The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that across the state the rain and cooler temperatures over the next week or so should help push more fish into the river systems. The inland lakes are producing Bluegills, Crappie, Bass and the occasional Walleye. Pike are also starting to feed a little more aggressively. The DNR fishing tip is that Salmon season is here. Several species of this prized sport fish have started their upstream migrations to spawn and are available in many locations. The next couple of weeks will be an ideal time to target these fish, with Atlantic and Pink Salmon prevalent in the St. Mary’s River area and Chinook and Coho available throughout the Great Lakes, especially on the west side of the state. Check out the most popular ports, including Manistee, Pere Marquette and St. Joseph. To learn more about fishing for Salmon in Michigan, including bait/tackle techniques and locations to try out, check out the DNR’s Michigan Fish & How to Catch Them website. Captain Kenny of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports Lake Trout fishing is real good now with them in 100 to 140 feet of water, biting on Spin ‘n Glow spoons and flies. A few two to three year old King Salmon were being caught at the same depth on spoons and flies. Some Steelheads were taken in the top 60 feet of 100 to 140 feet of water with Dippsy Divers. Perch fishing at South Haven was slow. Pier and river fishing were also slow, but a few King Salmon were being taken in the Black River. Inland lake anglers seem to be doing well with getting Bluegills to bite. Ellinee Bait & Tackle by Coloma reported Paw Paw Lake was quiet this week, along with other inland lakes in the area. With patience, anglers are catching some Bluegills and Crappie. Salmon fishing activity is starting as Oslo Spinners had to be reordered this week. Boat anglers going out of St. Joseph and targeting Salmon reported slow catch rates. A few fish were caught around the piers and in 100 feet on spoons and J-plugs. Pier fishing was slow with only a few fish taken daily when casting spoons. Perch fishing in the area was also slow. Those trolling the St. Joseph River have caught a few Salmon on spoons while others are floating spawn bags. In Grand Haven, Salmon and Trout have been caught 50 to 150 feet down in 100 to 200 feet with orange and green spoons and flies. The DNR recently launched a new web-based mapping tool called the Inland Lake Habitat Viewer. This tool will provide the public with information about the state’s inland lakes. It is available at www.michigan.gov/fishing and is ideal for those interested in learning more about habitat conditions in an individual lake or how habitat conditions vary among lakes in the state. Surplus Salmon will once again be available for the public to purchase this fall as the DNR egg-taking activities unfold. It is recommended that you directly contact the respective vendors to determine when you can make a purchase and for how much. Listed below are the Michigan retailers selling Salmon harvested at DNR weirs: Andy’s Tackle Box, Brethren, Mi, 231-477-5737; AuSable River Store, Oscoda, MI, 989-739-5332; Hank and Sons, Brethren, 231-477-5450; Lixie’s Fish Market, East Tawas, MI, 989-362-5791; R & J Resort, Brethren, 231-477-5549; and Wellman’s Bait & Tackle, Oscoda, 989-739-2869.
Deer and bear hunters are reminded that the Traverse City DNR Customer Service Center has moved. The DNR office in Traverse City is now located one mile south of Chums Corners, at 2122 South M-37, and has been active since July of 2016. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Fall hunting seasons bring increased traffic into the DNR offices, so please remember the new location when buying licenses, asking questions, or checking in your fall harvest. To register a harvested bear, hunters must call in advance to schedule an appointment. If you have questions call the service center at 231-922-5280. The DNR will host open houses at several of its managed waterfowl hunt areas and offer driving tours of each of the areas in October to celebrate the Michigan Waterfowl Legacy. Open houses will be held at the following locations and all start at 6:00 p.m.: October 3, Crow Island State Game Area in Zilwaukee, 989-684-9141; October 4 at Fish Point State Game Area in Unionville, 989-674-2511; October 5 at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area, Harsens Island, 810-748-9504; October 5 at Navanquing Point State Wildlife area, in Pinconning, 989-697-5101; October 6 at Point Mouillee State Game Area in Rockwood, 734-379-9692; October 6 at Shiawassee River State Game Area, St. Charles, 989-865-6211. This fall the DNR encourages hunters to try upland bird hunting at one or several GEMS, (Grouse Enhanced Management Sites), which offer a chance to explore a new type of hunt or a new location. Each of the 17 GEMS has miles of hunter walking trails, developed from old logging roads, which wind through thousands of acres of great habitat. “Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula have some of the best Grouse and Woodcock habitat,” said DNR upland bird biologist Al Stewart. “In Michigan, we have 10 million acres of public hunting land – the size of Massachusetts and New Jersey combined.” Driving directions; individual maps showing hunter walking trails, timber stand information and many more details about all 17 GEMS locations are available at www.michigan.gov/gems. Visit the GEMS address or take the adventure further by using MI-HUNT to explore all public lands open to hunting.
Coloma Rod & Gun Club
The Coloma Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on October 8. Class registration is held on Sunday October 2 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 $100.00. For more information or to be put on the list, call 269-621-3370.
Watervliet Rod & Gun Club
The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW class on October 6 and 8. Registration is Tuesday, October 4 between 6 and 7 p.m. The cost of the class is $100.00. Classes have a Michigan lawyer explaining the law pertaining to concealed carry. Please call for more information or to be put on the list at 269-468-3837 or 269-470-9191.
A late summer or autumn walk through the wetland grassy areas may result in a sighting of a leopard frog. The speckled amphibian uses this habitat located between the green frog’s aquatic surroundings and the toad’s shorter grass neighborhood. Consequently, the frog is also called the meadow frog or the grass frog. Up until the mid-1900s, finding a leopard frog was as easy as a walk in the park (well, a wetland). They were everywhere! However, wetlands destruction as well as over collection for school dissection studies and frogs’ legs sales decimated their populations. Fall is when an ectotherm’s (cold-blooded) thoughts turn to hibernation. The leopard frogs will start moving from their grassy areas to permanent bodies of water that do not completely freeze. They usually return to the same “home” pond each year. This is where they will burrow into the mud for a long winter’s nap. Learn about Michigan trees on October 2 at 2:00 p.m. Fee is $2 per person plus admission. Do not forget the Country Fair on October 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for an afternoon of fun activities including pony rides, wagon rides, delicious food, and a huge rummage sale. Adults and families (all children must be with an adult) can learn about Geocaching with a GPS unit or phone app on October 9 at 2:00 p.m. Fee is $3 per person plus admission.