Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that ice is forming on the inland lakes across the state however, most did not have safe ice yet. Anglers may find a little more ice in the Upper Peninsula. This would be a good time to get the ice fishing gear ready to go. The fishing tip from the DNR this week is how to go ice fishing, how to get ready and how to stay safe. Equipment – You will need some special equipment if you head out ice fishing. Take stock of your spud/auger, skimmer, shelter and apparel to have an enjoyable experience out on the water. Techniques – Pick your preferred ice fishing technique and the species you wish to target and brush up on your skills – whether that is hook-and-line fishing for Bluegill, Sunfish, Perch or Crappie, using tip-ups for Northern Pike, Walleye or Trout, or spearing for Northern Pike, Muskellunge or Sturgeon. Safety – You should always stay safe when heading on the ice. These five tips can help: Never fish alone; tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return; always test the ice with a spud; take the appropriate emergency items, such as a lifejacket and ice picks; and take a cell phone with you in case you need to call for help. Keep it in a plastic, sealable bag to make sure it doesn’t get wet. If you want more information on ice fishing, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampaging Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported that when the anglers can get out on the pier, they have been getting a few steelhead and whitefish. Before the river temperatures cooled down, steelhead fishing had been really good in the local rivers Black, St. Joseph and Kalamazoo. They are still catching a few, but the catch is slow. Even Allegan Dam has slowed down. Spawn seems to be the choice of the fish caught. The local inland lakes are starting to get a skim of ice over them, but nothing to go out on yet. Captain Kenny said that even the channels are just getting started on forming ice. Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported anglers are still just waiting for the ice. A couple of anglers went out last week targeting pike on Paw Paw Lake, but no word on how they did. Several of the anglers that are waiting for the ice have been in the shop to take advantage of the 20% discount on ice fishing gear. The sale ends with the first ice. Starting January 1, all bass and walleye fishing tournaments, as well as competitive fishing events targeting muskellunge, must be registered in the DNR’s Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System, available online. These events must report their results, too. The inclusion of walleye and muskie adds to the statewide registration and reporting requirements for bass fishing tournaments that have been in place since 2016. For more information, including definitions explaining the difference between a fishing tournament and a competitive fishing event, visit the system site at www.michigan.gov/fishingtournaments. Questions, contact Tom Goneia at 517-284-5830.
Hunting The DNR reached the minimum testing goals in the Upper Peninsula CWD surveillance areas. With the valuable assistance of hunters, a minimum goal set for chronic wasting disease deer head testing has been surpassed in two surveillance areas set up in the central Upper Peninsula. The testing will aid the DNR in determining the extent of this deadly deer disease in the region. The DNR will continue to test at no charge any deer head hunters submit for CWD testing. Results are typically available within 14 days. A minimum goal of 600 deer heads was set for a core surveillance area laid out around Waucedah Township in Dickinson County, where a 4-year-old doe tested positive for CWD on October 18, 2018. A total of 711 deer heads have been submitted and tested from the core area with no additional CWD-positive deer detected. Deer tested include road-killed animals and deer taken under deer damage shooting permits. Within a wider CWD expanded surveillance area, extending north into Marquette County, a minimum goal of 300 deer heads had been set. As of December 1, 565 deer heads from that area have been submitted and tested with no deer testing positive for the disease. For a listing of deer check stations and 24-hour drop box locations, visit www.michigan.gov/deercheck. Deer hunting license sales approach 1.3 million. As of November 29, nearly 1.3 million deer hunting licenses have been sold in Michigan this year. The figures include license sales for antlered and antlerless deer tags, across all deer hunting seasons. The total number of deer hunting licenses sold was 1,268,625, compared to the 1,284,772 licenses sold by the same time in 2017. Muzzleloader season reminders: Muzzleloader deer season is December 7-16 for Zones 1 and 2 and December 7-23 for Zone 3. If you are deer hunting in the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone or Core CWD Area, muzzleloader season is open to all legal firearms, regular firearm equipment rules apply. See pages 39-40 of the 2018 Michigan Hunting Digest for more information. A deer license, deer combo license or antlerless license is valid during the muzzleloader season. December is the last month to get your hands on Pure Michigan Hunt applications before the drawing in January. After the December 31 deadline you will need to wait until March 1, 2019, to apply again for your shot at the hunt of a lifetime. You could take home hunting equipment valued at over $4,000, as well as licenses for elk, bear, spring and fall turkey, antlerless deer and first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area. Each $5.00 Pure Michigan Hunt application helps fund Michigan’s wildlife habitat restoration and management. The applications are available anywhere licenses are sold. Luke Haynes was one of the first people to ever walk away with the hunt of a lifetime. In 2010, he was a student in middle school when he received the good news. That year, Luke bagged a double-bearded turkey, a 200-pound black bear and a 500-pound bull elk. Because Pure Michigan Hunt applications are like any other hunting application, even kids (10-years of age and older) are eligible for the hunt of a lifetime.
European starlings, a robin-sized songbird, are considered an invasive species in North America. They are found throughout all of the continental United States with flocks seen sometimes in the thousands. This species had an interesting introduction to the United States. In the nineteenth century starlings were a popular pet in Europe. Shakespeare had also included starlings in his literature. Some Shakespeare enthusiasts in United States resolved to bring the species to North America and released many in New York City. European starlings are now one of this country’s most numerous songbirds, but will often out compete native birds for food and nest sites. Starlings can be seen in southwest Michigan at any time of the year, but many individuals seasonally migrate. Their plumage changes throughout the year, sometimes looking black from far away. Up close these birds display beautiful white, brown, purple, green and blue colors. Starlings are great mimics and can learn the calls of over 20 species such as the American robin, killdeer, meadowlarks and red-tailed hawks. Pet starlings have also been recorded repeating phrases such as “New York City,” and “How’s it going?” Sarett will be grooming the trails and renting cross-country skis as soon as there is enough snow. The cost for ski rental for members is $7/adult, $4/child and for non-members is $10/adult non-members, $5/child for a two hour rental.