10-12-2017 Outdoors

Fishing

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers that lake trout and splake season in the waters of Lake Michigan between Menominee and Platte Bay including Grand Traverse Bays as well as the waters of Lake Huron closed on September 30. Lake trout and splake season in the waters of Lake Michigan between Arcadia and New Buffalo remain open until October 31.

This week’s DNR tip is what to do when you’re looking for crappie in the fall. These fish often stay in deeper water longer than other panfish, and they also tend to move around more as they target large schools of baitfish. If you use bait that imitates a crappie’s food of choice you will be more likely to find them.

Keep in mind that crappies will get less and less active as the water cools off and they slow down. You will then want to slow your presentation and offer smaller bait to keep seeing success. Try your luck at some great crappie fishing this fall. For more information on this species, visit their Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

Fishing on Lake Michigan has been slow for boat anglers heading out of South Haven, St. Joseph and Grand Haven. Salmon anglers caught a few in 100 to 175 feet, about 49 feet down. A few lake trout were taken off the bottom with spin-N-glo’s.

Perch fishing was slow with a few taken in 45 feet of water by South Haven and 30 to 40 feet by St. Joseph. Pier fishing in all areas was slow for all species. Inland lake fishing has slowed some, but with patience, limits of panfish are being taken.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported slow but steady panfishing. Anglers seem to be catching enough panfish to keep them going out and some are getting limits. Pike fishing seems to be doing good right now and a few salmon and one steelhead was taken from the river.

The DNR announced that the total fish stocking effort from this past spring and summer are; a total of 25,470,199 fish that weighed more than 320 tons and consisted of 11 different species and one hybrid. There were 19 specialized stocking trucks that traveled over 103,000 miles to nearly 760 stocking sites. To find out where many of these fish were stocked, check out the DNR’s Fish Stocking Database at michigandnr.com/fishstock.

Fish stocking is a critical activity of the DNR. These efforts help pump between $2.4 billion and $4.2 billion into the state’s economy through the sportfishing industry and associated businesses. Fish are reared in the state fish hatcheries anywhere from one month to one and a half years before they are stocked.

The public is welcome at any of Michigan’s state fish hatcheries to see firsthand the fish-rearing process. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/hatcheries.

Hunting

The DNR reminds hunters of the current and upcoming hunting seasons. Goose season in the North Zone is open until December 16; In the Middle Zone until December 22; in the Southern Zone it will open October 14 to December 10; Muskegon County GMU opens October 17 to November 14.

Duck season in the North Zone is open to November 20; Middle Zone until December 3; and South Zone opens October 14 to December 10.

The early archery deer season opened last week, October 1 and runs through November 14.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa has confirmed that the 3-1/2 year old female deer taken during the youth hunt in September has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The animal was harvested in Montcalm Township in Montcalm County and is the 19th free-ranging deer in Michigan to have CWD.

To date, more than 14,000 deer have been tested since the first positive case was found, with 10 cases of CWD confirmed in free-ranging white-tailed deer identified in Clinton, Ingham and now in Montcalm counties. As additional deer have tested positive, the DNR has put specific regulations in place. Currently, there are two CWD Core Areas, which are deer management units (DMUs) 333 and 359. To review regulations, visit www.michigan.gov/cwd.

With this confirmation of CWD in Montcalm County deer, DNR Director Keith Creagh has signed an interim order (effective October 4, 2017 through March 29, 2018) outlining next steps as governed by Michigan’s CWD Response and Surveillance Plan.

The order: Creates a nine-township Core Area that includes Douglass, Eureka, Fairplain, Maple Valley, Montcalm, Pine and Sidney townships in Montcalm County, and Oakfield and Spencer townships in Kent County within the Core Area specifically.

Institutes mandatory registration of deer at a check station within five miles of the new Core CWD Area, within 72 hours of harvest, starting November 15. (Available stations currently are at Flat River State Game Area and Howard City.)

Removes antler point restrictions for the restricted tag of the combo deer license within the nine-township Core Area.

Allows antlerless deer to be tagged using the deer or deer combo license(s) during the firearm, muzzleloader and late antlerless seasons.

Institutes mandatory submission of the head for testing of a road-killed deer within 72 hours of pick-up.

Allows disease control permits, effective immediately, for landowners with five or more acres within the nine-township Core Area.

Bans the feeding and baiting of deer in Kent and Montcalm counties, effective January 2, 2018, and encourages hunters not to bait and feed in these areas immediately.

The DNR will work with the Commission to make the order permanent, adjusting as needed in response to the evolving situation.

Starting November 1, several new deer check stations near the new Core Area will accept deer for CWD testing. Archery hunters are strongly encouraged to have their deer checked at existing check stations during the early archery season.

A complete list of check stations, including locations and hours, as well as weekly CWD updates, are available at www.michigan.gov/cwd.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club

 The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on October 14. 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. The cost of the class is $100.00. 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.

A few woodchucks are still trying to pack on pounds at our feeders. The fatter the woodchuck, the less time it spends in hibernation. That nearly dead state, although good for energy use reduction, has negative effects.

The nervous system is depressed so a woodchuck in deep torpor (hibernation) is less sensitive to stimuli and cannot arouse quickly enough to respond to threats from predators. Memory retention is also affected which is especially dangerous for male woodchucks. They emerge in February to survey their territory for female woodchuck dens locations then return to finish napping. Forgetting where their own dens are can prove fatal.

The immune system is similarly depressed so the animal is more vulnerable to infections and parasites. The very low breathing rate drastically reduces the amount of oxygen in its tissues. Muscle mass is reduced as is the development of reproductive organs (especially for males).

If a woodchuck is fat enough (has enough energy stored away), it can keep its body temperature much warmer and avoid those nasty consequences. They can spend more time in a sleep state, rather than deep torpor, which allows its normal physiological processes to continue.

Gather your smartest friends to form a team for Sarett Nature Center’s Trivia Night on October 21. Registration for teams of 10 is $100. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., trivia begins at 7:00 p.m. Please call (269) 927-4832 to register.

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