08-10-2017 Outdoors

Butterfly House visitors are a bit intimidated by the large wasps buzzing about until we assure them that they are male cicada killer wasps. Males don’t lay eggs, so they don’t have ovipositors. No ovipositor means no “stinger.”

The sharp, pointed ovipositors of some species of wasps are used by females to lay eggs inside living organisms which will become food for the wasp larvae. However, those organisms fight back, so the wasps developed paralyzing venom to accompany the egg insertion. The venom also proved to be a potent defensive weapon.

The ovipositor is a three-pronged tool (two lancets and a stylet) in a shaft which sits inside the abdomen casing until needed. The two halves of the casing open slightly to project the shaft. When the shaft is plunged into the victim, the barbed lancets rapidly move up and down within the stylet to open the wound and anchor the shaft. Muscles around the connected venom sac contract to pump the venom down and out through the shaft tip into the wound.

Kayak the Dowagiac River with Sarett on August 12 at 1:00 p.m. Fee is $25 and includes transportation as well as equipment rental. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. Please call (269) 927-4832 to register.

Enjoy an in-depth program about butterflies on August 13 at 3:00 p.m. then visit Sarett’s Butterfly House. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children.


The Department of National Resources (DNR) reports that bass fishing across the state has been hot on the inland lakes. Fish have moved to deeper waters because of the extremely warm temperatures and lack of rain last week. Boat and shore anglers will find good panfish action on the inland lakes and some rivers. Lower water levels in some rivers have made for very good catfish and sucker fishing.

This week’s DNR fishing tip is on fishing for bass at night. With summer in full swing and temperatures frequently reaching their peaks, fish can become quite lethargic. For certain species, such as bass, you just might want to tweak the time of day you set out to target them. Some of the best bass fishing occurs during the first hour or so after dark. Dusk and dawn can still produce fish, but that first hour or two after dark can be exceptional.

You’ll definitely want to change your technique. Since after dark you can’t see the weed line or other underwater structures, fishing subsurface lures is not recommended. It is time for surface presentations. After the cast, work them aggressively with a jerking motion making sure they pop and gurgle across the surface of the water during your retrieve. Pay close attention during the retrieve, watching and listening for the strike, which can be explosive.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports the wind and rain on Lake Michigan has slowed fishing down but they are still catching lake trout and king salmon in 100 to 150 feet of water, anywhere from 60 feet to the bottom of the water column.

The lake trout can be found near the bottom of the water column and are biting well on spin and glows. The king salmon prefer biting on flies. Lots of smaller perch and a few nice ones were taken in 40 feet of water both north and south of the piers. Pier fishing was slow for all species except freshwater drum. Inland bluegill and crappie can be found in 10 to 15 feet of water, but you have to search for them. They are near the bottom.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported that fishing has been great, with anglers happily taking bass, crappie and walleye out of the lake. Panfishing for bluegills and sunfish has been productive too. The near inland lakes are also producing nice catches of bluegill and a few crappies. One angler had a nice walleye he caught in the Paw Paw River.

Boat anglers out of St. Joseph caught lake trout and a few Chinook salmon in 80 feet of water. Perch fishing has been spotty with some anglers taking good catches while others did not catch anything. Most were fishing south of the piers in 45 feet of water; however fishing north of the piers was improving. A decent number of steelhead was caught by pier anglers using shrimp under a bobber but the waters were warming and will slow the bite.

Governor Rick Snyder announced that the Invasive Carp Challenge is now accepting proposals for innovative methods to prevent invasive (Asian) carp from entering the Great Lakes. Written proposals will be accepted online through InnoCentive’s Challenge Center through October 31, 2017.