10-18-2018 Outdoors

Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that salmon and trout fishing continue around the state. Anglers are reminded that snagging is not allowed. Fish hooked anywhere other than in the mouth must be returned to water immediately. The DNR fishing tip this week is that lake whitefish are not just for commercial anglers. Although extremely important to Great Lakes commercial fishers, lake whitefish are becoming more and more popular with recreational anglers throughout Michigan. But, a person really has to know how to catch this delicious species. The lake whitefish has a small, exceedingly delicate mouth and is confined to dining on insects, freshwater shrimp, small fish and fish eggs, and bottom organisms. Most feeding takes place on or near lake-bottoms. Keep that in mind when selecting bait. For those interested in staying inland and looking for lake whitefish, stick with deep, clear-water lakes. Or fishermen interested in heading to the Great Lakes, this species can most often be found in deep water, either on or near the bottom. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports fishing has been slow on Lake Michigan. They are still taking lake trout in 100 to 150 feet on the bottom with Lake Takers and Spin-n-glo’s. Perch fishing has been slow with the rough water scattering the fish. Pier fishing at South Haven was slow for all species when anglers could go out on the piers. Inland anglers have had it rough with the wind and wave action but a few have caught some bluegills in 10 to 15 feet of water. One angler was fishing for gills in 18 feet and did well. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports few anglers going out on the inland lakes, but those that have, caught panfish. Tyler Jackson from Watervliet took a record flathead catfish, 48 inches long and 44 pounds 14 ounces out of Little Paw Paw Lake recently. He bought a lure in the morning at Ellinee then came back that afternoon to have his fish weighed and measured. The Paw Paw River has some salmon in the system, but no big numbers, so it is quiet. Anglers out of St. Joseph targeting salmon reported slow catch rates. Perch and pier fishing were also very slow. The St. Joseph River still had a good number of salmon and a couple steelheads moving through the fish ladder at Berrien Springs. There were quite a few boat anglers on the Black River trolling for salmon, but the action was slow. On the Kalamazoo River salmon have been caught from Saugatuck to the Allegan Dam. This spring and summer, the DNR and several partners released more than 12,000 juvenile lake sturgeons in public waters, part of an effort to rehabilitate this culturally significant fish species. This year’s total is twice the number stocked in 2017. The locations and totals include: Allegan County, Kalamazoo River, 35 fish; Cheboygan County, Black Lake, 7,737 fish, Burt Lake/Sturgeon River, 718 fish, Mullet Lake, 537 fish; Genesee County, Flint River, 477 fish; Manistee County, Manistee River, 75 fish; Menominee County, Cedar River, 183 fish; Midland County, Tittabawassee River, 479 fish; Ontonagon County, Ontonagon River, 759 fish; Otsego County, Otsego Lake, 244 fish; Saginaw County, Cass River, 475 fish, Shiawassee River, 472 fish. The lake sturgeon is on Michigan’s Threatened Species list. These annual stocking efforts by the DNR and several partners who work to secure needed funding and resources are critical to restoring the state’s Lake Sturgeon Population. After a 15-year hiatus, largemouth bass virus has re-emerged in a new northern Lower Peninsula water body. This virus has been confirmed as a factor in a fish kill in Cedar Lake in Alcona and Losco counties, with additional lakes in the area being examined. This virus previously affected adult largemouth bass in the early 2000s in southern Michigan lakes. Largemouth bass virus (LMBV) show few outward signs that a fish has it. Upon internal examination, infected fish usually have bloated and yellowish swim bladders. The virus is not known to infect humans, and infected fish are safe to eat – as long as the fish is thoroughly cooked. LMBV cannot be eradicated from lakes, nor can infected fish be treated. The best way to halt the virus is by anglers and boaters properly cleaning their equipment and doing their part to prevent the spread; clean all fishing equipment between trips; do not move fish or fish parts from one body of water to another; handle bass gently to release them; don’t keep bass in live wells for long periods of time prior to releasing them; minimize the targeting of largemouth bass during very hot weather; report dead or dying adult largemouth bass, particularly when they’re in numbers of 25 or more – reports can be made online at www.michigan.gov/Eyesinthefield.

Hunting New drawing dates and times at Fennville Farm: Historically, hunt draws have occurred daily at the Fennville Farm Unit of the Allegan State Game Area. This year, drawings will happen Friday and Saturday mornings at 5:30 a.m. and Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. A morning draw also will occur on Thanksgiving Day. No drawings will occur on Mondays and Wednesdays, but self-registration stations will be available at the Fennville Farm Unit Office for duck hunting outside drawing dates. Duck hunting is open during entire duck season by self-regulation or through the drawing. Michigan’s Wetland Wonders include the seven premier managed waterfowl hunt areas in the state. Fennville Farm Unit at the Allegan State Game Area (Allegan County), Fish Point State Wildlife Area (Tuscola County), St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island (St. Clair County), Muskegon County Wastewater Facility (Muskegon County), Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area (Bay County), Pointe Mouillee State Game Area (Monroe and Wayne counties), and Shiawassee River State Game Area (Saginaw County). Since the beginning in the 1960s, these areas have been funded by hunting license fees, but they are open for anyone to visit, use and enjoy most of the year.

Suicide Prevention Alertness Training in St. Joe Oct. 23 The Berrien County Suicide Prevention Coalition, in partnership with Spectrum Health Lakeland, will offer a three-hour safeTALK training course on Tuesday, October 23 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The event will be held in the Community Room at Lakeland Medical Center, located at 1234 Napier Avenue. SafeTALK trains anyone, ages 15 and older, to become a suicide-alert helper. Cost to participate is $10 and scholarships are available. SafeTALK holds that “most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die; they want the pain they are in to end. Through words and actions, the suicidal person invites help. SafeTALK-trained helpers can recognize these gestures and connect the person to life-saving resources.” To register, contact Randy Miota, Spectrum Health Lakeland at 269-983-8454 or rmiota@lakelandhealth.org.

Watching chipmunks fill their cheek pouches never ceases to delight our visitors. Cuteness aside, these internal baskets fulfill a vital function for the chipmunk. A chipmunk needs a full food larder if he is to survive the winter. During his frequent sleep breaks he must eat. Many danger-fraught round-trips between the burrow and food source would be required to amass enough food. The ability to carry large loads lowers the number of trips needed. The pouches can expand to a size three times that of the head… enough to hold nearly seven dozen sunflower seeds or thirty kernels of corn. If time permits, the chipmunk holds the food with his front legs, bites off sharp edges then tucks the food away. If he senses danger, he just grabs the food with his lips and tongue. Join a naturalist on Sunday, October 21 at 2 p.m. for a fall color walk on Sarett’s trails to enjoy the autumn colors and learn to identify different native trees and their winter adaptations. Cost is $3 for nonmembers and no reservations are necessary. Sarett’s Nature Book Sale will be held the weekend of November 10 and 11, 2018 and we are now accepting any donations of nature books, field guides, and kid’s books. Books can be dropped off at the Nature Center any time during business hours. Please, no magazines.

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