10-20-2016 Outdoors

hunting and fishing head angie stair 9-10-09

Fewer anglers are out fishing now.  Many of them have put away their boats for the winter, while others are concentrating on hunting.  Windy conditions and rain make it much more difficult to fish the Great Lakes at this time of the year the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported, but the best inland lake fishing is happening right now.  The fish are on a feeding frenzy and there is more room to fish because of fewer anglers.  This time of year can bring some of the best results when it comes to fishing for Bluegill and/or Crappie.  If you want to target these panfish when you head out in the near future, here are a couple of tips.  Bluegill can be found anywhere within the water column after lake turnover has occurred.  You will have to keep moving as you try to find them, as they may be suspended or hanging out at the bottom.  Crappies often stay in deeper water longer than Bluegills and they also tend to move around more as they target large schools of baitfish.  If you use bait that imitates their food of choice, you will be more likely to find them.  Keep in mind that both Bluegills and 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.  Captain Kenny of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported Lake Trout are still biting in 100 to 150 feet on spine and glows near the bottom.  A few Salmon and Steelhead can be found in the top 60 feet.  Anglers on the pier and in the river are catching a few Steelheads, but Perch fishing was very slow.  The Bluegills are starting to turn up the heat on inland lakes as cold weather gets closer.  Fishing has been slow as hunting season captures the sportsmen’s attention.  Those still fishing are catching some Bluegills and Crappie on inland lakes and lucky lady caught a couple of Perch in Paw Paw Lake.  The wind and storms are keeping anglers away also.  Boat anglers going out of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph has found fishing pressure was low.  Water temperatures were changing almost daily this past week due to the winds changing constantly.  Most of the boats could only get out to 50 feet of water or so.  No Perch to report and Salmon fishing was slow.  Pier anglers caught a couple freshwater Drum.  On the St. Joseph River Salmon fishing in the lower river was slow.  Walleye anglers were out and targeting fish.  On the Dowagiac River anglers caught a few Salmon and Steelhead on spawn.  The Paw Paw River anglers caught a couple Steelheads at the mouth, but catch rates were slow.  On the Kalamazoo River anglers have caught a combination of Salmon and Steelhead up near the Allegan Dam.  Most were caught on bright spinners.  The Michigan Natural Resources Commission approved several fishing regulation changes at its meeting Thursday, October 13 in Lansing and go into effect immediately.  The changes regard commercial bait, bow and spear fishing, and reptile and amphibian possession.  The fisheries Orders include 201, 216, 219, and 224.  All orders have been updated and are available online as of Monday, October 17 and can be found at www.michigan.gov/fishing.   Following recommendations of the Lake Michigan Committee, the DNR will adjust Chinook salmon and Lake Trout stocking in 2017 and 2018 to relieve predation pressure on prey (Alewives) in Lake Michigan.  The five-member Lake Michigan Committee is made up from all state management agencies that border Lake Michigan and the Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority.  While most of the stocking adjustments will occur in other states, Michigan will stock 300,000 Chinook salmon in 2017 (down 46% from 2016) and will discontinue federally stocked Lake Trout in Grand Haven, Holland and New Buffalo in 2018.  Lake Michigan’s Chinook fishery is supported by 60% wild fish that mostly are produced in Michigan’s rivers and streams.  Michigan also will continue to stock 1.57 million Coho salmon, 580,000 Steelhead and 550,000 Brown Trout to maintain a diverse fishery. For additional information, visit the DNR’s salmon web page.


The DNR is partnering with Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. and Pheasants Forever in an agreement that will see Enbridge provide half a million dollars for Pheasant habitat restoration in Michigan.  Improvement projects are scheduled to take place over the next three years in various areas in Michigan, focused on Michigan Pheasant Restoration initiative priority landscapes and Oak savanna restoration.  Looking for a new place to hunt waterfowl this fall?  Take a trip to Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area for a quality hunting experience.  The wildlife is just north of Linwood, Michigan, on the western shore of the Saginaw Bay and has a family feeling.  The hunters there take great pride in this local resource and appreciate the natural beauty and abundant waterfowl in the area.  There are 26 flooded field zones and 40 marsh zones on the area, most with easy walk-in access.  A mix of dabbling and diving ducks, as well as Canada Geese, can be found at Nayanquing Point and on the adjoining waters of Saginaw Bay.  Mallards are the most commonly harvested duck, with a good number of wood ducks (early in the season), green-winged teal and widgeon taken as well.  To learn more about the area and see a video outlining its managed waterfowl hunt drawing, visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders or contact the Nayanquing Office at 989-697-5101.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club

The Coloma Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on November 12.  Class registration is held on Sunday, November 6 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.

nature notes header

On a recent night hike the scouts and I slowly moved our flashlight beams across the creek. Then we saw them… tiny sparkles visible only when light passed over the area. We had found spider eye shine! The sparkles appear when a light beam reflects off a specialized structure present in most nocturnal animal eyes. The tapetum is a thin layer of cells that acts like a mirror. Any “stray” light beams that miss the photoreceptors located on the retina, run into the tapetum and reflected back to the photoreceptors for a second chance of absorption. This allows nocturnal animals to maximize whatever light is available to them at night. The reflective surface of the tapetum is also responsible for the creepy glowing eyes of night animals. The colors are influenced by the presence of substances such as riboflavin or zinc in the tapetum as well as retinal pigments and even age of the animal.  Learn about Nature’s Halloween Animal Trio (spiders, bats and carnivorous plants) on October 23 at 3:00 p.m. Fee is $3 per person plus admission.  Celebrate Halloween at Sarett on October 28 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. A lighted trail and spookier, dark trail will be available as well as snacks and a craft. Cost is $5 per person (all children must be accompanied by an adult).  Please call (269) 927-4832 to register for programs and events.


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Nature Notebook

Why did the turtle cross the road? To get to the other side! Turtles will soon be making appearances on roads, driveways and yards. They are not lost; they are on a mission to lay eggs. The females tr