07-20-2017 Outdoors

Fishing

The lake sturgeon season on Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River opened this past Sunday, July 16.  The possession season is July 16 through September 30.  All sturgeon anglers need to obtain a non-transferable Lake Sturgeon Fishing Permit and Harvest Tag at any license vendor prior to fishing.  Be sure to check regulations and the size limits on page 15 in the 2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers that Michigan’s current Fishing Guide is always available online.  View or download it at www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests.

The DNR reports that those fishing southwest Lower Peninsula’s inland lakes have been catching bluegills and crappie.  The fish have moved to deeper water because of the heat wave, but they are still there.

The DNR gave some tips on fishing with crankbaits.  Many anglers love to fish with crankbaits (also known as plugs), a type of hard-bodied fishing lure.  Below are some criteria to think about when selecting a crankbait.

BODY SHAPE: Fat-bodied crankbaits that are shorter will displace more water and create more vibration.  Many anglers prefer this type of crankbait when fishing in dark water or at night.  Thin-profile crankbaits glide through the water with minimal resistance.  This option is great when fishing clear water and targeting species that are sight feeders.

BUOYANCY: Crankbaits with less buoyancy are better suited for water with minimal cover and clear bottoms while those with more buoyancy are better for fishing around cover. Crankbaits can be a great lure option when targeting walleyes, bass or muskellunge, (among other species).  Consider trying one out during your next fishing trip.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters reported satisfactory fish on Lake Michigan in 50 to 150 feet.  Coho, steelhead, and kings could be found from 50 feet on down to the bottom where the lake trout are.  Spoons and flies seemed to work best for all, but the king salmon which preferred meat rigs.

Perch fishing has been picking up with catches being taken in 30 to 40 feet of water in front of Deer Lick Point.  Pier fishing was slow with a few steelheads being taken, along with some freshwater drum.  Inland lakes are all producing good catches of bluegills and crappie with Swan, Duck and Eagle lakes being a little more productive.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported that bass are biting like crazy on Wacky Worms and Flappin’ Hogs for largemouth and small crankbaits and small spinners for the smallmouth.  Mostly largemouth bass are being caught in Little Paw Paw Lake, but both are being taken in Big Paw Paw Lake.

Panfish, bluegills and crappie are biting on wax worms and red worms and are out deeper, at the edge of drop-offs for the cooler water.  A couple of Skamania were taken out of the Paw Paw River in Watervliet where the old paper mill used to be.

Boat anglers going out of St. Joseph found that salmon fishing was inconsistent as the fish were scattered in waters up to 120 feet or deeper.  Perch fishing in the area has improved.  Most were fishing south of the piers in 32 feet of water.  Pier fishing for steelhead was slow but anglers did find freshwater drum and a few catfish when using crawlers on the bottom.

Hunting

Antlerless deer license applications went on sale Saturday, July 15.  The application period runs through August 15.  Antlerless quotas for each DMU can be found at www.michigan.gov/deer.  Hunters may apply for one license in any open Deer Management Unit (DMU) statewide for a nonrefundable $5.00 fee.  Hunters may choose to apply for either one private-land or one public-land license online at E-License or at any authorized license agent or DNR Customer Service Center.

Young hunters, ages 9-16 can purchase one junior antlerless deer license over the counter July 15-August 15.  No application is required.  A 9-year-old must be 10 by September 26 to purchase this license.

Any leftover antlerless deer licenses not issued in the drawing will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Tuesday, September 5, at 10:00 a.m. until license quotas are met.  Drawing results and leftover license availability may be viewed at www.michigan.gov/deer beginning August 28.  License quotas for each DMU can be found at the same address.

The DNR reminds hunters that DMU 333 has unlimited antlerless licenses that may be purchased without application beginning September 5 at 10:00 a.m.  For additional information, the 2017 Antlerless Deer Digest is available online at www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests.

The DNR reminds hunters of the Bear Hunting Clinics on July 29,