12-15-2016 Outdoors


The weekly fishing report from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), reports that open water fishing for Pike and Panfish is a good bet this time of year.  Areas to the north may be making skim ice at night, but there is no safe ice to report anywhere in the state.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports that Steelhead fishing in the Black River has slowed down, but you can still catch a few.  No one is pier fishing right now because of the wind and choppy water.  When anglers can get out on the pier they have caught Steelhead and White Fish.  Saugatuck and Grand Haven pier anglers continue to catch White Fish.  Jigging spoons were the ticket.

Inland lake fishing has been quiet as anglers wait for the ice.  Some areas are slushy and some skim ice has been seen, but nothing safe.  River fishing on St. Joseph has slowed down, but a few Steelheads are being taken.  On the Kalamazoo River they are still catching Steelhead up near the Allegan Dam, along with a few Walleye.

The Ellinee Bait & Tackle shop by Coloma reports anglers seem to be waiting for the ice to fish.  A patron come by the shop and reported he had seen some skim ice in Paw Paw Lake at Sherwood Bay and on the channels by Van Auken.  No real ice that would hold up an angler yet.


Deer hunting season is drawing slowly to a close as mid December is here.  Muzzleloading is open a few days more, to Sunday, December 18.  Late Antlerless Firearm season runs from December 19 to January 1, 2017 and the Archery season ends on January 1, 2017 also.

Some hunting will still be available after the first of the year.  Cottontail Rabbit and Snowshoe Hare season is open until March 31, 2017 as well as Crow hunting.  Fox – both red and gray – can be hunted until March 1 as well as Fox Squirrels and Gray Squirrels, (black phase included).

Ducks, Coots & Merganser season ends for the south part of Michigan on January 1, 2017.  Pheasant season (male only) for Zone 3 (partial) ends January 1, 2017 as well as the season for the Ruffed Grouse.

For that avid hunter you know, the DNR suggests giving the gift of a Pure Michigan Hunt application.  Winners will receive hunting licenses for elk, black bear, antlerless deer, spring and fall turkey, and first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt.  A total prize package that is valued over $4,000 of hunting equipment for the hunt of a lifetime.

Pure Michigan Hunt applications are only $5.00 and you can buy as many as you wish for the hunters in your life.  Applications can be purchased anywhere hunting licenses are sold or buy them online.  The deadline for the 2017 hunting season is December 31, 2016.  Do not forget, Pure Michigan Hunt winners can now transfer one or all of their licenses to another eligible hunter.

Ready to ride Michigan’s snowmobile trails?  Rev up the engine, gather your friends and ride Michigan’s nearly 6,500 miles of designated snowmobile trails.  You do not want to miss out on Michigan’s exciting terrain.  Snowmobile trail permits are valid through March 31, 2017.  Get yours today.

Volunteer campground hosts needed for 2017 season.  During the warmer summer and fall months, hundreds of volunteers spend time camping for free at Michigan State Parks, recreation areas and rustic forest campgrounds in exchange for their service as campground hosts.

Volunteer hosts are responsible for 30 hours of service per week, including duties such as helping campers find their campsites, answering questions about the park, planning campground activities and performing light park maintenance duties.

Both individuals and couples may apply for volunteer positions that begin as early as April and last through October.  Interested volunteers can click on “campground host” at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers to learn more about the program, download an application and waiver and view a vacancy host campground report, which is updated regularly and indicates when and where hosts are needed in specific parks.

With winter here, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reminding residents that state forest fuelwood permits are still available for the 2016 season, which runs through December 31.

Permits cost $20.00 and are for use on designated state forest land in the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula.  Permits allow for collection of up to five standard cords of wood per household.  Fuelwood collected with the permit can be used for personal use only and cannot be resold or traded.  For further information, visit www.michigan.gov/fuelwood or contact a local DNR