Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) weekly fishing report helps anglers see what’s biting. The DNR reports that the warmer weather is bringing more anglers out, but hotter temperatures are pushing many fish into deeper, cooler water. Walleye action throughout lakes Erie and Huron has been good, with anglers catching fish on crawler harnesses. Catch rates for bass have been strong throughout much of the state, too, especially along shorelines and near docks. Boats targeting lake trout throughout the Great Lakes have seen limited success. While the heat persists, the best times to hit the water are early morning and evening. The season to take snapping turtles and softshell turtles opened on July 15 and will remain open until September 15. Be sure to check the 2019 Fishing Guide for size and possession limits. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported that on Lake Michigan, lake trout were biting on laker-takers on the bottom in 70 to 120 feet of water. Salmon fishing was slow with a couple steelheads taken in the top 50 feet when fishing 120 feet. Perch were biting well in 25 to 35 feet of water. South Haven pier fishing has been quiet for the most part. Anglers on the pier have caught some catfish and freshwater drum on the river side of the pier. Inland lakes like Eagle and Duck are producing nice catches of bluegill. They are being caught in 12 to 15 feet of water near the bottom. Some anglers are using crickets. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Big Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported the fishermen have thinned as the recreational summer boaters take over the waters. Anglers going out are getting some nice catches of panfish in both Paw Paw Lakes and other surrounding inland lakes. Perch anglers by St. Joseph are continuing to catch perch in 32 feet of water, both north and south of the piers. Pier fishing for steelhead was slow but those using live bait on the bottom caught catfish and freshwater drum. Salmon fishing slowed as the fish seem to be very scattered and very deep. A few trout and the occasional steelhead were caught on spoons in 70 to 90 feet. Those fishing very deep caught a mixed bag of trout and salmon. The DNR fishing tip this week is fishing deep for post-spawn bluegill. After spawning, bluegills will move to deeper water for the rest of the summer and large bluegills can be hard to locate. They can be found living near the top of the thermocline where water temperatures approach 69 degrees. Depending on the lake, this depth will usually be somewhere between 12 and 18 feet. To locate this depth, either use a lake thermometer (available at most tackle shops) 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 (four-pound test or less), tipped with a white ice-fishing tear-drop 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 Although the waterfowl season is still a few months away, the DNR is looking forward to seeing hunters at Michigan’s Wetland Wonders this fall. Waterfowl hunters may notice that conditions are a little different than they’ve been in years past. This spring’s heavy rains, combined with record-high Great Lakes water levels, created difficult growing conditions for crops, especially corn. Some fields remain too wet to plant. As fall gets nearer, the DNR will post the latest information about each area in the weekly manager’s updates. Be sure to check often once the season starts for up-to-date conditions. A series of deer hunting regulations aimed at slowing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) were approved by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission at its regular monthly meeting in Lansing. The action came after a thorough review of the best available science on CWD and multiple opportunities for public input. Major deer hunting regulations, which were approved for the 2019 deer seasons, unless noted otherwise, include a continued ban on baiting and feeding in the entire Lower Peninsula that took effect at the end of January 2019. There is an exception to this ban for hunters with disabilities during the Liberty and Independence hunts. Qualifying hunters are allowed to use two gallons at a time of single-bite baits during deer season. Baiting and feeding is allowed in the Upper Peninsula except for a ban, effective immediately, in the Core CWD Surveillance Area. Consistent with regulations in the Lower Peninsula, there is an exception to the baiting ban in the U.P. Core Area for hunters with disabilities during the Liberty and Independence hunts. There are other regulations that have been changed and will be posted next week to the Michigan.gov/CWD webpage. These changes are for the use of scents, changing the Liberty Hunt to September 14-15, date for hunters with disabilities start date for baiting, etc. For additional questions, contact the DNR Wildlife Division by email at DNR-Wildlife@michigan.gov or by calling 517-284-9453. Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on July 25 and 27, 2019. Registration is on July 23, 2019, between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. and 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.
Veterans can play with therapy dogs Calling all veterans! Petz Carlton, doggy “day care” and training center located in Benton Harbor across from the Orchard Mall, is hosting several opportunities for veterans to work with Bark Angels therapy dogs on agility equipment or spend some quiet time with the dogs. The upcoming events are at 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the following Saturdays: July 20, August 24, September 21 and October 19. Since 2003, The Bark Angels has recruited, trained and supervised dogs and volunteers for physical therapy sessions. They also teach children vocational and character skills, and help youth who have lost someone through divorce, death, or imprisonment. The therapy dogs are regularly used as advocates for children and adults who have been diagnosed with autism. The therapy program is now working veterans for the first time. The dogs help with physical, emotional and cognitive challenges. Their mission and goals are the same… to continue to help one paw at a time!
The monarch caterpillar we were closely observing stopped moving. As we talked it repeatedly thrust its head backwards. Apparently the caterpillar mistook us for predators and was utilizing a behavioral defense: head flicking. Parasitoid wasps are a caterpillar’s worst nightmare. The wasps deposit their eggs on or in the caterpillar’s body. The wasp larvae then feed on the caterpillar. The wasp needs a stationary target for an accurate “strike” so a thrashing caterpillar is less desirable. In addition, that thrashing head is equipped with mandibles strong enough to tear and chew leaves. They can be effective weapons against small enemies such as the wasp. Some caterpillar species move so violently that even a larger potential predator may be startled enough to rethink this meal. The caterpillars then drop to the ground to disappear within the leaf litter. Join us on Thursday, July 25 at 3:00 p.m. for a naturalist program about the Turtles of Sarett! All are welcome to attend and meet our many different species of native turtles. Adult nonmembers cost is $5 and children are free. Sign up to kayak on the St. Joseph River with a naturalist on Sunday, July 28 at 1:00 p.m. starting at the Jasper Dairy boat launch. A naturalist will shuttle you from Sarett to Berrien Springs to put in at the river. This is an adult’s only trip and is $20/person. Please call to register 269-927-4832.