10-27-2016 Outdoors


 Windy conditions have kept anglers off the Great Lakes for the most part the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported.  While the salmon are turning dark in many areas, Steelhead fishing is picking up as more fish are starting to move up into the rivers.  The DNR fishing tip of the week is to check out the various fishing-related maps available online to help in your angling adventures.  Inland Lake Maps – There are more than 11,000 lakes in Michigan and the DNR has maps for 2,700 of them.  These maps can help with inland lake fishing efforts and highlight shore features, vegetation and other water body specifics.  To access, visit the DNR inland lake maps webpage.  Inland Trout and Salmon Regulations Maps – These maps assist anglers in locating waters that contain Trout and Salmon and the regulations that apply to those waters.  To access, visit the DNR fishing regulations webpage.  Trout Trails – Check out this online map that features biologist-verified great Trout waters that are often lesser known.  The application can be accessed by visiting Michigan.gov/trouttrails.  Ellinee Bait & Tackle by Coloma reported anglers coming in on a regular basis for bait, but has not heard what they are catching.  The DNR reported inland lakes in the Southwest Lower Peninsula are producing Perch, Bluegills and Crappie.  Anglers were using minnows and worms 10 to 12 feet down.  Both South Haven and St. Joseph had no boat anglers out due to the weather.  No Perch to report from either area.  Pier fishing in South Haven was slow except for freshwater Drum hitting on crawlers.  Those using spawn on the bottom caught Catfish.  Pier fishing in St. Joseph for Salmon and Steelhead was slow.  Most anglers caught Smallmouth Bass and freshwater Drum when casting spoons.  On the St. Joseph River there still have been no big reports on Salmon.  Many are targeting Walleye which have been caught in fair to good numbers.  Kalamazoo River anglers continue to take Lake Trout and Salmon all the way up to the Allegan Dam.  Some were caught on bright colored spinners and small spoons while others were caught on flies and fresh spawn.  The DNR and several partners released more than 7,800 juvenile Lake Sturgeon into various public waters across the state this summer and fall in an effort to rehabilitate this culturally significant fish species.  The juvenile fish were collected from the wild last spring and reared in streamside facilities until they reached at least seven inches or larger in size.  Most fish were tagged prior to being released into their respective rivers to allow future evaluations of stocked fish.

Hunting

 Genetic testing on tissue samples from two cougars poached in the Upper Peninsula shows the two animals likely came from a population found generally in South Dakota, Wyoming and northwest Nebraska.  Kevin Swanson, a DNR wildlife management specialist with the agency’s Bear and Wolf Program said, “These males dispersed from the main population are looking to establish new territories.”  Since 2008, the DNR has confirmed 35 cougar reports in the Upper Peninsula, but so far there remains no conclusive evidence of a breeding population.  No reports have been confirmed from Lower Michigan.  Cougars are an endangered species in Michigan protected by law.  The DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline (1-800-292-7800) offers money to tipsters.  Information may be provided anonymously.  To learn more about cougars in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/cougars.  The first elk hunt of 2016, which ended October 3, was considered a success by the DNR with a success rate of 85 percent.  One hundred state hunters had 12 days to fill their elk licenses with 30 any elk and 70 antlerless-only licenses issued.  The first hunt period of elk season is staggered from August 30-September 2, September 16-19 and September 30-October 3.  This early hunt is open only in areas outside the core elk range, helping to control the number of elk, their location and also the herd composition, or the male-female ratio.  The second elk hunt period, December 10-18, will have a new group of 100 state hunters who will be hunting all open elk management units, which include the core elk range in the Pigeon River Country State Forest.  A third elk hunt period is an option if the needed hunter success is not met with the first two hunt periods, although in the past several years this third hunt has not been necessary.  Pheasant hunting season is in full swing with the Upper Peninsula season ending October 31.  In the Lower Peninsula it started October 20 and runs to November 14.  A third season from December 1 to January 1, 2017 will be held in selected areas of Zone 3 in the southern Lower Peninsula  The DNR asks hunters to help monitor pheasants and quail in Michigan by becoming a “hunter cooperator” and filling out a survey form, which provides important information about the status of these game birds.  The early-season form should be returned by October 28 and the regular-season report by January 5, 2017.  More information and recent reports can be found at www.michigan.gov/pheasant.

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.

The sight of a chewed fungus is quite common but closer examination revealed that we were looking at a chewed skunk cabbage fruit. The calcium oxalate crystals within this plant’s tissues made this find quite a surprise.  The shrunken head-looking fruits can be seen nestled all over the mucky soil of wetlands. We usually leave them alone. However, this specimen had already been chewed open so we took a chance. No smell.  When we took apart another one we found several hard seeds within a thick potato-like fruit. The fruit becomes smelly as it matures and then falls apart to release the seeds. It is believed that small mammals and wood ducks eat these. Our chewed-up fruit had distinct small rodent teeth marks so it appears a squirrel harvested it before the smell developed.  Do not forget Halloween at Sarett on October 28 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Cost is $5 per person.  Take a late fall walk at Warren Woods on October 30 at 2:00 p.m. The $10 fee includes transportation.  Join Sarett’s Outdoor Adventure Club (for 20 to 30-year-olds) on November 6 at noon to learn to play disc golf (a game played with Frisbee discs) and hike the dunes. The fee is $10 per person. Please RSVP to carolyns@sarett.com or the nature center at 269-927-4832.  Please call (269) 927-4832 to register for programs.

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