08-03-2017 Outdoors

What looked like tiny pieces of a black and white shag rug covered the Butterfly House door. The caterpillars of a milkweed tussock moth had just finished another molt and were in search of more milkweed.

They started their lives as a large family unit feeding together on the tender parts of milkweed leaves, carefully avoiding the veins filled with sticky latex sap. After the caterpillars developed their distinctive black tufts of hair, they were large enough to need their own space for eating so they spread out. After a few more molts they will enter pupation until next spring.

Like monarch butterflies, milkweed tussock moth caterpillars and adults can store the cardiac glycosides from the milkweed sap in their bodies. However, the adult moths do not have the typical warning color pattern because they fly at night. Nocturnal predators do not recognize colors.

Instead, the moths have an organ that emits an ultrasonic sound that bats (their primary predator) can easily hear. If a bat ignores the warning signal and tries to eat a moth, it will regret its decision. The noxious taste that accompanies the sound teaches bats to avoid the moths.

Learn about the turtles of Sarett on Thursday, August 3 at 3:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $1 for kids.


The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported good fishing continues around the whole state. Some areas are reporting excellent catch rates for trout, salmon, walleye and bass. Panfish including bluegills, perch, sunfish and rock bass can be found around the state also.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports fish in Lake Michigan are staying in the 100- to 150-foot area in different sections of the water column. Lake trout are being caught on the bottom with meat rigs and spin and glows. King’s and coho are biting on meat rigs and flies. A few steelhead and lake trout were also taken at the 100- to 150-foot depth.

Pier fishing is slow with a few steelheads taken and a few freshwater drum. Perch fishing has picked up and anglers are doing pretty well, but the fish are on the smaller side. Inland lakes are hopping with bluegill and crappie catches. Some nice bass have come out of Saddle Lake and Swan Lake was producing some nice crappies.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported walleye anglers have been doing really well with bait bottom bouncing and harness rigs with leaches. Both large and small mouth bass have been biting really well also. Inland lakes in the surrounding area are producing plenty of panfish for anglers.

Boat anglers out of St. Joseph are catching a mix of steelhead, coho, lake trout and the occasional Chinook on spoons, spin-doctors and flies. The fish were caught in 80 feet of water; however, they seem to be moving out deeper. Good perch fishing continues in 30 to 40 feet especially south of the piers.

The DNR named these four spots to target muskellunge in Michigan; Tahquamenon River in Luce County, Thornapple Lake in Barry County, Skegemog Lake in Kalkaska County, and Lake St. Clair in St. Clair County. For more information on fishing for Muskellunge, visit www.michigan.gov/muskie.

The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative – a statewide partnership effort focused on restoring self-sustaining populations of this native fish – unveiled its official action plan with details of the initiative’s goals and various activities it plans to accomplish over the next several years.

This initiative, founded by the Michigan DNR and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, was announced in June of 2016 and consists of 32 organizations.

For more information on the history of Arctic Grayling in Michigan, visit the initiative’s newly launched website at migrayling.org.


The 2018 Michigan Duck Hunters Association Michigan Duck Stamp Competition will take place at Bay City State Recreation Area this Saturday, August 5. It will be part of the 19th annual Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival. The festival lasts two days, Saturday, August 5, open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The festival offers numerous programs, exhibits and competitions focusing on Michigan’s ducks and geese t