The recent hot weather eased fishing pressure throughout much of the state, but anglers who have headed out have seen some success, particularly for Chinook, Yellow Perch, Walleye, Bass and Lake Trout, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported. The DNR also gave some clues to make August heat panfishing better. Normally August heat makes fishing for panfish slightly more difficult, but there are many things you can do to ensure better success when targeting Bluegills, Pumpkinseeds, Crappies, Yellow Perch, and White Bass. First find out where the panfish are hiding as the temperature heats up. The best thing to do is find their food source and cooler water. These fish will often head to the middle of the lake and to deep weed lines, as well as places like rock piles. Head out early, say at sunrise, and get a few hours of uninterrupted fishing. Dusk and after dark are also great time to fish for panfish. Be sure to have a variety of bait options with you, including small spinners and crankbaits. Worms, minnows and wax worms too as you never know what might interest a panfish most. For more information on how to fish for panfish, check out the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them pages at the DNR web site. Pyle’s Porthole reports that the water has warmed up around the pier, so fishing is poor for both pier and river. River anglers are getting some Catfish and Sheepheads. Anglers fishing Lake Michigan for the big fish are doing well, straight out in 80 to 90 feet of water where they are getting Salmon and Kings. Panfishing on the inland lakes has slowed due to the warm weather we had. Ellinee Bait & Tackle by Paw Paw Lake reported they are starting to see a few Pike being taken now. Panfish are still being taken on Paw Paw Lake and other local inland lakes. Van Auken Lake seems to be doing great with Bluegills. The Fishin’ Hole in St. Joseph said anglers on the big lake are taking Salmon and Trout in 90 feet of water. Perch fishing is slow and they have gone out to 50 feet of water. The rain has turned the St. Joseph River muddy, so fishing is very poor right now. On the Kalamazoo River Walleye fishing has improved with a fair number of fish being caught by those trolling night crawler harnesses. In Grand Haven decent numbers of Salmon have been caught 35 to 90 feet down in 80 to 130 feet of water. A variety of colors in meat rigs, glow plugs and flies have been working well. There have been a few fresh water Drum and Catfish caught in the channel. The DNR has scheduled two public meetings in west Michigan next month to discuss Lake Michigan Salmon-stocking proposals. The meeting will be held Wednesday, September 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ludington City Hall community room, 400 S. Harrison Street, and on Tuesday, September 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the South Haven Moose Lodge, 1025 Wells Street. Much information has been swirling throughout Michigan and other states that border Lake Michigan on how fisheries’ managers will address future Trout and Salmon populations. The Chinook Salmon population has been steadily decreasing since its peak in 2012, mainly due to a decline in the Salmons’ primary food source – Alewife. All interested parties are welcome to attend the meetings to share their thoughts. For more information, contact Jay Wesley at email@example.com or 269-685-6851, extension 117.
The DNR reminds hunters that the reserved managed waterfowl area hunt application will be on sale for a few days yet, through Sunday, August 28. To apply for reserved hunts on certain managed waterfowl areas, visit a license agent or go to www.mdnr-elicense.com. Applications are $5.00 and hunters may only apply once. Drawing results will be posted on September 17. Hunters anxious for the waterfowl season to begin will not want to miss the Waterfowl Symposium on Saturday, August 27 at the Frankenmuth Conservation Club. The event is hosted by Ducks Unlimited, along with partners; Michigan Outdoor News, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the DNR. This event is for both beginning waterfowlers and seasoned veterans alike. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and will run until 3:00 p.m. Admission is free and a light lunch will be served. The Frankenmuth Conservation Club is located at 8415 E. Curtis Road in Frankenmuth. For more information contact Jim Toth at 810-869-5323 or Dale Borske at 989-876-7341.
COLOMA ROD & GUN CLUB
The Coloma Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on September 10. Class registration is held on Sunday, September 4 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The class is taught by a certified NRA and RSO instructor and the cost of the class is $100.00. For more information or to be put on the list, call 269-621-3370.
WATERVLIET ROD & GUN CLUB
The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW class on August 25 and 27. Registration was Tuesday, August 23. The cost of the class is $100.00. Classes have a Michigan lawyer explaining the law pertaining to concealed carry. Please call for more information at 269-468-3837 or 269-470-9191.
While recently transferring an injured adult barred owl to a wildlife rehabilitator, I was fascinated by its’ eyes. Owls, among many other animal species, possess a third eyelid, called the nictitating membrane. This transparent membrane, present in most birds, protects their eyes from dust, dirt, and debris. Birds can voluntarily control this horizontal-moving lens and often use it while flying, hunting, and feeding their young.
Peregrine falcons use this membrane to keep their eyes moistened and free of debris when flying almost 200 miles per hour after prey. Woodpeckers tauten the membrane just before hammering into a tree to protect their eyes from too much jolting. The nictitating membrane is also helpful for animals during inclement weather, protecting their eyes from snow, rain and wind.
This membrane is not only present in birds. Many amphibians, reptiles, fish and some mammals possess this trait. It is especially helpful for diving animals, allowing them to see underwater while protecting their eye. Even our dogs and cats possess this membrane, though it is not always visible. Humans still have the vestigial remnant of this membrane, called the plica semilunaris, but is now only a small fold of tissue in the inside corner of the eye.
Peek into a pond with a naturalist on Sunday, August 28 at 3:00 pm using pond scoops and magnifiers to learn about the creatures of the pond. Admission is $2 per person.