Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported that the windy conditions continue to hamper fishing efforts on the Great Lakes and very few boats have been out. Areas in the Upper Peninsula saw their first snow showers last weekend! Higher water levels and wave action have kept anglers off the piers due to dangerous conditions. Boat anglers have not been out on the inland lakes either. This past weekend could have been one of the last chances to get out on the big waters as the winds picked back up this week. Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake near Coloma reported few anglers were braving the cold, rain and wind to go fishing. Those few that have seem to be doing well. One brave angler on Paw Paw Lake has been very happy with the nice catches of crappie he has been getting. The Paw Paw River fishing has been quiet this past week, with no action on salmon. The weather greatly hampered the ability for boats to make it out of St. Joseph to the big lake this past week. Perch fishing was very slow as well as pier fishing. A few bass and walleye were caught by those trolling the St. Joseph River. There was still a fair number of salmon and steelhead going through the fish ladder in Berrien Springs. South Haven boat anglers were not able to get out on Lake Michigan. Overall perch fishing was slow and when the weather allowed, few anglers were out on the pier. A couple salmon were caught on the Black River by those casting spoons. On the Kalamazoo River, those drifting spawn or flies caught salmon near the Allegan Dam. At Grand Haven when they could get out, boat anglers caught lake trout and the occasional salmon in 110 to 200 feet. Lake trout were hitting green and yellow spin-glo on the bottom. Pier anglers targeting steelhead reported slow catch rates. The DNR fishing tip this week is finding steelhead in the thick of fall. Though many folks have hunting on the brain right now, there are some anglers who are enjoying a few more trips to the streams to find steelhead. Those having success are probably following a few basic tips, like these: Target lesser known streams that may have been stocked by the DNR in the past few years; don’t fish on the weekends – when everyone else it – rather, focus on mid-week if you can; tough out the weather, some of the best fishing occurs when the weather is the worst; and focus on going in the early morning or at night. If you want even more information on targeting steelhead, check out their page on the DNR’s website. Starting next year, Michigan plans to increase chinook salmon stocking by 150,000; increasing the total statewide stocking from 504,000 to 654,000 fish. This move is in response to a recent recommendation of the Lake Michigan Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee to boost lake-wide stocking levels. This marks the first salmon-stocking increase in Lake Michigan since 1999. The committee has worked continuously with stakeholders and resource agencies around the lake to bring balance to its ecosystem. The DNR’s Lake Michigan Basin coordinator, Jay Wesley states, “Although some anglers would prefer a larger stocking increase, biologists are still concerned with the uncertainty of alewife year-class strength and how much wild reproduction of salmon to expect. Alewife is the main diet of chinook salmon.” Contacts for this project are Jay Wesley, 269-204-7057 or Elyse Walter, 517-599-8532. This summer and fall, the DNR and several partners released nearly 20,000 juvenile lake sturgeons in public waters, part of an ongoing effort to rehabilitate this culturally significant fish species. Lake sturgeon eggs and larvae were collected from the wild in April and May and then reared in streamside facilities until they were large enough to tag. To allow for future evaluations of stocked fish, most fish were tagged before being released into lakes and rivers. The lake sturgeon is on Michigan’s threatened species list. These annual stocking efforts are critical to restoring the state’s lake sturgeon population. For more information visit Michigan.gov/Sturgeon or contact Ed Baker at 906-249-1611, ext. 309 or Elyse Walter at 517-599-8532. If you missed the Facebook LIVE video of the brown trout egg-take at Oden State Fish Hatchery on Wednesday, October 9, don’t worry. You can check it out anytime on the DNR’s Facebook page. This 18-minute video gives you an up-close view of brown trout spawning at the facility, including egg and milt collection, egg rinsing, fluid testing and fertilization. The fish spawned there will be reared and then stocked in approximately 18 months in public water bodies throughout Michigan. Hunting All hunting requires meticulous preparation and a commitment to safety. It is a good time to consider extra precautions when hunting from a tree stand. The Tree Stand Awareness Foundation collected accident information from 12 states. Although Michigan wasn’t a participating state, the data provides a good starting point for conversation. The foundation found that: The average fall victim’s age was 47; lock-on and climbing stands were the most common types involved; the majority of people who fell did not use a harness; most falls occurred when people hunted with traditional firearms or bows, followed by muzzleloaders and crossbows; and most people fell because they slipped or lost their grip or balance. Lt. Tom Wanless, the hunter education administrator for the state of Michigan said, “The more information hunters have, the safer they can be.” Here are a few tips: Use your hands and feet to maintain three points of contact when ascending or descending a tree stand; use a full-body harness attached to a secure fall line positioned above your head; when lifting a crossbow or firearm (unloaded, safety on) into a tree stand, use a secure pull system, such as a rope. Never attach anything to a trigger or trigger guard. Contact Lt. Tom Wanless at 517-284-6026 with questions on these tips. Whether people find bats spooky or spectacular – or both – there is no denying that these amazing mammals are an important part of the Michigan landscape. Bat Week, October 24-31, an international annual celebration designed to raise awareness about the need for bat conservation, is the perfect time to examine their many contributions. Michigan is home to nine different bat species. These insectivores eat many insect pests, such as beetles, moths and flies. Michigan’s bats are nocturnal – meaning they are active at night – busily consuming tons of insects, which provide nontoxic pest control for agricultural crops. Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453. Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on October 24 and 26, 2019. The cost of the class is $100. 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.
Michigan winters can be a tough feat for a creature weighing less than half an ounce. For a lot of Michigan animals active in winter, caching food when the bounty is plenty is one way to endure the frigid, snowy days. The common black-capped chickadee is one species of bird that does just that, caching hundreds and hundreds of seeds and berries in different hiding spots throughout their territory. For example, when a chickadee collects a new sunflower seed from your backyard feeder, they may eat it right away, or store it in some location – such as in a crevice on a tree, in between a windowsill, or under a rock. But how does the chickadee, who eats a third of its weight each day, remember all of those hiding places? With a special adaptation, of course! Scientists have discovered that a chickadee’s brain actually increases production of brain neurons in the winter and then essentially deletes these neurons come spring. This allows the chickadee to remember thousands of food hiding places in the winter and adapt to other changes in their environment and flock. Join Sarett for a special Halloween event on Saturday, Oct. 26 between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. to explore their fun Halloween trail for families! There will be a lighted walking trail with activities for little ones, a dark and scary trail for those who want a little more fright, a spooky hayride, and treats plus a craft inside. Cost is $5 per person.