09-21-2017 Outdoors

Fishing

While many are enjoying the warm up, the sunny warm weather will slow salmon fishing in the rivers and it will stay that way until we get more rain and wind the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said. Perch fishing has been good in the southeast region of the state. The panfish, bass and pike action has picked up on the inland lakes across the state.

If you want to fish Lake Michigan this fall, don’t forget to reference the DNR “Roadmap to Fishing Lake Michigan” resource to find out when to go, where to go, and what to target.

The DNR fishing tip for this week is what you need to know about fishing early autumn walleye. Targeting walleye in the fall can offer some of the best fishing of the season. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you target this sportfish in the near future.

In early fall walleye can be found in a variety of locations within the water body, including deep, shallow or anywhere in between. If you are out in the morning, check the areas where deep water meets the shallow spots. As the day progresses start heading deeper, walleye can be photosensitive. Don’t forget to try your luck during the nighttime hours as this can be a very productive time during the fall, especially along rock points and flat areas.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma has been seeing a lot of anglers catching pike on both the Big Paw Paw Lake and the Little Paw Paw Lake. The other inland lakes in the area like Rush Lake and Van Auken Lake have been keeping anglers busy with panfish, bass and pike action. River anglers are waiting for the salmon to run. A few were seen in the Paw Paw River, but were not interested in biting.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports that they have been fishing in 120 to 140 feet of water on Lake Michigan and not having a lot of luck with salmon fishing. Lake trout are still biting and are right on the bottom.

Perch fishing was spotty, some days good and other days not so good. A decent number were caught south of the piers in 50 feet. Pier fishing has been slow for salmon, although a few were caught near the mouth of the Black River. Kalamazoo River and the Grand River are starting to see some salmon action. The Allegan Dam has some good salmon fishing right now. Inland lakes in the area are producing some nice catches of bluegills.

Boat anglers going out from St. Joseph targeting salmon and trout found fishing slower than last week, although a few were found in about 100 feet of water on Lake Michigan. Pier anglers reported slow fishing with only a couple salmon and steelhead taken by those casting spoons. A small number of decent size perch were caught in 45 feet of water.

The DNR announced that surplus salmon will be available to the public again this fall. The fish will be harvested at DNR weirs located in the northern Lower Peninsula. The DNR biologists and technicians will be collecting eggs and milt (sperm) from Chinook and coho salmon for use in State fish hatcheries.

Fish in prime physical condition are made available to the public by American-Canadian Fisheries, a private vendor which assist the DNR with the salmon harvest. ACF harvests the salmon and pays the DNR a flat rate per pound. They then make it available at wholesale prices to distributors, who in turn make it available to the public.

Here is a list of retailers this year that will be selling the harvested salmon. Andy’s Tackle Box, 231-477-8737; AuSable River Store, 989-739-5332; Hank and Sons, 231-477-5450; Lixie’s Fish Market, 989-362-5791; Pappy’s Bait & Tackle, 231-848-4142; R & J Resort, 231-477-5549; Tippy Dam Campground, 231-848-4448; and Wellman’s Bait & Tackle, 989-739-2869.

The DNR recommends that you contact the vendor’s directly to determine when a purchase can be made and for how much as the retailer sets the price.

Hunting

Deer hunting has begun and the DNR reminds hunters that within specific areas of the state there are regulations that have been instituted or opportunities made available to help battle Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Here are a few to remember: Baiting and feeding of deer is illegal in DMUs 333 and 419. Deer registration is mandatory for deer harvested in DMU 333, though any deer harvested in 419 is encouraged to be checked for CWD at any DNR deer check station. Deer check station hours and locations can be found at www.michigan.gov/deer. Baiting and feeding is legal in DMUs 354 and 359, but is strongly discouraged. Deer registration is mandatory for deer harvested in DMU 359, though any harvested in DMU 354 is encouraged to be checked for CWD at any DNR deer check station.

When field dressing your deer and processing, it is recommended that you wear rubber gloves; bone out the meat; minimize handling of brain and spinal tissues; wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is complete; avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes of the deer; request that your animal is processed individually, without meat from other animals being added to the meat from your animal. DO NOT discard leftover parts of deer on the landscape! CWD prions are concentrated in the brain and spinal cord and if left on the landscape, those prions can spread the disease to healthy deer. Dispose of leftover parts by garbage service or at a landfill.

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/cwd.

An interesting visitor seemed intent upon entering the Butterfly House by hitching a ride on the door. Actually this Northern walking stick insect was likely enjoying the warm sunshine.

This native walking stick looks a bit different from the ones on display inside the Nature Center. Its body is longer and darker. It was dark brown without any green, so it is probably a male, unlike our cage full of beige females. The native is one of the few insect species that do not have wings. Our inside ladies, once they are adults, have fully functional wings… which can lead to some humorous sights when one makes a break for it.

Chances are good that this male has already mated. The female will be depositing her eggs throughout the fall. Unlike female butterflies that flit about looking for “just the right” plant, the walking stick just drops her eggs as she moves about the tree canopy. If the eggs land in enough insulating leaf litter, they will overwinter there and hatch in the spring.

The hatching period is timed to coincide with the full leafing out of their preferred food, black oak trees. It begins in mid-June and lasts through July. Sunlight and humidity are also important factors. Sunlight is needed to warm the insect. Humidity makes it easier for the insect to leave its egg.

Morgan Lowell’s Tale of the Hunt

By Angela Stair

Morgan Lowell of Bainbridge Township loves to hunt with her father Bert and sister Marissa. For the last three years Morgan has been blessed with good fortune and has harvested an 8-point and a 9-point in the Michigan Youth Hunt Season. This year she was successful again.

Morgan who is 12-years old and Marissa who is 10-years old had both hunted hard over the two-day youth season September 16 and 17. On the last day Morgan, who was hunting with her aunt Lois in a blind, spotted a nice 9-point in the soybean field she was hunting beside. Using a Thompson Impact muzzle-loader, she took her shot of about 70 yards across the field.

After the smoke cleared, she saw a buck run off and into the adjacent woods. Thinking this was her deer; she waited a short time and got out of the blind to look for signs of a hit. As she walked to the edge of the bean field she noticed a “bunny” jump through the beans.

She thought to herself that was weird since they don’t see many bunnies around there and kept walking. When it happened again, she saw that the bunny had antlers. It had been her buck that dropped in his tracks and another deer that had run off. Morgan’s successful hunt was the taking of a nice 9-point buck that weighed in at 188 pounds field dressed.

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