Black-eyed Susans can be seen in gardens and growing naturally in roadside waste areas. Originally found in the western plains of North America, the sun-loving, yellow-pedaled flowers “migrated” eastward as European settlers cleared forests for their farms. Close examination reveals that black-eyed Susans are actually numerous flowers growing on one stalk. The petals are sterile, ray flowers; they act as advertisement signs for pollinators. The smaller, darker tube-like flowers that contain the reproductive parts cluster together to form a disc shape…the “eye.” Insects love these plants. Short-tongued insects partake of the abundant pollen and nectar-loving insects can find plenty of nectar in the floret tubes in the disc. The multitude of seeds produced (1,000,000 in a pound!) ensures that there will be many more Susans next year. Visit our Butterfly House at Sarett this summer by making an appointment through our online store, which can be found through www.sarett.org. Walk-ups will be given appointments if there is availability. The main building remains closed at this time, but our trails are open dawn to dusk. The Butterfly House is open Tuesday’s through Saturday’s from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday’s from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sarett will be offering naturalist-led hikes and programs outside on the nature center trails starting the month of August for one family group at a time. Go to www.sarett.org to learn more.
Fishing A reminder from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that any angler who harvests a lake sturgeon or muskellunge is required to report the harvest within 24 hours of the time of the catch. Reports can be made online at Michigan.gov/registerfish or by calling 906-287-0816. Anglers across the state are targeting bass and bluegill with limited success. The warm weather forced fish to deeper water and decreased their feeding activity. Using live bait in the morning and evening has produced catches. Bluegill and crappie were caught in 12 feet of water or more, the DNR said. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampaging Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported fishing the Big Lake has been pretty good. Fishing Lake Michigan in 80 to 150 feet, lake trout were being taken on Laker-Takers off the bottom. Salmon were biting well in the top 50 to 80 feet, with steelhead and a few kings biting on green flies, meat-rigs, and flashy colored spoons. Perch fishing was spotty and anglers had to catch the right day to do any good. The fish were being found in 25 feet of water, south of the pier. The lake water changed overnight on Monday from a warm 74 degrees to a cool 57 degrees by Tuesday morning. This will have an effect on the bite for a few days, until it warms back up. South Haven pier was slow as was Holland where anglers were able to catch some freshwater drum while casting spoons. At the inland lakes around the South Haven area anglers are catching some nice bluegill, but have to fish deep and have patience. At St. Joseph, very good perch fishing continues. The only problem was rough lake conditions. Fish have been caught both north and south of the piers in 19 to 30 feet. Salmon fishing was slow, but the lake trout action was decent in 100 feet. Pier fishing was slow for all species and the River was producing a couple of steelhead. The DNR tip this week is the basics of using downriggers. This tool, which places a lure at the desired depth, is ideal when fishing the Great Lakes as it allows for controlled-depth fishing and targeting species suspended in the water column. Three things to keep in mind when considering using a downrigger: Manual vs. electric: Making a choice between the two depends on how much someone wants to spend, how often they fish and how big their boat is. Manual downriggers are less expensive than electric but require more work on the part of the angler. Cannonballs: This is the weight lowered by the downrigger that is attached to a lure. These usually range from 4 to 14 pounds, so making a selection should be based on how deep a person intends to fish (the deeper, the more weight needed). Leads: This is the amount of line between the cannonball and the lure. It also determines how a lure acts in the water. The deeper an angler fishes, the shorter the lead needs to be. Hunting Antlerless deer license application period is open through Aug. 15. Hunters 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 on line at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or anywhere licenses are sold. Find the 2020 antlerless license quotas and antlerless deer hunting information at Michigan.gov/Deer. Apply for a reserved deer hunt through August 15 as well. 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 the Humbug Marsh Unit of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. Drawing results will be posted August 31. This year, printing and distribution of hunting digests will be limited. For on-demand digest access that travels where you do without the need for internet access, consider downloading DNR hunting and fishing digests to your phone. They are available for download on Android and Apple devices. Find the current digests and downloading instructions at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests. Waterfowl reserved hunt applications are available now through Wednesday, Aug. 28. Applications are $5.00, and hunters may only apply once. Reserved hunts will be held mornings and afternoons of the opening weekend (October 10 and 11) of waterfowl hunting season at: Fish Point State Wildlife Area, Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area, Harsens Island Unit of the St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area, and Shiawassee River State Game Area. Apply online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or anywhere licenses are sold. Drawing results will be posted September 21. For more information about waterfowl hunting and the reserved hunts, visit Michigan.gov/Waterfowl.
Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club is offering monthly CPL (Concealed Pistol License) classes. This month’s class will be held Aug. 13 and 15. Registration is on Tuesday, Aug. 11 at the Watervliet Rod and Gun Club between 6 and 7 p.m. For price and more information, call 269-470-9191 or 269-468-3837.