07-23-2020 Outdoors

Fishing

The Department of Natural Resources reported that while the bite slowed when the cold front moved through, it looks like fishing is once again picking back up. River fishing for catfish, walleye, bass and freshwater drum continues to improve. Inland lakes are producing a fair to good number of bass.

A reminder: All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported slow but steady big fish catching on Lake Michigan. Lake trout are being caught on the bottom in 80 to 150 feet. King salmon are being caught in 50 to 80 feet as well as a few steelheads were taken in the same area.

The water is quite stirred up so fishing on the pier is very poor. Perch fishing has been up and down, but after the water being churned, the bite is poor right now. On the local inland lakes, the bite is slow, but limits are still being caught for some pan fish. Bluegills are being found on the bottom in 12 to 20 feet of water and anglers are using worms under a slip bobber.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle reports fishing action on the inland lakes has been quite slow. A better chance of catching bluegill, crappie and bass is early morning or just before night. Anglers are advised to use soft plastics, Ned rigs, Texas rigs, wacky worms and wax worms. Flathead catfish and channel cats are being caught at night on the Paw Paw River.

Anglers out of St. Joseph had good perch fishing both north and south of the piers in 15 to 22 feet. With the good perch fishing, few boats were salmon fishing. Charter boats caught lake trout and the occasional salmon or steelhead in 80 to 120 feet. Other than a number of freshwater drum being caught, pier fishing was slow.

At Port Sheldon salmon and trout were caught in 30 to 80 feet and down in 90 to 140 feet when trolling green and blue meat rigs. Lake Macatawa anglers were catching catfish and freshwater drum. Walleye and perch were caught on a harness with crawlers and leeches.

During the first few months of the coronavirus emergency, a lot of people turned to the outdoors for exercise, fresh air and a little peace of mind. For two residents, that included time on the water that led to new state-record fish!

Owen Seay of Big Rapids was bait casting in the Muskegon River in Mecosta County on April 28 when he caught a quillback carpsucher weighing in at 9 pounds, 15 ounces and measuring 24.75 inches. That catch bested the previous state record, an 8.52-pound catch on Hardy Dam Pond in Newaygo County in 2015.

On May 25, Garrett Rice of Athens caught a 33-pound bigmouth buffalo measuring more than 3 feet long while bowfishing on Lake Erie in Monroe County. Rice’s fish replaced the 32-pound record-holder caught last year on the Shiawassee River in Saginaw County.

State-record fish are recognized by weight only. To qualify, a fish must exceed the current listed state-record weight and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist. See the current roster of record setters at Michigan.gov/StateRecordFish.

Hunting

Apply for an antlerless deer hunting license now through August 15. A person may apply only once and must choose to apply for either a public-land or private-land license (not both). Applications are $5.00. Apply online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or anywhere licenses are sold. Find more antlerless deer hunting and application information at Michigan.gov/Deer.

Apply for a reserved deer hunt through August 15. Opportunities for individuals with disabilities are available at Sharonville State Game Area. Opportunities in DMU 273 (Shiawassee) are available for any licensed hunter. There are limited opportunities for archery-only antlerless hunts in Humbug Marsh Unit of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. Apply online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or anywhere licenses are sold. Drawing results will be posted on line August 31, 2020.

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission approves 2020 deer hunting regulations. The DNR deer program experts say the regulations, which will be in effect for the 2020 deer hunting season, will provide additional opportunities and cost savings for hunters and offer flexibility in how hunters pursue deer. The data shows that the projected changes will not have a significant negative effect on the deer herd or the quality of deer hunting.

Approved deer regulations for 2020 include: STATEWIDE – Liberty and Independence hunt qualifications now include deaf people; mentored youths (age 9 or younger), junior license holders (age 10-16) and apprentice license holders are exempt from antler point restrictions in all seasons, in all deer management units (DMUs) and under all licenses, which includes both the regular and restricted tags on the deer combo license; the statewide limit for private-land antlerless license purchase is 10 per hunter. This limit offers maximum opportunity for those who wish to manage