11-08-2018 Outdoors

Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that steelhead fishing across the state in some rivers has been difficult because the waters are low and clear. Rain is needed to help bring the levels up and more fish in. Although this is one of the best times to catch walleye from the inland lakes, most had no anglers in sight. Ellinee Bait and Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported not a lot of anglers going out on the inland lakes, but those that do have been getting panfish. Quite a few anglers have been going out and targeting muskies with the sucker chubs. South Haven had no boat reports as the water and wind have been uncooperative. When anglers have been able to get out on the pier a few have caught white fish and an occasional steelhead using spawn. In the Black River anglers that were trolling and shore anglers using spawn caught a few steelhead. No boats made it out of St. Joseph to fish so there are no perch reports. Pier anglers were getting a couple steelheads and some white fish on spawn. Those surf casting have also taken a couple of steelheads. The DNR staff cleaned out the fish ladders at Berrien Springs, Niles and Buchanan and reported a few Chinook and steelhead in each ladder. Fishing pressure was light below Berrien Springs. It’s getting to be that time of year where many anglers are preparing to store their fishing equipment. Here are a few tips to help through the process: Take reels apart to clean and then grease and oil them; check out the hooks on lures and determine if they need replacement or sharpening; remove the fly line from reels and consider cleaning it with dish soap for reuse; use rod sleeves to store rods and then the parts don’t get mismatched; store rods vertically to avoid any bends from occurring; keep rods at room temperature; check waders for any leaks, pinhole-sized leaks can be found by putting a flashlight inside waders in a dark room. After that anglers will be ready for ice fishing season! In addition, equipment will be in good shape for next spring. For those that missed the DNR Live video tour of Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery as they prepared to stock juvenile Great Lakes Muskellunge in Michigan waterbodies, don’t worry. It can still be viewed online to learn about this super cool program. Anyone wishing to visit the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery can do so; the hatchery is not far away and is open all year. More information is available on days and times by calling the Visitors Center at 269-668-2876. The Hatchery is located at 34270 County Road 652, right off Red Arrow Highway near Mattawan. Hunting Hunters with qualifying disabilities are encouraged to take advantage of reserved deer hunting opportunities at the Pierce Road Hunt Unit of the Sharonville State Game Area in Jackson and Washtenaw counties. As part of the DNR’s Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors initiative, this 600-acre unit was designated as a restricted access hunt area to provide special hunt opportunities. Remaining reserved deer hunting permits are available from any license agent, DNR Customer Service Center or online. The following reserved hunts are available on a first come, first-served basis: Hunt 0405, November 18-20; Hunt 0406, November 21-23; Hunt 0407, November 24-26; and Hunt 0408, November 27-30. To get more information, call 517-522-4097. The pheasant season in the Lower Peninsula has a few more days to run, ending November 14. Another season is scheduled for December 1 – January 1 in selected areas of Zone 3. While pheasant populations have been in decline for several years, pheasants can be found in southern Lower Michigan and some areas of the Upper Peninsula. The best counties for pheasant hunting are in south-central to mid-Michigan and into the thumb; in the U.P., Menominee County is a good place. Michigan’s early elk hunting season – which occurs August 28-31, September 14-17, and September 28-October 1 – saw 69 state hunters, three Pure Michigan Hunt winners and three tribal hunters all take an elk. This year more than 40,000 hunters applied for an elk license. Two hundred applicants were successful in the drawing – 100 for the early season, and 100 for the December season. The Two Rivers Coalition, Inc. (TRC), is a citizen-based group working to protect the health of the Black River and Paw Paw River watersheds through conservation, education, and advocacy will celebrate its 10th anniversary. They will hold a meeting and anniversary party on November 8 at the Van Buren Conference Center in Lawrence. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for food, browsing displays and silent auction bidding. The program starts at 7:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. TRC President Kevin Haight will give an update on some projects, including macro-invertebrate monitoring, E. coli testing, and progress on the Paw Paw River Water Trail. Dr. David Karowe from WMU will first dispel some of the misinformation about the subject of climate change and then focus on what we might experience in SW Michigan throughout the 21st century as a result of global climate change.

‘Tis the season for squirrels and birds to collect, store, and eat as much as possible to help them survive the impending winter. In southwest Michigan, there are a variety of native oak species found and these trees play a vital role to wildlife. Oak trees and their acorns produce food for over 100 different species of birds, mammals and insects. The main types of oak trees in our area are white oak, red oak and black oak. White oak trees produce sweet-tasting acorns that take only one season to develop and thus supply a staple food for many wildlife species such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, squirrels, wood ducks, bear and many songbirds. Red and black oak acorns require two years to develop their acorns and have more tannin in the nuts, giving it a more bitter taste. You can tell the difference between oak trees by studying its acorns. White oak has wart-like scales and an oblong nut shape. Red oak has acorns with smooth scales and French beret style caps. Black oak has loose scales with a deep bowl-shaped cap. Shop the Nature Book Sale at the Nature Center this weekend from 9 to 5 on Saturday the 10th and 1 to 5 on Sunday the 11th. Support our environmental education programs and stock up on some winter reading or gifts!

Coloma Library hosts A Crude Awakening: Sea Otter Rescue Program presentation on Nov. 14

On Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. the Coloma Public Library is offering a presentation titled “A Crude Awakening”. It’s been 29 years since the Exxon Valdez spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, dumped 11 million gallons of crude oil in the pristine Gulf of Alaska. Most affected were the sea otters. Concerned about these animals, Tom and Sherry Miller of Coloma volunteered to help rehabilitate them at the Sea Otter Rescue Center in Seward, Alaska.

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