09-26-2019 Outdoors

Fishing Strong winds continue to hamper fishing across the state the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stated in their weekly fishing report. While fish were moving into the river systems, warmer temperatures last week may have slowed the action. Those fishing the inland lakes have reported bass and pike action. Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Big Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported that a few anglers that were targeting bluegills with worms and crickets seemed to be doing very well. The Paw Paw River has quieted down as the temperatures went up last week but the bite should increase as the temperatures lowered the beginning of this week. On the St. Joseph River, staff checking the fish ladders found a fair number of coho at the Buchanan ladder. The Berrien Springs ladder had a mix of coho, steelhead and a few chinooks. Several of the coho were around 10 pounds and most of the fish were silver in color. Boat anglers going out on Lake Michigan out of South Haven were still catching lake trout in 80 to 100 feet and a couple salmon were found in 120 feet. Pier fishing for salmon was very slow with only the occasional fish taken by those casting spoons. Perch fishing was only fair by South Haven. The fish were scattered, but some good catches were made in 38 feet. At St. Joseph the perch fishing was very inconsistent as the fish were scattered like in South Haven. The best catches were in 50 feet or so. Boat anglers going out of St. Joseph targeting salmon close to shore reported slow catch rates. Pier fishing for salmon was slow but anglers did get a couple catfish or freshwater drum on spawn. The DNR fishing tip for this week is how to find monster muskie in the fall. Known as “the fish of a thousand casts,” the muskellunge can be a tough species to target. For those who have always wanted to catch “a big one”, they can check out this tip to try the next time they head out. Consider out on the water focusing efforts on the corners or inside turns of the lake being fished. These spots consist of bends in the bottom that causes a slight point to form. Muskie will often hide out in these spots, especially if it puts them close to deeper water, excellent cover, and access to food. For more information on fishing for muskellunge check out their page on the DNR’s website. Great Lakes reefs are a valuable place for Michigan fish. Most people are aware that reefs are an important component of ocean systems and provide food, cover and spawning areas for marine fish. However, not everyone is aware that similar areas exist in the Great Lakes and are just as important. The DNR is working with numerous partners and collaborators throughout the Great Lakes to identify and protect high quality spawning reefs, as well as to restore reefs with degraded habitat or overabundance of invasive species.

Hunting Duck seasons open this weekend in the Upper Peninsula (North Zone) and runs Sept. 28 – Nov. 24 and again Nov. 30 – Dec. 1. Middle Zone opens Oct. 5 – Dec. 1 and Dec. 14 – 25. The South Zone opens Oct. 12 – Dec. 8 and December 28 & 29. The daily bag limit is six ducks of any species; however, there may be no more than four mallards (no more than two of which may be hens) and no more than three Wood Ducks, three Scaup, two Redheads, two Canvasbacks, two Black ducks and one pintail. In addition to the duck limit, hunters may take five Mergansers, only two of which may be hooded Mergansers. Additional waterfowl hunting information is available at Michigan.gov/Waterfowl or in the 2019 Waterfowl Hunting Digest. A new Wetland Wonders Challenge will begin Oct. 12 and run through Feb. 10, 2020. You can explore, hunt and win with the challenge. To enter, just visit three of the official Wetland Wonders Challenge sites and fill out an entry form. Visit four or more sites and receive a bonus entry into the contest for each site visited, giving you more chances to win. Seven lucky winners will take home the duck hunting prize package, which includes a $500 gift card for duck hunting gear, a Zink custom duck call, a Yeti water bottle and a “Golden Ticket” good for one first-choice pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area drawing (non-reserved) for the 2020-21 waterfowl hunting season. Learn more about Michigan’s Wetland Wonders and the challenge at Michigan.gov/WetlandWonders. A Veterans preference drawing will take place on Nov. 10, 2019 for properly licensed resident active-duty U.S. military personnel and veterans at Fennville Farms for a p.m. hunt. The following documentation along with a valid Michigan driver’s license or voter registration card will be accepted as proof of status: military ID, leave papers, duty papers, military orders, copy of DD Form 214, enhanced driver’s license, or documentation from the Veterans Administration regarding disability status. If you were discharged from the Army or Air Force National Guard, you may provide a copy of NGB forms 22 or 23. To be eligible for the Veterans preference draw, single hunters must be active-duty military personnel or a veteran; party hunters must have at least one member in their party that is active-duty military or a veteran. The daily limits and species restrictions are the same as those allowed in the regular waterfowl hunting season. Participants must also possess a waterfowl license and a federal duck stamp.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CPL Class on Saturday, Oct.12 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Class registration is held on Sunday, Oct. 6, 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 $105. For more information on the CPL class or Hunter Safety Class, email inquiry@colomarodandgunclub.com.

Grant applications for local animal shelters The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Animal Industry Division is accepting applications from Michigan registered animal shelters for Animal Welfare Fund Grant monies to be used in 2020. Since 2010, the Animal Welfare Fund tax check-off monies, voluntarily provided by Michigan taxpayers, have awarded more than $1.2 million to 168 facilities. The funds go directly to registered shelters for programs that increase sterilization rates among dogs and cats prior to adoption; provide anti-cruelty training for animal law enforcement agencies; offer proper animal care programs; and assist shelters with the unreimbursed costs of care for animals involved in law violations. Applications are due by Oct. 15, 2019. For more information or to apply, visit www.michigan.gov/animalshelters.

Looking like a very early holiday decoration, the bright red berries of Jack-in-the-Pulpit beckon to birds and other hungry animals. However, Jacks belong to a group of plants that contain toxins within their plant parts to prevent animal browsing. The calcium oxalate produces needle-like crystals. These needles are especially harmful to the tender mucous membranes of mammals. The crystals cut the flesh and the toxin easily poison the tissues. The unlikely consumer experiences a profound burning sensation which can then progress to convulsions. There are tales of children, unable to receive medical aid, dying from eating the berries. It is unlikely that any small mammal that may consider the Jack’s berries to be a possible meal, will ever try them again if it survives that first taste. Biologists believe that ring-necked pheasants, wood thrushes and, maybe, wild turkeys may safely ingest the berries. Perhaps a bird’s “swallow-without-chewing” technique bypasses the danger of the crystal Join us Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1:00 p.m. for a make and take soapmaking class! Kiss My Grass Soapmaking will teach participants the how-to and you get to take home a soap mold, 10 bars of soap, and a soap recipe; $65 per person. Participants must be at least 16 years old. Class is limited to the first 20 pre-paid registered guests; no walk-ins as we need an exact head count for supplies. Please call 269-927-4832 to register.

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