06-22-2017 Outdoors


The Southwest X Southwest Corner Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) will be educating boaters about preventing the spread of harmful invasive species during Michigan’s 4th Annual Aquatic Invasive Species Landing Blitz July 1 through July 9, 2017.

The Landing Blitz is a statewide program sponsored by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development in partnership with local organizations.  The event is a collaborative outreach campaign to raise awareness about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) through recreational boating and related activities.

CISMA is hosting three events throughout the week within its service area in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties to teach boaters, anglers and the public about how to keep our lakes and rivers healthy.

On Saturday, July 1, the CISMA will be in the Paw Paw Amphitheater on Maple Lake from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for demonstrations on cleaning boots, boats, and waders, as well as common invasive species identification and reporting.  For more information, contact Eleanor Serocki, at 269-657-4030 extension 5.

On Sunday, July 2, the land blitz will continue in Cass County from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Harmon Park, near Cassopolis, with booths, giveaways, and presentations for all ages.  For more information, contact Kimberly Barton at 269-445-8641 extension 5.

The CISMA will wrap up on Friday, July 7 with a free boat wash in Berrien County at the Paw Paw Lake East Launch in Watervliet.  For more information, contact Jared Harmon at 269-471-9111 extension 3.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports that they were getting good catches of coho, steelhead, and a few king salmon on Lake Michigan in 100 to 120 feet of water.  The Black River has warmed up so fishing is quiet, but the pier anglers were getting a few steelheads.  Inland lakes such as Swan and Van Auken have been real good for bass and pan fish anglers are catching their fill of bluegill and crappie.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported that the bass fishing is on fire on Paw Paw Lake.  Both largemouth and smallmouth are biting on small jigs, spinners and soft bates.  Even some pike have been caught.  Pan fish are still biting well and some bluegills are still bedding on Rush Lake yet.  Channel catfish are being caught in the rivers.

Boat anglers out of St. Joseph that are targeting trout and salmon reported slower catch rates and the weather has not helped.  Most fish were caught in 120 feet of water.  Pier anglers are taking the occasional steelhead on shrimp or alewife.  The river still has good walleye fishing in the lower river.  Some good size fish were caught by those trolling crank baits.


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife biologists have completed the moose survey and the results estimate a slight population increase.  A moose hunt in Michigan is not currently being considered.  Moose are found in Michigan at Isle Royale National Park and in two population areas on the mainland of the Upper Peninsula.

The Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative (MPRI) coalition partners completed a 2016 annual report, now available at michiganpheasantsforever.org/habitat.

The MPRI is a conservation initiative to restore and enhance Michigan pheasant habitat, populations, and hunting opportunities on private and public lands via pheasant cooperatives.

For more information about the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative, and about pheasant hunting, visit www.michigan.gov/pheasant.

The DNR seeks input on southwest Michigan state game area master plans.  These plans will be available for review through July 15.  Comments can be submitted directly to the author at the email addresses listed and within the master plan drafts.  After July 15, authors will review comments and make updates if necessary.  The final plans will be available by August 1 at Michigan DNR state wildlife/game area web page.

Draft master plans are available online via the links below:

Boyle Lake State Wildlife Area (Berrien County) comments go to Ken Kesson at kessonkl@michigan.gov

Vestaburg State Game Area (Montcalm County) comments go to John Niewoonder at niewoonderj@michigan.gov

Muskrat Lake State Game Area (Clinton County) comments go to Chad Fedewa at fedewacl@michigan.gov

Gourdneck State Game Area (Kalamazoo County) comments go to Nate DeVries at devriesn@michigan.gov.

The DNR and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency have collaborated to offer Fireworks-Free Fourth of July alternative camping options for veterans and other visitors seeking a quieter holiday this season.  Several Michigan state parks and recreation areas will participate July 1-4.

To make a reservation or check on camping availability, call 1-800-447-2757.  To learn more, visit www.michigan.gov/FireworksFreeFourth.

Fishing Rodeo for kids on Saturday

The annual “Fishing Rodeo” held at the Van Buren Sportsmen’s Club in Hartford is on Saturday, June 24 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for kids 2-16 years old. The club is located at 54030 CR 687.

Bring fishing pole, hooks and line. Worms will be supplied. Also, there will be food, chips, and pop for the kids along with prizes.

It was bound to happen. When you allow a male and a female frog coexist in the Butterfly House pond, you will eventually see eggs.

Our froggy inhabitants are both on the young side. We knew the male was of breeding age because he has a yellow chin and produced the advertisement call. Our female is much smaller. Consequently, her egg clutch is small. Larger females can lay up to 3,000 eggs at once. The one in our pond seems to only have about 100.

Green frog eggs usually use emergent vegetation (plants with leaves above the water surface) to anchor their egg masses. However, if a frog is in a shallow pool (e.g., the Butterfly House pond) then the female will spread the eggs as a film on the surface of the water. Biologists think this may be an adaptation to provide the eggs with a more oxygenated area to develop.

If our pond fish don’t eat the eggs (as fish are inclined to do) the tiny larvae (tadpoles) will be using their scraping mouth parts to eat the algae at the bottom of the pond. They will have to keep hiding from the fish until they complete their metamorphosis and can climb out of the pond.

Learn about Sarett’s owls and turkey vulture on June 29 at 3:00 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults, children are free.