09-28-2017 Outdoors

Fishing

Water levels are low and clear in many rivers and streams and way to warm for this time of year across the state. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said to expect slower catch rates for trout and salmon as rain and cooler temperatures are needed for fall fishing.

The DNR tip of the week is how to catch panfish in the fall. As cooler temperatures arrive and aquatic vegetation starts to decline, panfish can be found in much shallower water than usual and will be perfect for targeting. When choosing bait, don’t be afraid to go with something a little more substantial such as small plugs and spinners. And of course, the standard hook and worm never hurts. Be sure to target panfish in their favorite fall locations as well, including by deep weed beds or near drop-off points.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported that fishing on Lake Michigan was slow with only a few lake trout taken on spin and glows in 120 feet of water near the bottom. He speculates that the salmon are about 30 miles off-shore in 150 to 475 feet of water.

Perch fishing was slow but a few were caught in 30 to 45 feet of water south of the piers. The Black and Kalamazoo rivers seem to be full of kings, steelhead, and coho, but not biting well. Rain and cooler temperatures should bring on the bite. Inland lake fishing is producing plenty of bluegills in the area.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported fishing in the area inland lakes has slowed down. With the water as warm as it is, mostly panfish are filling the catch baskets. The cooler temperatures and rain promised for the end of this week should help with the bite. Steelhead can be seen in the Paw Paw River, but are not biting yet.

Boat anglers going out of St. Joseph took a few lake trout in 110 to 140 feet. Perch fishing was on the slow side but anglers did find some fish south of the piers in 60 feet of water. Pier fishing was slow for all species. On the St. Joseph River anglers have caught a decent number of salmon up at the dams. Crews checking the ladder at Berrien Springs found a few coho and the occasional steelhead.

The DNR is proposing an increase to the Brook Trout possession limit on select Upper Peninsula stream sections starting in April 2018. After much research, the proposal seeks to implement a higher Brook Trout possession limit on 33 stream sections distributed throughout the UP. In terms of stream mileage, the selected sections represent about eight percent of the total mileage for Type 1 Upper Peninsula streams. Maps of the proposed streams are available on the DNR website.

Hunting

The DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory and the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory announced this week that they have confirmed that a free-ranging white-tail deer in Genesee County has died from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD).

EHD is a viral disease, sometimes fatal, found in wild ruminants such as white-tailed deer, mule deer and elk. The disease is transmitted by a type of biting fly called a midge. Infection does not always result in the disease. Signs of illness are highly variable, ranging from none at all to extensive internal bleeding and fluid accumulation. There is no evidence that humans can contract the EHD virus.

Property owners or recreationists who discover dead deer should report it to the closest DNR Customer Service Center or report in through the DNR’s sick or dead bird and mammal reporting form available at www.michigan.gov/eyesinthefield.

The DNR has chosen retired police officer Gary Cole of Dearborn and his acrylic painting of Michigan Elk as the winner of its 100th anniversary of elk poster contest. Cole’s painting depicts a wintry landscape mimicking Wolverine, Michigan, where the state’s original seven elk were released in 1918.

Cole is a self-taught wildlife artist who has hunted elk in the western U.S. and currently is an avid deer hunter in the Upper Peninsula. Cole will receive a one-night stay at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, a $100 gift card to Jay’s Sporting Goods and a guided elk viewing trip with DNR staff.

The winning artwork will be showcased in the poster celebrating the 100th anniversary of elk poster and distributed to elk enthusiasts across Michigan and beyond. It is also available in a calendar and in December a DNR elk license plate will be available.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club

The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on October 14. Class registration is held on Sunday, October 8 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

Watervliet Rod & Gun Club

The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on October 12 and 15. Registration is on October 10 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.

One might think that the season for cute baby animals is over. However, this past week we had encounters with a number of very young reptiles.

In an amazing feat of acrobatics, a young snapping turtle was observed climbing on the butterfly house net. We saw it on its way down from a height of 15 feet. Whether it had gone up and turned around or had climbed completely over the structure from the other side was unknown.

The exceptionally warm weather may have confused the turtle. Usually turtles that hatch at this time of year remain in their nest to hibernate. This guy might have thought it was still summer and he had to find some water. That can’t say much for his sense of direction.

A garter snake hatchling and black rat snake hatchling were also spotted. Both were probably also trying to locate a hibernation spot rather than hunting. Reptiles have to start hibernation with an empty stomach. Otherwise, the food that will go undigested from lack of environmental warmth will rot in their guts and kill them. The black rat snake will return to its nest; the garter snake will look for a place close to the pond.

Learn to identify some of Michigan’s trees on a walk with a naturalist on Sunday, October 1 at 2:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults.

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