10-26-2017 Outdoors

“If the opening is on the left, then it is a lunged snail.” The students learned the difference between lunged and gilled snails using this identification technique. They then determined that the snails in our collecting tray were all lunged, or pulmonated, snails.

Lunged snails have a body cavity surrounded by thin tissue. Atmospheric oxygen (versus oxygen dissolved in the water) is collected and stored in the space. The oxygen moves through the tissue into the snail’s body. When the supply is depleted, the snail must return to the surface to “breathe” and gather more oxygen.

Although this seems like a lot of work, the adaptation is advantageous to the snail. It allows the snail to inhabit many more bodies of water (even those that are not particularly clean) than its gilled cousin.

A population of one lunged snail can quickly become many. They are hermaphroditic so they can self-fertilize their eggs and rapidly increase their numbers.

Celebrate Halloween on Saturday, October 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The not-so-spooky trail will be open 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. A scarier, dark trail is open 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Bring a flashlight. Admission is $5 per person (children and adults). Please call (269) 927-4832 to register.

Enjoy a video produced by Chuck Witkoske starring some of our area’s wildlife on Sunday, October 29 at 3:00 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, free for children.

Fishing

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fishing report said the windy conditions across the state are hampering fishing on both the Great Lakes and on the inland lakes as well. Water levels in the rivers are up after the rains and anglers continue to catch salmon and steelhead. As the waters cool, this is the perfect time of year for bass and pike fishing.

The DNR fishing tip this week is to take advantage of the maps to assist you in finding the fish or a spot to try. There are inland lake maps for 2,700 of the more than 11,000 lakes in Michigan. These maps can help with inland lake fishing efforts and highlight shore features, vegetation and other water body specifics. Access the Inland Lake Maps by County webpage.

Inland Trout and Salmon maps assist anglers in locating waters that contain trout and salmon and the regulations that apply to those waters. To access, visit the 2017 Inland Trout & Salmon Regulation Maps webpage. Trout Trails find excellent, biologist-verified trout waters in Michigan that are often lesser known; to access visit www.michigan.gov/trouttrails.

The Roadmap to Fishing Lake Michigan is for anglers that want to fish Lake Michigan but aren’t sure when and where to go. This “roadmap” provides information on many ports, times of year when great fishing opportunities exist, and species you might find during those periods of time. To access visit the Roadmap to Fishing Lake Michigan webpage.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports that most boat owners have winterized their boats, so there is not a lot of action out on Lake Michigan. The rivers and inland lakes seem to be where the action is right n