The weekly fishing report from the Department of Natural Resources said that very few anglers have been out. Most are now waiting for safe ice fishing to get started. They have reports of skim ice in different areas around the state but no safe ice yet. Remember, first ice is dangerous ice. Arctic temperatures this week will help with the freezing process but a blanket of snow will insulate and slow the process. If you have not done so, this would be a good time to get the ice fishing gear ready to go.
Captain Kenny of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports the Black River has iced over so fishing for Steelhead has come to a halt. He heard the Kalamazoo River has had the same problem in several places.
Inland he has heard that there was enough ice to fish the Van Auken channels, but the bite was not good. Pine Creek also has ice and anglers have gotten some Pike there. The ice was still iffy, but after the cold weekend it should be good.
Ellinee Bait & Tackle by Paw Paw Lake in Coloma said a few ice fishing anglers had gone out, but the ice is still not good so you have to be real careful. Anglers reported catching fish on the Van Auken Channels and the channels on Lake of the Woods. They are using wax worms and spikes right now.
DNR Fishing tip of the week:
Ice is finally starting to form on some inland bodies of water throughout Michigan, which means it will not be long before there will be plenty of opportunities to go ice fishing across the state. Now is the time to start preparing for this unique outdoor activity – including making sure your equipment is ready to be used and making sure you are ready to take the necessary safety precautions before heading out on the ice.
Here are a few simple equipment preparation tips to follow this ice fishing season. If you use any motor or battery-operated equipment, test it out now to see if it is working properly. Open up your ice fishing shanty to make sure it is clean and ready to provide you with shelter on the ice. And check your tackle box to remove any old equipment and take stock of what new items you might need.
Safety on the ice is the main factor and a few tips to follow while ice fishing are, never fish alone, and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. You should always test the ice with your spud for safety sake. Be sure to dress warm and take a charged phone with you. Putting it in a zip lock and in your pocket will keep it dry if you need help.
The DNR reminds hunters that the 2016 late antlerless firearm deer hunting season began Monday, December 19. Below is the list of the deer management units (DMU’s) that are open and closed for this private-land-only hunt. A valid private-land antlerless deer license is required for this season, which runs December 19 through January 1, 2017.
The 2016 Michigan Antlerless Deer Digest has further rules and regulations for antlerless deer hunting. More information also is available by visiting www.michigan.gov/deer or calling the nearest DNR Customer Service Center. Do not forget, all hunters must wear hunter orange during this season.
Late antlerless season:
Is open, on private lands only, within DMUs 003, 005, 006, 008, 009, 010, 013, 015, 025, 028, 029, 030, 037, 038, 044, 045, 046, 047, 050, 051, 056, 058, 063, 073, 074, 081, 082, 135, 311, 312, 332, 333, 341, 354, 361, 419 and 487.
Is closed in the Upper Peninsula and DMUs 016, 018, 020, 024, 026, 040, 043, 053, 057, 065, 067, 069, 072, 083,115, 145, 174, 245 and 273.
Hunters are reminded that chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been confirmed in free-ranging deer in Ingham and Clinton counties. CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose.
In DMU 333, there is an unlimited antlerless deer license quota and mandatory testing of all harvested deer. All deer taken in DMU 333 are required to be submitted to one of five deer check stations located throughout the Core CWD Area and CWD Management Zone. Those hunting in DMU 419 are strongly encouraged to submit their deer for testing.
The DNR reminds waterfowl hunters that they still have plenty of time to harvest ducks and geese in Michigan. The regular waterfowl season returns for two weekend hunts in December, and late goose season continues into February in one goose management unit (GMU) in Michigan.
The South Zone’s two-day continuation of the waterfowl season occurs December 31-January 1. All regular waterfowl season rules and regulations apply to these weekends.
The Allegan County GMU is open to late goose hunting until December 23 and then will reopen to hunting after the holidays from December 26-February 12. While hunting these later dates, hunters can finish gathering those punches for the Wetland Wonders.
The recent snowstorm afforded local photographer Joshua Nowicki the opportunity to capture images of snow crystals. The weather system underwent multiple temperature shifts, producing unusual capped column crystals.
Snow crystals start tiny and “grow” by adding more water molecules to the edges. The temperature and the amount of moisture within the cloud determine the shape of the edges. Joshua’s crystal initially formed as a column when the temperature was 21°F. As the column grew, it dropped into a colder air layer or the original temperature dropped to 5°F. Plate crystals form in these conditions. The column growth shifted to plate growth.
Japanese physicist Ukichiro Nakaya classified snowflakes based upon their forms. He named this crystal after a double-side Japanese drum, thus… the Tsuzumi crystal.
Joshua caught the snowflakes on a scarf. He used a telephoto lens with another telephoto lens taped backward in front of it to take the photograph… a much simpler set-up than Wilson Bentley used many years ago for his famous snowflake photos.
If your family is looking for outside adventures, visit Sarett. Try the Winter Selfie Challenge by taking photos in the mystery spots shown on the Facebook page or, hunt for “snowballs” by solving clues. Try snowshoeing (rental fee is $5 plus admission for adults, $3 for kids) or cross-country skiing (rental fee is $10 plus admission for adults, $5 for kids).