Fishing Lake sturgeon season is open on Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River as of July 16. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers that the harvest limit per year is one fish. Harvest tags are no longer required; however, any fish that are taken are required to be reported within 24 hours. Lake sturgeon season also opened July 16 on the Detroit River, but all sturgeon that are caught, must be released immediately. For additional information of fishing for lake sturgeon, look on page 15 of the DNR Michigan Fishing Guide available at local license dealers or on the DNR website. In Southwestern Michigan the smallmouth bass fishing has picked up as the river levels drop and the water clears. Grand River, Kalamazoo River and St. Joseph River have given some good fishing to anglers. Try rooster tail spinners, small crankbait, twister tail jigs, or nymph flies on deep runs or riffles. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported great fishing in the surrounding local lakes. The bluegill and panfish bite has picked up and anglers are happily reeling them in. Anglers on Little Paw Paw Lake have been catching some nice walleye on crank baits and leeches. Top water fish and bass are hitting on poppers and frogs. Anglers are headed to Lake Michigan where all the talk has been about the great perch fishing that has started from Michigan City all the way past South Haven. By South Haven the salmon fishing has slowed, but they are still getting lake trout in about 80 feet of water. Perch fishing by South Haven, both north and south of the piers has been good in 20 to 30 feet of water. Pier fishing has been spotty with a few steelheads taken on alewife. Fresh drum has been biting on crawlers and small jigs. Boat anglers going out from St. Joseph have found good coho fishing well past 100 feet. Lake trout and the occasional salmon were taken in 110 feet. Those trolling near the piers caught steelhead on orange or green spoons. Perch fishing was good until the water rolled over. Some could still be found, but you had to search for them. Pier fishing was steady with steelhead being taken on alewife under a bobber. Walleye fishing on the St. Joseph River has improved with some nice size fish being taken. Grand Haven boat anglers on Lake Michigan have taken lake trout and a couple of salmon when trolling 30-70 down in 90 to 150 feet of water. Lake trout seem to like the yellow Spin-glo’s, Salmon like the orange and green spoons. Pier action by Grand Haven was slow with the occasional steelhead being taken. The DNR fishing tip of the week is how to use crankbaits (also known as plugs). Many anglers like to fish with crankbaits or plugs, a type of hard bodied fishing lure. Below are some criteria to think about when selecting one to try out. Body shape: Fat bodied shapes displace more water and create more vibration. Anglers like to use it in dark water or at night. The thin profile crankbait glides through water with minimal resistance. This option is great when fishing clear water and targeting sight feeders. Buoyancy: Crankbaits with less buoyancy are better to use for water with minimal cover and clean bottom. Crankbaits with more buoyancy are better to use for fishing around cover. Crankbaits can be great lure options when targeting walleye, bass or muskellunge among others. State fish hatcheries offer up-close fun and learning for all ages. Located throughout Michigan, the DNR’s six state fish hatcheries rear and stock fish for a variety of reasons, including to: Restore ecosystem balance; provide diverse fishing opportunities; rehabilitate low fish populations; and to reintroduce species that have disappeared from Michigan waters. To learn more and hatchery locations, visit www.michigan.gov/hatcheries.
Hunting The DNR reminds hunters that were not successful on getting a bear or elk license that they could apply for the 2019 Pure Michigan Hunt and possibly get both plus all the other licenses for the 2019 hunting seasons that the lucky winners of the drawing receive. For more information on the $5.00 application for the Pure Michigan Hunt drawing, go to the DNR website and type it in. All application money is applied to habitat restoration. Annual reports detailing the 2017-2018 hunting season results, habitat management activities and weekly waterfowl counts are now available for Michigan’s seven Wetland Wonders at www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders, click on the “Weekly Manager’s Updates, Waterfowl Counts by Area and Annual Reports” tab. Michigan’s Wetland Wonders are the seven premier managed waterfowl hunt areas in the state: Fennville Farm Unit at the Allegan State Game Area (Allegan County); Fish Point State Wildlife Area (Tuscola County); St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island (St. Clair County); Muskegon County Wastewater Facility (Muskegon County); Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area (Bay County); Pointe Mouillee State Game Area (Monroe and Wayne counties); Shiawassee River State Game Area (Saginaw County). Created in the 1960s to provide exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities, these areas are still managed today to provide waterfowl habitat for nesting and migration and for the benefit of other wetland-dependent wildlife. Since the beginning, they have been funded by hunting license fees, but are open for everyone to visit, use and enjoy most of the year. Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on July 19 and July 21, 2018. Registration was on July 17, and cost of the class is $100. They will have a lawyer explaining the law pertaining to concealed carry during class. Please call (269) 468-3837 or (269) 470-9191 for more information.
Hunter Education Course includes Field Day for students taking course instruction online The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will be holding a Hunter Education Course in September, but now is the time to set up your field day if you’re taking the course on line or elsewhere that does not offer the field day with an instructor. To complete the course, a field day is required. The complete course will be held at the Watervliet Rod and Gun Club on Hennessey Road on September 22 (class room) and September 23 (field day). On September 18 and 19, between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. students will fill out registration sheets and receive books at the 3413 Hennessey Road address. For more information contact John Andrasi at 269-861-1824 or Ron Sefcik at 269-487-8567.
I was attacked by a wild animal last week. Fortunately, said wild animal was an insect. Normally the backswimmer, an aquatic member of the “true bug” family, uses its pointed mouth part to pierce the skin of prey. It has to be sharp to penetrate the chitinous exoskeletons that cover most of its prey. The bite also delivers powerful neurotoxic venom. The venom rapidly induces paralysis and then liquefies the victim’s insides. The feeding process lasts from a few minutes (for small worms and crustaceans) to several hours (for larger tadpoles and small fish). As is the case with many venomous animals, the backswimmer’s venom is also used as a defensive weapon. A backswimmer trapped in human fingers will certainly feel the need to fight back. The injected venom produces intense pain and numbness; I can attest to this. It has also been known to cause tissue necrosis and respiratory disturbances. I consider myself lucky to escape with only a sore finger. Backswimmers can fly to new water bodies, including swimming pools. Pool owners should beware of these critters with the rowboat-like movement. Meet some of Sarett’s animal ambassadors today, July 19, at 3:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults; children are free. Enjoy Music & Butterflies in the Butterfly House with harpist Meg Rodgers on Sunday, July 22 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $2 for children.