The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that as we move into November, the days grow shorter and so does the weekly fishing report. Fewer anglers are out and most of the DNR Creel Clerks are done for the season. Beside the rivers, the inland lakes are a good place to fish this time of year.
Using spawn to catch Steelhead; Steelhead is considered one of Michigan’s premier game fish and is exciting to catch on conventional fishing tackle. Reaching weights of 15 pounds or more, these fish ascend Great Lakes’ tributaries in the fall each year, beginning in late September and continuing through December.
A popular method of fishing for Steelhead involves using spawn bags for bait as it is a natural food item for them. Anglers can either tie their own spawn bags or purchase spawn bags that are already tied and preserved in liquid.
Spawn bags placed on a hook can be cast and drifted through runs and holes in rivers or below barriers or dams where migratory Steelhead congregate. Boat anglers can anchor in the river and cast their line out behind the boat, letting the spawn bag sit in the current as Steelhead move upstream.
Captain Kenny of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported very few boats going out on Lake Michigan, with no charters going out now. Steelhead is being caught in the river and off the piers. On just about any inland lake you want to pick, the Bluegill and other pan fish are biting well.
Ellinee Bait & Tackle by Paw Paw Lake reported a lot of anglers going out with this nicer weather we have had. Maple Lake has been lowered as it is annually, and the fishing is excellent right now. Anglers are catching all the fish they want if you can get out on the lake with a boat.
Steelhead fishing was a little slow in the St. Joseph River because of the warm weather. The DNR recommends fishing the deeper holes in the early morning or evening. Those targeting Bass or Pike should find a good number of fish throughout the system. The Kalamazoo River is producing some Steelhead. Those fishing near the Allegan Dam have caught some Walleye.
Hunter education students using the online course program have one more opportunity to complete the required field day portion of the training before firearm deer season begins November 15. The DNR has added three more field day opportunities, all held November 12 at no charge.
Only students completing their hunter safety class online will be accepted to these field days and students need to pre-register. Dates and contacts listed below:
Hopkins, Allegan County, contact Natalie Bazan at 269-793-7516 or Cpl. Ryan Rademacher at 231-578-1313
Republic, Marquette County, contact Cpl. Dave Painter at 906-284-2400 or Julie Graff at 906-8/5-6622.
Flint, Genesee County, contact Cpl. Peggy Ruby at 586-405-5359 or pre-register by email at email@example.com.
For those who hunt or trap furbearing animals, there are some changes to 2016-2017 licenses and regulations that are important to be aware of. The 2016 fur harvester licenses are valid until April 30, 2017. However, those who have not yet purchased a 2016 license must first buy a 2016 base license prior to March 1, 2017 in order to purchase a 2016 fur harvester license in the months of March and April 2017.
Those planning to harvest bobcats must acquire bobcat kill tags by November 30, 2016, in order to trap or hunt bobcats during any 2016 bobcat harvest seasons. Bobcat kill tags, along with otter, fisher, and marten kill tags, are issued free of charge to 2016 fur harvester license holders. The 2017 fur harvester license will not be available until May 1, 2017. At that time harvesters may acquire kill tags for the 2017 bobcat, fisher, marten, and otter seasons.
Important dates to remember: November 30, 2016 is the last day to obtain bobcat kill tags; February 28, 2017 is the last day to purchase 2016 base license; April 30, 2017 – 2016 fur harvester license expires; and May 1, 2017 is the first day to purchase 2017 fur harvester license and obtain kill tags.
Regulation changes to be aware of: Coyote hunting season is now open year-round (both day and night), and residents must have a valid base or fur harvester license. Raccoon trapping season is now open from October 15, 2016 to March 11, 2017, in all three zones. Raccoon hunting season is from October 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017 for both residents and non residents.
Bobcat trapping has been opened on public lands in Bobcat Management Units C and D in addition to the current private-land trapping opportunities. For additional season changes, information and regulations, visit