11-15-2018 Outdoors

Fishing It is that time of year again where not only the days grow shorter but so does the fishing reports, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said. Most of the DNR’s creel clerks are done for the season and with fewer anglers out it becomes nearly impossible to get updates on conditions around the state. The steelhead runs continue and anglers should find fish from now until freeze up. This is the time of year to target pike, muskie, walleye and perch as the bite increases as the water temperatures drop. Overall, steelhead is still moving into the rivers however the waters were running high and turbid because of the recent rains. Inland lakes are producing bluegills and perch. Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports no boats going out on Lake Michigan. When anglers have been able to get out on the piers, they are catching steelhead and a few white fish. Also, some lake trout were taken. Those fishing the river are using spawn, hot-tots, and flatfish bait. The steelhead fishing has been good. Steelhead and walleye have been caught up at the Allegan dam on the Kalamazoo River. Grand Haven had no boat or pier anglers due to the windy and rough conditions. The water level was up in the Grand River at Grand Rapids, but still fishable. Steelhead is being caught up near the dam. Anglers are using a variety of bait, including spawn, plugs, thunder sticks, spinners, small spoons or a jig and wax worm. Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Big Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports not a lot of anglers going out in this rough weather. A few have taken some steelhead and walleye from the river. The shop is spending the slow time putting up the summer fishing equipment and getting the ice fishing equipment in place. While many people are preparing to head into the woods for the next several weeks, others are taking advantage of fall steelhead fishing. There are two great strategies to try when targeting steelhead this month: surf fishing the piers and beaches of the Great Lakes and/or river fishing. If you choose to target the Great Lakes, consider using a slip sinker rig and live bait, such as spawn bags, night crawlers or shiners. You can also try casting small spoons, spinners or body baits with great success. Focus on depths of 12 feet or less as steelhead is hanging in the shallows looking for food. If you choose to target the rivers, consider using wigglers, caddis or wax worms drifted under a slip bobber. The depth below the bobber should be set to present the bait just off the river bottom. Anglers can also be successful this time of year casting spinners and medium diving crank baits into holes or other holding water that provides steelhead with some depth for cover. The retrieve should be as slow as possible to get the lure down to the bottom without snagging up. Many anglers like a downstream cast for these techniques. For anglers looking for an additional challenge, they can also use fly fishing techniques and see some great results.

Hunting Gun season opened today. The regular firearm season runs November 15 to November 30. Muzzleloading season in Zones 1 and 2 are from December 7 to December 16. In Zone 3 the season runs from December 7 to December 23. The late antlerless firearm season is December 17, 2018 to January 1, 2019. The MI-HUNT application gives you access to interactive hunting, trapping and outdoor recreation maps. You can find them at www.michigan.gov/mihunt. Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger is an organization that works with the DNR to help feed families in your community. You can help by making a donation when you buy your hunting license or by donating a harvested deer and delivering it to a participating processor. Each deer donated will provide more than 125 meals, and financial donations offset the cost of processing, packaging and transporting donated venison. To find a participating processor or learn more, visit sportsmenagainsthunger.org. Preliminary results from the 2018 bear hunting season show hunters found success across Michigan’s bear hunting management zones. “While we are still waiting for all data from check stations and hunter harvest surveys, it appears that we’ll be on track for good harvest numbers and success rates,” said DNR Bear and Wolf Program specialist Kevin Swanson. For the 2018 bear hunting season, approximately 54,000 hunters applied for 7,140 bear hunting licenses, the same number of licenses that was available last year. In 2017, 1,691 bears were taken. This year, preliminary numbers appear to be slightly below the 1,500-target harvest. Bear regulations are reviewed every two years, making 2019-2020 a new regulation cycle and an opportunity to review potential harvest quotas. On December 14, the Bear Forum will meet in St. Ignace at the Little Bear East Arena, located at 271 Marquette Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Bear Forum is made up of stakeholders and non-affiliated individuals who have an interest in Michigan’s bear management. Public seating will be available. For questions about the upcoming Bear Forum meeting, call 906-458-1889.

DNR to host open house to gather input on Warren Dunes State Park management plan The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is inviting the public to help shape future management at Warren Dunes State Park in Berrien County. The DNR will host an open house Wednesday, Nov. 28 to gather input on the park’s draft phase 2 general management plan. The open house will run 5 to 7 p.m. at the Lake Township Hall, 3220 Shawnee Road in Bridgman. The phase 2 general management plan defines a long-range (10- to 20-year) planning and management strategy that will assist the DNR in meeting its responsibilities to protect and preserve the site’s natural and cultural resources, and to provide access to land- and water-based public recreation and educational opportunities. The 1,439-acre park provides recreational activities compatible with the park’s natural resources, including 2.5 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, a large swimming beach, a critical dunes area and a dedicated natural area. Recreational opportunities include modern and rustic camping, hiking, swimming, picnicking, cross-country skiing, wildlife viewing and hunting. People are welcome to attend at any time during the two-hour period to review components of the draft plan, provide comments and talk to DNR staff. Comments also can be made via email to lincolnm@michigan.gov. A link to the draft plan and additional information on the DNR’s management planning process are available at michigan.gov/parkmanagementplans. For more information, contact Matt Lincoln at 517-284-6111.