12-08-2016 Outdoors


We are in-between seasons where boats are put away for the most part and many are now waiting for ice.  The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said that shore anglers are still heading out when the weather allows and catching fish.  In Grand Haven, pier anglers are catching Whitefish.

Captain Kenny of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports good fishing for Steelhead in the Black River, but no one is fishing out on the piers.  Anglers are using spawn, Hot & Tots, and jigs.  The Kalamazoo River is still producing Steelhead and anglers using crank bates have caught some Walleye by the Allegan dam.  Inland lakes are quiet, anglers waiting for ice.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle by Coloma reports fishing is slow, but those going out are still catching some panfish.  The Paw Paw River has been quiet, but the St. Joseph River is still producing some Steelhead.

The Grand River at Grand Rapids continues to produce Steelhead.  Most are fishing below the Sixth Street Dam.  Those fishing the Rogue River have also caught Steelhead down near the mouth.  Try flies, spawn or wax worms.

The winter Free Fishing Weekend will be February 18-19.  To encourage involvement in the 2017 Winter Free Fishing Weekend, organized activities are often offered in communities across the state.  These activities are coordinated by constituent groups, schools, parks (local/state), businesses and others.

The DNR has compiled numerous resources to help you plan and execute an event in your community.  Simply visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing and look through the Free Fishing Weekend Event Planning e-toolkit.  There is also an Event Promotion e-toolkit located at the website listed above.

Biologists from the Michigan DNR, the Bay Mills Indian Community, the Grand Traverse Band, the Little River Band, The Little Traverse Bay Band and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians worked together to write a plan that will guide management efforts to ensure the Lake Sturgeon population in Black Lake will thrive well into the future.  For more information on Lake Sturgeon in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/sturgeon.

Hunting

The DNR reminds hunters that the muzzleloader deer season opened on December 2 across the state.  Zones 1 and 2 will remain open until December 11.  Zone 3 is open to muzzleloader deer hunting until December 18.

Hunters are reminded that archery deer season also opened statewide last Thursday, December 1 and runs through January 1, 2017.  All deer hunters are required to wear hunter orange when participating in the muzzleloader season.  The hunter orange requirement does not apply to those participating in the archery season.  For more information about deer hunting in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/deer.

The pro-staff at the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy will team up with the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and Tails-a-Waggin’ guide service for the academy’s first-ever upland game bird hunting clinic on Saturday, December 17.

The cost for this class is $35 and includes the instruction and guided hunt, lunch, National Wild Turkey Federation membership, a hat and a Bass Pro Shops gift card.  Class is open to first-time bird hunters, 16 years of age or older.  For more information or to register by phone or email, contact Ed Shaw at 231-779-1321 or shawe@michigan.gov.  Learn more about the Academy at www.michigan.gov/outdoorskills.

Michigan’s late grouse season runs from December 1 through January 1.  For those who have not visited one of Michigan’s 17 GEMS – bird hunting locations across northern Michigan with parking areas and hunter walking trails – the late grouse season would be a great last-chance opportunity.  More information is available at www.michigan.gov/gems.  Once the season is over, hunters are asked to visit the wildlife survey page and tell the DNR about their hunts.  Anyone who is a grouse and woodcock cooperator should mail in their report by January 5.

The DNR reminds hunters that there is still time to make 2017 the hunt of a lifetime by applying for the Pure Michigan Hunt.  Three lucky Pure Michigan Hunt winners receive hunting licenses – including a prized Elk license as well as bear, spring and fall turkey, and antlerless deer licenses – and first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area, all to be used in the 2017 hunting season.  Along with the hunting licenses, each winner will receive the ultimate hunting prize package valued at more than $4,000.

Applications for Pure Michigan Hunt are $5.00 and you can enter as often as you want. Visit www.michigan.gov/pmh for more information and to purchase applications.

The DNR also reminds hunters that there is still time to enter Wetland Wonders Challenge that began October 8 and runs until February 12, 2017. For information on the managed waterfowl hunt areas (including locations, drawing times, dates, and rules and regulations) and the contest (including terms and conditions), please visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club

The Coloma Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on December 10. The class is taught by a certified NRA and RSO instructor and the cost of the class is $100.00.  For more information or to be put on the list, call 269-621-3370.

An ode to the dandelion… a little early or late in the season, you say? We just saw one blooming this week!

Dandelions can be found in almost any kind of habitat, from alpine meadows to wetlands. The deep taproot allows survival in deserts and will also sprout new plants. The seeds, formed with and without pollen fertilization, can float on the wind for five miles. The leaves remain green year-round so they have a head start on spring growth.

Until the advent of manicured lawns, the common dandelion was a prized garden element. Gardeners would remove grass and other weeds so their dandelions could flourish! Full of vitamins A (more than carrots) and C (more than tomatoes), potassium (more than bananas), iron and calcium, they are more nutritious than most garden vegetables. Dandelions were, and still are, used in a wide variety of medicinal herb concoctions.

Although reviled by lawn enthusiasts, dandelions are actually good for grass. Those incredible root systems aerate the soil and draw nutrients (e.g., calcium) up where the more shallow-rooted turf grasses can use them.

Finally, one has to begrudgingly admire a plant that “learns” how to avoid the mower blades!

Remember Santa comes to Sarett on December 11 at 3:00 p.m. Children can make winter nature crafts from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Please call (269) 927-4832 to register.

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