12-14-2017 Outdoors

Has the number of house-visiting insects finally dropped? Look outside and it will be nearly impossible to find any moving insects. Where have they gone?

They are spending the winter in diapause.  All life activities and development stop during this period.  When the temperature and, more importantly, the light-to-dark ratios of sunlight are just right they will resume their development.  In order to minimize the effects of winter, the insects will first migrate vertically.  They will move from higher places to lower, more protected places such as under leaf litter. Or, they migrate to warmer spots such as inside houses. Then they settle in for a long winter’s nap.

Outdoors many species will enter a different life stage before starting diapause (i.e. adults lay eggs, larvae form pupae).  A keen-eyed observer may spy the hardened egg case of a mantid on a bush or the messy clump of cattail fluff in which the larva of the cattail moth is resting.  Looking for these signs of life can turn a winter walk into a treasure hunt.

With the arrival of snow, Sarett has cross country skis and snowshoes available for rent. The ski trails are groomed and, if there is enough snow, track set to enable easier skiing. Snowshoe/hiking trails are separate from the ski trails; they are marked with signs.

Call the Nature Center (269-927-4832) to check snow conditions.

Very few anglers have made any attempt at fishing this past week the Department of Natural Resources said. Wind, cold, rain and snow discouraged most from trying across the state.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported that inland lakes in the surrounding area have a few fish biting, but the bite has slowed down for bluegills. Most anglers are fishing the rivers where there are plenty of fish.

The Kalamazoo River, the Black River by South Haven and the St. Joseph River has been producing steelhead when using body baits, spawn and hot-n-tots. The anglers at the Allegan Dam have been getting a few walleye too. Pier fishing up and down the big lake has been good when you can go out on them, but waves and ice have been limiting that.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports few anglers going out in the weather for fishing. Most are waiting for the ice to form on local inland lakes for ice fishing. River anglers seem to be the only ones getting any action right now.

Hunting

The DNR reminds deer hunters that the muzzle loading season in Zone 3 ends Sunday, December 17. The late antlerless firearm season opens December 18 through January 1, 2018. The late archery season also ends on January 1, 2018.

Goose hunters have a few more days to try for that Christmas or New Year goose. In the middle zone you have until December 22. In the south zone, a two-day season, December 30-31 and then January 27 – February 12, 2018. A two-day duck season in the south zone is December 30-31.

The Michigan DNR Becoming an Outdoors-woman (BOW) Program is offering a BOW Winter Sports Workshop at Porcupine Wilderness State Park on January 26-28, 2018. The program is for women who have some previous experience and would like to enhance their skills and abilities.

Participants will have opportunities to ice fish, cross-country ski and snowshoe. Enrollment is limited to 19 and enrollees must be 18 or older. The deadline for registration is January 8, 2018. Class information and registration materials are available online at www.michigan.gov/bow. This will be a rain, shine or snow event. For further information, contact Michelle Zellar at 906-293-5131.

Grab your sled, gather your friends and ride Michigan’s over 6,000 miles of designated snowmobile trails and authorized public roads. The program is 100% funded by your trail permit dollars. Snowmobiles must be regis