The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fishing report stated that anglers on northern Lake Michigan are catching some big Chinook, coho and steelhead. While the number of Chinook salmon is down compared to previous years, the size of fish being caught this year has been impressive. To read more check out the DNR “2017 is the year of the Big Fish on Lake Michigan” story.
The DNR fishing tip of the week is understanding the different species of minnows. The differences can help you excel during your next fishing adventure.
Fathead minnows are usually one to three inches long and are available all year long. In particular they are great for targeting yellow perch in the fall and are considered excellent walleye bait as well. Golden Shiner minnows are usually around three inches long and are effective during winter, spring and all. Many anglers use these minnows for targeting walleye.
Spotted Shiner minnows are usually between two and a half to three inches long and have a limited availability, usually during the spring. They are great when walleye fishing. Sucker minnows are usually between three to four inches long, but they can grow to nearly a foot long. They’re available at all times during the year and are considered a top bait choice for northern pike in the summer.
Please note that several bait restrictions are in place to prevent the spread of fish diseases. Information about these restrictions and regulations can be found in the 2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide.
Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven, reported good salmon fishing on Lake Michigan. They fished in 100 to 150 feet of water and anywhere from 80 feet to the bottom where the lake trout are. The lake trout were biting on spin and glows while the kings, coho and Chinook were higher up and biting on meat rigs and flies.
Perch fishing was slow as they were scattered, but they could be found in about 50 feet of water. Pier fishing is slow as the water is a little warm. River fishing also, but the river is starting to cool off. Inland lakes are still producing a mixed bag of panfish on all of them. Swan Lake seems to produce more crappie than the others, but not regularly.
Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported local anglers have been busy catching some nice panfish in the local area lakes. They are also catching a few walleye and bass have kept them busy. Some anglers have been going to the Paw Paw River for steelhead, but no reports have come in off of the Paw Paw River.
Anglers going out from St. Joseph found Chinook and lake trout in 75 to 100 feet and deeper. The fish were scattered so anglers are working a little harder to find them. Perch fishing was fair for those drifting in 50 feet of water and pier fishing was slow.
In cooperation with several partners, the DNR announced that 193 lake sturgeon were stocked in the Tittabawassee River in Midland County on August 21 for the very first time. The Saginaw River system was chosen for those fish in part because the genetics of the Black Lake sturgeon are similar to those seen in the sturgeon in much of Lake Huron.
Lake sturgeon are a slow growing, late maturing fish that can live more than 100 years. The fish stocked in the river likely will not return to spawn until 2040 at the earliest. For more information on lake sturgeon, visit www.michigan.gov/sturgeon.
Antlerless deer license application results and leftover license availability are now listed at www.michigan.gov/deer. Please note that licenses in DMU 333 are unlimited and may be purchases without application beginning September 5 at 10:00 a.m.
For those hunting outside of Michigan this fall, be aware of new cervids (deer, elk, moose) importation regulations that have changed substantially. Hunters that harvest a cervid in any other state or province can bring back only the following parts into Michigan: Hides, deboned meat; quarters (legs that do not have any part of the spinal column or head attached); finished taxidermy products; cleaned teeth; antlers; and/or antlers attached to a skullcap cleaned of brain and muscle tissue.
Chad Stewart, DNR deer and elk specialist said, “Hunters need to realize that the new importation regulations apply to any location they hunt outside of Michigan, not just those states and provinces that have chronic wasting disease (CWD). These changes have been put in place in hopes of keeping potential cases of CWD from unintentionally being brought into Michigan.
Michigan is in its fourth year of an experimental early teal hunting season this year. The season runs from September 1 to September 10. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted Michigan the opportunity for an additional year of experimental teal hunting.
These small ducks, especially blue-winged teal, are some of the earliest duck species to migrate each fall. Accurate identification of ducks is essential during this special season because only teal are legal. It is imperative that hunters brush up on their duck identification skills. To brush up on your skills, visit www.michigan.gov/waterfowl and click on “Early Teal Season”.
Coloma Rod & Gun Club
The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on September 9. Class registration is held on Sunday September 3 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. For more information or to be put on the list, please call (269) 621-3370.
Archery Classes at Watervliet Rod and Gun Club
The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will again be offering beginners archery classes. The classes are offered to kids for free and a $5 donation for adults on Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club is located at 3413 Hennessey Road.
To RSVP please contact Archery Instructor Julie Holtsclaw at 269-277-2233, this is to get a head count for supplies and helpers.
The earsplitting screams indicated that something other than the geocache had been found. Granted, the sight of a two-inch long female dobsonfly can provoke the same reaction from most folks. Had our visitor been a male, the screams would have been exponentially louder.
Male dobsonfly sport spectacularly large mandibles (nearly as long as their body). They may provide some degree of attractiveness to females (like deer and antlers) and they seem to be used as part of the mating ritual. Otherwise, the enormous structures are useless. The size makes it impossible for a male to actually bite anything. The female, however, has smaller but much stronger jaws and can deliver a bite capable of drawing blood.
Our female dobsonfly may have just laid eggs in a tree overhanging the nearby stream. If so, she would soon be dead. She might have recently emerged from her pupal cell dug into the ground by that stream. If so, she was waiting until nightfall to find a mate.
She wouldn’t be able to wait long… dobsonfly only live for a week as adults. The majority of a dobsonfly life cycle, up to three years, is spent as an aquatic larva called a hellgrammite.
Celebrate International Turkey Vulture Awareness Day by meeting Val, Sarett’s turkey vulture, on September 2 at 3:00 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, free for children.