09-06-2018 Outdoors

Fishing Across the state the rivers are high and muddy after the heavy rains, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports. Fewer anglers were out last week because of the storms and muggy weather. However, the cooler air moving in this week should help improve the bite. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported the lake trout fishing has slowed, but they can be found on the bottom in 100 to 160 feet. They are biting on the Laker Takers. A few coho were taken in the area also. Perch fishing has been slow, but they are biting south of the piers out from Deerlick in 25 to 35 feet. Pier fishing has been slow with a few drum and catfish being caught. The Black River is quiet, so is steelhead. A few were taken from the Kalamazoo River and a few salmon were being taken by the Allegan Dam. Inland lakes are still producing, but you have to fish deep.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports being busy with families this weekend who are happily catching their dinner on the local inland lakes. All lakes in the surrounding area are producing nice batches of bluegills and other panfish. The trick is to fish deep. St. Joseph boat anglers that are targeting salmon were catching lots of lake trout in 120 feet. The occasional coho was caught even deeper. Pier fishing was slow and some perch were caught in 30 feet before the storms moved in. Despite the warm weather, a light number of steelhead was moving through the fish ladders, but no salmon yet. Anglers caught steelhead at the mouth of Townsend Creek into Lake Chapin.

The DNR fishing tip this week is catching big pike in the summer. Most anglers consider winter the best time to catch a trophy-sized pike, but following a few key pointers can make summer pike fishing worthwhile. When it is very warm out think about where pike will hide – places with cooler water. These spots include along the thermocline, where cold-water streams/ rivers flow into lakes, or around springs. Look for water bodies that aren’t densely populated with pike so those present may have a chance to grow fairly large. Also consider locations that have special regulations (size limits). Lastly, focus on water bodies that have a good pike forage base – particularly other species that prefer cooler water. Hunting Hear the call? It is elk season in northern Michigan. The first period of the 2018 elk season started on August 28 and 100 Michigan hunters will have 12 days to fill 30 any-elk and 70 antlerless-only licenses issued in the northern third of the Lower Peninsula. The first hunt – also known as Michigan’s early elk hunt – allows hunters to harvest an elk in any location in the elk management unit except within the core elk range. This approach helps to target animals that have moved outside the core elk range. Registered hunting is a management tool used to influence how many elk is present and where they are located. The goal is to keep the majority of elk within the core elk range. Michigan’s elk population has been hunted annually since 1964 and at this time has an estimated population of more than 1,200 animals – above the state’s current population goal of 500-900 elk. That goal was set by the Elk Management Advisory Team and outlined in the 2012 Elk Management Plan. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/elk or contact Katie Keen at 989-385-0336.

The 2018 first bear hunting seasons open in the Upper Peninsula on September 10 in Bergland, Baraga, Amasa, Carney, Gwinn, Newberry and Drummond Island. The Upper Peninsula Season Structure is that the first five days of the first hunt period (Sept. 10-14) are bait-only hunting. During hunt periods 2 and 3, as well as the remainder of the first hunt period, both bait and dogs are permitted. The Lower Peninsula Season Structure containing Red Oak, Baldwin, and Gladwin has opening day on September 16. The north area only of Baldwin opens on September 14. The first day of the September 16 season is for bait-only hunting. The first day of the Baldwin North Area season, Sept. 14, is for bait-only hunting. The last two days of Red Oak, Baldwin, and Gladwin firearm season (Sept 23-24) are for bear hunting with dogs only. And the Red Oak archery-only season (Oct. 5-11 is for bait-only hunting. For more detailed information consult the Bear Hunters Digest. More than 200 entries vied for the honor of being the DNR’s winning design in the 2018 Deer Management Cooperator Patch Contest. In the end Matt MacDonald of Toronto, Ontario submitted a design that captured DNR staff’s attention. Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s contest. Cooperator patches are used as an incentive for successful hunters to bring their deer to DNR check stations. A deer head (antlers must still be attached on bucks) or an entire carcass must be presented to receive a patch. Patches are not available by mail. Hunters are urged to call ahead whenever possible to confirm hours and days of operation. Deer check station locations and hours for 2018 should be posted by September 1. For more information, contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-264-9453.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club

The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on Saturday, September 8, 2018. 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.

Watervliet Rod & Gun Club

The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on September 13 and 15, 2018. Registration is on September 11, between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. 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.

Preserve the Dunes offering public tour of Hagar Twp. Park

The public is invited to a free family event on Saturday, Sep. 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Preserve the Dunes (PTD) is hosting a guided tour of the beautiful scenery and wildlife at Hagar Township Park and Beach. “An expert scientist will lead us on a guided hike and explain why this area is unique and also show you the rare plants and wildlife found there,” says Marcy Hamilton, president of Preserve the Dunes. After the guided hike, PTD will be giving away framed prints of a dune landscape by local artist, Randall Higdon. For the tour, meet in the parking lot. The park entrance is near W. Bundy Road on M-63. Be prepared – dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes or boots and bring bug spray and drinking water. This event is rain or shine. For questions, you can contact Marcy Hamilton at 616-765-2