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Fall’s a good time to scout for ice fishing

O U T D O O RS

Good preparation is key DNR releases 2017 Michigan Tips for getting closer to deer, to a successful hunt Notable deer hunting dates no matter what you shoot Deer Hunting Forecast Page 6 Page 7 Page 3

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Page 2 — OHJ/ WLB Shoreline Outdoors — Fall 2017

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By Brian Mulherin Shoreline Media Correspondent

Good preparation is key to a successful hunt Think about how hard you worked to find that once-in-a-lifetime buck and think about how you’ll feel if someone else gets it. It may happen anyway, but you surely don’t want to be the cause of them hunting harder or closer to your spot.

What can you say that hasn’t already been said? Well, it’s a new day thanks to the mandatory antler point restrictions. For some that means they can’t harvest the buck of their choice. For others, it means better choices. Whatever your opinions, you should be seeing bigger deer. Whether Best days to hunt you actually get a chance to shoot You’ll see these them is really a matter of preparation things posted in magand luck. azines and on websites and in televiBig bucks sion shows and they How do big bucks get that way? do have some merit. Certainly genetics are a factor, but the But I’ll tell you what real drivers in our area are age and I learned from muskie nutrition. So you can hunt for wellfishing — weather wins. fed bucks or you can hunt for remote I don’t care if it is the secbucks — bucks that everyone else ond full moon after the autummissed. nal equinox and you have the day If you just plan to go to your usuoff, if it’s 70 degrees, you’re not goal spot and hunt in your usual way, ing to see your buck of a lifetime. you might see a good one, too, but if Similarly, if the field you’re you’re really serious about shooting a hunting in is covered by six inchbuck with a nice rack, you’ll want to es of snow, you’d better shift your do some planning. focus to the entry and exit points Looking for a well-fed buck? Find and travel corridors between fields. a spot in farm country. Beans generMy advice is to hunt every day you ally come off the fields before the corn can. I was lucky enough to shoot my does, but they also can leave more of buck Nov. 20 last year. It wasn’t a a mess behind, depending upon how great day to hunt by any calendar or they’re harvested. A spot near late even by the thermometer, as I recall. apples might also be good. But there was a doe that was still atIf you strike out in farm country, tractive enough to draw him out in the consider public land. Think about the daylight. places where no cars are allowed. Whether it’s farm or forest, scouting Glass, glass and more glass is going to be the key to finding signs My buck last year was only shot beof a good buck and the food that will cause I noticed a doe bedding down keep him there. across from me and watching the field. She was 200 yards away and if I Shut your mouth hadn’t passed the binoculars over her Trail cameras are a great tool for regularly, I might not have seen the scouting, but smartphones and social buck standing next to her with only media can do more damage than the his face showing. camera does you good. If you see a I can’t stress enough that binoculars nice buck, keep it to yourself. I learned are your most important tool, whether this lesson the hard way a few years you hunt fields or forest. They give ago. If I’d been a better hunter, I might you a different view and perspective. have got the buck anyway, but when I don’t care if you only hunt within 60 you get an increase in bowhunting and yards of where you’re sitting — a pair gun hunting neighbors, it changes the of 7 power binoculars will still show patterns of the buck you are hunting.

you things you wouldn’t otherwise see. I like my 10x42 Nikon ATBs for where I hunt. Another point that I’ve harped on over the years — newer binoculars are better. Today’s lens coatings let you see earlier and later in the day than your naked eye. Lenses are coated these days to reduce glare and enhance light transmission. If you’re hunting with an old pair of binoculars or an old scope, do yourself a favor and look at newer glass.

Get comfortable Deer have amazing senses, so you need to get to your stand or blind quietly, quickly and without smelling like a hockey bag. Then be prepared to sit. I used to advocate allday hunting, but now I only sit late if there’s weather on the way or good cloud cover. I’ve sat through too many blue-sky days with no activity.

The first hour and last hour of the day produce most of the deer in fields. If you’re hunting some good, thick cover like woods or standing corn, the deer will certainly move all day. They probably move all day around me, but not in corridors where I can see them or shoot them. That said, make your blind or stand as comfortable as possible. We hunt out of Adirondack chairs because we found the plastic patio chairs weren’t comfortable after about 30 minutes. I know hunters who use reclining chairs, heavily padded office chairs and even old couches in their blinds. Whatever it takes.

Tracking Get permission to track a deer ahead of time where possible. No one is going to be around to answer the phone or the door Nov. 15. If you must look for a deer on a neigh-

bor’s property, never take your firearm if you don’t have permission to be there. If you run into trouble gaining access to land to track your deer, call the DNR’s Report All Poaching Hotline at 800-2927800, as it’s illegal for a landowner to keep a deer he or she did not kill. I can’t promise you’ll get the deer, but the conservation officers will do what they can to make sure it doesn’t go to waste. If you have permission to track your deer, keep the foot traffic to a minimum until you have first blood. More eyes can help, but only after one or two people have gone through the area to make sure that blood drops aren’t trampled beyond recognition. I know they call it a tracking party, but I try to limit the number of people involved for the first several minutes.


Page 4 — OHJ/ WLB Shoreline Outdoors — Fall 2017

DNR releases 2017 Michigan Deer Hunting Forecast

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently finalized its 2017 Michigan Deer Hunting Forecast report, which contains information about deer hunting across Michigan. It offers helpful information for hunters, including sections on: • Deer breeding activity. • Hunting prospects for regions across the state. • Wildlife health and regulations. • An expanded urban area hunt. • Where to hunt on public land. • Other opportunities for hunters. Archery deer hunting season began Oct. 1, and firearm deer season begins Nov. 15.

Know Before You Go Part of hunting preparation includes reviewing and understanding pertinent deer regulations. Visit mi.gov/ deer, which provides highlights of regulation changes, information about deer management and links to additional resources, such as deer check stations. Refer to the 2017 Hunting and Trapping Digest and Antlerless Digest, also available at DNR Customer Service Centers and license vendors, for a map of all deer management units (DMUs) and other regulation details.

a slight increase in harvest from 2015. Overall hunting success increased across most of the state in 2016, with slightly more than five out of every 10 hunters taking home at least one deer last season. The winter of 2016 was relatively mild across the entire state. Low snowfall levels and above-average temperatures made for good deer survival conditions and great potential for this year’s fawns. Spring had relatively mild weather as well, which is a major factor in both deer fitness and fawn survival. Due to these circumstances, this year both the overall number of fawns seen and the number of twins and triplets across the state has increased. In addition to an increase in the number of fawns being reported, the overall number of deer being observed appears to be up as well. The 2017 deer season is forecasted to have similar to slightly increased success rates compared to last year. What to Expect Across the State The 2016 season, while seeing a de- See below for regional information. crease in hunter numbers, ended with Breeding Activity The peak of breeding activity (the rut) for Michigan deer occurs prior to the opening of the firearm deer season Nov. 15, with increased movement and activity beginning in late October. The peak breeding dates are fairly consistent statewide; however, does that are not bred during the primary rut, or fawns who are able to put on enough weight, are likely to be receptive to breeding about a month later. This breeding activity often occurs in mid-December and, though less intensive than the primary rut a month earlier, can lead to increased activity and daylight movement later in the season. Hunters can often take advantage of these increased deer movements. Archery hunting is very popular in late October and early November, followed by the busiest deer hunting day of the year – the opening of the firearm season.

license for DMU 487. This change opens more opportunities for hunters to move around public land in the six-county area. DMU 452, the core TB management area, remains separate from DMU 487 for public-land licenses. Upper Peninsula Though overall deer numbers are still lower than many hunters like to see, some areas have begun to recover from previous harsh winters nicely. In general, hunters should expect to see a slight increase from the number of deer they saw last year, with increases especially in 1.5- and 2.5-year-old age classes. Keep in mind that each area is influenced by local factors and conditions, which then affects deer density and sightings in that area.

Northern Lower Peninsula The northern Lower Peninsula is expected to see an increase in deer harvest this year. With the mild winter last year and little impact from the previous winter, deer populations have been increasing steadily across much of the area. Deer sightings have been good throughout the region, and many have reported seeing healthy fawns, including many sets of twins and even some triplets. Many areas may see more 2.5-yearold and 3.5-year-old bucks this year with the now permanent three-point antler point restriction (APR) in 13 counties in the northwest area. This APR allows the majority of 1.5-year-old bucks to mature to the next age class, resulting in increased numbers of 2.5-year-old and 3.5-yearold bucks in the years following. All northern Lower Peninsula deer management units are open for antlerless hunting; refer to the 2017 Antlerless Deer Digest if you are interested in obtaining an antlerless license.

New for 2017: DMU 487 no longer has an APR in place on the regular tag of the deer combination license. Hunters can harvest antlerless deer using either their single deer or deer combination license during the early/ late antlerless firearm, archery, firearm or muzzleloading seasons, but the APR that had been in place since 2010 has been removed. Keep in mind that those who purchase a combination license still have a four-point APR on the restricted tag of the combination license, which is similar to the rest of the state. For a map of the different APRs in Michigan, see pages 32 and 33 of the 2017 Hunting and Trapping Digest. Public-land antlerless licenses also have changed. Removed are the individual public-land units of DMUs 001 (Alcona), 004 (Alpena), 035 (Iosco), 060 (Montmorency), 068 (Oscoda), 071 (Presque Isle) and 135 (Tawas). All are now a part of DMU 487. Hunters who previously hunted public land under one of these licenses now can purchase a public-land antlerless

Southern Lower Peninsula Abundant food and cover in the form of agricultural crops and scattered swamps and woodlots provide very good habitat across the southern Michigan landscape. This high quality habitat, combined with relatively mild winter conditions, typically results in a more abundant and productive deer population compared to other regions of the state. The 2017 harvest should be like last year, with perhaps a slight increase given the current conditions. Harvest in the southern Lower Peninsula can depend heavily on the percentage of standing corn. If corn harvest is delayed going into the firearms season, a reduced deer harvest can be expected. Where to Hunt on Public Land The DNR offers an online tool named Mi-HUNT, an interactive web application located at mi.gov/mihunt, to help hunters hone in on good habitat and potential hunting spots. For those who find themselves short on time, these tools are an excellent way to save some time and narrow down their selection. Hunting Access Program Looking for a place to hunt this year or interested in earning income to allow public hunting on your land? The DNR Hunting Access Program has 23,000 acres of private hunting land

MICHIGAN DEER HUNTING FORECAST continued on page 8


Fall 2017 — OHJ/ WLB Shoreline Outdoors — Page 5

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Page 6 — OHJ/ WLB Shoreline Outdoors — Fall 2017

Notable deer hunting dates

Hunters encouraged to follow health safety tips Michigan’s bow season is currently underway with deer hunters hitting the woods and with rifle season being just a few weeks away, the American Heart Association wants to encourage all hunters to visit their physician before hiking into the woods. Take some time now to learn how healthy your heart is, including your blood pressure and cholesterol. All factors that directly reflect your heart health. • Blood Pressure should be no higher than 120/80 – if it is talk to your doctor about a treatment plan • High LDL (bad) Cholesterol means there’s too much fat in the blood. Eating a healthy diet and exercising can improve this.

During a hunt, a hunter’s heart goes through more strain than it does while doing the same work on a treadmill, according to an American Heart Association study. Because heavy lifting, hiking and the overall physical activity of hunting can put a strain on any hunter’s heart, the American Heart Association encourages hunters to know the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke. Heart attack signs: • An uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing; • Pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back again; • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck and

arms and is often accompanied by lightheadedness, sweating, nausea and shortness of breath. Stroke signs: • A sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg; • Sudden dizziness and loss of coordination; • Slurred speech; • Severe headache. Both heart attack and stroke are medical emergencies and 911 needs to be called immediately. Remember part of your hunter safety includes being heart smart. For more information on cardiovascular disease visit www.heart.org

Early archery: Oct. 1 through Nov. 14 Late archery: Dec. 1 through Jan. 1

Regular firearm: Nov. 15-30 Muzzleloading: • Zone 1: Dec. 1-10 • Zone 2: Dec. 1-10 • Zone 3: Dec. 1-17

Late Antlerless Firearm (Private land in select DMUs): Dec. 18 through Jan. 1

Legislation to increase penalties for illegally importing deer, elk and moose carcasses Heightened penalties are now in place for illegally importing deer, elk and moose carcasses to Michigan from another state or province under legislation signed Thursday, Oct. 12 by Gov. Rick Snyder. This is the final bill sponsored by the late state Rep. John Kivela, who passed away earlier

this year. “John Kivela was a great friend and tremendous partner in our work to reinvent Michigan, and it’s an honor to be joined today by his family to sign his final bill into law,” Snyder said. “This legislation is symbolic of John’s memory and legacy of service to the

Upper Peninsula and our entire state. “Protecting Michigan’s communities, natural resources and wildlife is critically important, and this bill heightens penalties for importing animal carcasses from other states to help prevent harmful diseases from infecting Michigan’s deer, elk and moose

populations.” House Bill 4424, sponsored by the late state Rep. John Kivela, provides specific penalties for illegally importing a full carcass or specified parts of a carcass of deer, elk or moose from another state or province. Increased penalties include up to 90 days in pris-

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Hunting 101

Tips for getting closer to deer, no matter what you shoot I feel safe sitting in it or shooting from it. Don’t get me wrong, a climber is a pain in the butt compared to a ladder stand over the course of a season, but I feel more confident that I’m going to see good bucks because they don’t see anything out of place at ground level when I’m in my climber. If you do hunt from a ladder stand or hang-on stand, make sure to brush it out to break up your outline. Pine boughs are good for this, but artificial Christmas tree branches are better because you can zip-tie them to your stand and use them year after year.

By Brian Mulherin Shoreline Media Correspondent

There’s not much out there that can make your pulse race like watching a big buck. That’s assuming, of course, that you do things right. You can get a deer by not following any rules. You might just come across one that’s dumb or tame or so caught up in the rut that he ignores what his senses are telling him. But your chances are much better if you are stealthy, careful, as scent-free as possible and limit your non-hunting visits to your hunting spots. SCENT CONTROL If you aren’t practicing some kind of scent control, you’re missing deer. That doesn’t mean you have to have a carbon suit, it means you launder your clothes with scentfree detergent, spray down your boots and dress in the field. Human scents don’t necessarily scare all deer, but they will alert them to your presence. And chances are, a big buck got that way by being careful, so he’s not going anywhere near you when your boots smell like gasoline or the gum you stepped in the parking lot. My personal gear is Scent-Lok gear and it’s stored in airtight dry bags. I generally drive to my hunting spot in my baselayers, then dress by the side of the truck. I’ve found this to be effective. I also will use a drag with a curiosity scent or an estrous doe scent. Don’t get me wrong — I know deer can smell me. But what they smell is minor enough, limited enough that they can’t pinpoint me. But when there’s enough wind and it’s strong enough, they can pinpoint me. My personal rule with the wind is that I won’t bowhunt when it’s strong and wrong. If I know it’s blowing my scent toward deer at 10 mph or more, I won’t hunt. When I’m rifle hunting and it’s 20 or 30 mph in the wrong direction, I won’t hunt that spot. I may find another spot, but I won’t hunt my favorite spots when the wind is blasting my scent toward the deer. You may see deer, you may shoot deer, but you aren’t going to see a mature buck unless he’s so focused on a doe scent that he ignores you. Long odds in my book.

WHERE TO GO If you’re new to hunting, you may wonder about where you can hunt. The best option, to me, is still a recently printed platbook and a tank of gas. What makes a good hunting area? You’re looking for food, water, cover and travel corridors. I always get frustrated by the Outdoor Life and Field and Stream drawings that look like treasure maps to deer, but basically if you can find public land near a river or lake, with reasonable food sources and defined trails, you’re in business. What is a food source? Deer are browsers. Ever wonder why deer trails look so defined? They take a bite of almost everything as they walk. Certainly they will sit and eat acorns when they find them and they prefer white oak acorns to red oak acorns. Water can be better than food when it comes to deer hunting because bucks will run themselves to the point of near-dehydration and at some point they will find water. Trails, to me, are a thrill to hunt. I don’t get excited for one doe under me, but when you have a string of eight or nine filing past you, you can’t help but get excited — especially when the mature does keep looking over their shoulders. You don’t want to set up right on a deer trail unless you have some good cover. You’re better off being 15 to 20

yards off the trail with good visibility. I realize that’s a catch-22 to ask you to find a place where you can see deer but they can’t see you, but you will be sitting still in a tent or tree stand and they’ll be walking along browsing. Generally you can find plat books at county courthouses and farm service sites. If you can’t find or afford a plat book, consider using the Mi-Hunt app created by the Michigan DNR. You can find a link to it at www. michigan.gov/DNR. BAITING There are people who shoot big deer over bait every year. When the bucks start chasing, things get crazy. Bucks travel huge distances and will stop at a baitpile. Maybe yours. Maybe you’ll be there. However, mature bucks aren’t likely to hang out and wait for you to drop corn every day. If you’re going to bait, be smart about it. Vary the times you put it out, use scent control and generally try not to get busted. Many, many hunters I know won’t use bait anymore because the repeated trips to their hunting spot bump too many deer and cause their activity to be primarily nocturnal. If you must bait, bait smart. I believe you’re better off hunting travel corridors, riverbottom, natural mast or agricultural edges in the long run, but you’ve got to do what works for you and your lifestyle.

• Associated Press

SAFETY Before I discuss tree stands, I always like to mention safety. If you use tree stands long enough and you don’t strap in, you’re asking for an injury. I’ve met more than one hunter who now hunts from a wheelchair because of a treestand fall. Every tree stand sold in the U.S. comes with a safety video. Often, they package the safety message with hunting tips. Watch the video, use a five-point harness and strap in. If you use a ladder stand, consider using a fall arrest device — a ground-to-stand line that you can clip to that will keep you from falling halfway up. If you use tree steps, be extremely careful that you have them in solid wood and that you don’t use steps that have been in a tree more than one season. Climbers are tougher to plan for, but try to put a clip-on point in any trees you climb regularly. STANDS If you’re going to hunt public land, a climber is the way to go. You still have to have your name and address on the bottom of the stand, but you don’t have to worry about arriving to find someone else in your stand, your stand vandalized or your stand stolen. I have several kinds of stands but my Lone Wolf Sit-and-Climb is my favorite. It’s light, relatively quiet and

BLINDS Ground blinds can be tough to hunt from, but they’re getting better. Quieter zippers, better camouflage and better construction make them more attractive each year. If you fall out of your ground blind, you might not be safe to drive, but you’re going to be otherwise unhurt. I prefer the newer hub-style blinds to the old hoop-style blinds. A hub blind, properly set up, will stand up to the winds of November much better than the old hoop-style blinds. I also know people who shoot their crossbows from established plywood rifle blinds and do get deer like that. Generally, people use bait in these situations. TRACKING If you shoot a deer and it runs off, stay put for at least a half hour after the shot. Fifteen minutes will seem like an eternity, but if you push a poorly shot deer, you’re going to be spending several hours frustrated and finally disappointed. While you wait you can text a friend or two to help you look. More than three people is generally a mistake when tracking a deer. One person needs to be in charge and out front. Blood drops should be marked with toilet paper. There’s a lot that goes into it — enough to fill a book like the one by Richard P. Smith. If all else fails, you’re going to want to check with your local outdoor shop to see if anyone around has a blood-tracking or deertracking dog.


Page 8 — OHJ/ WLB Shoreline Outdoors — Fall 2017

Get It e n O n I l l A Shot!

from Page 4

available this hunting season. Since 1977, HAP has supported Michigan’s hunting heritage and this year expands to include the northern Lower Peninsula, offering many new properties. For more information about hunting HAP lands or enrolling your property, visit mi.gov/hap to find property information for each county, including location details and aerial maps. Each property offers specific types of hunting (all hunt types, youth and apprentice, turkey only, small game only, elk only or a combination of these).

Bring your Deer to a Check Station Michigan has some of the best historical data on deer in the country. The data gathered at check stations and from the hunter harvest surveys helps the DNR make future management decisions and helps monitor the health of the herd. The time spent talking with hunters is invaluable to field staff. Be part of this important aspect of deer management by bringing your deer or deer head to a check station, along with information about where and when the deer was taken. As always, you will receive a successful Mentor a Youth Hunter hunter/deer management cooperator patch. ReA shared experience with family and friends view our deer check station list for locations and is one of the most cherished aspects of hunting. hours. The DNR encourages hunters to share that heritage with a young person in their life. Under the Antler Point Restrictions (APR) Mentored Youth Hunting Program, it is possible See pages 32 and 33 of the 2017 Hunting and to take a youth that is 9 years of age or younger Trapping Digest for complete information on deer hunting. For specific program require- these regulations. Visit the APR Corner page loments, visit mi.gov/mentoredhunting. cated at mi.gov/deer for more information and history on APRs in Michigan. Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger Program Local Cooperative Opportunities To assist The Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger hunters in meeting their local hunting objecprogram is a wonderful way for hunters to share tives, the DNR has partnered with Michigan a part of their harvest this fall, or donate a whole United Conservation Clubs, the Quality Deer deer. Since 1991, the organization has been Management Association and Pheasants Forevworking to help connect donors, wild game proer to create the Michigan Wildlife Cooperative cessors and charities that feed needy individuProgram. This program, housed within MUCC, als. Together, they have assembled a network is designed to help neighboring landowners and of processors and charities to help channel wild hunters work collaboratively with each other, game donations into the hands of those in need. the DNR and other interested parties to achieve If interested in donating, please visit www. a common wildlife management goal. To learn sportsmenagainsthunger.org for a list of particimore about this program or start a wildlife copating processors. operative in your area, contact the wildlife cooperative coordinator, Anna Mitterling, at amitterling@mucc.org or visit www.mucc.org/ cooperatives.

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Fall’s a good time to scout for ice fishing By Brian Mulherin Shoreline Media Correspondent

October and early November are great times of year to plan your ice fishing adventures. Why? Because this is the time of year when we have lots of clear, calm days and low boat traffic. In late October and you can see several feet down and it’s just you out there. Once you’re out there, what are you looking for? I’m looking for good, thick, green cabbage beds in 13 to 15 feet of water. That cabbage in 10 to 13 feet of water will hold excellent numbers of panfish once the lake freezes up. Find those cabbage beds, mark them on your handheld GPS or smartphone app and come back in December or January. You’ll be glad you did. Gear Once you know where you’re going, you’ll want top-notch fishing gear to get the job done. If you’ve had an equipment malfunction when it’s 20 degrees or below, you know what I mean. The first equipment consideration I used to think of was my rod and reel, but now it’s my comfort. I wear a Frabill ice fishing suit, but there are about a dozen manufacturers to choose from today. Pick something warm and dry — with flotation, if possible. If you’re a shanty angler, consider looking at

the newer shanties. They’re not just empty tents anymore — they are well thought out for hardcore anglers like you. I do without a shanty most of the time — unless I’m walleye fishing or night fishing or trying to fish when I should be home snowblowing. If you’re not using electronics, you’re missing a lot of fish. Seeing how fish react to your jig can save you time and make you more successful. Rods Ice fishing rods come in all shapes and sizes. To me, the rod isn’t as important as a good spring bobber. I like the Ice Strong titanium bobbers and similar bobbers tied out of guitar string or light wire. I also use bobbers made out of small springs like the ones from Frabill. Your bobber needs to match your style. A super light spring isn’t conducive to fast jigging and a heavy spring isn’t going to show you every bite if you leave your jig still most of the time. If you haven’t converted to fly reelstyle ice fishing reels, you’re missing fish. I like the Schooley’s ice fishing reels for bluegills because you often don’t have that much line out. For deep crappie fishing, I like something a little more high-tech like a 13 Fishing, Frabill or Eagle Claw reel. Your line is more important than your reel, though. Get good one-pound-test fluorocarbon and you won’t be disappointed.

Jigs I love fishing with tungsten jigs, but sometimes the fish want something that falls a little slower. Think about summer fishing and the conditions that make fish slow to bite. Clear, calm days. North winds. If a cold front has passed recently, consider going to a lighter jig and fishing closer to the heavy weedbeds. Most of my tungsten jigs are size 1 or 2, but I will go bigger sometimes to change things up. Also, I use heavier ones for deeper fishing. Soft plastics are generally more effective for crappies, but in skilled hands, they will outfish live bait for bluegills, too. I don’t necessarily put myself in that category, so I often tip with spikes. That said, there are days when bluegills want big, juicy waxworms and if you don’t have them, you’re out of luck. While jigs and bait are important, how you move them or don’t move them is often more important. Vary your jigging motion, and, if it helps you, think of a song beat to move your jig to. Some days will be speed metal and other days will be “We Will Rock You.” Still other days you will just want to give your lure a long soak That makes those of us who follow close to weeds or close to bottom. the rules that much more important. Don’t throw small ones on the ice Conservation I always include this because I’m for the birds and don’t keep fish that aware that some people can’t stop at are too small to clean. Take only what you need and leave their legal limit.

Andrew Skinner • Oceana’s Herald-Journal

what you don’t. Give yourself a minimum size limit of seven or eight or nine inches and stick to it. The fish you leave behind are the ones you’ll catch the following year.


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