions and availability. These events are sponsored by the Watervliet Municipal Airport and Chapter 585 of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

The completion of a new West Marsh Tower on the trails at the Nature Center allows visitors to see into a vast area of marsh wetland habitat. If visitors look down off this tower they might see the large pile of cattail plants, stuck together with mud – the home of a muskrat. If they are lucky, they might even see a muskrat or two patrolling the shallow waters. The muskrat is one of the larger rodents of the Great Lakes, reaching almost two feet long. They have dense brown fur with a naked tail and webbed hind feet to aid in swimming. Muskrats are semi aquatic, living near lakes, ponds and especially marshes. They build their 1-foot thick homes with emergent plants and mud and use them to sleep in and raise their young. Muskrats may have up to three litters of young between March and October in groups of 4 – 8. The young start swimming after only two weeks. Muskrats are active any time of day and feed mostly on roots and basal portions of aquatic vegetation, but will also eat small amounts of meat in forms of crayfish, mussels, and frogs. Adults or teenagers 14 & up can learn the basics of kayaking at North Lake Park in Stevensville with a Sarett naturalist on Saturday, June 22 at 1:00 p.m. Sarett will provide kayaks, paddles and life vests. Please call 269-927-4832 to register. The cost is $15 per person.


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Nature Notebook

The numerous, tiny piles of soil that indicate earthworm activity are beginning to appear in yards. The earthworm’s body is mostly water so how did it survive our bitterly cold winter?


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