10-19-2017 Outdoors; Kevin Mann’s Tale of the Hunt includes 1400 lbs. bull moose and small boat ride

Exterminator companies probably experienced a recent increase of panicked calls as people noticed large swarms of winged insects that looked like termites. Although termites periodically form swarms such as these, most likely the insects were winged ants.

Winged ants are not a different species. They are males and virgin queens (sometimes called princesses) that are produced when a colony reaches a certain density. They pace around the nest like bored teenagers, waiting for a signal. When that signal, a species-specific combination of weather conditions, occurs they emerge en masse with those from other colonies of the same species.

The millions of individuals involved in the mating flight ensure a healthy mixing of genetic material and provides quite a spectacle for humans to observe. To the consternation of homeowners, occasionally wayward fliers make their way into houses.

The princesses release pheromones to attract drones but then play hard-to-get so that only the fastest and fittest males are able to mate. Each princess will mate with several males before ending her nuptial flight. These newly fertilized queens land, chew off their wings and start a new colony. The drones all die in one or two days.

Explore Sarett by golf cart on Sunday, October 22 at 1:00 p.m. Fee is $5. Space is limited; pre-registration is required. Please call (269) 927-4832 to register.

Fishing

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that boating activity continues to decline as most have winterized their vessels, or have transitioned to deer and waterfowl hunting. Those looking for salmon will still find a good number of fish in most of the main river systems. The Chinook are turning dark, but fresh Coho can still be found. Pike and bass action was good on the inland lakes across the state.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported the fishing is slow on Lake Michigan with only a few trout being caught off the bottom in 100 to 150 feet of water. No salmon or steelhead were caught. Perch fishing is done for the year it seems with none being taken. Pier fishing was slow for all species and river fishing at South Haven was also slow. Kalamazoo River has been really good for salmon and steelhead, especially at the Allegan Dam. Inland fishing in the lakes around the South Haven area has been decent, especially on Duck and Eagle lakes.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported slow but steady panfish being caught in Big Paw Paw Lake and surrounding inland lakes. Anglers on Little Paw Paw Lake have been doing really well catching Bluegills. Pike and a few bass have been taken in 60-foot-deep water at about 40 feet down. There has been some nice size pike, but just a few bass that were taken on Thunder Sticks. The river is quiet, no reported fish caught.

The DNR and several partners released nearly 6,000 juvenile Lake Sturgeon into various public waters across the state this summer and fall in an effort to rehabilitate the culturally significant fish species. Juvenile Lake Sturgeon were collected from the wild during April and May and reared in streamside facilities until they were large enough to tag. Most were tagged and released into their respective rivers to allow future evaluation of stocking fish. For more information about Lake Sturgeon, visit www.michigan.gov/sturgeon.

The DNR is seeking public comment on the new five-year strategic plan to guide the DNR Fisheries Division work. This draft plan expands on the division’s 2013-2017 effort, “Charting the Course: Fisheries Division’s Framework for Managing Aquatic Resources.” It can be found at www.michigan.gov/fishing.