12-07-2017 Outdoors

Fishing

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers that the catch-and-release season for Lake Sturgeon on the Great Lakes and connecting waters closed on November 30.

Strong winds continue to hamper fishing along the Great Lakes. The major cool down we had this week should help start the freezing process the DNR stated. Overall, the few boat and shore anglers taking advantage of the weather have caught bluegills, bass, pike and even walleye from the inland lakes across the state.

The St. Joseph River and Kalamazoo River water levels have come down and anglers were catching steelhead by floating spawn and flies or casing spoons. Grand Haven pier anglers were taking some whitefish on small hooks with a wax worm or a single egg.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported very little fishing is being done right now. Die hard anglers that have gone out for panfish are catching bluegill and crappie. The crappie are being found very deep and caught by bouncing a crappie rig off the bottom.

The DNR recently was awarded a $10,000 grant from Rotary Charities of Traverse City to facilitate a fund development strategy in support of Michigan’s Arctic Grayling initiative. The initiative is a statewide partnership effort focused on restoring self-sustaining populations of the native fish and was founded by the DNR and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in June 2016.

The first stage of the initiative is expected to take five years of research project development, acquisition of fertilized eggs from Montana and/or Alaska, raising fry (small fish) in a controlled environment, and research to assess acclimation, mortality and other factors. For more information on Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative, visit migrayling.com.

Hunting

 The DNR advises hunters that due to the delay of chronic wasting disease test kits, there will be a delay in test results. The delay is not unique to Michigan, there is a national shortage of kits. The Michigan DNR originally placed its test kit order earlier this summer.

The DNR continues to collect and submit samples to Michigan State University. The samples will be tested as soon as the kits arrive. The DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory staff has been processing over 1,000 deer heads per day for disease testing to assure the most rapid turnaround time possible. Hunters that have submitted deer for testing can check their results online by visiting www.michigan.gov/dnrlab.

For the first time the DNR recently confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus in the state’s Ruffed Grouse population. Five birds collected from August through October, including two found dead and three that were shot by hunters, were submitted for testing to the DNR’s Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Lansing, where the confirmation of West Nile Virus was made. An additional five ruffed grouse were tested that did not have the virus.

The virus is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. There is no evidence of human infection from eating properly cooked game that has been infected. As a general precaution, wild game meat should be cooked thoroughly, to an internal temperature of 170-180 degrees. Hunters should wear gloves when handling or cleaning game.

There will be three Snowshoe Building Classes held in December. Ludington State Park in Ludington will hold a snowshoe building clinic on December 9 and 10. Sleepy Hollow State Park will offer a workshop on December 8 and 9 in Langsburg. A workshop will be held at Tahquamenon Falls State Park on December 16.

Additional classes will be held in January at Sleepy Hollow State Park and at Ludington State Park.

The DNR encourages you to buy your elk license plate now. Your purchase helps to conserve wildlife habitat. License plate sales benefit the Michigan Nongame Fish and Wildlife Fund. Celebrate 100 years of elk in Michigan, a conservation success story that began in 1918 in Wolverine. Buy your plate at any Secretary of State office, or online at mi.gov/sos.

Stewardship volunteers needed throughout December in Southwest Michigan State Parks and Recreation Area: December 9 in Grand Mere State Park, Berrien County; December 10 at Fort Custer Recreation Area in Kalamazoo County. Questions should be directed to Heidi Frei at 517-202-1360.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club