There is a population explosion at the nature center! A few adult brown walking stick insects and many green nymphs inhabit the cage. The nymphs will mature in about three months. Female stick insects can produce unfertilized eggs that can hatch and grow into new females. The process is parthenogenesis. When you have well cared for captives, you end up with a lot of walking sticks. The wild populations can also have population spikes but the numerous predators usually bring them back into check. To avoid being eaten, walking sticks are masters at camouflage. Their long, thin bodies and legs resemble twigs and their swaying walk simulates a twig moving in a breeze. If hiding does not work, some walking sticks resort to chemical warfare. A walking stick may just fall from its tree and lie still in the leaf litter where it becomes nearly invisible. As a last resort, the insect can run from attack, leaving a leg in the predator’s mouth. Walking sticks are the only insects known to regenerate lost limbs. Visit the Nature Center on September 18 between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. and let a pre-programmed GPS unit guide you on a tour of Sarett’s wetland wildflowers. Fee is $2 per person plus admission.
The rain and cooler temperatures by last week’s end, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported, should have anglers looking for Salmon to be heading into the river systems. Those fishing lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior were catching Trout and Salmon. On inland lakes across the state, anglers were catching Bluegills, Crappie, Perch, Bass, Pike, Rock Bass and some Walleye. The fall fishing tip of the week is how to catch Crappie in the fall. Although plentiful and easy to fish for in the summer, Crappie can be difficult to target as the weather cools off, but not impossible. One thing anglers should do is look for good water as Crappie can be found in areas with higher oxygen content. For instance, target spots where streams dump into the lake or areas where the lake has yet to turn over. You could also head towards locations where the wind and waves are strongest. Another thing for anglers to remember is to pay attention to the weather. When it is very sunny out Crappie will stick close to the bottom, but when it is cloudy they are likely to be within a few feet of the surface. Try a variety of baits when you are out; bright, flashy lures during poor visibility and live bait during periods of lake temperature turnover. It is hard for Crappie to turn down a jig tipped with a minnow. Ellinee Bait & Tackle said fishing is slow right now. Some anglers say the lake temperatures are turning over and others say they have used a fish finder and drop bait in the fish, but none bite. A few anglers that are patient and put in a lot of time are successful in catching some fish. St. Joseph had good Salmon fishing for those trolling in 100 to 130 feet of water. Those trolling around the piers also caught a decent number of fish on spoons and J-plugs. Pier anglers caught Salmon and Steelhead on shrimp and crawlers under a bobber or when casting spoons. Perch fishing was slow as the fish were scattered in 10 to 60 feet of water. South Haven Salmon fishing was slow with a few caught on spoons in 100 feet of water. Most big fish taken were Steelhead and Lake Trout. Pier fishing and Perch fishing were slow. Those trolling the Black River did manage to catch a few Salmon on spoons. This September the DNR will conduct its 46th annual survey of the Saginaw Bay fish community. The survey includes both trawling and gillnetting and will examine the abundance and health of fish populations in the bay. This year’s study will be of particular interest as it is the first look at the Walleye and Yellow Perch populations since regulation changes last October. It will be four to five months before the full results of the survey will be known since there is a lot of follow-up lab work to do. The data collected will be analyzed and shared with the fisheries managers and stakeholders prior to the 2017 fishing season so that any necessary adjustments to existing regulations can be implemented. For more information about this particular survey, please contact Dave Fielder at 989-356-3232, extension 2572 or Mike Thomas at 586-465-4771, extension 23.
Bear hunting season is under way in most of the Bear Management Units (BMU). Red Oak, Baldwin and Gladwin BMU open September 18-26; with a special season of September 9-24, north area only of Baldwin BMU. The other BMU have three hunts for the season, beginning with the September 10 hunt to the end of all hunts on October 26. Hunt period for the 2016 Elk seasons began in hunt period 0ne on August 30-September 2. The next season date is September 16-19 and the last in period One is September 30-October 3. Hunt Two is December 10-18, and Hunt Three is January 18-22, 2017. A 3-1/2 year-old buck taken recently in Meridian Township is likely to be the eighth positive and the first discovered since March of this year. The sample is currently being tested in Ames, Iowa to finalize confirmation. Due to positive deer also detected in DeWitt and Watertown Townships, the Core CWD Area has been expanded to now include 17 Townships. The CWD Management Zone also has expanded; it now includes Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Ionia and Shiawassee counties. The expanded Management Zone has been renamed DMU 419. The price for an antlerless license in this zone has been decreased 40 percent to encourage hunters to harvest more deer and voluntarily have them checked. There will be five check stations accepting deer for CWD testing within DMU 333. These check stations will be operating seven days a week (excluding major holidays). A complete map of check stations, including locations and hours of operation, is available at www.michigan.gov/cwd. The DNR provides bi-weekly CWD updates online at this address also. The DNR Outdoor Skills Academy in Cadillac will offer a waterfowl hunting clinic S