Fishing The warm-up we had helped with the steelhead bite and more anglers were out across the state the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported. Boat anglers were also taking advantage of what could be some of the last open water fishing in certain areas of the Lower Peninsula. Most anglers were targeting walleye, pike, muskie and panfish. Calm winds allowed pier anglers to get out this week and catch a few fish. In the southwest Lower Peninsula, pier anglers in St. Joseph continued to target steelhead and whitefish. Most were using fresh spawn. The Kalamazoo River had a good number of steelhead below the Allegan Dam. Grand Haven pier anglers jigging for whitefish reported the action was picking up. Anglers on the Grand River at Grand Rapids had fair to good steelhead action for those drifting spawn and beads below the 6th Street Dam. Walleye were hitting on minnows. Steelheads have been caught in both the Rogue River and near Ionia in Prairie Creek. The Ellinee Bait & Tackle shop on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported that not many anglers are taking advantage of the few days that have been fishable. Most are waiting for the ice to get here. The DNR fishing tip this week is where to find northern pike in Michigan. Most places in the state are seeing cold temperatures, but despite that fishing for northern pike will continue to pick up. Pike are extremely popular during the ice fishing season but are readily available throughout much of the year. There are many notable northern pike fisheries located throughout Michigan, including on Muskegon, Portage and Manistee lakes and Michigamme and Houghton lakes. But this species can be found in many other lakes and virtually all larger rivers in the state. Please note there are many regulations for northern pike regarding minimum size and possession limit. Be sure to read up on this species in the current Michigan Fishing Guide, available where ever licenses are sold or online at the DNR website.
Hunting The DNR is seeking tips on a second elk killed within a week. A bull elk was located near Teets Trail, west of Voyer Lake Road in Montmorency County, north of Atlanta. The officers determined that the elk had been killed by a single gunshot and they believe that a hunter mistook the elk for a deer. Anyone with information regarding this poaching incident can contact the DNR Customer Service Center in Gaylord at 989-732-3541 or call or text the 24-hour Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. Information can be left anonymously; monetary rewards are available for information that leads to the arrest of violators. The annual Michigan Bear Forum is set for Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Little Bear East Arena in St. Ignace. All are welcome to attend. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss bear management and regulations for the 2020-2021 regulation cycle, while assessing 2019 harvest statistics. Additional information about black bears in Michigan can be found at Michigan.gov/Bear. Questions about the Bear Forum can be directed to Cody Norton at 906-228-6561. This time of year, deer are the most sought-after species for Michigan hunters. The firearm deer season wraps up Saturday, November 30, followed by the re-opening of archery season Sunday, December 1. Those interested in expanding the hunt beyond deer can take aim at other wildlife such as cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, and fox and gray squirrels now through March 31, 2020.
Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on December 5 and 7, 2019. Registration is on December 3, 2019, between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. and cost of the class is $100.00. They will have a lawyer explaining the law pertaining to concealed carry during class. Please call (269) 468-3837 or (269) 470-9191 for more information.
Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CPL Class on Saturday, December 14. Class registration is held on Sunday, December 8, 2019 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 $105. For more information on the CPL class or Hunter Safety Class, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Fire Marshal urges fire safety over Thanksgiving weekend State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer urges fire safety by encouraging Michiganders to follow a few simple precautions when preparing their meal on Thanksgiving Day, the leading day for home cooking fires. Consumers who use portable deep fryers to cook turkeys should know the dangers involved and consider a safer alternative to cook their turkey. Portable propane fueled turkey fryers – a popular and faster cooking method for Thanksgiving turkeys – pose considerable fire risk if not used correctly. “Deep frying a turkey – in several gallons of hot oil over 350 degrees – is as flammable as gasoline, if the cooking oil vapors ignite,” said Sehlmeyer. “Never use a portable deep fryer in a garage, near a deck, breezeway, porch or inside any structure; improperly deep-frying turkeys result in a high number of house and garage fires every year.” According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), portable deep fryers that use oil – as currently designed – are not suitable for safe use, even by well-informed and careful consumers. Vapors coming off the heated cooking oil are highly combustible. If the cooking oil in a portable deep fryer is overfilled, splash-back and boil-over may occur when immersing the turkey. Sehlmeyer said oil-less electric or infrared models are much safer methods of cooking turkeys, provided safety precautions are carefully followed. Cooking in the kitchen has its own fire risks. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the average number of reported residential fires more than doubles on Thanksgiving Day compared to any other day of the year. Two-thirds (67 percent) of home cooking fires start when food or cooking materials catch on fire. More than half (55 percent) of home cooking fire injuries happened when people tried to fight the fire themselves. “Always keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it,” said Sehlmeyer. “If you don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher, do not try to fight a fire yourself; immediately call 9-1-1 in such emergencies and quickly evacuate the home.” The Bureau of Fire Services wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Visit the Bureau of Fire Services’ website at www.michigan.gov/ miprevention for more fire safety information.
Do you ever wish you had special cheek pouches like a chipmunk to store your Thanksgiving leftovers? Chipmunks and other small mammals stuff their cheeks full of seeds, nuts, and other food to eat later, especially in autumn. These rodents active in the wintertime need to store food for the harsh, cold months ahead. The cheek pouches open within the mouth and allow the chipmunks to store possibly hundreds of seeds, making the pouches as large as their heads. Underground burrows and tunnel systems provide the warmth and security for these small mammals and their food for the winter. The temperature underground stays above freezing and allows these critters the habitat they need to survive. When the snow comes, it provides an extra layer of insulation and rodents create elaborate tunnel systems where the snow and ground meet. Many small mammals, including chipmunks, can’t store enough fat to survive the winter, so they must feed to stay alive. Chipmunks will enter a torpor state, conserving energy, but not truly hibernate. They will frequently arouse and feed off the stored food, sometimes coming out to forage on warmer days. They begin their usual activeness in March or April, filling their diet with fungi, insects, worms, and even baby birds. The Nature Center building will be closed Thursday, November 28 – Saturday, November 30. The trails are open dawn to dusk.