07-27-2017 Outdoors


The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) weekly fishing report indicated that the hot July temperatures are warming the water and driving the fish deeper, especially during the day. Try heading out in the early morning or late evening when fish come into the shallows to feed. Look for areas where cooler water is coming from spring fed streams, or target lakes that have natural springs and where the waters are cooler.

The fishing tip from the DNR this week is, the basics of using downriggers, if you are not familiar with using downriggers, this tool is ideal when fishing the great lakes as it allows for controlled/ depth fishing, and targeting species suspended in the water column.

Here are three things to keep in mind if you are considering using a downrigger in the future: 1. Making a choice between manual and electric depend on how much you want to spend, how often you fish, and how big your boat is. Manual downriggers are less expensive than electric, but require more work on the part of the angler. 2. Cannonballs are the weights lowered by the downrigger that is attached to your lure. These weights usually range from 4-14 pounds. Make your selection based on how deep you intend to fish (the deeper you go the more weight you need). 3. A lead is the amount of line between your cannonball and your lure. It also determines how your lure acts in the water. The deeper you fish, the shorter the lead needs to be.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters, out of South Haven, reports fishing is slow but anglers on Lake Michigan have caught king salmon, coho, lake trout, and steelhead. They’re catching the fish in 100-150 feet of water, in the water column between 40 feet to the bottom. Coho are biting on spoons. Trout are on the bottom and biting on spinners and meat-rigs. Perch are being caught in 35-45 feet of water, south of the pier. Pier and river fishing are slow, with a few steelheads being taken. All inland lakes are producing bluegill and crappy.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma report walleye are biting on bottom bouncers, and crawler harness. The bass are still biting well on soft plastic baits, around docks. There has been no word on fish being caught in the river, but anglers have reported catching perch on shiners in St. Joseph.

Salmon anglers out of St. Joseph are catching a few, but the fish were still scattered. About 100 feet of water was a good starting place. Steelhead fishing has been slow but a few fish were caught each day. St. Joseph pier anglers only caught a few steelheads, but they caught lots of freshwater drum.

In Kalamazoo County, good catches of bass and bluegills were noted in Indian, Austin, and Long lakes. Smallmouth bass were being caught in the Flat River in Barry County.

The DNR recently confirmed the presence of invasive Red Swamp Crayfish in Sunset Lake in Vicksburg, south of Kalamazoo (Kalamazoo County), and in a retention pond on Haggerty Road in Novi (Oakland County). Swamp Crayfish, also known as Louisiana Crayfish, are deep red in color with bright red, raised spots covering the body and claws. They have a black wedge-shaped stripe on the top of the abdomen. Between 2-5 inches in length, these crayfish resemble miniature lobsters. They are native to the Mississippi River drainage and the Gulf Coast and are the popular “crawfish” “crawdads” in southern cooking.

The Swamp Crawfish are a prohibited species in Michigan, which means it is unlawful to possess, introduce, sell, or offer them for sale as a live organism, except in special circumstances, including providing specimens to the DNR for identification.

The DNR staff will continue survey and removal efforts on Sunset Lake and its tributaries to determine the size and extent of the infestation. Staff will be out during the daytime and evening hours, setting nets and crayfish traps, and using electro-fishing equipment to capture and remove the crayfish. Residents and visitors are asked to try to capture any Red Swamp Crayfish and place them on a container in the freezer, then report the location of the find to the DNR at (269) 685-6851 ext. 0.

Sightings of Red Swamp Crayfish in the Novi area and elsewhere should be photographed and reported with the date and location of the find to herbsts1@michigan.gov and for more information about Red Swamp Crayfish and other invasive species visit www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies.


The 22nd annual Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival will be held August 5-6 at the Saginaw Bay Visitors Center at Bay City State Recreation Area. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The weekend festivities include the Hunting and Outdoor Recreation Expo, the Michigan Duck and Goose Calling Championship, the 2018 Michigan Duck Hunters Association Michigan Duck Stamp Competition, and Duck-Calling Clinics, and Wildlife Arts and Crafts show.

For more information about the 2017 Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival visit the Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival Facebook page or the Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area website at www.friendsofpark.org or call the visitors center at (989) 667-0717.