The girls chattered about the jellyfish that they saw while canoeing. Instead of dismissing this as childish whimsy, our naturalist, Mindy, had them direct her to their observation area. Now all of the students were treated to the sight of a freshwater jellyfish bloom. The tiny jellies (size of a quarter) in the hydromedusa stage of their life cycle were a bit easier to spot. The much smaller larva and polyp stages are miniscule. Just like “regular” jellyfish, these jellies have a number of tentacles. They are used for swimming and catching tinier invertebrates. Although the nematocysts (stingers) are effective on small invertebrates, they cannot harm humans. Their impact upon their non-native home (they originated in China) has yet to be determined. They have been in Michigan since 1930 and are established in most of the United States. Kayak the Kalamazoo River on October 15 at 10:00 a.m. The $25 fee includes transportation and equipment rentals. Pre-registration is required. Sarett’s Young Adult Outdoor Club (for 20 and 30-year-olds) will hike in Warren Woods and Mud Lake Bog on October 16 at 1:00 p.m. Fee is $10. Plan ahead to celebrate Halloween at Sarett on October 28 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Follow a lighted trail or spookier, dark trail and enjoy snacks and a craft. Cost is $5 per person (all children must be accompanied by an adult). Pre-registration is required. Please call (269) 927-4832 to register for programs.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fishing report is that fall fishing continues to improve and will only get better as the temperatures drop. Trout and Salmon are in the rivers though numbers are still light in some areas. Fish in the inland lakes across the state are starting to feed more as they prepare for winter. Captain Kenny of Rampage Fishing Charters in South Haven reported Perch fishing was extra slow with few caught. The Lake Trout are still biting well in 100 to 150 feet with a few Steelheads being taken in the same area on spin and glows. Divers, flies, and spin doctors were catching a few Salmon in the same area, but fishing the bottom 40 feet seemed to be the spot. Pier and river fishing are slow. Ellinee Bait & Tackle by Coloma reports not many anglers going out to fish right now. The pan fish are out there and starting to feed for winter for those not out hunting right now. Anglers out of St. Joseph are finding a few fish out in 100 feet of water however boat anglers were struggling. Perch and pier fishing were slow. There is a lot of baitfish around the piers where anglers caught freshwater Drum and Bass. In the St. Joseph River those fishing near the Berrien Springs Dam caught Salmon and Steelhead. Those anglers drifting spawn bags were doing very well. One angler said the Walleye were really biting great over the weekend, with getting limits two days in a row using hot and tots. The DNR fishing tip of the week is about Walleyes. Walleye are thought to be in their best condition in the fall, and can often be found in the river-mouth areas of larger, inland lakes. They are gathering there to take advantage of baitfish that like to hang out as the weather cools off. Set your sights on 10 to 12 feet deep to find these guys. Perch will also populate around those same river-mouths, but these fish will likely be much closer to the river than Walleyes. Check out depths as shallow as four feet to find them. The DNR, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) jointly inspected the Grayling Fish Hatchery located on the East Branch of the Au Sable River in Crawford County for invasive species, following the discovery in June of New Zealand Mudsnails immediately upstream and downstream of the privately-operated hatchery. In July the DNR required risk reduction procedures to the hatchery owner in order for him to be able to stock fish in public waters. The owner independently also implemented additional risk reduction practices, including use of well water for fish transport. Using the well water ensures invasive snails are not leaving the property in river water. Prior to their discovery in the Au Sable River, the snails had been found in Michigan in the Pere Marquette and Boardman rivers. The snails have been in the Boardman River since at least 2012. More information about the snails can be found on Michigan’s invasive species website at www.michigan.gov/invasives.
For waterfowl hunters looking for a new place to hunt, the DNR suggests Little Mud Lake Flooding in Roscommon County as a great location to try this hunting season. This 260-acre managed flooding, just north of Prudenville, had water levels lowered slowly this spring, allowing the muddy bottoms to be exposed to sunlight and air for the first time since 1988. Drawdowns are completed to allow the built-up plant matter to decompose and important plants (that waterfowl prefer) to germinate. Currently, the Little Mud Lake Flooding is being re-flooded and should provide adequate food and cover for migrating waterfowl this fall. It is one of eight floodings managed by the DNR Wildlife Division in Roscommon County. Seven lucky waterfowl hunters will win more than $1,500 in prizes just by hunting at three of Michigan’s seven managed waterfowl hunt areas. This fall the Wetland Wonders Challenge, sponsored by Consumers Energy, began October 8 and continues through February 12, 2017. For more information on the managed waterfowl hunt areas (including location, drawing times, dates, rules and regulations) and the Wetland Wonders Challenge contest (including terms and conditions), please visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders. A wild bull elk has made mid-Michigan its temporary home. “Typically, a stray wild animal like this will make his way back to where the rest of the herd is found, and actually where the females are,” DNR elk specialist Chad Stewart said. “It may take several weeks to months for this to happen, so we appreciate any information on this elk and its whereabouts.” Seen in Ogenaw County, Gladwin and most recently in Isabella County, if you believe you have location information or photos of this particular elk, report by calling 231-775-9727, ext. 6032 or emailing email@example.com.