Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that those fishing the inland lakes across the state, caught bass, pike, walleye and panfish. Trout fishing on the rivers and streams was good this past week. Trout, salmon and whitefish continue to be caught in the Great Lakes. The DNR also gave some tips on how to catch your own night crawlers. It’s fairly easy to do, just follow these simple steps. Know where to look: Scout areas such as parks, playgrounds, open grassy areas after a good rain. Look for night crawler castings (the little piles of dirt they leave behind) and then pan a visit following the next good rain. Know when to collect: Night crawlers are best caught an hour or so after dark. Bring the right equipment: Night crawlers are sensitive to vibrations so wear light-weight shoes. They’re also sensitive to bright light so consider rigging your flashlight with a red cover over the lens. Store them properly: Upon catching, just lay them on top of some storage bedding – don’t mix them in. This will allow you to remove sick or dead night crawlers more easily. Boat anglers heading out on Lake Michigan from South Haven found Lake Trout and the occasional coho in 100 feet of water. The fish were caught by those anglers trolling spoons or spin-glo. Pier fishing was slow for steelhead, but lots of freshwater drum were caught. Anglers trying for perch got a few. Inland, Paw Paw Lake and Little Paw Paw Lake were producing plenty of panfish. Most of the inland lakes are producing good catches of panfish and bass at this time. Out of St. Joseph, good numbers of coho and lake trout were taken by those trolling spoons in the top 40 feet of waters 120 feet deep. Pier anglers reported slow steelhead action; however, they were catching good numbers of catfish and freshwater drum on crawlers. In the St. Joseph River the summer steelhead run has been slow. Beginning in late May, American Electric Power had to lower water levels on Lake Chapin to facilitate repairs to the Berrien Springs dam. The low water levels have made it more challenging for steelhead and other species to swim up the fish ladder. If all goes as planned, water levels in Lake Chapin and in the Berrien Springs dam fish ladder should return to normal around June 25. Some have caught a few walleye. On the Kalamazoo River several anglers have caught pike and panfish. Catfish anglers are doing very well below the Allegan dam. At the Grand River at Grand Rapids, some nice bluegills have been caught in the bayous including Bruce, Lloyds and Petty Bayou near Spring Lake. Free, staffed boat washes and invasive species education pilot project will be available on Higgins Lake this summer. In an effort to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species on Higgins Lake, the DNA, the Higgins Lake Property Owners Association and the Higgins Lake Foundation are cooperating on a pilot project to offer free, staffed boat-washing stations and aquatic invasive species education. Boaters are reminded of what they can do to stop aquatic hitchhikers, including the keywords “clean, drain, dry and dispose.” Additional information can be found at www.michigan.gov/invasives, under Take Action and then Boaters and Anglers.
Hunting The first case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is suspected in Jackson County. The DNR announced that a 3-year-old doe in Spring Arbor Township (Jackson County) is suspected positive for chronic wasting disease. Earlier this month, landowners in Jackson County contacted the DNR after a very ill-looking deer died on their property. DNR staff examined the deer to determine the cause of death and submitted tissue samples to Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. After initial tests were positive for CWD, samples were forwarded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory for conformation. The DNR is awaiting those results. The DNR is asking for help from hunters and the public in reporting deer that are unusually thin, lethargic, with drooping head and ears, and exhibiting unusual behavior (for example, acting tame around humans and allowing someone to approach). To report a suspicious-looking deer, call your local DNR field Office or fill out and submit the online observation report found on the DNR website. Please note, if you used a DNR Sportcard to apply for your elk license, you may have difficulty getting your results online. Due to high call volume, getting results by phone is taking longer than usual and you may want to wait until next week when call volume subsides, or when results for Sportcard users are available online. If you applied for a bear or elk license during the May 1 – June 1 application period, you can now view your results. Check hunt drawing results online or call DNR Customer Service Center or 517-284-WILD to find out if you were successful. If you used a DNR Sportcard to apply, please call 517-284-9453 to get your results. More than 7,100 bear licenses and 200 elk licenses were available for the 2018 fall hunting seasons. There are 203 leftover licenses remaining for the Bergland third-period bear hunt, available to Michigan residents only. Leftover licenses will be sold as follows: July 9, 10 a.m. comprehensive lifetime license holders who were not elected for a license can get a free leftover license; July 16, 10 a.m. unsuccessful applicants can purchase a leftover license; July 23, 10 a.m. any remaining licenses will be available to the general public.
BCYF small animal registration deadline approaching The deadline for registration of small animals to be exhibited at the 2018 Berrien County Youth Fair is July 1. Small animals include rabbits, poultry pocket pets, dogs, and cats. A photo of cats and dogs shown at the fair must be provided at registration with the name of the animal. As a reminder, exhibitor handbooks and entry forms are available at the Berrien County Youth Fair, all Berrien County Public libraries, the Berrien County 4-H Office, and Watervliet Fruit Exchange in Watervliet. Exhibitor handbooks are also available online at www.bcyf.org. Registration is open to any Berrien County resident, ages 5 to 20 years of age. The exhibitor age is as of January 1, 2018. Online registration is now open. Once registered, exhibitors can return to the program and add more entries up until each entry deadline. Families can register under one e-mail and password. The exhibitor’s printed email confirmation will serve as the traditional yellow copy of the entry form and is required on entry day, just as the yellow copy of the traditional entry form is. The link for online entries can be found at www.bcyf.org. Entry forms may be turned in any time up to the appropriate deadline date. Entry forms may be brought to the Fair office between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday before July 1, postmarked on or before July 1, or placed in the drop box outside the Fair office after office hours until midnight on July 1. The Fair Office will be open on June 30 from 9 a.m. to noon to accept entries, but exhibitors are encouraged to get their registrations in early. Berrien County Youth Fair King and Queen contest registration deadline is July 11 and still exhibit deadline to register is August 1. Berrien County Youth Fair dates are August 13-18.
Hero students save aquatic animals from painful death! They didn’t know they were heroes. The two boys pulled a length of discarded fishing line off a plant growing in the water then threw it in the trash. If a bird had landed on that plant, its legs and/or wings would have become tangled in the line. Unable to fly or perch properly the bird would have slowly starved to death or died of dehydration. If one of the water snakes that hunt in that area had moved through the plant, it would also become tangled. It may have been able to move a bit so it would have struggled to get free. The strong, thin line would slowly dig into the snake’s body creating wounds like knife slices. The end of the line dangling into the water may have enticed a fish that usually eats fly larvae at the surface. The indigestible line would have blocked its digestive system and the tangle would have prevented its escape from that area. Visit Sarett’s weekly wildlife ambassadors every Thursday through the summer at 3:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, kids are free. Teenagers and adults can learn the basics of kayaking on Saturday, June 30 at 1:00 p.m. at North Lake Park in Stevensville. The $15 fee includes lesson and equipment rental. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. Please call (269) 927-4832 to register.