Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported inland anglers across the state are catching nice batches of panfish and bass. Great Lakes anglers are getting a nice mix of salmon, steelhead and lake trout while tolling. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported perch were biting great on Tuesday, south of the piers in front of the dunes. A few were being caught earlier this week also. Lake trout, a few coho, kings and steelhead were being taken in 80 to 150 feet of water. Trout are on the bottom and biting on Spin-n-Glo’s. Coho, king and steelhead were biting on spoons. Pier fishing has slowed down due to the water turning over and the temperature change. Anglers had been doing really well on catching Skamania. Inland lakes are doing very well on bluegill fishing right now. Some of the best local lakes are Duck Lake, Scott Lake and Eagle Lake. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported great pan-fishing right now on all local inland lakes. Both Big Paw Paw Lake and Little Paw Paw Lake are doing well on panfish and on Rush Lake there were a lot of crappies caught. Right now is an excellent time for a family fishing outing. Anglers going out from St. Joseph found Schnook and lake trout in 100 feet of water. There was good coho fishing also, but you had to go out very deep to find them. Perch fishing has been decent in 25 feet of water both north and south of the piers. Pier anglers were catching drum and catfish. Steelhead had slowed down with the increase in water temperature. Watch for strong east winds that bring cool water and steelhead up to the Berrien Springs ladder. Anglers on the Grand River at Grand Rapids were catching some good size flathead catfish on big minnows, bluegills, or cut bait. The DNR website has a video available that shows you how to care for and clean your catch that is very helpful. There are also handouts available wherever licenses are sold. Lake sturgeon season on the Detroit River is open July 16 to March 15, 2019. This is catch-and-release only and all lake sturgeon must be released immediately. On Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River the season is the same, July 16-March15, 2019. From July 16 to September 30, you may keep the fish if it is 42 inches to 50 inches, lesser or greater must be released immediately. On Otsego Lake you can catch and keep lake sturgeon from July 15 to March 15, 2019, but they must be a minimum of 50 inches long, any under 50 inches are to be released immediately. Anglers’ limit of lake sturgeon to keep is one in a fishing calendar year of April 1 to March 31. The DNR requires a report within 24 hours of any lake sturgeon you take. You may report on line at www.michigan.gov/registerfish. You can call 844-345-3474 or go in person to a DNR service center during business hours, (you must give notice of your arrival).
Hunting You can get an antlerless deer license application from July 15 to August 15. Some areas have a limited number of licenses. For a private property application, you need to have property owners’ phone number, so have it handy. Young hunters, 16-years of age and under can buy antlerless deer licenses over the counter from July 15 to August 15. Leftover antlerless licenses will be on sale September 10 at 10:00 a.m. The DNR reminds all first-time hunters born after January 1, 1960 they are required to take and pass a hunter education and safety course. You will not be able to purchase a base license (other than an apprentice license) unless you can prove successful completion of a hunter safety course. The course can be taken in a classroom-based setting or as an online course, but both require a field day with an instructor before you have successfully completed the course. Find a local class in your area to arrange your field day with the instructor. Information for a local class is included later in the column. Turkey hunters are reminded that they have until August 1 to apply for a Fall Season turkey license. Portions of Michigan will have a fall season from September 15 – November 14; for more information go to www.michigan.gov/turkey. Whether terrifying or totally cool, snakes are best left alone. Michigan is home to 18 different snake species, but there’s no need to worry, since most found here are harmless and tend to avoid people. If you do spot a snake, give it space to slither away and you likely won’t see it again. Handling or harassing snakes is the most common reason people get bit. While most snakes in Michigan aren’t dangerous, there is one venomous species found here – the eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. As the name implies, it has a segmented rattle on its tail. But keep in mind that other Michigan snakes – even those without segmented rattles – also may buzz or vibrate their tails when approached or handled. Rattlesnake bites, while extremely rare in Michigan, can and do occur. Anyone who is bitten should seek immediate medical attention.
Hunter Education Course The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will be holding a Hunter Education Course in September, but now is the time to set up your field day if you’re taking the course on line or elsewhere that does not offer the field day with an instructor. To complete the course, a field day is required. The complete course will be held at the Watervliet Rod and Gun Club on Hennessey Road on September 22 (class room) and September 23 (field day). On September 18 and 19, between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. students will fill out registration sheets and receive books at the 3413 Hennessey Road address. For more information contact John Andrasi at 269-861-1824 or Ron Sefcik at 269-487-8567.
Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on Saturday, July 14, 2018. Class registration was held on Sunday July 8, 2018. The class is taught by a certified NRA and RSO instructor and the cost of the class is $100. For more information or to be put on the list, please call (269) 621-3370.
Remembering the keepers of the light
Join the Historical Association of South Haven and the Michigan Maritime Museum in memorializing the lives of South Haven’s first lighthouse keeper William P. Bryan and the longest serving keeper Captain James S. Donahue. On Saturday July 28 at 4:00 p.m., a U.S. Lighthouse Service Memorial Marker will be installed at their grave sites in Lakeview Cemetery. Following the Memorial Service, at 5:00 p.m. the historical Lightkeeper’s House will be open to the public and feature a small informative exhibit about the keepers of the light. On the house grounds will be a late 19th century inspired ice cream social with a short presentation at 6:30 p.m. “This is a unique opportunity for several organizations here in South Haven to collaborate together and celebrate these remarkable men and share their stories with the public.” says Emily Stap from the Maritime Museum. All events are free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated.
The beaver, one of nature’s greatest engineers, is making a comeback in southwest Michigan after being hunted to near extinction in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Historically, beaver were hunted for their thick fur, which created trade goods for Native Americans with England and France. The demand for the beaver fur used to make hats in Europe caused their population to plummet. These days, the beaver population is rising, but many of the previous wetland habitats in our state have been destroyed. With more beaver in America’s waterways, there are bound to be conflicts. Sometimes, to the dismay of humans, this beaver chews down trees with their strong teeth, create dams and alter waterways creating wetland areas. While this can create conflicts, the beaver is aiding many other plant and wildlife species by their engineering. Some plants rely on the flooding historically done by the beaver to help their species survive long-term. Many endangered or threatened species in our state also rely on wetlands for survival. The rich wetlands create areas for birds, amphibians and reptiles, which support larger predators and in turn a more balanced ecosystem. Visit Sarett’s Butterfly House on Sunday, July 15 starting at 2:00 p.m. to enjoy violin music by Mary Mansfield. Cost is $6 for non-member adults and $2 for children to visit the Butterfly House.