Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that the rising water temperatures from the extremely hot weather have brought fewer anglers out across the state. The bite is slowing, and as the water warms, fish become sluggish, especially on the shallower inland lakes. While those heading out are fishing deeper bluegill can be found in shallow water near the beds. Catfish have been caught in the rivers. The Ellinee Bait & Tackle shop on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports the bite has slowed down for bluegill, crappie and other panfish due to the heat. Anglers have to go deep for the big ones, and even deep the bite is slow. The best time to catch bass is at night where you can top fish, using a frog or other jumping bait to make a small noise. River anglers are catching catfish with cut bait and channel cats on night crawlers. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports fishing on Lake Michigan has slowed down. Lake trout are still being caught on the bottom in 100 to 120 feet with Laker-Takers. Very few coho, steelhead or kings are being caught as they are scattered. Perch fishing had been good, but is slowing down again. Most are caught in 20 to 40 feet south of the piers. Perch anglers seem to do well one day and poor the next. Pier fishing was slow for all species, but a few catfish were taken in the river. Inland lakes in the South Haven area have slowed, but bluegills are still biting slowly in 12 feet or deeper. Out of St. Joseph anglers had very good perch fishing south of the piers, where limits were taken in 16 to 22 feet. Salmon anglers had slow fishing, with only lake trout caught in 100 feet. Pier anglers caught lots of freshwater drum on crawlers. Anglers on the St. Joseph River caught a couple of walleye. Out of Holland, lake trout along with a few salmon and steelhead were caught 40 to 100 feet down in 100 to 180 feet with orange, green and blue spoons. Lake trout action continues to be good on the bottom with yellow or green spin-glo. A couple salmon were taken on green meat rigs. Perch fishing was slow and freshwater drum were caught by pier anglers casting spoons. DNR fishing tip for this week is, after spawning, bluebills will move to deeper water for the rest of the summer, and larger bluegills can be hard to locate. They can be found living near the top of the thermocline (layer of water between the deep and surface water), where water temperatures approach 69 degrees. Depending on the lake, this depth usually will be somewhere between 12 and 18 feet. Anglers can use a lake thermometer, available at most tackle stores, to check the lake temperature or contact the nearest DNR office. If the lake has a public access site, fisheries biologists will have surveyed it and will have a temperature-oxygen profile of the lake. This chart will identify the depth with a temperature near 69 degrees. Try fishing at this depth, where the 69-degree temperature is close to the bottom – usually at the deep edge of weed beds. Use light line (4-pound test or less) tipped with a white ice-fishing teardrop jig baited with a wax worm. Some anglers use slip bobbers, while others fish European style with very long fiberglass poles. Early morning and dusk are most productive. Hunting Hunters are reminded that they have until August 1 to get a fall turkey application. The fall turkey season plays an important role in managing turkeys. This hunt stabilizes and reduces wild turkey numbers in certain areas of the state to meet local goals. To find the map of turkey management units and license quotas, see the Fall Turkey Digest at Michigan.gov/Turkey. For those looking for a place to hunt should check out Turkey Tracts. These public land areas provide excellent turkey habitat and accessibility for all hunters. As more sectors of Michigan’s economy cautiously begin to reopen for business, state health officials urge the public to continue following guidelines that help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The DNR recently announced a new online map that helps people find boating, fishing, hiking and other outdoor recreation opportunities close to home. The Your Local Outdoors website is an easy-to-explore collection of state-managed outdoor recreation destinations; state parks, trails, boat launches and family-friendly fishing waters. By entering a ZIP code users and see all of the options that are just minutes away from them. Stretching 33 miles between Kalamazoo and South Haven in southwest Michigan, Kal-Haven Trail State Park rests on an abandoned railroad bed constructed in 1871. The converted rail-trail winds through gorgeous scenery including wooded areas, farmlands, streams and rivers. Now a new tech tool adds the opportunity to explore the area’s natural and cultural history, too. The Kal-Haven Heritage Trail mobile app uses geo-location to alert users about nearby heritage sites and provides text and images to share the stories. The app also offers increased accessibility with tags that allow screen readers to provide a description of images to people with impaired vision. Questions about the app can be directed to Tobi Voigt at 517-898-6067.
Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club is offering monthly CPL (Concealed Pistol License) classes. July’s class will be held July 23 and July 25. Registration is on Tuesday, July 21 at the Watervliet Rod and Gun Club, 3413 Hennessey Rd. between 6 and 7 p.m. For price and more information, call 269-470-9191 or 269-468-3837.
I paused under a large white pine along the trail to observe three black-capped chickadees. Could this be a family group with a new fledgling? One of the chickadees, a slightly fluffier looking individual, gave itself away begging to its parent’s right in front of me. While this individual was already flying and could get around on its own, July is a prime time to see fledgling birds. A fledgling is a songbird that has left its nest but is still relying on its parents to teach them survival skills. For the first few days or weeks out of the nest, and sometimes only hours, the fledglings are also learning to fly. You may see more fluffy downy feathers on the bird or a different pattern all together, begging behaviors, or witness it practicing flying and not making it very far. They may seem like they need help, but the best chance of survival for these young birds is to be in the wild, with their parents. For the chickadee, after leaving the nest, it will spend two to four weeks still dependent on its parents before starting a life of its own. Visit www.wildlifecenter.org/babybird to help determine if a baby bird needs help. If you truly do think a bird is injured or has been picked up by a dog or cat (they have deadly bacteria in their saliva to birds,) call a licensed rehabilitator found at https://www2.dnr.state.mi.us/dlr/.