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.


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 now.

The Black River fishing has been slow but a few steelhead have been taken off the pier. Kalamazoo River has a lot of steelhead being caught and up by the Allegan Dam they are catching steelhead, coho, and a few king salmon. Inland lake fishing on Duck Lake, Eagle Lake and Bear Lake has been good with plenty of bluegills near the shore in shallow water.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported some nice fall crappie fishing going on to add to the bluegills they have been catching. Most inland lakes in the surrounding area seem to be following suit on the fishing action Paw Paw Lake is having. The river has been slow.

Anglers that could get out on Lake Michigan found lake trout and the odd Chinook salmon in 80 to 100 feet of water. A few perch were caught in 40 feet of water. The Dowagiac River had a lot of fishing activity near the dam at Pucker Street. In Grand Haven pier anglers were catching white perch and channel cats on minnows.

The DNR confirmed a new state-record fish for cisco (formerly known as lake herring). The fish was caught by Michael Lemanski of Florence, Wisconsin, on Lake Ottawa in Iron County in the western Upper Peninsula. He was still-fishing with a home-made jig when he caught the 6.36-pound fish that measured 21.8 inches long. This is the second record fish to be caught in 2017. To view a current list of Michigan state-record fish, visit www.michigan.gov/staterecordfish.


All three of the Pure Michigan Hunt winners from this year’s drawing have bagged an elk and a bear. Michele Ketchum of Sparta harvested a 6X6 bull elk in Montmorency County and later harvested a nice black bear in Mackinac County.

Richard Farris of Almont harvested an impressive 5X5 bull elk in Otsego County and five days later got his black bear in Mackinac County.

Jerry Peak of Crystal had a unique experience this season. Along with winning the Pure Michigan Hunt, Peak also drew a Michigan Bull Elk tag. He transferred his Pure Michigan Hunt elk tag to his son so they could hunt together. Both bagged a 6X6 bull elk and both were in Cheboygan County.

If you would like to have a chance of being one of the three 2018 Pure Michigan Hunt winners, visit www.michigan.gov/pmh for more information and to purchase Pure Michigan Hunt applications. They are $5 and you can enter as often as you want. In addition to the licenses to pursue bear, elk, deer, turkey and ducks, the winners each receive a hunting prize package valued at more than $4,000. Application period ends on December 31, 2017 and drawing results will be posted online January 22, 2018.

Starting November 1 an additional DNR deer check station will be available in Osceola County for hunters looking to age their deer and provide other biological data to receive a successful deer hunter and deer management cooperator patch. Hunters also can submit their deer head for disease monitoring.

The new check station is located on U.S. 10 in Reed City and will be open 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information on days close, contact the DNR’s Cadillac Customer Service Center at 231-775-9727.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club

The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on November 11. Class registration is held on Sunday November 5 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. For more information or to be put on the list, please call (269) 621-3370.