Outdoors 05-18-2017

Fishing

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers that the walleye, northern pike and muskellunge season on the Upper Peninsula Great Lakes, inland waters and St. Marys River opened on May 15.  Warmer weather this week should help the bite.  Michigan’s current Fishing Guide is always available online.  View or download it at www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported coho fishing on Lake Michigan is fantastic!  They are being found at 150 to 220 feet of water and anywhere in the water column from 20 to 130 feet down.  They are still catching lake trout, but the bite has slowed down.

Pier and river fishing has slowed down with the occasional catch of a walleye with crawlers on the bottom or when casting crank baits.  All the inland lakes are producing pan fish.  The bluegills are not quite on the beds yet.  Some of the better and larger lakes in the area are Duck Lake, Eagle Lake, and Bear Lake.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle located on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports the crappie are biting like mad!  The bass are spawning and the crappies are just off the weed beds and the bite is good.  All they have seen come in are larger fish and they are catching them on shiner minnows.  The river has been quiet.

St. Joseph anglers on the pier were still catching very good numbers of catfish with crawlers and stink baits on the bottom.  When boat anglers could get out, they reported slow trout and salmon fishing.

Anglers currently can catch-and-immediate-release largemouth and smallmouth bass on most waters statewide.  The possession season for bass opens statewide on Saturday, May 27 except for Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River and the Detroit River, which open Saturday, June 17.

The DNR reminds anglers coordinating bass fishing tournaments in 2017 to register those tournaments online via the Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System at mcgi.state.mi.us/fishingtournaments or www.michigan.gov/fishing.  Instructions on how to access the system, add tournaments, and report catch data also are available online.

This is the second year that Michigan has required the registration and report of all bass fishing tournaments.  In 2018, this registration requirement will be expanded to all fishing tournaments regardless of species.  So far this year more than 1,650 tournaments have already been registered and more are coming in every day.

The DNR, in partnership with the Michigan Muskie Alliance is investigating the muskellunge fisheries of the state again this year by distributing an online angler survey that can be found at the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/muskie and the Michigan Muskie Alliance website at www.michiganmuskiealliance.org.

By completing this survey, anglers assist fishery managers in their evaluations, assessments and trend monitoring of Michigan’s muskellunge fisheries.  Information collected includes fishing location, method used, catch preferences, catch-and-release data, and how frequently the individual fishes for muskellunge.

Hunting

The DNR reminds hunters that the elk and bear hunting applications are now available and will be open now through June 1.  A total of 200 elk and 7,140 bear licenses will be available for the 2017 hunting seasons.  Applications are $5.00 and a base license is not required to purchase an application.  If you have questions, call the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453 by June 1 for assistance with applications.

The DNR is seeking information from the public to assist its investigation of a turkey poaching incident in Midland County and information on the vandalism damage done to Mason Tract Pathway in Crawford County.  The officers responded to a citizen’s tip and recently charged a 55-year-old suspect for illegally harvesting more than 87 pounds of pike.

Anyone with information on these incidents or any others, are encouraged to call or text the Report All Poaching (RAP) line at 800-292-7800.  While citizens can remain anonymous, they must provide their names if they wish to receive the reward.  The RAP line is a convenient, effective way for citizens to report the illegal taking of fish or game, or damage to Michigan’s natural resources.  The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Watervliet Rod & Gun Club

The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on May 18 and 21. They will have a lawyer explaining the law pertaining to concealed carry during class.  Please call 269-468-3837 or 269-470-9191 for more information.

On a walk through the Nature Center trails, a large moth on the ground caught my eye. With a furry abdomen, long bristled antennae and small bluish eyespots on the hind wings, the small-eyed sphinx moth rested on a tall piece of grass. These moths use mimicry with their eyespots, appearing as a larger, inedible animal.

While holding the moth in my hand, it started to fervently vibrate its wings. The small-eyed sphinx moth was warming up its wings in anticipation of a short flight from my hand to the ground.

Wings are not only used for flying in moths. When it’s time for mating, females, or sometimes males, will climb vegetation, and at a light-cued hour they will fan their wings and release chemical mating lures to attract their counterpart.

The adult moths focus on reproduction and do not eat. Their bright green caterpillar stage feed on cherry, basswood or serviceberry. The pupa winters underground and emerges as a moth in late spring and early summer. Adult small-eyed sphinx moths may also look like a curled, dry leaf when perched with the abdomen arched.

Add native plants to your yard to bring color and help wildlife by visiting Sarett and buying plants at the annual Wildflower Sale starting Saturday, May 20 at 10:00 a.m. Varieties will include trillium, ferns, milkweed, columbine and other woodland wildflowers. Plants will be for sale based on availability after the weekend.

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