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VOL. 17, NO. 08

Turn In Poachers 1-800-292-7800 Inside News Near-Record Buck

Zeeland hunter Mike Zylstra shot a 15-point buck last fall in Allegan County that missed the crossbow state record by less than an inch.  See Page 6

Study: Vaccinated Elk More Likely to Get CWD

Wyoming elk that were inoculated with a serum to prevent CWD were found to be more susceptible to the disease. See Page 7

Woman’s First Black Bear is a Real Bruiser

Sandusky’s Shannon Weber shot her first black bear last fall, a fat and healthy 600pound boar that scored 203⁄16. 

See Page 8

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Southeast Michigan’s Clinton River a Real ‘Cinderella Story’

Tests for CWD find two more positives

Brown Trout Aren’t as Established in U.P. as Lower Michigan

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Muskegon Lake Offers Up Good Perch Fishing

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Punching Holes in Some Beliefs About Whitetails

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APRIL 8, 2016

Seven state deer now confirmed to have CWD

By Bill Parker Editor Lansing — Two more whitetailed deer in central Lower Michigan have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, bringing to seven the total of wild deer found to have the disease. CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. It first was discovered in Michigan’s free-ranging deer last May in a doe in Ingham County’s Meridian Township. (See CWD Page 18)

SPRING FISHING FLING: The ice has melted and the fishing opener in the Lower Peninsula is just around the corner. If you have ever struggled to catch walleyes, check out Jason Mitchell’s story on Page 28 for tips to consistently put more ’eyes in your boat.  Photo by Bill Lindner Photography

Workgroup improving U.P. deer habitat By Bill Parker Editor Newberry, Mich. — Help is on the way for whitetails in the Upper Peninsula – although it’s going to take some time. A diverse group of state, federal, and private commercial landowners across the U.P. joined forces last year and formed the Upper Peninsula Habitat Workgroup in an effort to improve deer habitat in the U.P. The goal of this group is to rehabilitate and enhance the winter deer complexes – deer yards – across the Upper Peninsula. They’ll accomplish that goal by initiating new management plans on all of the winter deer

complexes in the U.P. Those plans call for strategically managing timber harvest to promote the growth of brush and young aspen, and creating winter shelter habitat by planting trees like hemlock, white pine, and cedar in appropriate areas. The groups hopes to enhance all of the deer yards in the U.P. to maintain 50 percent suitable browse habitat and 50 percent suitable winter cover. “Things are looking pretty good,” said Terry Minzey, the DNR’s U.P. wildlife supervisor and a member of the U.P. Habitat Workgroup. (See Deer Habitat Page 18)

Research pinpoints fall of Huron salmon fishery By Victor Skinner Contributing Writer Ann Arbor, Mich. — Recently published research on food web

dynamics in the Great Lakes provides insight into what caused alewife and salmon populations to crash in Lake

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WEEKLY WINNER. Larry Kammerer Jr., of Attica, caught this 6-pound steelhead while fishing the Manistee River in February. See Page 16 for contest details

Huron in 2003, and what it could mean for Lake Michigan’s future. A study conducted through the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and published online last month shows the precipitous decline of alewife and salmon populations in Lake Huron in 2003 was the result of multiple factors that included both overstocking salmon and the impact of water-filtering invasive mussels. Researchers Yu-Chun Kao, Sara A. Adlerstein, and Edward S. Rutherford used reams of historic data and a computer model to tease out the major causes of the collapse, and to illustrate how Lake Michigan is showing similar patterns. “With this model, we first looked at biomass … of different species in the food web, algae, small creatures, and small fish and big fish,” said Kao, lead author of the study. The researchers observed growth and reproduction and predation over time, and compared the data from the

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1980s – when invasive mussels invaded the Great Lakes – with the years leading up to and including the decline of alewives and salmon in Lake Huron in 2003. “It was clear the alewife population was decreasing and there weren’t too many big alewives,” Adlerstein said. “I think what the model shows is if you didn’t have the decline in nutrients and zebra mussels … the salmon wouldn’t have got the alewife population to collapse like it did.” (See Lake Huron Page 18)

Current Events Dog Days April 15: Dog training season ends on state land.

Contents News...................... Pages 4-10 Columns........Pages 13,14,17 Fishing Report...Pages 26-27 Nature Page..............Page 32 Cuffs and Collars......Page 34


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MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

April 8, 2016


Opinion

April 8, 2016

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

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Outdoor Observations

CORMORANT MANAGEMENT took a punch in the nose last week. U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled in favor of wildlife protectionists when he said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to consider “a reasonable range of alternatives’’ to killing double-crested cormorants, and that the agency failed to do an environmental assessment when it reissued the order that allows lethal management. Bates’ 17-page ruling was in response Bill Parker to a lawsuit filed by the group Public Editor Employees for Environmental Responsibility. The judge did not halt cormorant management, but rather he told the USFWS to come up with a plan to address the issues. Stopping the program, which keeps the rapidly growing population of fish-eating cormorants in check, would have dire consequences on fish populations in Michigan and across the country. We’ll have more on the ruling in the next edition of Michigan Outdoor News.

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“No matter where the turkeys are, they’ll be able to hear this box call.”

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A TIP OF MY HAT GOES OUT TO THE THREE state agencies that stood up for sportfishing in the Great Lakes. As reported in the last issue of MON, the Michigan departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture and Rural Development all took a stance to oppose commercial fish farming (net pens) in the Great Lakes. The Farm Bureau was the main supporter of allowing commercial fish farms into the Michigan waters of the Great Lakes. Apparently increasing business is more important than maintaining protection for the fisheries of the Great Lakes. Proposals to establish fish farms in the Great Lakes were controversial, to say the least. Despite public angst over the proposal, bills were introduced in the state Legislature to allow the practice. Bills opposing fish farms also were introduced. That the agencies who would regulate and manage such a program have all come out against it is a huge feather in our collective cap. Unfortunately, issues this big normally don’t just go away. A more likely scenario is that we won this battle, but the war on the Great Lakes and our freshwater fisheries will continue. gggg gggg gggg ATTENTION YOUTHS AGES 14 TO 18! If you fancy yourself a leader and want to learn more about the outdoors, consider applying for a seat on the Natural Resources

Commission’s Youth Conservation Council.

Applications are available at www.michigan.gov/dnr. Choose Education and Outreach. Completed applications must be postmarked by April 30. Appointment to the council is for two years. Council members must attend four meetings annually. Council members will participate in discussions, conduct research, and brainstorm ideas about ways to protect, promote, and enhance outdoor recreation and the use of Michigan’s natural resources. The council will present recommendations to both the NRC and the DNR about policy, programs, and legislative changes. ­Michigan Outdoor News welcomes unsolicited fishing and hunting photographs. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of photograph to: Michigan Outdoor News, P.O. Box 199, Lake Orion, MI 48361-0199 E-mail: bparker@outdoornews.com Website: www.outdoornews.com/ michigan

Publisher: Glenn A. Meyer Editor: Bill Parker (248) 693-9844 Associate Editor: Tim Spielman Managing Editor: Rob A. Drieslein Director of Sales & Marketing: Evy Gebhardt Field Editor: Steve Griffin Webmaster: Aaron Geddis Display Advertising: (877) 470-3879, Case Allen (269) 204-6404 Classified Advertising: Patty Haubrick (763) 398-3453 or (877) 494-4246 Administration: Dianne J. Meyer, Sara A. Pojar, Jennifer Chamberlain Subscriber Services: Teresa Anderson, Stephanie Meybaum, Carol Soberg, Gloria Raymond Layout Supervisor: Ron Nelson Layout Associates: Don Dittberner, Ronnie Anderson Ad Production Supervisor: Cindy Rosin Ad Production Associates: Dana Tuss, Nichole Kinzer Office hours: Monday - Friday: 8am - 4:30pm Phone: (248) 693-9844 or (800) 535-5191 Fax (248) 693-9860 MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS (USPS 018-523) is published bi-weekly, 26 times annually, by Outdoor News, Inc., 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271. Periodical postage paid at St. Paul, MN and additional mailing offices. Subscription rates: $22.00 (one year), $40.00 (two years). Single copy: $2.50. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Michigan Outdoor News Inc., 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271

Commentary

Feds re-open comment period for river pipeline This commentary first appeared in the Port Huron Times Herald on March 17. Responding to pressure from Congress and from Michigan officials and residents, the U.S. State Department has re-opened the public comment period on Plains LPG Services’ permits to pump petroleum products under the St. Clair and Detroit rivers to Canada. The first public comment opened in January and closed in February without anyone noticing. Soon after, though, the permit got everyone’s attention when it appeared that Plains LPG was planning to pump crude oil through a pair of century-old pipelines connecting Marysville and Sarnia. The 8-inch pipelines were laid in 1918 and at some point – no one is quite sure when – they were reinforced with 5-inch liners. At the peak of the uproar over pumping crude oil beneath the St. Clair River through ancient pipes of murky provenance, Plains LPG tried to explain that the permit application wasn’t what it seemed. The company said, truthfully, that it was just clearing up the red tape involved in transferring the pipelines from one owner to another. But it also said that it would never use the two century-old pipelines to transfer crude oil. It wasn’t

Letters to the Editor

We need to manage predators in U.P.

Attention Readers

White-tailed deer in the Upper Peninsula are killed by hunters, automobiles, bears, wolves, coyotes, bobcats, cougars, and disease. As managers, we can take action to mitigate these factors. Let’s take a noncontroversial factor, for example. Most citizens and industries would like to see whitetail/automobile collisions reduced. If the county and state would cut down wild

Online Opinions This issue’s question -----------------------------------------------------Which species will you fish for on the April 30 opener? Walleye

Trout

Pike

Muskie

Online results from last issue’s question Will you participate in the spring turkey season?

Copyright 2016

even sure it would used them for liquified gases. That’s half the reason the State Department has re-opened the public comment period. The first reason is that most of the elected officials in Michigan, and probably quite a few downstream, as well, demanded that the public get the opportunity to explain that using those pipes would be playing Russian roulette with half the Great Lakes. The second reason is that Plains LPG’s permit does appear to be asking for permission to do what the Houston company has since denied. In a letter to Rep. Debbie Dingell, the State Department says, “After the new permits were issued, Plains provided new information that alters the department’s understanding of the historic authorization for two of the six St. Clair pipelines.” Plains LPG had permission to use the pipelines as Dome Petroleum Corp., the previous owner, had used them: “The 1918 Presidential Permit had authorized the transport of crude oil.” That’s a bad idea. If you agree, leave a comment on Plains LPG’s permit application. To make a comment on the permit, go to www.regulations.gov

Yes 40%

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Vote @ www.outdoornews.com/Michigan Discuss @ facebook.com/OutdoorNews

Michigan Outdoor News invites letters from its readers. All letters must have the writer’s name, complete address and phone number. (Phone numbers will not be printed.) Letters should be no longer than 250 words. Form letters will not be printed. Michigan Outdoor News reserves the right to edit. Address letters to: Letters to the Editor, Michigan Outdoor News, PO Box 199, Lake Orion, MI 48361-0199. E-mail: bpoutdoors@aol.com

apples tree growing within rural road rights of way, deer would not congregate in these areas at night. If the DNR would partner with the automobile and insurance industries to study other initiatives, including habitat buffers to discourage night-feeding activity in rights of way and upgrade roads to lessen all forms of vehicle accidents, it may well positively impact some wildlife collisions. From this list of impacts, what actions can be taken to increase whitetail survival rates? Public wolf- and coyote-hunting programs are not and will not be effective control measures of these animal species. Charging $100 for an (See Letters Page 34)


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MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

Mixed Bag Officials Want Help to Prevent Spread of Invasive Mudsnail

Baldwin, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials are asking people who fish in the Pere Marquette River to help prevent the spread of the New Zealand mudsnail. The invasive snails were discovered last year in the river near Baldwin. They’re only about one-eighth of an inch long and hard to spot. But the DNR says they can reach extremely high densities and outcompete native species that are important food for trout. They have no nutritional value for trout that eat them, which makes those fish less healthy. The mudsnails commonly become attached to fishing equipment, wading gear, and hard surfaces, which helps them move to new rivers or lakes. Officials say anglers can prevent that by cleaning boats and equipment with hot water or a diluted bleach solution after use.

Legislature OKs Land Purchases, Outdoor Recreation Projects

Lansing (AP) — The Legislature has approved $28 million in spending from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund on dozens of land purchases and outdoor recreation projects. A bill going to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature includes funding to buy a waterfall in Houghton County, two areas for increased boating access to Lake St. Clair, and land near the Grand River in Grand Rapids to support recreational development of the river. The legislation that received final approval late last month also authorizes 44 development projects in 30 counties. They include improvements to trails, boat launches, and parks.

Nesting Bald Eagles on View Online

Beulah, Mich. (AP) — Two nesting bald eagles at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula may be viewed online. The Michigan DNR says a partnership with Carbon Media Group is making a live video stream available from the hatchery near the Benzie County community of Beulah. The CarbonTV Eagle Cam is operating around the clock. In addition to the video stream, archived clips offer glimpses at the birds’ lives. Eagle Cam link: http://www.carbontv.com/cams/carbontveagle-cam

Inland Lakes Convention on Tap

Boyne Falls, Mich. (AP) — Aquatic plants, fish management, climate change, and lake and shoreline protection will be among topics of discussion at the Michigan Inland Lakes Convention, which runs April 28-30 at Boyne Mountain Resort. Educational presentations, discussions, and in-depth workshops focusing on Michigan’s inland lakes will be offered. Dozens of Michigan nonprofits, business, and governmental exhibitors will showcase their projects, resources, and services. Details are posted online. Researchers, water resource professionals, local leaders, residents, and vacationers all are invited to participate. A number of public and private groups that make up the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership are involved in organizing the convention.

Free Curriculum Offered in Michigan on Migratory Bird Treaty

Lansing (AP) — The Michigan DNR is offering a free curriculum to teachers as part of a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty. The U.S. signed the treaty with Great Britain in 1916. The British were acting on behalf of Canada. Similar agreements were reached shortly thereafter with Japan, Russia, and Mexico. All are designed to protect birds that migrate across international borders. The Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial curriculum takes students in 4th to 8th grades through the history of bird conservation and will introduce them to environmental legislation and the concept of treaties. Students also will learn about 14 Michigan birds. The centennial celebration in Michigan also includes monthly stories on featured birds in DNR publications and education programs at parks.

April 8, 2016

Founding father of TU leaves lasting conservation legacy Trout Unlimited Report Saginaw, Mich.— Art Neumann, one of the original 16 Michigan anglers who came together on the banks of the AuSable River and founded Trout Unlimited in 1959, died March 21, leaving behind a legacy that has stretched for decades and resulted in some of the most important conservation work ever done in the United States. He was 99 years old. Neumann was an integral part of the conception of TU, and played uniquely critical roles in early advocacy efforts and the expansion of TU from a Michigan-based organization to a national conservation giant. He was an effective grass-roots mobilizer for the early effort to protect the AuSable from habitat degradation and overstocking in the 1950s and 1960s. He lectured customers in his Saginaw fly shop on their responsibilities for protecting what they loved, and he traveled the country giving stump speeches to waves of new members, creating new chapters all across America in his role as the first executive director of TU. “What Art did was to build an institution – an institution that began with him and a handful of other people along the banks of the AuSable River who were tired of the state’s masking habitat degradation through stocking,” said Chris Wood, TU’s president and CEO. “Today, the ‘house that Art built’ includes 400 chapters, over 155,000 members, and 240 scientists, biologists, and other professional staff who serve to make fishing, and the places that fish live, better.” Neumann was one of several anglers who helped TU grow into national prominence, and his role was one of a motivator who inspired others to get behind the efforts to protect the fish and the fishing they loved. For his efforts, he was inducted into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame in 2008. “All of the founders played unique roles. Some were the scientists, some played the role of politicians, others the administrators and financiers,” said Dr. Bryan Burroughs, executive director of Michigan Trout Unlimited. “Among them, Art was the activist, orator, mobilizer, engager, recruiter, and grass-roots builder. His skills and passion for this work were essential to the organization’s

Art Neumann, one of the founding fathers of Trout Unlimited, which got its start on the banks of the AuSable River, passed away last month.  Contributed photo success. TU would not be what it is today, and would not have been able to do what it does for our trout and salmon, if it were not for Art Neumann.” Today, TU’s volunteers contribute upwards of 700,000 hours of service every year, and over the course of its

Agencies Establish Invasive Species Website

Lansing (AP) — Three state agencies have established a website to help Michigan residents identify and deal with invasive species. It’s operated by the departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture and Rural Development. The site combines each department’s online resources involving management of invasive plants, animals, and insects. The site is http://www.michigan.gov/invasives

State Awards Habitat-Improvement Grants

Lansing (AP) — Michigan wildlife regulators have awarded 12 grants totaling $100,000 for projects to upgrade conditions for deer in the Upper Peninsula. The Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative is a competitive grant program that focuses on lands that don’t belong to the state. Now in its eighth year, the initiative is funded by revenue from hunting license sales. Bill Scullon, DNR field operations manager, says a six-member panel evaluated proposals based on criteria such as accessibility for the public, willingness to share costs, and the projects’ likelihood for producing tangible results.

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April 8, 2016

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MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

Zeeland hunter’s buck is just shy of a state record

Mike Zylstra’s nontypical buck scored 185 inches, just fiveeighths of an inch short of the state record for nontypical bucks killed with a crossbow. Contributed photo By Bill Parker Editor Zeeland, Mich. — Less than an inch. That’s how close Zeeland resident Mike Zylstra came to setting a new state record in the crossbow division for whitetails with nontypical racks. Zylstra killed a 15-point buck last fall that missed

setting a new record by 6⁄8 of an inch. Hunting with a new crossbow on Nov. 14 in Allegan County, Zylstra double-lunged a buck that netted an even 185 inches. The state record, set by John Tolfree Jr. in 2014, scored 1855⁄8. Zylstra’s buck’s gross score, before deductions, was 1891⁄2.

Because the buck had the potential to be a state record, it was officially scored recently by a panel of three judges from Commemorative Bucks of Michigan, the official keeper of Michigan records for deer, bears, elk, and turkeys. The rack features 15 scoreable points and a 28-inch outside spread. The main beams have good girth all the way up, and the G3s are each 11 inches long. “When I first saw him on the ground, it really hit me of what I had shot,” Zylstra told Michigan Outdoor News. “I was pretty excited, and I was glad it died quickly and humanely.” Zylstra leases two properties in Allegan County that he hunts with his two sons-in-law. They decided to leave the best property alone Nov. 14 and hunt it on the gun opener the following day. He was in his treestand before daylight and watched the sun come up over the horizon. At a little after 8 a.m., Zylstra saw the buck chasing a doe. “He was really dogging that doe,” Zylstra said. “I had him broadside at 25 yards, but it was too thick and I didn’t have a shot. I watched them for about five

minutes, and the doe finally saw me and ran off. I thought he would leave, too.” Lady Luck was apparently on Zylstra’s side this day. “He moved over to where the doe was standing and really started sniffing,” Zylstra said. “He was 30 yards away and I took the shot.” Zylstra waited about 30 minutes before tracking the deer. He knew he’d made a good shot, and the blood trail backed up that belief. “When I saw saplings covered in blood two and three feet off the ground, I knew I had a good hit,” he said. Zylstra said the buck ran 150 yards, “on pure Adrenalin,” before

piling up. “I had never seen him before, but since I shot it I found out that my neighbors to the north had seen him. They said they had a pretty big buck they had been hunting for two years.” The story does not end here. In January, Zylstra took a trip to Iowa to hunt whitetails and he shot another brute in the 170 class. Oh yeah, he also shot a 6-point in Michigan with his crossbow early in the bow season. “As I get older it’s getting harder and harder to pull back my compound, so last year I got a crossbow,” said Zylstra, 63. “Crossbows are lethal, killing machines. They are very accurate.”

Still no decision on fate of Isle Royale wolf population By John Flesher AP Environmental Writer Traverse City, Mich. (AP) — Federal officials said late last month they will take a closer look at whether to bring more gray wolves to Isle Royale National Park, where the predator is on the

verge of dying out after suffering a population free-fall in recent years. The National Park Service began a study in 2015 of strategies for managing the Lake Superior island’s wolves, moose, and vegetation for at least the next two decades. But with only two wolves believed to remain as of February, the agency said it would narrow its focus to whether to bolster their numbers – and if so, how. “At this time, natural recovery of the population is unlikely,” the Park Service said in a statement. “The potential absence of wolves raises concerns about possible effects to Isle Royale’s current ecosystem, including effects to the moose population and Isle Royale’s forest/vegetation communities.’’ Taking the closer look does not mean the NPS is leaning toward moving wolves to the island, superintendent Phyllis Green said. But internal discussions and public comments have led staffers to drop consideration of alternatives for keeping moose numbers in check through methods such as hunting, as opposed to maintaining the reliance on wolves as predators. “The central question is in the next 20 years, while things are changing on the island, will wolves play a role in managing moose or not,” Green said. Wolves have been a feature of Isle Royale, a rugged, isolated wilderness about 15 miles from the Canadian shoreline. Scientists believe wolves first migrated to the island across ice bridges in the late 1940s. Their numbers grew as they feasted on moose, which themselves had arrived around the turn of the 20th century. Since then, the two species have benefited each other, as moose provided the wolves an ample food supply, while wolves kept moose numbers from rising so high that they would gobble up too much of the island’s plants. Biologists with Michigan Technological University have studied their relationship since the 1950s in what is described as the world’s longest continuous study of a predator-prey relationship in a closed ecosystem. Wolf numbers have averaged in the low 20s, but have declined steeply in recent years, probably because of inbreeding and disease, scientists say. The NPS hosted public meetings last summer and received thousands of comments, with some favoring bringing more wolves to the island and others opposing it. Because the study is being revised, the agency said an additional 30-day public comment period will be granted.


April 8, 2016

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

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Researchers: Vaccinated elk more susceptible to CWD By Patrick Durkin Contributing Writer Laramie, Wyo. — Hopes for a vaccine to prevent CWD suffered a severe blow when Wyoming researchers announced that elk inoculated with an experimental serum were at least three times more likely to contract CWD than unvaccinated elk. The researchers are testing a vaccine developed by the Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise Inc., or PREVENT, at the University of Saskatchewan. The study began about three years ago with 38 elk at the Tom Thorne and Beth Williams Wildlife Research Center north of Laramie, Wyo. After being placed in a CWD-contaminated outdoor enclosure in February 2013, half of the elk received two initial vaccines and an annual follow-up vaccine, while the other 19 elk received only a saline solution. Since then, 12 of the 19 (63 percent) vaccinated elk contracted CWD, while four of the 19 (21 percent) unvaccinated elk contracted the disease. The elk’s exposure to CWD was considered “natural,” in that they acquired it on their own through exposure, not through injections or other artificial means. They ate alfalfa, pellet rations, and trace minerals during the study, which continues with the remaining 13 elk. The mean time needed to see physical signs of CWD in infected elk was 855 days for the unvaccinated group and 797 days for the vaccinated elk. In other words, the incubation period was about 60 days faster for vaccinated elk. When presenting the results to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, state wildlife veterinarian Mary Wood said: “I don’t

An experimental vaccine for CWD actually made it three times more likely that elk would contract chronic wasting disease. Photos courtesy of Wyoming Fish and Game Department have the greatest news to give you today. I have not found the magic bullet to treat CWD.” Wood declined requests for a phone interview, but sent a PowerPoint file from her presentation, which she also delivered to the Committee on Captive Wildlife Alternative Livestock at the United States Animal Health Association’s conference in Providence, R.I. Her comments to the state commission were reported in an agency article. Bryan Richards, CWD project leader for the National Wildlife Health Center at the U.S. Geological Survey’s office in Madison, Wis., said the results are “clearly disappointing,” and added: “CWD has continued to spread and its prevalence continued to grow while a lot of folks held out hope this vaccine would be an effective tool that turned the tide. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet.” Among those who entered the vaccination study with optimism was Terry Kreeger, Wyoming’s previous chief wildlife veterinarian, who has since retired. In a March 2013 agency press release, Kreeger predicted the vaccinated elk would live longer than the unvaccinated elk. “It’s important to understand

that even if the vaccine does not provide lifelong protection from chronic wasting disease, every extra year of survival the vaccine provides will mean increased production in an affected population,” Kreeger said. However, Kreeger cautioned not to expect immediate results, even for privately owned elk herds inside enclosures. “Research over time (should) start providing wildlife managers with tools that could be used to combat this disease,” he said. “This is just the start of a long journey to evaluate and perfect these tools.” Earlier laboratory tests by PREVENT gave researchers hope a vaccination eventually could be perfected for use in wild deer and elk. “They did some studies with domestic sheep and cervids,” Wood told the Wyoming commissioners. “It looked very promising. They had thought this vaccine might either protect against actual infection of CWD or potentially prolong survival.” In 2010 – at the urging of current Wisconsin Natural Resources Board member Greg Kazmierski and Wisconsin Conservation Congress representative Tony Grabski – PREVENT sent repre-

sentatives to Wisconsin to solicit financial support from the state. Grabski previously flew to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to meet with PREVENT. In an Aug. 11, 2010, press release by Safari Club International Chapters of Wisconsin, Grabski said: “Management techniques that include eradication and herd

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Page 8

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

Sandusky woman’s first bear is a B&C book bruiser By Richard P. Smith Contributing Writer Sandusky, Mich. — Sandusky’s Shannon Weber is rightfully proud of the first bear she ever shot. It was one of the biggest bruins taken in the state during the fall of 2015. She got it while hunting with hounds in the U.P. on Oct. 2, and her father was along for the hunt. She brought the 600-pounder down in Gogebic County with a 12-gauge shotgun after a rough week of hunting. The skull from the bear recently was scored and officially measured 203⁄16 inches, easily qualifying for a place in state records maintained by Commemorative Bucks of Michigan and national records maintained by the Boone and Crockett Club. “The hunt didn’t start out great,” Weber said. “The weather was cold and the bears were not really active. And we kept running into wolves.” Wolves have had an impact on all types of hunting that involve dogs in the U.P., but especially bear hunting, because hounds that are after bears often cover miles during the course of a chase, which makes them vulnerable to attack by wolves. Wolves have killed several bear dogs, so hunters using hounds try to avoid areas where they know wolves are present. “I only had two more days to hunt

Shannon Weber’s first black bear scored 20 5⁄ 8 and weighed over 600 pounds. Contributed photo before I had to go back to work when we were forced to change locations because of wolves,” Weber said. “We were scrambling to try to find a bear to put the dogs on when a buddy (Dan Benjamin, of Omer) rigged a bear in a huge section.”

Dogs that are being driven slowly along a woods road in or on a vehicle bark when they smell where a bear crossed. That’s what is called “rigging a bear.” Hunters normally look for tracks left by the bear to confirm a bruin did indeed cross the road, and to try to determine how big it is before letting the dogs go. In this particular case, they were not able to find the bear’s tracks, but they put dogs on the scent because they didn’t have any other options. “We drove in on this dead-end road to try to get ahead of the dogs,” Weber said. “My boyfriend (Brennon Miller) got there in time to see the bear, but I showed up just after the bear crossed the road. Those who saw the bear were stunned at the size of him when he popped out on the road.” After determining the bear was headed for the far side of the section, the hunters drove off in that direction. Weber’s party eventually reached a high point overlooking the swamp where the bear and dogs were located. “From the top of a pickup truck, I could see the dogs working the bear below us,” Weber said. “It was neat to see the action from where we were.” When the bear got closer, Weber loaded her iron-sighted 12 gauge with 2¾-inch slugs and ran to intercept the bruin. After getting into position for a shot, she raised

her gun, but a dog was in the way, so she held her fire. She had to shift positions to keep the bear in sight. She finally had an opening and put a slug into the big bruin’s chest. Then the big bear ran back in the swamp, with Weber running after him. “I was so nervous,” she said. “My adrenaline was really pumping.” With the bear wounded, it was more of a threat to the dogs. The bear was in fact trying to catch the dogs when Weber caught up to it again. She shot it a second time from a distance of 15 yards. The bear was still able to make it another 100 yards before dying. Although the chase only took about an hour, it took the party of hunters eight hours to get the big bruin out of the woods. They dragged it out whole, hoping to weigh the animal intact. Unfortunately, no scale was available nearby, so they gutted the bear that night and weighed it the next day in Bruce Crossing. The bear had a dressed weight of 545 pounds and a live weight that would have exceeded 600 pounds. Weber said it was great that her father, Carl, was along on the hunt since he’s the one who introduced her to hunting.

Report: Farmers doing too little to stop Lake Erie algae By John Flesher AP Environmental Writer Traverse City, Mich. (AP) _ Cutting phosphorus runoff into Lake Erie enough to prevent harmful algal outbreaks would

require sweeping changes on the region’s farms that may include converting thousands of acres of cropland into grassland, scientists said in a report. The study, released by the

University of Michigan Water Center, found current efforts to keep phosphorus, which is found in livestock manure and artificial fertilizers, on fields instead of flowing into the lake are falling drastically short of results needed to achieve a 40-percent drop in runoff – a target set by the U.S. and Canada in February. Excessive levels of the nutrient are the leading cause of increas-

ingly massive blooms, which in 2014 left more than 400,000 people in Toledo, Ohio, and southeastern Michigan unable to consume tap water for two days because the bacterial algae produce a toxin. Another bloom last year was the largest on record. Phosphorus also causes a “dead zone” in Lake Erie’s central basin with so little oxygen that fish cannot survive. Using computer modeling, a

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team of scientists tested different combinations of best-management practices that could bring the algae under control. Some are already in use, such as planting vegetative buffers between cultivated fields and waterways. Others include applying phosphorus-based fertilizers beneath the land’s surface instead of on top, where it’s more likely to wash away, and planting cover crops such as winter wheat. Ohio and Michigan rely largely on voluntary compliance, but too few farmers are participating, the report found. “Our results suggest that for most of the scenarios we tested, it will not be possible to achieve the new target nutrient loads without very significant, large-scale implementation of these agricultural practices,” said Don Scavia, a University of Michigan ecologist who led the study. The study focused on the Maumee River watershed, which includes 17 counties in northwestern Ohio and smaller sections of Michigan and Indiana. High phosphorus runoff from farms in that area is the primary cause of toxic algae in western Lake Erie, it said. Policy alternatives described as “most promising” by Jay Martin, of Ohio State University, the report’s co-author, included widespread use of the best-management practices and conversion of some croplands to switchgrass or other grasses. One such scenario envisioned doing so on 1.5 million acres, with nearly 30,000 acres changing from crop production to vegetation buffer strips and other conservation methods being used on the remaining land. That would involve the equivalent of 6,300 farms, as the average farm in the area consists of 235 acres. Jeff Reuter, past director of Ohio Sea Grant and a Lake Erie specialist who wasn’t involved with the study, said some cropland is so overloaded with phosphorus that turning it into grassland or wetlands is the only way to stop runoff. Such a requirement could drive some farms out of business, said Joe Cornely, of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, who criticized the study for focusing only on the Maumee basin and agriculture instead of other phosphorus sources such as sewage treatment plants.


April 8, 2016

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

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Page 10

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

Don’t take young animals from the wild this spring

Although young animals like these fox cubs may appear to have been abandoned, that’s rarely the case, and leaving them Photo by Bill Parker alone will help them survive. DNR Report Lansing — The Michigan DNR reminds those who are outside enjoying the experience of seeing wildlife raise their young to view animals from a distance, so they are not disturbed. It is important to remember that many species of wildlife “cache” (hide) their young for safety. These babies are not abandoned; they simply have been hidden by their mother until she

returns for them. “Please resist the urge to help seemingly abandoned baby animals,” said Hannah Schauer, wildlife technician for the DNR. “Many baby animals will die if removed from their natural environment, and some have diseases or parasites that can be passed on to humans or pets.” Schauer added that some “rescued” animals that do survive may become habitu-

ated to people and are unable to revert back to life in the wild. “Habituated animals pose additional problems as they mature and develop adult animal behavior,” she said. “For example, habituated deer, especially bucks, can become aggressive as they get older and reach breeding age.” White-tailed deer fawns are one of the animals most commonly taken in by citizens. It is not uncommon for deer to leave their fawns unattended for up to eight hours at a time. This behavior minimizes the scent of the mother left around the fawn, which allows the fawn to go undetected by nearby predators.

While fawns seem abandoned, they rarely are. All wild whitetailed deer begin life this way. The best chance for their survival is to leave them in the wild. If you find a fawn alone, do not touch it, as this might leave your scent and could attract predators. Give it plenty of space and leave the area quickly. The mother deer will return for her fawns when she feels it is safe, but may not return if people or dogs are present. Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless you are licensed, it is illegal to possess a live wild animal, including deer, in Michigan.

The only time a young animal may be removed from the wild is when you know the parent is dead or the animal is injured. But remember, a licensed rehabilitator must be contacted before removing an animal from the wild. Licensed wildlife rehabilitators must adhere to the law and have gone through training on proper handling of injured or abandoned wild animals. Licensed rehabilitators will work to return the animal to the wild, where it will have the best chance to survive. A list of licensed rehabilitators can be found by visiting mi.gov/ wildlife or by calling your local DNR office.

Beyond Michigan For more Beyond Michigan visit outdoornews.com

Wisconsin Governor Signs Bill Delaying Start of Wolf Season if It Resumes

Rothschild, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that would push back the start of Wisconsin’s wolf hunting and trapping

season if the federal government allows it to resume. The bill changes the season opener from Oct. 15 until the first Saturday in November. Walker signed the bill last week at the Chase Outdoors store in Rothschild. He said it will prevent conflicts with other hunting seasons in Wisconsin

and produce better pelts. Wisconsin held three wolf seasons before a federal judge placed Great Lakes wolves back on the endangered list in 2014. Some members of Congress have been pushing legislation to undo the court decision, which is being appealed. The wolf population in the western Great Lakes region is estimated at 3,700

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Tucson, Ariz. (AP) — A former Arizona legislator is facing misdemeanor charges over allegations he was found hunting in a closed area in Fort Huachuca. The Arizona Daily Star reports that ex-state senator Frank Antenori pleaded not guilty to a charge of unlawfully entering federal land to hunt game at his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Tucson. It’s a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of four months in jail, two years of probation, and $750 in fines. Antenori said he was bowhunting in an area where he has done so numerous times and he’s certain the case will be dismissed when the federal magistrate hears the facts of the case. The former lawmaker said those facts include Fort Huachuca biologists closing sites for hunting without notice and without reason.

Oregon Wolf Delisting Bill Signed by Governor

Portland, Ore. (AP) – Oregon’s decision last year to remove the gray wolf from the state’s endangered species list was upheld in state law when Gov. Kate Brown signed House Bill 4040 last month. The bill is now being used as a tool in the courtroom to block a lawsuit filed by activists who want to challenge the delisting decision. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a “notice of probable mootness” with the state appellate court, saying wolf activists’ request for a review of the delisting decision is likely no longer relevant because of HB 4040. This is exactly what conservative lawmakers intended the bill to do, and while the judge will have the final say, activists say the situation is looking more gloomy.


April 8, 2016 By Kenny Darwin Contributing Writer

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 11

T

he courtship of wild turkeys is seldom seen in the wild, and little is known about this mating ritual that has a huge impact on hunting success. Most hunters know there are times when gobblers will come running to almost any hen sound and other times they seem to ignore calls. The same is true for decoys. At times, toms get a glimpse of a decoy and charge directly into easy range. Heck, I’ve had them sprint almost a half-mile to challenge my breeding hen and full-fan attending gobbler decoy. Michigan sportsmen know that gobblers go crazy during the breeding season. They become active, spending endless hours looking for mates, gobbling, and following hens. They seem lovesick, preoccupied with locating a receptive mate. So I set out with telephoto gear in search of mating turkeys. On a cold spring morning, I located a breeding pair in Cass County, slipped through thick brush, and got some pictures of a big gobbler mounting a hen. The pair was alone, as is the case with every breeding pair I’ve encountered. This leads me to believe that once a pair decides to mate, they separate from other birds. On a country road near Gull Lake in Kalamazoo County, I witnessed a pair standing in the road when a farm truck with no muffler separated them. Through my telephoto lens, I watched the big gobbler rush out of the path of the noisy vehicle but quickly return to the center of the road and resume following the hen. I drove to the spot, got my vehicle between the duo, and the gobbler actually stood and gobbled at the sound of my engine, then dashed behind my van, crossed the road, and rejoined his girl. On another occasion, I stalked a pair in love, and through the lens noticed mating pairs tend to go where the hen decides. Just like rutting bucks, if a hen sets up shop in an open field, the duo breeds in the open. But if a hen wants to breed in the dense forest, on an oak ridge, or near a swamp, the gobbler simply is a pawn in the process. I’m assuming that older hens, birds that have been bred before, seek seclusion and privacy for breeding. I base this on sightings of only young, small hens that chose to mate in wide-open places. In Monroe County, a group of three adult gobblers were escorting a young hen. The threesome was all fired up, gobblin’ like crazy, fanning, struttin’, and bumping chests to see who would win the prize. I sneaked close to the group and snapped pictures. The hen led the pack through large woods and into a grassy field where she set up shop. She began circling the boys and they all fanned simultaneously. I got one photograph of the hen surrounded by toms with their tail feathers at full fan. She was blocked by a solid wall of tail feathers. I was on my belly, crawling in the grass for four hours, watching the wild birds, snapping photos, observing the unique ritual. At one point the wedding party passed by so close I set my camera down,

put my face in the dirt, and let them walk by within a few feet. By then my arms were tired from holding the large lens, my legs were covered with grass stains, and my hips were aching from crawling around like a sniper. I expected the hen to breed with the toms, but the courtship ritual was never culminated.

I assume the hen was still not ready for breeding. That evening when I enlarged the photos, I was shocked to find that the hen had a beard. I found it interesting that a bearded hen could mesmerize three adult gobblers. It is my opinion that mating pairs are almost impossible to call or decoy. It has been my

experience that once a pair gets caught up in the mating ritual, they are oblivious to calls, decoys, and traditional hunting tactics. Unfortunately for those seeking a monster gobbler with an 11-inch-plus beard, these big birds are often the top breeders. Hens actually seek them out, go to them, and engage in breed-

Three gobblers sneak around a single hen to get in front of her, slowing her pace. Photo by Kenny Darwin  ing, which means big toms get henned-up frequently. This is bad news for traditional turkey hunters who rely on gobblers to respond to their calls.


Page 12 MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS  By Dominic Turcott Contributing Writer

April 8, 2016

T

he term “Cinderella story” is often used in conversations about sports. It describes a series of events that later contributes to success that originally would have been thought of as unlikely. Tales like these aren’t witnessed every day, but when they do happen, it’s a big deal. As outdoorsmen and women, we see many instances of change after efforts for the better are made. The comeback of southeast Michigan’s Clinton River watershed can be described as a Cinderella story due to its erstwhile characteristics. From what was once a flowing stream of pollution with little aquatic wildlife, the Clinton is now a picturesque trout-bearing river. There is no doubt that the efforts and changes that have taken place throughout this metro-Detroit watershed were made with the best of intentions – to breathe life back into this ecosystem. “Trout and steelhead fishing in the metro area?” you may ask. Just the idea of it not long ago would be have been thought of as ludicrous, but things have changed for the bet-

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The Natural Resources Commission is expected to reduce the number of bear permits available to state-licensed See Page 4 hunters in two areas.

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Teacher Ellen Moyer is introducing 6 students to fish biology. See Page

By Victor Skinner Contributing Writer Lansing — Michigan DNR officials opporhope to expand coyote-hunting the tunities to allow hunters to take animals year-round, day or night. The proposal, submitted last week to the Natural Resources Commission for consideration, comes after commisthe sioners in September 2015 tasked liberDNR with developing ways to to alize harvest options for coyotes from address a variety of complaints constituents. hearing been has “The commission from a lot of concerns about coyotes, U.P. deer hunters to urban residents Adam in southern Michigan,” said Bump, DNR furbearer specialist.

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this year and next. our a lot more revenue coming into “I would think there would be thing,” Hartzell said. “Many (hunters) town, and that would be a great at the hunters, but they seem to bring hire guides, and we not only get least one person with them.” increase after a new survey estiDNR officials have requested the size originally thought, leapfrogging mated the local herd is twice the (See Elk Tags Page 12)

use of minnows Proposal would simplify rules on

tions on inland waters.” Those to monitor the environment for were Budd Lake in Clare County, diseases. which experienced a fish kill, The changes would become part and Base Line Lake in Allegan of Fisheries Order 245 established County, where VHS was detected a decade ago to protect fisher- in brown bullheads collected in a ies resources from threats such fish survey. as viral hemorrhagic septicemia “We acted conservatively to (VHS) by restricting commercial protect the resource” in those minnow trade and sales, and how early rules, “which is what we baituse could anglers and where should do,” Nick Popoff, manager fish and fish eggs, called roe. of the DNR Fisheries Division’s The order was established Lansing-based Aquatic Species WEEKLY WINNER after VHS was discovered in the and Regulatory Affairs Unit, told Michigan waters of Lake St. Clair Michigan Outdoor News. in 2005. “The disease may still exist in Establishing zones where VHS (See Minnows Page 12) was classified as documented, likely, or not found, limited which baits could be used based on their sources and testing and, at least initially, required that anglers Seasons end buying minnows from bait shops March 31: Rabbit and hare seasons obtain and carry receipts certifying end statewide. that the bait had been tested and found disease-free. have regulations these “Largely, in been effective,” the DNR wrote News ..................... Pages 4-10 a memo to the Natural Resources its Columns ............Pages 13-14 Commission, which oversees Cuffs and Collars......Page 40 policies and programs, “and we have seen only a single positive Fishing Report...Pages 42-43 of Gaylord, caught and detection of VHS from (one) lot WEEKLY WINNER. Mitch Wilson, while using a tip-up in Nature Page..............Page 48 of shiners, and two positive detecnorthern pike Feb. 28

By Steve Griffin Field Editor Lansing — New rules proposed by the DNR’s Fisheries Division

would make it simpler for anglers to buy and use minnows, and for baitfish gatherers to bring them to market, all while continuing

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ter. Trophy steelhead in a large river with an “up-north” feel is now a reality in southeastern Michigan. With tremendous efforts by the DNR and other organizations during recent decades, many anglers native to southeast Michigan no longer have to make the long drive for a chance to hook into some of North America’s most highly prized trophies. Throughout history, the development of neighborhoods, business districts, and industrial zones around the Clinton River have had a tremendous impact

on this aquatic ecosystem. With the presence of 1.4 million people across the 60 municipalities throughout the watershed, maintaining the river and wildlife was not a major concern until it was almost too late. The once-pristine Clinton had been subject to environmental neglect. Industrial and municipal discharge of pollution led to poor water quality and little aquatic life. It was in 1972 that the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement deemed the lower segment of the river as an “area of concern” due to the large amounts of

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Opportunity to draw an elk tag may By John Barnes Contributing Writer at the Elk Crossing Café. Fourteen Atlanta, Mich. — It is nearly noon restaurant transitions from breakfast customers are finishing up as the to the afternoon “church crowd.” Alice Hartzell is in Today, it’s Alice’s restaurant. Waitress-manager prospect of an increase in dollars charge. She is excited about the of Michigan” if the state follows to the self-named “Elk Capital tag number of elk that hunters may through on plans to double the

See Page 7

Dan Richards, of Lapeer County, holds a steelhead he caught on the Clinton River in Rochester Hills.

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Yates Park in Rochester Hills is one of the most popular and promising locations to not only catch fish, but also to enjoy an easy day out in nature. Photo by Dominic Turcott pollution. With efforts made to Oakland University, and many restore the river over the years, more took to the environment the DNR decided to enhance the with their manpower. Many effort in 1985 by stocking trout projects have taken place to throughout the Clinton River restore the watershed to its and its main tributary, Paint full potential with the help of Creek. organizations and volunteers. In 2011 and 2012, a dam that was The efforts were originally once keeping fish from going undertaken to boost revenue upstream was removed from throughout the area in several Paint Creek, a headwater tribways. Whether it is the cost of utary to the Clinton that holds a fishing license or the money both brown and brook trout. brought in from those visiting Along with the dam removal, the area to fish the Clinton over 2,000 feet of the stream River, the investment in stockwas restored to provide better ing fish was worth it. habitat for fish and wildlife. Those stocking efforts are Four years later, Paint Creek is still taking place today, and the still flowing freely and the entire Clinton provides magnificent watershed is a shadow of what trout and steelhead fishing. it used to be. Between 2003 and 2005, more It’s amazing to witness the than 50,000 trout were placed throughout the watershed. High results as an angler and a person who admires conservation numbers of fish that had been efforts. To this day, the waterstocked were coming upstream shed coalition still conducts rivin the spring to spawn. The er cleanup activities in order to stocking continues today and maintain habitat that is home to sometimes includes larger fish. various wildlife. If we can bring For instance, between 2013 and the Clinton River back to life 2015, more than 17,000 brown from its dismal past and make trout and more than 1,800 it a prized jewel of southeast rainbows – all between 12 and Michigan, anything is possible. 22 inches long – were planted in the Clinton. That included The current state of the some 2,000 browns measuring Clinton River was once unimagbetween 13 and 18 inches inable. With enormous planning, care, and effort to bring Aside from stocking efforts, it back to life, the Clinton River many organizations, such as and its watershed is the definiTrout Unlimited, the Clinton tion of a Cinderella story. River Watershed Coalition,

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April 8, 2016

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MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

Are you the only hunter a voter knows?

uring the last Michigan that I value and respect the animals Wildlife Council meeting, that I hunt for the food they provide Gud Marketing discussed me. Whether or not they ever hunt, the surveys and focus group testit’s important to me that they undering it conducted for its upcoming stand that about what I do. campaign, which I wrote about in Many of us have social circles my last column. One of the things that include many hunters. Where revealed was that almost every nonI grew up in northern Michigan, hunter in the focus groups knew at everyone hunts. At least that’s the least one hunter in Michigan, whethway it seemed. But even then, many er through family, work, or his people did not. And the way that we social circle. That got me thinking: sometimes talk amongst ourselves What if you were that hunter? can create the wrong impression on DREW YOUNGEDYKE What if you were the only hunter the nonhunters around us, who hear that a group of nonhunters knew? What would that. Or see our social media posts. their impression of hunting be? If they came across Consider this: When polled, nonhunters (not a ballot question that would restrict hunting rights, anti-hunters, but simply people who didn’t themhow would they vote if their only exposure to selves participate) in Michigan had a 20-percent hunting was based on how you have portrayed it to lower approval of hunters than they had of the them? practice of hunting. If every nonhunter in Michigan This question isn’t that far out there. According to knew at least one hunter, then the impression that the focus groups, it happens more than we realize. we are making on our nonhunting co-workers, famLiving in Ann Arbor, I’m around nonhunters quite ily members, and friends is not the right one. a bit. For some of them, I might be the only hunter Should it matter? Our culture is as prone as any they know. So I am keenly aware that how I talk other to be unapologetic about what we do. To about my hunting isn’t just about me, it’s about double-down on what we’re doing when we feel all of us. How I portray it will leave an impression it is being attacked. Maybe even be purposefully with them about hunting, and that impression is up provocative about what we do. Don’t like hunting? to me. Here’s an exceptionally bloody picture of a game Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like nonhunters sit animal. Deal with it. Something like that. I can defiaround all day thinking about hunting. But when nitely be guilty of that kind of impulse. it’s brought up, what will they think about it? But that’s not a productive impulse. And whether Will they remember the time that one hunter or not it should matter, it does. As long as we live they knew bragged about shooting a wall-hanger? in a democracy, it matters. Wildlife management Or will they remember when that one hunter they should be guided by biology, but it would be naïve knew talked about how delicious its venison was? of us to think that the opinion of the 80 percent of For someone who doesn’t hunt, which do you think our citizens who don’t hunt doesn’t matter. will leave a better impression of hunting? So how do you behave in the field? How do you When I talk about venison with my nonhunting interact with nonhunters? How do you talk about friends, I know I can go overboard. For those who your hunting adventures with other hunters? How know me, that’s not limited to venison. I go overdo you talk about them with nonhunters? Is it any board with pretty much everything. So you can different? Should it be? Of course not. imagine my wife’s eyes rolling when I start talking I’m not saying that we need to “clean things up” about eating squirrels or grilling backstraps when for nonhunters. I’m saying that our actions afield out to dinner with our friends. I’m sure they think shouldn’t need to be cleaned up. It comes down to I’m a little crazy for eating squirrels and deer. But the same thing that all ethical hunting comes down I realize that they know that I eat what I hunt and

Page 13

HUNT, FISH

CONSERVE

Will nonhunters remember the conversation they had with you about nutritious, tasty venison, or the trophy you have on the wall? Photo by Drew YoungeDyke to: respect for the animal. If we truly respect the wildlife we hunt, then our actions, our motives, our words, and our portrayal of hunting will reflect that to nonhunters. If the only hunter that nonhunting voter knew was you, how would he or she vote? If we respect the wildlife we hunt, then that’s not a question we should ever have to fear. Drew YoungeDyke is the chief information officer for Michigan United Conservation Clubs.


Page 14

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

History reminds us to be resilient, flexible

W

hat if the U-M researchers’ predictions are true, that the chinook salmon’s reign over Lake Huron is unlikely to return, with Lake Michigan likely to follow? It’s too easy, I think, to make the assumption that king salmon would then be gone. Scarce, maybe. A member of the Great Lakes fish team instead of its standout star. But somehow, because of that, more appreciated. We’ve seen introduced species boom before, numbers exploding within an unoccupied niche, populations flourishing just long enough for folks to forget that they’re outsiders. Then, their numbers plummet. A cherished remnant of the boom holds on just enough to keep folks talking, and working, and seeking them. The ring-necked pheasant comes readily to mind. In response to prime conditions, it flourished in the 1940s, ‘50s, and even ‘60s so spectacularly that stories are still told of those

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days, while clear-eyed conservationists tend habitat projects today that put thrilling hunts within reach of most of us – provided we don’t expect days afield to end with feathered piles of birds. Pheasants thrived when farming was inefficient, leaving plenty of food, cover, and insects for the birds. They found an empty role in nature’s drama, and filled it. The king salmon, native to the Pacific Northwest, found a similar empty niche. Here, it’s a one-trick pony, brought to the Great Lakes to gulp down (also-introduced) alewives whose numbers had so explod164 WAMPLERS LAKE ROAD BROOKLYN, MI 49230-0457 (517) 592-2786 (MI) 1-800-292-0857 Monday - Saturday: 7 a.M – 7 p.M. Sunday: 7 a.M. – 6 p.M.

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ed that periodic die-offs fouled beaches. The chinook took on that job with great relish, growing to weights of 30 pounds and more in the process, fueling an unimaginable sport fishery. Kings were so large and so numerous that, at fishing ports and tributary stream-fishing spots, folks brought gas stoves, canning jars, and pressure canners, so sure were they of harvesting huge amounts of them. So generous were those harvests that the DNR rewrote its creel and possession limits, excluding from the bounty count those salmon that had been frozen or otherwise processed. So thick were the spawning schools of fish, and so frustrated our anglers, that ripping weighted bare hooks through the water to intentionally foulhook salmon became established, even made legal for a while on certain stretches of some salmon-clogged rivers. At Great Lakes ports, charter boat fishing parties brought empty coolers along, confident of a massive catch. Captains prided themselves on five-fish limits for each client. “Buck poles” at cleaning stations provided photo opportunities. Fish numbers rose and fell, of course, most notably when bacterial kidney disease in the 1980s cut a huge swath through a population stressed by food shortages. In time, and with deft management, the fishery arose again. Today’s woes appear to be largely a food issue again. Zebra mussels, quagga mussels, and, on Lake Huron at least, cold winters, have drastically thinned alewife numbers, while hungry kings have preyed upon those that survived. And now alewives have nearly vanished, particularly from Lake Huron, and kings have become both smaller and scarcer.

Is the chinook salmon’s reign over Lake Huron unlikely to return? File photo Fishery managers have trimmed fish-stocking numbers, trying to balance salmon with the carrying capacity of the lakes. But that’s made trickier by the fact that kings also reproduce naturally in the Great Lakes – some say threefourths of the population wildspawned. And maybe, ultimately, Mother Nature will hatch and grow as many salmon as the big lakes can handle. The smart fishing bet, I think, is lake trout, reproducing naturally in many places. Lakers, a fisheries biologist once told me, will eat “anything that’s alive or ever was alive.” Yes, flexibility is clearly a plus in an ever-shifting Great Lakes grocery store. Brown trout and rainbows, introduced so long ago they might well be considered permanent residents, handle some of their own reproduction and can thrive on a mix of aquatic insects and forage fish. And, don’t give up on kings. While the news this spring made it sound like kings are gone from Lake Huron, it’s worth noting that last fall the DNR’s Swan River weir in northern Lake Huron provided 2.8 million eggs for hatchery production when runs in Lake Michigan proved meager.

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Even depleted, the Great Lakes has a fishery for which others would give their eye teeth. Still, the chinook change is a shock. I remember trolling at the outflow of the pumped storage facility at Ludington, where water was pumped up during times of surplus electrical power, then released to spin turbines and light lights when needed. With the water it scooped up plenty of fish, and the release ground them into a chum that fish, especially chinooks, were happy to gobble. Hit this fishery right, especially in spring, and it could be nuts. A friend and I worked it one morning in a 15-foot aluminum boat. The first strike came before the second line was set. We never had time to shed our snowmobile suits under a fast-warming sun. And in less than two hours, we had 10 fat kings on the floor of our little boat. That’s almost impossible to imagine today – like a half-dozen hunters limiting out on pheasants. Those pheasant hunters or their descendants love to tell and hear the stories – while enjoying today’s splendid wild turkey and Canada goose hunting, which 1950s ringneck hunters would have found unimaginable. Teachers these days are charged with helping students become resilient, flexible in the face of challenge and change. It’s a trait the Michigan salmon angler could do well to acquire. Email Field Editor Steve Griffin at griff22450@aol.com

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Brandon George, of Hamilton, caught this 31-inch walleye Feb. 16.


April 8, 2016 By Bill Ziegler Contributing Writer

rown trout were introduced to trout streams in both the Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula of Michigan from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. They became widely established in the Lower Peninsula and typically dominate many of the non-anadromous trout rivers there. In the U.P., the situation is quite different. Native brook trout dominate most inland U.P. trout streams, and brown trout only became established in a limited number of the streams where they were introduced. Michigan trout research biologists have pondered why brown trout have not more widely established themselves when adequately stocked in U.P. rivers, but they have not come up with any definitive answers. Apparently, some critical habitat requirement was inadequate for their maintenance in most U.P. streams once the stocking of brown trout was discontinued. Additionally, in recent years, the DNR has had performance problems with the brown trout strains available from their hatcheries. Brown trout stocking in approximately 20 U.P. streams was discontinued during the past couple of decades due to a lack of return to the creel. Michigan DNR fisheries has made attempts to convert hatchery brown trout to more Michigan wild strains like Gilchrist Creek and Sturgeon River with hopes of improved stocking performance. Todd Wills, DNR fisheries research biologist, reported that the Gilchrist Creek brown trout strain “grew well and survived better than the Wild Rose and Seeforellen strains” in his evaluation study. His initial evaluations of the Sturgeon River brown trout strain were encouraging for their performance in two Lower Peninsula tailwater fisheries. The Michigan Fish Atlas produced in 2003 by the University of Michigan’s Reeve Bailey and DNR research biologist Carl Latta only indicates brown trout found in 11 locations in the U.P. Interviews with DNR fisheries biologists across the U.P. indicate brown trout are only self-sustaining in less than 10 U.P. streams. The following is a brief description of the U.P.’s brown trout streams. Selfsustaining streams are described first because they typically maintain a higher trout density than stocked streams.

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

Brown trout

B

Self-sustaining U.P. brown trout streams The South Branch of the Paint River in Iron County is excellent brown trout water. Stocking has never been necessary to maintain either brown trout or brook trout in the South Branch. The South Branch is rated as Blue Ribbon by the Michigan DNR, which in part means ample fly-fishing opportunities exist on this stream. The most notable brown trout section is from the confluence with Cooks Run downstream to the “Forks,” which is the confluence with the North Branch of the Paint. As is often the case in brown trout streams, the upper reaches of the South Branch are dominated by brook trout. Angler access is relatively easy on significant sections of

not widely established in U.P. streams Dave Graser, of Marquette, with a brown trout he caught and released in a U.P. trout stream. 

the brown trout water due to a recreation trail (former railroad) that runs along quite a bit of

Photo by Brad Petzke

the river. The river is readily wadeable or can be floated with a canoe. Much of the shoreline

is national forest land, although there is some private land. A number of deeper holes along

Page 15

with three sections of U.S. Forest Service trout habitat structures (sky booms), deadfalls, and natural undercut banks are all good holding cover for larger brown trout. Although the size structure is good, the South Branch did support more large brown trout in the past. Type 2 Fisheries Division Trout Regulations were not successful in rebuilding the trophy brown trout fishery that once existed here. Cooks Run in Iron County was found to have one of the highest trout densities in Michigan by DNR trout assessment surveys. Stocking has never been necessary to maintain brown trout or brook trout populations in Cooks Run. The most notable brown trout section is from U.S. 2 downstream to the confluence with the South Branch of the Paint River. This is also rated as Blue Ribbon by the DNR. Just like the South Branch Paint, the upper areas of Cooks Run are dominated by brook trout. Cooks Run is fairly accessible by a series of Forest Service trail roads. Cooks Run predominantly runs through Forest Service

(See Trout Page 16)


Page 16

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

Trout (From Page 15)

land and is readily wadeable. Brown trout holding water can be found in a series of holes and one section of USFS sky booms. The Meadows (written about in several trout-fishing books) is the most famous section of Cooks Run and is located downstream from USFS Hwy. 16. Unfortunately, DNR beaver control ceased in 2010, and the intensive DNR trout habitat-improvement work in the Meadows has been degraded due to excessive beaver impoundments. The Brule River is border water with Wisconsin in Iron County. The Brule is a fair brown trout stream although major portions of the Brule, especially the Lower Brule River, have been degraded by high summer water temperatures. Brown trout have been occasionally stocked by the Wisconsin DNR, although browns maintain a modest population in sections of the Upper Brule through natural reproduction. The best section for brown trout fishing throughout trout season is from Hwy. M-73 downstream to M-189. Although most of the Brule River is readily wadeable, and all is floatable, the best road access in the section of the Brule above M-189 is from trail roads

This graph shows the density of brook trout and brown trout in several Michigan trout streams. 

DNR chart

on the Wisconsin side of the river. George Madison, Michigan DNR fisheries biologist from Baraga, reports a “good brown trout fishery in the Middle Branch of the Ontonagon, especially in the fall.” There has been brown trout stocking through the years, including recently. “The best section for brown trout fishing is from Agate Falls

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at M-28 down to Military Hill at M-45,” he said. Much of this river section is difficult to access due to a lack of interior roads. This section flows through a mix of USFS and private land. Most anglers access at M-28 and walk down below Agate Falls to fish. The Middle Branch of the Ontonagon above Bond Falls is brook trout water. Cory Kovacs, Michigan DNR fisheries biologist from Newberry, says the Chocolay River in Marquette County is a fair to good brown trout stream. “The better resident brown trout water is above U.S.-141,”

he says. Access is limited to road crossings and a few parcels of state land with water frontage.

Stocked U.P. brown trout streams Black River – Gogebic County. This river has been consistently stocked with brown trout for many years. George Madison reports fair brown trout fishing north of Bessemer, including occasional nice-sized trout. Montreal River – Gogebic County. The Montreal was consistently stocked with brown trout until 1995. Madison PATENT APPROVED

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reports that an experimental brown trout-stocking program will commence with stocking the new strain of brown trout upstream of Ironwood. This program will be evaluated to determine if stocked brown trout survive adequately with a return to anglers’ creels. Escanaba River – Delta and Marquette counties. The Escanaba River has been heavily stocked by the Michigan DNR with brown trout for many years. This program is ongoing, and private plants of larger browns below Bony Falls have occurred since 1987. Darren Kramer is the DNR’s fisheries biologist from Escanaba. Kramer rates the brown trout fishery from Gwinn down to the confluence of the West Branch of the Escanaba as fair. Sturgeon River – Delta County. The Sturgeon has been stocked with brown trout since 1981. Kramer reports a fair brown trout fishery in the lower half of the river. Yellow Dog River – Marquette County. Madison rates the Yellow Dog brown trout fishery as fair, with the best catches earlier in the season. “The river gets a lot of fishing pressure near CR-510, so the sites upstream offer better catches,” he said. Au Train River – Alger County. Kovacs reports some brown trout natural reproduction in the Au Train River although this river has been consistently stocked with brown trout for many years. Kovacs said the best section to fish is from Au Train Falls down to USFS Road 2276. Indian River – Schoolcraft County. The Indian River above Indian Lake has been consistently stocked for many years. Darren Kramer reports that “brown trout are not abundant, although anglers do catch some larger brown trout there.” Tahquamenon River – Luce County. Brown trout are consistently stocked between the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls. Kovacs said if you want to try a picturesque and unique fishery with light fishing pressure, access the river at the falls and wade-fish the river. Carp River – Mackinac County. Brown trout are being stocked relatively aggressively in the Carp River. Neal Godby, fisheries biologist from Gaylord, reports that “the Carp has some brown natural reproduction although it is heavily dependent on stocking.”


April 8, 2016

If

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

Try these tips for a rainbow connection

you are like the trip worthwhile? many people Not many, but with fishing Lake the dearth of kings, the Michigan the past steelhead connection couple of years, your could be a viable alterresults for catching native to scheduling king salmon were far tee times. short of expectations. If you choose this Stocking cutbacks route, key in on a mean there aren’t as few tricks to up your many fish out there chances for success. from hatchery sourcOut for trout es. Poor spawning MIKE SCHOONVELD conditions in streams I set lines a few miles capable of producing offshore one morning wild fish means there aren’t as many and steered a heading directly away available courtesy of Mother Nature, from land. I didn’t turn the boat for and based on the paltry spawning the next six hours. At the beginning of runs experienced up and down the the trip, most of the fish caught were lake, it appears many of the baby salmon. After an hour or so, lake trout kings that did make it to the lake started coming to the party and still didn’t survive to maturity for any of a a salmon or two. Then it became lake variety of reasons. trout with a steelhead in the mix, but Is it time to put ol’ Wavewhacker on the last two hours it was steelhead after steelhead after steelhead. It the market and take up golf or blueseemed the farther we went, the more gill fishing? Will you easily make the steelhead we found. When I pulled transition from being a king salmon lines and punched in the numbers; I fisherman to being a laker-taker? was 28 miles offshore. I don’t think Don’t overlook the rainbow connecyou can go too far. tion! Speed kills OK, maybe a better term would There are two reasons to troll be the steelhead connection but fast. One, maybe the fish like to bite the Muppets never popularized a fast-moving lures. Two, you cover Paul Williams song by that name. more water. Both one and two apply. Steelhead are technically rainbow trout, so there’s the connection. I wrote an article several years ago about high-speed trolling on the Most anglers with a modicum Great Lakes. I’m talking 6 to 8 miles amount of fishing time on the Great per hour, which is two to four times Lakes have caught the occasional faster than normal. It worked. I even steelhead when trolling for salmon. caught a few “lazy” lakers at that A few of the southern ports get a relispeed, and the steelhead loved it. The able enough run of Skamania-strain steelies that targeting them for a week hard part was finding or tuning lures that would troll at those speeds. Rebel or two or three in the summer is posFastracs, small cut-plugs, and lipless sible. But how many anglers actually crankbaits (Rat-L-Traps) did well. head out with a goal of connecting with steelheads often enough to make

Page 17

GREAT LAKES

LOG BOOK

Steelhead could be the new trophy fish for Lake Michigan.

Make some racket Cordell Spots and Rat-L-Traps have long been steely-stoppers on my boat, along with Rattlin’ ThinFins, J-Plugs with rattles, and other noisy lures. You don’t have to troll them at zing-zone speeds, either. I love ‘em as much as the steelies seem to, especially when one of the steelhead decides to make a last-second jump 15 or 20 feet behind the boat. Not only is it spectacular, but when you can hear that lure making rattlesnake sounds, it’s extra special.

Go hot or stay home

Want to pick a “best color” for your lures? Think hot (fluorescent) red. There’s no natural food in the Great Lakes of this color, but steelhead don’t care. If it’s hot red, they’ll smack

Photo by Mike Schoonveld

it. When specifically targeting steelhead, every lure I deploy is predominantly (or totally) fluorescent red. Sure they’ll bite a blue/silver spoon or a green ladder-back plug, but only because they saw it before they spotted the hot-red lure nearby.

Topping out

I’ve caught goby-gulping steelhead 119 feet deep in 120 feet of water. That’s the exception. The rule is: Steelhead are surface-oriented fish. Whether I’m fishing in 18 feet of water just off the pierheads or in 180 feet of water 28 miles offshore, there will always be lures for them running just under the surface. The rainbow connection, the steelhead connection, call it what you wish. I call it fun.


Page 18

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

Lake Huron

(From Page 1) Adlerstein said the computer model shows Huron’s crash occurred from both the top down, with increased natural reproduction of salmon leading to increased predation on alewives, and from the bottom up, with invasive mussels eliminating nutrients in the water column available for the invertebrates on which alewives feed. “The truth is it was a combination of all of the above,” Adlerstein said. “None of the elements alone would have caused the collapse of the population.” Kao said a close look at the water temperature ranges that alewives inhabit compared to the

water temperature range salmon typically feed in supports their conclusions. “They are not completely overlapped spatially,” he said. “We say there are many characteristics that are the same in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan,” Kao said. Declining alewife abundance and fewer large alewives in the lake, as well as quagga mussel populations that continue to expand into deeper waters, are signs that Lake Michigan is heading toward the same fate as Huron, Kao said. DNR officials have reduced chinook stocking in Lake Michigan in recent years as natural reproduction has increased, but Kao believes a new dynamic

A drastic decline in the alewife population in Lake Huron led to the salmon crash. Photo courtesy of Tim O’Brien in the lake – one that favors native fish – is inevitable. “I think (stocking reductions) will work for a short period, but now the chinook salmon are still naturally reproducing,” he said.

Deer Habitat

Lake Michigan has experienced increased salmon predation, an increase in salmon biomass, and an invasion of zebra and quagga mussels that decreased invertebrate populations. The situation led to fewer smelt and pushed

(From Page 1)

“We’ve put together close to 20 management plans for the winter deer complexes. Most of the western U.P. is done, and we’re moving on to the central and eastern U.P.” Some of those plans are already being implemented. GMO Renewable Resources, which owns some 400,000 acres in the U.P., received a $20,000 grant last year and has started planting conifers in winter deer complexes on its property. In the Ottawa and Hiawatha national forests, hemlock and white pine are being planted in deer yards and timber management is being modified to help maintain and enhance winter habitat. With over 200 inches of snow in many areas of the U.P. each winter, whitetails migrate out of these areas when the snow starts to pile up and into deer yards, which provide browse and thermal cover. These deer yards have been decimated during the past several decades by overbrowsing and lack of proper forest-management practices. Without robust deer yards, the chance of whitetails surviving winters –especially harsh ones – is greatly diminished. Since about 80 percent of winter deer complexes in the U.P. are on private land, the group is reaching out to individual private landowners as well as commercial landown-

A group effort is under way in the Upper Peninsula to DNR photo improve winter habitat for white-tailed deer. ers. “We’re reaching out through the conservation districts to people who want to do habitat projects on their land,” Minzey said. The U.P. Habitat Workgroup received a $40,000 grant from the Safari Club International Foundation and a $40,000 grant from the DNR Wildlife Division to hire habitat specialist Steve Carson to lead the effort. “This is not a DNR project, it’s a natural resources community project with the DNR as a partner,” Minzey said. “I

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One of the newly confirmed CWD-positive deer is a 9-month-old male from Meridian Township, and the other a 2¾-year-old female from Watertown Township in Clinton County. “Any time we find another positive, it’s certainly disheartening,” Chad Stewart, the DNR’s deer and elk program leader, told Michigan Outdoor News. “The good thing is that both of the new positives were found in close proximity to other positives.” To date, four CWD-positive deer have been found in Meridian Township, two in Watertown Township (Ingham County), and one in DeWitt Township.

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April 8, 2016 chinook salmon to feed almost entirely on alewives – the same general trends seen in Huron, Kao said. The main drivers – increasing mussel populations and the natural reproduction of chinook salmon – are largely beyond the control of lake managers. “The general trend is not really reversible,” Kao said. “At this point, we don’t have any feasible means to reverse this. Adlerstein said lake conditions are “being restored closer to the conditions before the invasive alewives got into the system. “Native (fish) populations will be resistant to lowered nutrients because they were adapted to the original conditions,” she said. “I don’t see this as being a bad thing, and that’s one thing we might not agree on with recreational fishermen.”

think we have the potential to have a very positive impact over the next several decades.” The workgroup is tapping into federal and state habitat-improvement grants to fund the enhancement work. For example, the DNR recently awarded $100,000 in deer habitat improvement grants in the U.P. to be allocated between a dozen recipients – several in the U.P. Habitat Workgroup. The Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative is a competitive grant program designed to enhance deer habitat on non-state lands in the Upper Peninsula. Now in its eighth year, the initiative is supported by the state’s Deer Range Improvement Program, which is funded by a portion of deer-hunting license revenue. Partners will provide the required 25 percent cost-share and participate in implementation of the project. “In some cases, by not funding the selected projects at 100 percent of the requested amount – but still providing enough money to accomplish the proposal goals – we were able to extend the reach of the program this year,” Bill Scullon, DNR field operations manager and grant program administrator, said in a release.

Although the new findings were disappointing, state officials realize it could be much worse. “We’re not as alarmed as (officials in) Arkansas,” Stewart said. Three weeks ago, that state was CWD-free. Then test results from a hunter-harvested elk came back positive and Arkansas officials began testing deer and elk in the area. They killed 279 deer and elk, and after testing just 49 of them, found 19 cases of CWD. “We have tested over 5,000 and, all things considered, it could be a whole lot worse. It gives us some hope,” Stewart said. The recent findings prompted the DNR to ask the state Natural Resources Commission to expand the Core CWD Area and the CWD Management Zone. The proposal would add Watertown, Eagle, Westphalia, Riley, Olive, and Victoria townships in Clinton County and Oneida and Delta townships in Eaton County to the Core CWD Area (DMU 333). It also would add Ionia County and all the townships not currently in DMU 333 from Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, and Shiawassee counties to the CWD Management Zone (DMU 419). The proposal also calls for holding an early antlerless deer season in DMU 419 with 40,000 private-land and 2,000 public-land antlerless permits available. In the meantime, sharpshooters from USDA Wildlife Services will continue to shoot deer in the Core CWD Area in an effort to determine the extent of the outbreak. “Access for sharpshooters has been tough. Like a hunter, we

can never have enough access,” Stewart said. “It’s starting to dry up in some areas. We only have about one month left before we shut down for the fawning season. “It would be nice to get some more areas to test the deer,” he said. “The sharpshooters will customize what they do for the landowners. If they only want a certain number of deer removed from the property they (sharpshooters) will do that. If they only want the sharpshooters to come on a limited number of days, that’s OK, too. They will customize their approach to suit the landowners.” In total, sharpshooters have taken just more than 630 deer from the Core CWD Area, which includes nine townships. Of those, 467 deer were taken from Meridian Township, 108 from Williamstown Township, 41 from Bath Township, 12 from Lansing Township, six from DeWitt Township, and none from the remaining townships. Another 33 have been taken outside the Core CWD Area from Watertown Township. “We’re still hoping that we have a chance to keep it from becoming established, or at least keep it from spreading,” said Dr. Steven Schmitt, a DNR veterinarian. “We get one shot at it, and we have to make it count. We don’t want to come back in 10 years and say, ‘We could have got it if we had just stuck with it.’ We’ll do everything we can to keep it from being established.” Landowners who would like to directly help with surveillance can apply for disease-control permits by calling (517) 336-5030. To inquire about working with USDA sharpshooters, call (517) 641-4092.


April 8, 2016

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 19


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MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

By Bob Gwizdz Contributing Writer

As

I thought about it, there was every reason to believe we would do well perch fishing on Muskegon Lake this spring. The lake has a fair population of yellow perch to begin with, but when you consider the migrants from Lake Michigan, well, I figured they would be there. Last fall’s weather was so warm that the perch never really got into the drowned river mouth there until ice time, and the ice was so poor they didn’t get fished much this winter. So I was optimistic when I headed out with Jeff Sowa and his friend Lisa Madrid on a Saturday morning. Sowa said he’d gone out the previous day and had done OK. “They’re fussy,” said Sowa, 60, a semi-retired lineman. “It’s been a tough bite. They’re not sucking it up and swallowing it on their own. If you’re not there to set the hook, you’re not going to catch them.” Sowa had brought a whole portfolio of bait – wigglers, wax worms, spikes, and minnows – just in case. “It all depends on the mood of the fish,” he said. “If they’re on a real negative bite and you don’t have something really small, you’re finished. Sometimes, when they want wigglers and you’ve got minnows, you’re cooked. You’ve got to have what

they’re feeding on.” So we each fished two rods – one with a pair of minnows on gold hooks (“I think that gold hook is an attractant itself,” Sowa said) – and one with a pair of teardrops tipped with insect larva. Sowa anchored us near a deep hole (48 feet of water, falling off deeper) and on my first drop, I scored a 9-inch perch. It was the start of something pretty good. We stayed on that spot for a little more than two hours, moving once just a short distance. “If you’re sitting on a school for a long time and your fish are getting smaller and smaller, move about 50 feet,” Sowa said. “Get in a different part of the school that you haven’t been fishing. Usually you’ll catch bigger fish.”

We stayed on them until the bite slowed and we decided to take a break. We headed for the launch ramp – Madrid requested a rest room, and I conversed with other anglers who were quitting. None of them said they did nearly as well as we had – we had about 40 in the livewell – and Sowa suggested it was because of the way we were rigged. (I do believe there were other parties out there doing well; they just weren’t quitting.) We were using long rods with “super-sensitive tips,” according to Sowa, reels loaded with 8-pound Nano line and fluorocarbon leaders. More importantly, Sowa said, we were using smallish hooks (No. 8s, which seemed to match our smallish minnows) and small sinkers. “When they’re hitting lightly, the big

sinker will really mess you up,” Sowa said. “So will big hooks. When they’re really hammering it, I use big minnows, as big as walleye minnows, and No. 4 hooks.” When we went back out, Sowa idled around from place to place – all of which had flotillas of boats on them – and, as he marked fish, he’d pay attention to what other anglers were doing. If he saw them catching small fish – or no fish – he moved on. We spent close to an hour looking until Sowa found a big bunch of fish a good distance from any other boat. We started there. This time, we lowered our minnow rigs to the bottom but cast the teardrops and spikes. We started catching fish on (See Perch Page 38)


April 8, 2016

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

By Kenny Darwin Contributing Writer

C

atching a walleye over 10 pounds can attract a multitude of Michigan fishermen. Several over 11 pounds can draw legions. Monster “supertanker” walleyes by the hundreds bring fishermen from far and wide to the Wolverine State’s largest flowing river. The Detroit River system is where fishermen can expect to catch a whopper over 11 pounds, and boatloads of 5to 8-pound walleyes. In early April, following warm rain and bright sun, you can expect walleyes from Lake Erie to storm into the Detroit River system. It helps to have a little intel on where to fish and the status of the run. A quick call to Bottomline Bait and Tackle will confirm if large schools have arrived. Other sources include Trenton Lighthouse and the Wyandotte Boat Launch. Recently I joined two Michigan walleye pros for an outing on the river. We drifted along the current break near one of the many factories that border the Detroit River in the Wyandotte area. We boated several nice fish – a couple in the 8-pound range – by dancing 5⁄8-ounce jigs tipped with live minnows or plastics on the 17- to 20-foot-deep shelf that borders the 40-foot-deep main channel. Walleye pro Erik Furseth was captain and an expert at running the powerful bow-mounted electric motor to keep lines vertical and presentations at a slight upstream angle to entice strikes. Erik shouted, “Fish on!” and the action began. The big fish stripped line off his spin-

ning reel and he smiled as he coaxed the brute to the boat and I slipped the net under the fish. Furseth’s fish was huge – over 32 inches long with an extended belly full of roe. Its large, gaping mouth was lined with super-sharp teeth, and the jig was lodged deep in its throat. Furseth carefully removed the lure with long needle-nose pliers, held the trophy for photos, and released the walleye unharmed. This unique trophy fishery is fueled by the abundant walleye population found in Lake Erie. Each spring when water temperatures rise, thousands of monster fish ascend the Detroit River system to complete spawning. The Detroit system is the finest big-walleye destination in the state. It is well known for huge walleyes and abundant pike,

Page 21

have survived in the ideal habitat of Lake Erie. But Lake Erie is fast growing sour with deadly algae caused by too much pollution in the Detroit and the Maumee rivers. The explosion of nitrates and phosphates coming from human waste and farming catapulted the growth of algae on a monumental scale to the point where it is toxic and beaches on Lake Erie were closed to swimmers last summer. The same blue-green algae that plagued Erie in the 1960s is back. The massive amounts of phosphates dumped into Erie have ruined summer walleye fisheries and caused trash fish numbers Jigs tipped with minnows to balloon. are inhaled by preThe changed ecosystem fertilspawn walleyes that ity has helped walleyes to grow enter the Detroit system huge, and 14-pound fish are not in April to spawn. uncommon. Some biologists  Photo by Kenny Darwin predict that 17-pound walleyes could soon be caught from Erie perch, world-class white bass fishing, or the Detroit River. and tons of hard-fighting smallmouth “The Detroit River is the best place bass. The Detroit is my top pick for I know to catch a record walleye,” trophy walleyes. If you’re looking for Furseth says. “I’ve had excellent luck a monster walleye, don’t overlook this the past two years. There are a lot of fantastic fishery. 14-pound walleyes in Erie right now, Last year, the hot fishing was in early more than I have ever seen. I’m releasApril. If we have normal spring weathing plenty of 12-pounders and catching er, expect the same this year, but if we fish that pushed the scales at 14 pounds. suddenly have warm weather and rain, This spring you can count on an abunthe fish might show up earlier. Over dance of supertanker, monster walleyes the years I have seen prime fishing in the Detroit River.” from April 3 to 14, or like in 2012, when Motown is one of the few locations we had a very warm, early spring and in Michigan where you can boat a the fish hit the river by March 20. The 10-pound-plus fish. Lake Erie-run hottest fishing was found from the fish are absolutely huge this year, and Wyandotte boat launch upriver to the perhaps this spring will be the year a Ren Cen. Michigan angler lands a giant over 17 Some ask why Detroit River fish are pounds. so large. They are simply old fish that


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MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

TOUGH BITE AND WEATHER CHALLENGE ANGLERS AT

2016 BASSMASTER CLASSIC Local Oklahoma angler wins, while Upper Midwest ‘sticks’ struggle By Louie Stout Contributing Writer

Y

ou don’t have to tell Midwest anglers how finicky pre-spawn bass can be under normal conditions, but conditions that Bassmaster Classic anglers faced on Grand Lake, Okla., in early March were even more bizarre. Grand, which hosted the Classic in 2013, is teeming with 4- to 6-pound largemouths. With stable weather and high temperatures, a shootout was expected. The 55 pros got the good weather they hoped for, but it followed a winter of record-breaking rainfall that left the lake a cold, muddy mess. Lake temperatures were in the mid40s when the tournament began, and all but the upper ends of tributaries were muddy. High wind kept the lake

Aaron Martens fished an old-school Speed Shad every day to finish third. riled throughout practice, but when the tournament began, calm waters and bright, sunny skies threw the anglers a curve ball. The lake began to clear, and the water warmed nearly 10 degrees by the end of the week. Such a rapid change left bass in a bit of a shock. They were eager to move shallow and get ready to spawn, yet the bite was slow and tough. However, these pros are good at figuring out how to adjust to rapidly changing conditions – especially

The Tulsa BOK Center was rocking with thousands of fishing fans on the last day of the Bassmaster Classic. winner Edwin Evers, who lives only an hour from Grand Lake. He made adjustments each day and roared out of third place to win it all. He caught 29 pounds, 3 ounces in less than two hours on the last day to haul in the $300,000 first-place prize. It was the heaviest last-day winning weight in Classic history, and his 16 pound, 10-ounce swing from third place to first was the biggest deficit ever erased by a Classic winner. He overcame fellow Oklahoman Jason Christie, who seemed to have a solid grip on the event, having led the

Edwin Evers caught 29 pounds, 3 ounces of bass in less than two hours on the final day of competition to win the Bassmaster Classic. “I had to almost dead-stick the jig and the tube,” he explained. “I’d pull it Big crowds turned out for the early morning launch to watch the pros head out up on a rock and shake it a little. That was the only way that I could get a Photos courtesy of Louie Stout for the final round of fishing.  bite.” Howell: The 2014 Classic winner flat-sided crankbaits, jigs, and tubes on first two days. However, the quality targeted wood on big, shallow flats in rocky shores behind large docks. fish Christie had been catching vanthe Elk River and bluff ends on creeks ished the last day, while Evers was Most of his fish came on a ½-ounce and rivers. He fished a variety of baits, enjoying a career day. Lure Parts Online Jig (black/blue tinbut most of his fish came on a ½-ounce sel) with 4-inch black/blue Tightlines Evers finished with 60 pounds, 7 Hawg Caller spinnerbait (chartreuse UV Chunk and a 4-inch UV Bill Lowen ounces during the three-day event. shad) and a Livingston 121 Jerkbait Flipping Tube (black/blue). Christie had 50-2, 2015 Toyota Tundra (Table Rock Shad). Angler of Year Aaron Martens was third with 46-5, Indiana’s Bill Lowen was fourth with 45-11, and 2014 Classic champ Randy Howell was fifth at 45-10. Upper Midwest anglers didn’t fare so well. Greg Vance of Dubuque, Iowa, was 45th, four-time Classic champ Kevin VanDam, of Kalamazoo, Mich., tied for 48th, Chad Pipkens, of Lansing, Mich., was 50th, and Trevor Lo, of Maplewood, Minn., was 55th. Here are the patterns used by the top finishers and how they caught their fish. Evers: The champion started the first day fishing a Megabass Flap Slap crankbait around rocks, a pattern that worked for him throughout practice. But when that died the morning of the second day, he ran 30 miles up into No one was more confident prior to the tournament than Indiana’s Bill the far reaches of the Neosho River Lowen, who finished fourth. where he cast a ½-ounce War Eagle spinnerbait (chartreuse/white) and flipped a Zoom Z-Hog soft plastic around shallow wood to catch more than 17 pounds. However, he chose to not return there the last day because he didn’t think he could win it in the super-shallow water. In the finals, he went up the Elk River where the water was much clearer. He considered it earlier in the event, but noted that Elk River bass don’t bite well in the clear water without wind. The minute the breeze picked up that last morning, he began catching big bass around logs that had jammed in the mud flats. He worked a 5⁄16-ounce Andy’s Custom E Series jig (green/ brown/orange) tipped with a Zoom Critter Craw around the wood that lay Edwin Evers had a wild last day during which he caught 29½ pounds to win in 3 to 5 feet of water to catch the monthe Classic. ster limit. Christie: Christie fished a 1-ounce Booyah spinnerbait (black/chartreuse) rigged with a No. 6 copper Colorado blade and never fished anything else. It was a lure he says has always been a big bass bait for him when fishing dirty, 45- to 55-degree water. He worked it along the flats of rocky shores in creeks and pockets. Martens: Martens also stuck with one bait, fishing a Rapala Speed Trap in various colors around any shoreline cover he could find. The Speed Trap has a tight wiggle and is known for its fish-catching ability in cold water. Lowen: No one was more confident heading into the tournament than Lowen, an Ohio native who now lives in southern Indiana. He fished in the Oklahoman Jason Christie’s spinnerbait pattern that produced big bass the muddiest water with a mixture of first two days fizzled during the finals.


HENNED-UP GOBBLERS Should I stay or should I go?

April 8, 2016

By Steve Heiting Contributing Writer

L

et’s get this out in the open right now: I don’t like hen turkeys. I get the idea that they’re necessary for the propagation of the species, but when they’re leading a gobbler away from my morning setup, my feelings toward them border on hatred. Any turkey hunter who has spent more than a couple of mornings in the spring woods has been frustrated by hens. In most cases, after fly-down the tom chooses the bird(s) in hand rather than the one in the bush (you), and leaves with his ladies. Conventional thinking is to stay in place and wait until the hens leave the tom to lay eggs, after which the gobbler goes looking for more love. If all goes well, he returns to your setup and you fill your tag, but there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding how long you wait and whether the tom will return at all. I prefer a more aggressive approach. Almost always I will move my setup after a tom and his hens leave the vicinity. Whether I follow the turkeys or go in a different direction is entirely up to them. Moving with the birds while using the same call with which I started the day seems to convince gobblers they’re dealing with a hen and not a hunter. Let’s say dawn is breaking and I’ve set up near a roosted tom. He breaks the silence with a gobble, and other toms fire back from off in the darkness. Sometimes I can hear hens talking with the nearby tom. Other times I can’t, but usually when I scratch out a soft yelp and the gobbler answers me, they join the conversation. I know it would be best to stop calling when I hear hens, but I can’t help myself. My hope is for the tom to fly down within range so I can kill him shortly after it becomes legal to do so, but when hens are involved, it rarely works out that way. After fly-down, toms with hens will usually do one of two things: They’ll either become silent and sneak off to conduct their business of breeding, or they’ll march away while gobbling for all the world to hear. Once I think I know their plans for the morning, I wait about 15 minutes to make sure there aren’t any birds silently sneaking to my setup, and then I move. If the tom and hens left silently, I will have no idea which way they went, so I back out for a spot where I can place decoys in an open, obvious location, like a field or clearing. If there’s a deer trail or woods road that connects my first setup with my destination, so much the better. Once I’m set up, I use the same call I used previously and yelp about every 15 minutes. My thinking is that when the hens leave the gobbler, he’ll often return to near my original setup because that’s where he last heard what

he thought was a hen, and then once he hears my call he begins to hunt me. Usually he’ll gobble once or twice at the original setup, and that’s when I begin calling in earnest. Because I’ve moved, these toms seem to have little doubt they’re seeking a real hen; the decoys are the clincher. While toms and hens usually will leave their roosting areas silently after fly-down, there are times when it sounds like the whole breeding ritual is a riotous party. Toms gobble, hens yelp, and the whole cacophony thunders along through the woods. This is when I follow the pack, trying to keep out of sight, but continuing with the same call that I used at fly-down. In my mind, I’m giving the illusion of being a timid hen that is interested in what’s going on but doesn’t want to challenge the other hens. In this case, I call every time I hear a gobble or hen talk because I want them to know I’m there. At some point their forward movement will stop, and that’s when I find a comfortable spot to set up. I think they’re breeding at this point,

and sometimes they become silent. However, in time the tom will answer my call, and often he’ll come right to me. A risk you take while following the birds is that a satellite tom may surprise you and break from the pack. Sometimes you’ll have to set up where you were standing moments earlier. I wear my face mask at all times in case this happens. Both post-fly-down scenarios played out beautifully within 72 hours during a recent turkey-hunting trip. On opening morning, when the gobbler and his hens became silent shortly after fly-down, I backed out to a pasture where I had previously set up a ground blind, and placed my decoys 20 yards in front. An hour and a half later I heard a single gobble near my original setup. I scratched out a yelp, and the 23-pound tom marched right into my decoy spread, where my load of sixes cut him down. Three days later, John Stellflue and I listened as two gobblers tried to out-yell each other as they and their hens marched away from our setup.

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 23

John Stellflue and Steve Heiting followed two toms and their hens through the woods before they were able to call the birds within range of John’s shotgun. Photo by Steve Heiting These birds wanted to gobble at everything – crows, sandhill cranes, geese, a truck a halfmile away, their hens, and my calls. John and I followed along, and when they stopped just over the crest of a hill, I decided to go for broke and cutt excitedly. That was all it

took to start them running our way. John shot his tom when it stepped from behind an oak tree at 15 yards. Henned-up gobblers can be a problem for turkey hunters, but if you give the illusion of being a real hen, they’ll eventually come looking for you.

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MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

EARLY SPRING FLING SHALLOW POST-SPAWN PIKE FISHING IS A BLAST!

as a wonderer. Perhaps at no time do I feel more of spring’s exhilarative fullness than

After spawning, pike return to marshy bays on a voracious feeding mission. Post-spawn pike fishing occurs when water temperatures reach the upper 40s. Photos by Jason Haberstroh By Jason Haberstroh Contributing Writer

F

or outdoors wanderers, spring engenders a range of exhilaration, from profound awe to palpable thrills. Flowers, trees, birds, bees, and the gamut of spring’s flora and fauna exude enthusiasm and affect it. But I am a fisherman as well

when its various pleasantries unite with a sunny day of pike fishing in shallow water. Watching a bulging spinnerbait violently ambushed, then setting the hook into a toothy, underwater coil of energized muscle with a nasty disposition warms my blood and makes my heart race. Yep, that is my

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idea of an ideal spring day. As daylight lengthens and water temperatures nudge upward, northern pike in reservoirs follow a basic pattern of spawn/short-rest/gorge. Pike run this sequence in late winter through early spring. After nourishing their eggs and bodies through winter, pike huddle into very skinny water around ice-out, engaging in fits of wild spawning. Often it occurs in water so slight their backs run above the water line. Then not many days thereafter, they spread out to binge again on the forage that packs into warming bays. Northern pike thrashing in the throes of reproduction are oblivious to any bait. Postspawn fishing tends to be the most consistent period for catching shallow, spring pike and is the subject here. Pike fishing is open yearround on Lower Peninsula Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers. It opens April 30 on inland waters of the Lower Peninsula and May 15 on all Upper Peninsula waters. Once a short period of recuperation occurs after spawning, northern pike typically return to marshy bays on a feeding mission. This prime window of post-spawn pike fishing occurs when water temperatures range from about the upper 40s to the

low 60s. During this magical season, horizontal presentations that efficiently comb vast stretches of water rank as the most productive means to catch these aggressively feeding fish. However, pike like cover. So, this entails using lures that not only cruise relatively easily in less than a few feet of water throughout a retrieve, but also rap off timber and reasonably plow through or skim over remnant and newly emerging aquatic vegetation. Certain lures have a distinct edge when fishing cover-strewn, 3-foot shallows. Upturned, single-hooked plastics, such as big swimbaits, are excellent producers that ride nice and high in the water column, though need chronic replacing when battling pike mouths full of shredders. Wake-type and shallow-diving crankbaits selectively work, yet too often their treble hooks eagerly grab any nearby debris that fouls retrieves, while using their deeper-diving kin is generally an exercise in frustration. Arguably, the best lure for shallow, post-spawn pike is the venerable spinnerbait. This classic shines as an early spring pike lure for a variety of reasons. Of course, spinnerbaits cover lots of water, and their flashy flare appeals to active fish. Plus, they cast a mile, even

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Fish ’N Fillet Knife

Just send in your picture to enter the competition! To participate in the 2016 18th Annual Michigan Outdoor News-Rapala Weekly Photo Contest, send in your photos of fish caught on Rapala lures. The winner receives a selection of four Rapala lures, a Rapala 6-inch Fish ‘N Fillet Knife, plus a Rapala Decal Set – a total worth $50. RULES: Pictures must be suitable for reproduction in Michigan Outdoor News and the fish must be caught on a Rapala lure during the 2016 season. Entries can be returned if a self-addressed, stamped envelope is included. Winning pictures become the property of Michigan Outdoor News. Photo must be at least “snapshot” size. Contest ends Sept. 11, 2016. Please enclose name & address of angler in addition to what lake & county it was caught on, type of Rapala used, and if it was caught and released. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery of prizes.

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on heavily equipped baitcasting gear. They are hardy, unlike soft plastics, and opposed to diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits can be smoothly glided at a desired depth, whether bulging under the surface or a few feet down. Moreover, spinnerbaits come in countless variations and styles and can be commanded in many ways, from erratic to constant to burning to bulging to slow-rolling, etc. That all said, when it comes to springtime pike fishing in backwaters and bays, all of these mentioned benefits hinge on the snag-resistance of spinnerbaits. They can be effectively run through the shallow, subsurface tangles that northern pike haunt. To get the most out of a day, an angler must slap wood and tickle those underwater cables to find willing pike. A spinnerbait bumps and grinds its way quite easily through the stuff. Yeah, when fishing hot pike locations, even a spinnerbait gets hung up occasionally, but the majority of casts ride home free, unless a feisty pike smashes it. I like ½- to ¾-ounce baits dressed with shad-colored skirts and gold or silver double-willowleaf blades that zip pretty fast and match the size of prevailing baitfish, though the skirt color choices probably reflect more my confidence than pike preference. Rarely to never does a “match-the-hatch” pattern exist with pike in feasting mode. Spinnerbaits are not subtle presentations for sluggish fish, so an angler’s favorite version will likely produce. To cover the clear to turbid water, and dim to bright sky differences, a few options spanning the range from natural to vivid colors could be added, in the unusual case that pike do get selective. Since springtime pike are generally not very picky concerning the menu, a few favorite shallow-running lures make tackle bags small and lightweight, perfect for wading, or kayak or canoe fishing.

Our state’s pike

Northern pike prefer larger-sized, shallow, weedy lakes with fairly clear water. Backwater lakes and sloughs off of the rivers of many areas present attractive areas to the pike, as well. Like the muskie, the northern pike is mostly piscivorous, meaning its diet consists of other smaller fish. They also will feed on crayfish, frogs, snakes, mice, and ducklings. Spawning takes place when water temperatures approach 44 degrees. The fish will select a slough or marshy area adjoining a lake through which some water flows.


April 8, 2016

Debunking deerhunting

‘beliefs’ By Dan Small Contributing Writer

hink the moon has an impact on the whitetail rut? Think mineral supplements can significantly improve antler development in wild deer? Think using urine-based scents will increase your odds of shooting a big buck? If you answered yes to

T

all three questions, you are not alone, but you are dead wrong in each case, according to biologist C.J. Winand, whose eye-opening seminar at a sports show last month debunked a number of commonly held beliefs about deer biology and behavior. Winand, a certified wildlife biologist, columnist for Bowhunter magazine, regular

guest on Bowhunter TV, and a director of the National Bowhunter Education Foundation, has studied and written about whitetails for 30 years. In plain language, his rapid-fire talk covered a wide range of “facts” he said are really myths not supported by scientific studies. “I take biological papers, peer review papers, take out the big college words, and put them on a fifth-grade level,” Winand said. Antler development is a hot topic of discussion among hunters. Some older deer will never grow more than modest antlers, Winand said. “Every age cohort of bucks has a bell-shaped curve,” Winand said. “Some 51⁄2-yearold bucks will only develop 90 inches of antler,” he said. “In any given deer herd, hunters have only a 2-percent chance of shooting a Boone and Crockett (170-inch typical) buck.” On the topic of antler size, Winand pointed out that food, nutrition, age, and genetics determine whether a buck will develop trophy antlers. But which is most important? A study conducted by Dr. Steve Demarais at Mississippi State University showed that replacing 5 percent of wild deer in an area with 100 pen-raised “super” bucks resulted in an increase in the average Boone and Crockett score of only 0.8 inches. Replacing 25 percent of wild deer with 500 pen-raised “super” deer yielded bucks with a 12-inch increase in B&C score. At a cost of about $3,000 per

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 25

Mature buck antler scores in any given deer population follow a bell curve. The probability of a mature buck developing antlers that score 160 or better is about 7 percent, and the probability of developing antlers with a Boone and Crockett minimum score of 170 is about 2 percent. A Texas study involving 1,800 yearling bucks found that those that were spike bucks as yearlings actually developed slightly larger racks on average as 3 1⁄ 2-year-olds than those that were 4-, 6-, or 8-pointers as yearlings. fawn, however, the increased antler size would cost a whopping $115,000 per inch. Furthermore, it would require intensive management and/ or the continued release of pen-raised deer to maintain this increase in antler size. Needless to say, no state agency is prepared to spend this kind of money to create more monster bucks. Trapping big Alberta bucks and releasing them in the Midwest would not work either, Winand said. Large bucks breeding with small does can create birthing problems, and the cost of a trapand-transfer operation would

be prohibitive. Moving deer from one area to another also can introduce diseases. Another Mississippi study showed that nutrition, not genetics, plays a larger role in increasing body size of deer. “We can’t control genetics from the doe side,” Winand said. “You might be able to determine a superior doe in a pen, but not in the wild.” Estimating deer numbers and the relative abundance of bucks, does, and fawns is another contentious issue among hunters. A simple, cost-effective way for hunters (See Beliefs Page 33)


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MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

Fishing and Hunting Report

Panfish hitting in south; Keweenaw Bay red hot Lake St. Clair All the DNR boat access sites on Lake St. Clair are open. Rain and wind put a damper on fishing last week, but good perch and sunfish reports continue to come from anglers fishing in the canals and marinas along the American side of the lake. The St. Clair River was muddy and hard to fish last week. The North Channel and the Marine City access sites are open. Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 7777003. Irish Hills Area Fishing pressure has been light but the bite has been pretty good on area lakes. On good days, anglers are catching bluegills and some crappies in the bays and channels on Vineyard, Wamplers, and Devils lakes. There are a lot of turkeys in Jackson County, and the spring season should be very good. Knutson’s Sporting Goods, (800) 292-0857 or (517) 592-2786. Commerce Area Surface water temperatures were running in the mid-40s on Cass Lake and Union Lake last week. Anglers were targeting panfish in the shallow bays and canals. The crappie bite was slow, but will improve as water temperatures rise. Bass anglers had limited success with the catch-andimmediate-release season. The fish are shallow and hitting in 2 to 4 feet of water. Toms are starting to gobble and strut. Buckbass, (248) 360-4000. Trenton Area Boat anglers fishing near the Trenton Power Plant in the Trenton Channel on the Detroit River were catching good numbers of walleyes

last week. Jigs and minnows and jigs and rubber worms were catching fish. Perch fishing slowed, and smaller fish were moving in. Those willing to put in the time and do lots of sorting might get a few keepers. Bottom Line Bait & Tackle, (734) 379-9762. Trenton Lighthouse, (734) 675-7080. Horse Island Tackle, (734) 692-9839. Luna Pier Area Boat anglers out trolling on Lake Erie were catching decent numbers of walleyes last week in Brest Bay. Steelhead fishing was good on the Huron River. Anglers fishing spawn and spinners at the Flat Rock Dam reported a good bite. Spring turkey hunting should be good in Monroe County. Luna Pier Harbour Club, (734) 8488777. SOUTHWESTERN LP

Allegan Area Steelhead fishing has been good on the Kalamazoo River below the Allegan Dam. Wax worms fished under bobbers have produced the best action, but spawn has also worked well. Fair numbers of brown trout, steelhead, and salmon have been caught in the shallows along shore on Lake Michigan. Inland lakes are attracting some attention, too. Anglers fishing in the shallow bays on Miner, Hutchins, and Great Bear lakes report good bluegill and crappie action. Black gnats have produced good results, especially on sunny days. There are a lot of turkeys in Allegan County. Toms are strutting and gobbling. Webber & Sons Marine and Tackle, (269) 673-6294.

Bait Shop Profile

Sanford Sport Shop Sanford Sport Shop has been in business in the same location near Sanford Lake dam in the town of Sanford for over 65 years. It has been owned by various owners over that time, including Bob and Ron, who have owned it off and on for over 30 years. The current owner is Jennifer “Jen” Palmer, who has owned the store for the past 14 years. Jen carries “everything you’ll ever need,” for the outdoor adventure, including party supplies and hunting, fishing, and camping equipment. You’ll want to stop and look at the “wall of fame,” as well. Many nice photos of fish, bucks, turkeys, and other trophies taken by area sportsmen and women are on display. Jen says she spends “countless hours over numerous pots of coffee” chatting with customers. “On Nov. 14 there’s a line out the door to buy deer licenses. … They all want to wait until the last minute and they all want to talk. It’s just a tradition, I guess, and everyone wants to talk about the hunt with everyone else in line. It’s a real community event.” Sanford Sport Shop sells a lot of licenses for fishing and small game, too. One of the unique features of the shop is its disc golf course that’s located behind the store. “It’s challenging,” says Jen, who provides the discs. Sanford Sport Shop carries all the baits in season except for crickets. She sells all types of minnows, nightcrawlers, worms, ice-fishing baits, leeches, and wigglers. A full line of fishing lures and various turkey, deer, and small-game equipment and clothing is available, as well. Jen and her three employees are happy to supply plenty of “tips on where to catch ’em” to anyone who asks, but I would talk to Woody; he’s our real expert. He’s been here forever,” she said. Sanford Sport Shop is located at 524 West Saginaw Road in Sanford. The phone number is (989) 687-5161.

Report from the Dock

of hunting and fishing A forecast and summary

week, from good panfish Fishing was all over the map last pretty much no fishing at all in action in southern Michigan to re some lakes had both ice parts of the Upper Peninsula, whe and open water. in the U.P. last week, but There was some open water t ramps were not yet installed. access was tough, as many boa get those access sites ready DNR crews are working hard to U.P. was in Lake Superior’s for anglers. The hottest bite in the lers were catching a lot of Keweenaw Bay, where boat ang bers of steelhead and splake cohos and browns and fair num in the open water. good in southern Michigan, The panfish bite has been pretty the northern Lower Peninsula, where all the lakes are open. In were still holding ice. Fishing some lakes were open and others that were open. pressure was light on the lakes n reported by anglers fishA good steelhead bite has bee the Huron River in southern ing rivers and streams from the Slate River in the Upper Michigan’s Monroe County to st streams have not yet had Peninsula’s Baraga County. Mo action should heat up in the a strong run of fresh fish, so the not-too-distant future. South Haven Muddy water hampered fishing last week along the shore of Lake Michigan. Pier fishing has been slow. Farther out in the lake, a very good lake trout bite has been reported by those trolling in 55 feet of water. Suckers and catfish have moved into the Black River and anglers are catching a lot of fish. Crappies and bluegills are hitting in 4 to 10 feet of water on most lakes in the area, including Paw Paw, Van Auken, and Bear. There are a lot of turkeys in the area. Pyles Port Hole, (269) 637-6720. Union Area Panfish action has been good in the shallow bays and canals on inland lakes in Cass County, including Juno and Carter. Light numbers of perch have been caught on Diamond Lake. There are a lot of turkeys in Cass County, and the spring season should be good. Gobblers are breaking out of bachelor groups. Halls Bait and Tackle, (269) 6412304. Coldwater Area Panfish action has been pretty good on Thompson Lake. Bluegills, sunfish, and crappies are starting to move into the shallows, especially on warm, sunny days. Light numbers of crappie and perch have been caught on Coldwater Lake. Turkey numbers are up in Branch County. Winter flocks are starting to break up. The spring hunting season should be good. Hoskins Bait House, (517) 369-1330. Cloverdale Area Fishing has been slow and pressure light on lakes in Barry County. Light numbers of panfish have been caught in the shallows on Clear, Bristol, and Cloverdale lakes, and the bite should improve as the weather and water warm. Turkey numbers are strong in the area. Toms are strutting. The spring season should be good. Tackle Box, (269) 721-6000 CENTRAL LP Saginaw Bay Area Spring fishing is in full swing on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. Perch fishing has been pretty good in the cuts and marinas around the bay. Those trolling stickbaits in 8 to 14 feet of water report a good walleye bite. Sucker fishing has been very good in the Rifle River. There are a lot of turkeys in Saginaw and Bay counties. Toms are on the move and love is in the air. The spring season should be very good. Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 6975341. Sanford Area Fishing was slow last week with high, muddy water on lakes in Midland County. Fair numbers of crappies and bluegills were being caught in the cuts on Sanford and Wixom lakes before the weather turned sour. There are a ton of turkeys in Midland County. Winter flocks are breaking up, and toms are gobbling and strutting. Sanford Sport Shop, (989) 687-5161.

Baldwin Area Heavy rain put a damper on fishing last week in Lake County. The Pere Marquette River was high and muddy. Before the rain hit, steelhead fishing had been good. Spawn and flies have both caught fair numbers of fish. Sucker fishing also has been good in the river. Inland lakes are open, but fishing pressure has been light. Turkey numbers are stable, and the spring season should be pretty good. Baldwin Bait & Tackle, (231) 7453529. Ed’s Sport Shop, (231) 745-4974, www.edsports.com. Lansing Area A couple steelhead have been caught at the point where the Grand River meets the Red Cedar River. Anglers were using spawn, a jig, and wax worm or spinners. Steelhead also were caught near the Portland Dam, the Webber Dam, and in Prairie Creek near Ionia. Inland lake fishing has been slow, and fishing pressure has been light. Grand River Bait & Tackle, (517) 482-4461. Grand Haven Area Steelhead fishing has slowed off the pier heads on Lake Michigan. Boat anglers have caught fair numbers of steelhead and brown trout in 10 to 20 feet of water along the shore.

The water temperature was about 40 degrees last week. Action should improve as the water warms. Suckers have moved into Crockery Creek, and the bite has been hot. Perch are hitting in Petty’s Bayou, Mona Lake, Smith’s Bridge Bayou, and in Muskegon Lake. Turkey numbers are in good shape in Muskegon County. The spring season should be good. Lakeview Marine & Tackle, (616) 842-2770. THE THUMB Caseville Area Heavy rain put a damper on fishing last week and muddied the water in Huron County. Before the rain came, perch fishing had been fair in the canals off Lake Huron at Sand Point, in Mud Creek, and at the Bayshore Marina. Fishing pressure on Lake Huron has been light. Turkey numbers are in good shape in Huron County, and the spring season should be good. Winter flocks are breaking up and toms are strutting. Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 8564465. Port Huron Fair numbers of walleyes had moved into the St. Clair River last week before the water got muddy from heavy rain and the fish moved back into Lake Huron. Chinook salmon and steelhead fishing also was good in the river, especially along the docks in Port Huron. Sucker fishing has been good in the Black River. Turkey numbers are up in St. Clair County. Toms are strutting and gobbling. Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232. Vassar Area Fishing was slow and fishing pressure light last week in Tuscola County. Suckers have moved into the Cass River, and fishing was pretty good before last week’s rain arrived and raised the water level. Turkey numbers are in good shape in the area. Winter flocks are breaking up and toms are strutting. The spring season should be good. Fred’s Bait & Tackle, (989) 823-8157. NORTHWESTERN LP Alanson Area There was still ice on Burt Lake last week, but it was not safe for foot traffic and fishing there has stalled. A few panfish have been caught on some of the smaller lakes in the area that have open water, but fishing pressure has been light. Turkeys survived the winter in good shape. Winter flocks are starting to break up. Young’s Bait and Party Shop, (231) 548-5286. East Jordan Area Water is high in East Jordan. The ice

Photo by Eric Engbretson

Upcoming Season Dates Season dates and deadlines: April 15: Coyote-hunting season ends. April 15: Dog-training season ends. April 18: Spring turkey season opens. April 30: Trout season opens on designated trout waters. April 30: Pike, muskie, walleye, and sauger seasons open on inland waters in the Lower Peninsula. May 1: Bear and elk application period begins. May 15: Walleye, pike, muskie, and sauger seasons open in the Upper Peninsula. May 28: Catch-and-keep bass season opens on all state waters except Lake St. Clair and the Detroit and St. Clair rivers. June 1: Application deadline for bear and elk. June 4: Muskie season opens on Lake St. Clair and the Detroit and St. Clair rivers. June 11: Free Fishing Weekend. June 18: Catch-and-keep bass season opens on Lake St. Clair and the Detroit and St. Clair rivers.


April 8, 2016

Pro Tip of the Week

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

Steelhead tip: Fish the right-sized baits for

the water conditions.

Professional career: Buck owns Great Lakes Guide Service and has been in business for 10 years. Specialty: Great Lakes Guide Service offers fishing charters on Lake Michigan, inland lake charters, as well as guided river fishing on the legendary Manistee, Muskegon, White, Pere Marquette, and Grand rivers. “If the water is high and dirty you want to use larger, bright-colored baits with plenty of scent,” Buck says. “If the water is crystal clear, you want to downsize your offering with more natural colors. “By sticking to this simple rule you will boat many more steelhead.” Buck runs a year-round charter-fishing service that is locally owned and operated by licensed professional captains and guides who seek to share their passion for angling. Buck lives in Muskegon. He can be reached at (231) 638-5752.

is gone on Lake Charlevoix. A couple boat anglers have been out looking for perch but have not found many. Steelhead fishing has been good in the Boyne and Jordan rivers. Turkey numbers are strong, and the spring hunting season should be good. Tom’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 536-3521. Traverse City Area Steelhead fishing has improved on the Boardman and Betsie rivers. Those fishing with spawn or jigs tipped with rubber bugs all report a fair bite. Decent numbers of perch are hitting minnows fished in 35 to 55 feet of water on Big Glen Lake, and anglers fishing in Lake Michigan’s West Grand Traverse Bay report catching good numbers of lake herring. The fish are suspended in 150 feet of water and are hitting jigging spoons. The spring turkey season should be good. Birds came through the winter in good shape. WildFishing Guide Service, www. wildfishing.com. Lake City Area Rain and snow put a damper on fishing last week in Missaukee County. Prior to the bad weather, anglers reported catching light numbers of crappies on Lake Missaukee. The action should improve when more stable, warm weather moves in. Turkey numbers are in good shape in the area. The birds seem to have come through the winter in pretty good shape. Miller’s Corner, (231) 839-0440 Cadillac Area Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell are open, but fishing pressure has been light. A few anglers are fishing for panfish, but action has been very slow. Steelhead fishing has been good on the Manistee River all the way up to Tippy Dam. Turkeys are being found in pockets. Toms are strutting. Pilgrim Village Fishing Shop, (231) 775-5412.

Hubbard Lake Area Spring fishing has been slow to get started on Hubbard Lake. Most of the ice was gone last week, but no one was out fishing yet. There are a lot of turkeys in Alcona County. Winter flocks are breaking up. Toms are gobbling and strutting. Side Door Bait and Tackle, (989) 736-6418. Onaway Area The ice is gone on Black Lake and Mullett Lake, but spring fishing has been slow to get started. The best action has come to those fishing for suckers in Mullet Lake. The fish are stacking up at the mouth of the Pigeon River. The spring turkey season should be good in Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties. There are a lot of birds in the area. Parrott’s Outpost, (989) 733-2472. Oscoda Area Steelhead fishing has been very good from the mouth of the AuSable River up to Foote Dam. Lots of steelhead and occasionally a lake trout have been caught in Lake Huron off the pier. Toms are strutting and the spring turkey season should be pretty good. There is a “good amount of birds” in Iosco County. Wellman’s Sport Center, (989) 7392869. EASTERN UP Pickford Area There was still some ice on Munuscong Bay last week, but it was melting quickly and may not be safe for foot traffic by now. Those who were venturing out reported catching decent numbers of yellow perch. Pier anglers report a pretty good perch bite in Lake Huron at Cedarville and

WESTERN UP

Kyle Buck Hessel. Wilderness Treasures, (906) 6474002. Drummond Island Area The bays around Drummond Island are open, but fishing pressure has been very light. Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 4936300. St. Ignace Area There was still some ice on lakes in the St. Ignace area last week, but it was not safe for foot traffic. The openwater fishing season looks like it is still a couple weeks away. Ace Hardware, (906) 643-7721. Curtis Area There was still some ice on Manistique Lakes last week, but it had broken away from shore and was no longer safe for foot traffic. There was rain and warmer weather in the forecast, but open-water perch and panfish fishing is likely still a couple weeks away. Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040. CENTRAL UP Marquette Area The docks are in and boaters have full access to upper and lower Marquette Harbor on Lake Superior. Cooler weather and rain have slowed fishing. Anglers fishing with jigs and cut bait at the bubblers are catching fair numbers of coho salmon during the mid-morning and early afternoon period. Those trolling artificial baits have caught fish, too. Pier anglers using artificial and cut bait in the lower harbor reported catching splake and whitefish. Steelhead fishing has been good in the Carp River, with fish up to 9 pounds caught. Gander Mountain, (906) 226-8300.

Escanaba Area There was still a little ice at the north end of Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc last week, and a couple anglers were fishing at Kipling and in the Escanaba Yacht Harbor. The ice was not expected to last much longer and is likely shot by now. The only boat launch that could be used last week was the Rapid River launch, although the dock wasn’t in yet and there was a 12-inch heave where the asphalt meets the pad. The Ford River and the Gladstone launches should be open by the end of this week. Those fishing the Day’s River, Tacoosh, and the Whitefish River report a good steelhead bite. The Ford River is open for shore anglers with the possibility of catching a trout or smallmouth bass. Spring turkey season should be fair in Delta County. Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 7861488. BayShore Resort Bait & Tackle, (906) 428-2950. Iron Mountain Area The ice was gone from lakes in Dickinson County, but most of the

L’Anse Area Trout and salmon fishing has been red hot on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Bay. Boat anglers reported catching very good numbers of coho salmon, and brown trout up to 9 pounds last week. Good numbers of splake and steelhead have been caught, too. Steelhead fishing has been pretty good on the Falls, Silver, and Slate rivers, too, but the big runs have yet to begin. Indian Country Sports, (906) 5246518. Bergland Area Fishing has stalled on Lake Gogebic. There was a mix of ice and open water last week, making access impossible for both ice anglers and open-water anglers. Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 8423361. Iron River Area Wet, heavy snow invaded the area last week. Ice on most lakes in Iron County has broken up and was not safe for foot traffic last week. Openwater fishing is still likely a couple weeks away. Turkey numbers are pretty good, and the spring season should be good. Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 2650151. The DNR contributed to this report

ZONES

Sunrise/Sunset April April April April April April April April April April April April April April

NORTHEASTERN LP Grayling Area Open-water fishing has been slow to get started on Lake Margrethe. The water is still cold. Panfish action should improve as the water temperature rises. Toms are gobbling and winter flocks are breaking up. The spring hunting season should be good in Roscommon County. Skip’s Sport Shop, (989) 348-7111. Houghton Lake Area The ice is gone, but the water is still pretty cold in Houghton Lake and fishing has been slow. Rain and snow last week didn’t help. A few panfish were being caught in the canals before bad weather moved in. Action should improve as the weather dries out and warms up. Even those fishing the canals were not getting much. It could be another couple weeks before water temperatures start to increase. The spring turkey season should be decent. Local birds handled the winter pretty well. Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 4223231. Higgins Lake Area A few anglers were trolling for lake trout last week in the middle of Higgins Lake in 100 feet of water. No word on if they were catching any fish. Turkey hunting should be pretty good, with decent numbers of birds in the area. Higgins Lake Sport & Tackle, (989) 821-9517.

Page 27

public boat ramps were still closed last week. Spring fishing had yet to begin. The spring turkey season should be fair, with decent numbers of birds in the area. Toms are strutting and gobbling. Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009. Menominee Area Walleyes were being caught in the Menominee River from the Hattie Street Bridge to Stephenson Island by shore anglers using zip lures, stickbaits, jigs, and plastics. Boundary waters remain open for walleye fishing. The best action was in the early morning or evening. Walleyes and brown trout were being caught by those trolling and jigging, especially in the Turn Basin. The 6th Street launch was still iced in, but all the other launches were open last week. The spring turkey-hunting season should be fair. Waterfront Sport Shop, Waterfront Sport Shop, (906) 424-4108.

8: 7:03 am/ 8:08 pm 9: 7:01 am/ 8:09 pm 10: 6:59 am/ 8:10 pm 11: 6:58 am/ 8:11 pm 12: 6:56 am/ 8:12 pm 13: 6:54 am/ 8:14 pm 14: 6:53 am/ 8:15 pm 15: 6:51 am/ 8:16 pm 16: 6:49 am/ 8:17 pm 17: 6:48 am/ 8:18 pm 18: 6:46 am/ 8:19 pm 19: 6:45 am/ 8:20 pm 20: 6:43 am/ 8:22 pm 21: 6:42 am/ 8:23 pm

Hours table is for Zone A sunrise and sunset.

Vektor Charts ™

Amy Goethe, of Lake, caught and released this 26-inch northern pike March 5 while fishing in Clare County.

Each daily graph starts with midnight on the left. The Vector Fish & Game Activity Tables are computer-generated timetables indicating when fish, game and other species will tend to be in daily feeding and migration patterns. The tables, which indicate peak times, are based on the combined positions of the sun and the moon. Major periods can run from an hour before to an hour after the peak time; minor periods peak a half-hour either way.


Page 28

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

walleyes this season. Believe me when I tell you that some of this intelligence is hard-earned. None of you want to know how many tough days of walleye fishing I’ve had in my life.

Understand water clarity

One of the best things fishermen can do to catch more walleyes this year is to swallow their pride. If their favored presentation or location isn’t working, they need to try something else. Photo courtesy of Jason Mitchell By Jason Mitchell hasn’t backed the boat down Contributing Writer the ramp enough times. Or, he’s ishing can be frustrating, not being honest. Either way, humiliating, and, most of we have probably all pounded a all, humbling regardless lake from before sunrise to after of how much you get to fish or sunset and left the lake with our how much you think you have pride seriously tarnished. learned. There will always come I can’t tell you how many a time when you feel like you lessons I have had to learn over just hit a wall. and over in my life, but here are Anybody who has never a few guidelines that just might been stumped on the water just help you catch a few more

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One of the secrets to catching walleyes consistently is just avoiding bad situations. Extremely clear water and extremely turbid water are two conditions to avoid when possible. You sometimes can find the right water by using wind. On really clear bodies of water, wind will give the wind-blown area of the lake just enough stain. On the flip side, what we often see on windswept dishbowl lakes is that wind can whip up too much turbidity in the water and we end up looking for areas that are out of the wind so the sediment can settle. Fishing is usually better in stained water – water that has some color. This stained water often gets moved or pushed around the lake with wind or current. There is a difference between stain and turbidity. Fish can still see well in stained water, but can’t see well if the water is turbid. This is why mud lines have a life cycle. Mud lines create a window when waves crash up against a bank until a veil of turbid water protrudes from the shoreline. In the early stages of the mud line, the plume of churned up, muddy water reaches out and hangs like a veil in the top of the water column. Mud lines are typically most productive during this stage. As the wind continues to pound and the veil becomes bigger and sinks down through the water column, the bite often will dissipate. So often when wind churns up sediment and clouds the water, the day after the big wind can sometimes be the best because as the sediment sinks, visibility increases yet still offers some stain in the water. What also happens is that the water will take on a green color as it warms up, so you often find stained water with the temperature gauge. Colder water is often much more clear, and warmer water is typically more stained.

Focus on the process The key to catching fish is to

find fish. At times, locations will let you down, and specific spots will let you down. Tried-andtrue patterns will sometimes disappoint. What never fails, however, if you have enough time, is an honest and thorough process of elimination. In order to truly be successful, you have to almost turn off human emotion and start checking off possibilities from the list. If, for example, the walleyes should be shallow but they are not, the next step is to eliminate main-lake structure in depths from 20 to 40 feet. The key is to keep checking off possibilities, even if the possibilities don’t feel right at the time. When it comes to finding fish, the less you know going into the day is sometimes better because you can adhere to the process of elimination easier. If you give something a good, honest effort and it isn’t happening, make a switch. It is amazing how many anglers will cling to a spot or pattern for agonizing amounts of time. I’ve been guilty of beating a dead horse. This is why a clock is an invaluable fishing tool. Use the element of time to force yourself out of ruts and also use the clock to slow down when you begin to scramble. What can also happen when in search mode is not giving any one spot enough time. Commit yourself to one-hour increments as you begin the process of elimination so that your day has some structure and you can stick to the strategy.

Worry about efficiency

I honestly believe most anglers worry about the wrong stuff. They get hung up on matching the hatch or they simply out-think the fish. With everything that you do in fishing, focus on becoming as efficient as possible because this can greatly increase your likelihood for success. Consider this – if you can become twice as efficient, you can basically become twice as successful. Do some real, honest self-evaluation and try to assess how much you actually have a lure or hook in front of fish. If you can take steps to become more efficient, you will basically increase your success exponentially. If you can land a higher percentage of the fish you hook, or hook a higher percentage of bites, your success climbs.

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Most people want some secret formula. They want to believe that if there is sunshine, they need to use bright colors, or if there are perch in the lake, they need to worry about using a perch color. Worry about being in the right place at the right time and when you get an inch, take a mile. You do all of these things right and you can use the wrong color to catch all kinds of fish in the right spot at the right time.

Chameleons catch more fish We all have our favorite way of doing something. We all have something that gives us confidence. Sooner or later, however, there will come a time when you are simply an observer. Somebody else is catching all kinds of fish and all you can do is watch. A little humility can do an angler a lot of good. When it is your turn to watch somebody else put on a clinic, embrace the opportunity and let the experience make you a better angler. That means no excuses or over-evaluation. Adjust and match; be the chameleon. Again, don’t get hung up on cosmetics. Monitor and break down the big picture, watch the jig stroke, the rate of retrieve, casting angle – visualize what that successful presentation is doing in relation to the structure and fish. Visualize what the lure or presentation looks like. If you are fishing below the boat, look to see what the angle is from the rod tip to the water and match that angle. Test location versus presentation so that you gather better information. Locational nuances to test might be pushing the boat up or out of the break. When somebody is catching fish and you are not, the best thing that can happen to you as an angler is to figure out why. This often means you will have to swallow some pride.

Make time to learn

As a guide, it was easy to go right back to the same old well because of the familiarity. It could be as simple as going back to a good spot or sticking with a presentation that had worked well in the past. There are times, however, when we cling to the past, and that experience that works so well for catching fish can start to work against us. Spend parts of your day exploring. Make a point to try something different each day. Mix up exploring the unknown with the tried and true. Force yourself to embrace the unknown. Experiment with new lures, new tactics, and, most of all, new locations. Try approaching old locations with a different mindset. What I have found is that learning new things keeps fishing exciting and fresh. I sometimes hear anglers complain that there is nothing new in walleye fishing, but it is safe to say that anglers who are learning nothing new are not making an effort. By forcing yourself out of the rut, you not only expand your knowledge, but also increase the amount of satisfaction from fishing.


April 8, 2016

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

PAGE 29


Page 30

Best new bets in MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

2016

rods-n-reels marketplace Carrot Stix Carrot Stix is growing beyond fishing rods with two, two-speed spinning reels to their product portfolio. They Carrot Stix offer on the fly shifting ability for anglers to change from 4.7:1 to 6.7:1 gear ratio in their 2000 series. Available in 5+1 and 10+1 versions, both offer stainless steel ball bearings with carbon fiber seals for better fit around the components. With a solid graphite body which resists corrosion, and the elements while offering strength and lightness, these reels will handle almost any fish. carrotstix.com

Shimano Shimano’s new Stradic is revamped with a Hagane design that focuses on cold-forging and precise gear-cutting technology for a spinning reel that best meets the demands of even professional anglers. Stradic FK 1000HG A Hagane Gear provides power from a cold forged drive gear, X-Ship provides power and smooth rotation from large precision cut gears, while the Hagane Body affords rigidity and impact resistance. The Stradic FK reels are offered in five sizes and feature six shielded AR-B bearings plus Shimano’s one-way bearing Power Roller. Each is equipped with a cold-forged aluminum spool. fish.shimano.com

significantly increases through the ported rotor, allowing for a much shorter drying time if the reel becomes wet. A centrifugal disc bail is trouble free. Lightweight, smooth, and powerful.

abugarcia.com

Basspro.com

Pflueger The President Limited Edition features a carbon handle with rosewood knob enhancing the accessories of a reel that is sound in terms of strength and Pflueger reliability. The alumiLimited Edition num pinion gear is 60 percent lighter than traditional brass gears and aluminum main shaft is 30 percent lighter than stainless steel, a strength-to-weight ratio popular on both sides of aisle. The high-speed larger reels have a 6.2:1 gear ratio while the size 20 and 25 reels have a gear ratio of 5.2:1. A Carbon Matrix drag system and 9+1 stainless steel ball bearing system, 6+1 on the size 20, make this reel a smooth operator. Pfluegerfishing.com

Abu Garcia The new Revo spinning lineup from Abu Garcia has advancements for 2016. Each is equipped with the Rocket Line Management System, which is a combination of bail angle, spool lip design, and slow oscillation, that gives anglers the ability to cast farther and manage line more effectively. These reels also feature a Carbon Matrix system, which provides anglers with the smoothest, most consistent drag pressure throughout the entire drag range. Abu Garcia is adding the Revo MGX to its list of finely tuned spinning reels. A new AMGearing system and X-MAG gearbox highlights a bevy of new features that set this reel apart from others. The AMGearing system is a finely tuned, machined gear that Abu Garcia has better tolerances and better performance throughout the life of the reel. Abugarcia.com

Bass Pro Shops

Abu Garcia Shakespeare

The Johnny Morris Signature Series CarbonLite spinning reel is loaded with carbon enhancements in all the right places. It starts with Bass Pro a radical, minimized Shops design, which uses strategic cutouts to minimize overall weight while maintaining core strength. Then, they pile on the carbon – meaning the entire frame, rotor, and spool are made of this rigid, uber-light material. A lengthened arbor on the long-casting spool reduces the angle of the line on the spool’s lip to minimize friction and resistance, greatly increasing casting distance. Inside, the reel features a hard brass pinion gear, with a

boasting a massive 25 pounds of max drag.

The Revo Toro Beast delivers a unique platform designed to outlast hard-pulling fish into an extremely strong package. Its superior cranking power and overall line capacity gives anglers the upper hand on fresh and saltwater fish. It’s equipped with a Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag System and an active-response drag mechanism allows for immediate drag adjustments in the heat of the battle. The reel comes with an Extended Bent Handle for increased cranking power, a Power Handle and a Casting Power Handle – all with large EVA knobs – while

Shakespeare Shakespeare’s new Amphibian and Salmander combos are designed for kids with an affordable price point and trustworthy reliability. The 5-foot, 6-inch tubular glass rods have a split grip handle that enhances the overall feel of the rod while updated graphics feature blue, orange or pink digi-camo patterns. Six models are offered with three size 30 spinning models and three size 10 spincast models. EVA grips give youth anglers Daiwa increased sensitivity when Fuego the big one tugs on the line.

Okumafishing.com

Shakespeare The iconic Ugly Stik brand now gives anglers more choices with an expanded selection of species-specific rods and combos and can take anything from crappie to striper. Rods feature Ugly Tech construction with Clear Tip design, conventional reel seats and EVA grips. The Ugly Stik Species combos come in spincast, spinning and round reel options.

Shakespeare-fishing.com

Shakespeare-fishing.com

Daiwa

Berkley

Daiwa’s new Fuego spinning reels have a “Hardbodyz” body design that adds strength and durability. Fuego’s Air Rotor design makes it lighter in weight and has greater sensitivity while a Digigear digital gear design is remarkably tough. A nine-bearing system ensures smooth and effortless rotation. This reel was built to last and at a very affordable price for all types of fishing. Daiwa.com

Quantum Quantum Team KVD

Available in both right and left hand models, and made of lightweight graphite construction, Quantum’s Team KVD series of rods and reels were designed in part by legendary bass angler Kevin VanDam. These affordable reels have a free floating pinion design that offers-up incredibly friction-free operation for longer casts. Each features eight bearings, and a lightweight aluminum spool. The 7.3:1 gear ratio model eats up 31 inches of line with every turn of the handle while the 6.6:1 model picks up 28 inches. An external magnetic cast control helps anglers dial in to match lure weights and wind conditions, and a carbon fiber/stainless drag system will provide smooth yet powerful pulling power. Also offered in the latest TeamKVD series are good looking graphite composite rods with split grip EVA handles. Zebcobrands.com

Okuma

Okuma Inspira

Inspira Spinning Reels deliver premium performance at a very modest price. Featuring Okuma’s Torsion Control Armor Design, these reels are extremely lightweight and rigid and come equipped with Okuma’s Cyclonic Flow Rotor design, which creates an airflow that

The Berkley AMP raises expectations for sensitivity in composite rods. Known as the Armadillo Hide™ finish, the non-sanded blank maximizes sensitivity and durability. When paired with the X-Posed uplocking reel seat and split grip handle Clam design, the results are unparalleled. Berkley-fishing.com

Clam The Jason Mitchell Pro Walleye Great Lakes Trolling rod was designed with input from walleye pro and guide Ross Robertson. This parabolic rod action with insert free guide train is extremely versatile for use with braid, lead core and mono. Handle is designed to maximize leverage with a magnum reel seat for large capacity counters. Clamoutdoors.com

St. Croix

R

ods and reels are more complex than ever before. The reels have more bearings, the rods have higher modulus graphite, and both have designs that are as stylish as European sports cars. Price points vary, but a person doesn’t have to spend a fortune to purchase a rig that will get the job done for a long, long time.

smooth, eight-bearing system that includes Powerlock instant anti-reverse.

Ugly Stik

By Dan Durbin Staff Writer

St. Croix The all-new Legend Elite series now includes 57 models with specialized tapers for bass, walleyes, pike, muskies, salmon and steelhead – all with dramatically improved balance and unprecedented sensitivity. Legend Elite blanks are engineered with St. Croix’s exclusive Integrated Poly Curve tooling technology and their new Taper Enhancement Technology that provides unique, computer designed-and-cut patterns for improved actions and increased sensitivity. The rods offer Advanced Reinforcing Technology at strategic locations along each blank for added strength with virtually no additional weight. Two-piece models feature

(See Rods-N-Reels Page 33)


Heavy hitters

April 8, 2016

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

Ammo loaders crank up turkey shells

By Ron Spomer Contributing Writer

I

t’s that time of year again. Get ready to gobble up another tasty tom turkey – but first your shotgun has to gobble up a bunch of shells to discover which works the best. This year’s winner for “Best Performance in a Turkey Gun” depends on the shell/gun/ choke clustering the greatest number of pellets on a turkey’s head/neck at the distance you anticipate shooting. This usually means big piles of pellets in big shells from big guns with tight chokes – but it doesn’t have to. Smaller gauges with less recoil are fully capable of rolling the biggest, toughest turkey so long as you hold your shots within sure killing range of that gun/shell combo. Even a .410 will terminate a tom if it’s close enough. Nevertheless, most hunters want a gun and shell that can really reach out and smack a gobbler. There are several reasons for this. Your only chance in the season might come at 50 yards. The biggest tom you’ve ever seen might hang up at 55 yards. You might be really, really hungry for a wild turkey dinner and have little time to collect the main course. And you might not be real good at judging distances. Should you one day think a turkey at 55 yards looks like it’s just 30 yards away, it would be nice to shoot it with a shell capable of bringing it down at that longer range. This is why it’s important to test-fire a good sampling of today’s best turkey shells. Not every gun and choke combination will shoot every shell the same. Shoot a minimum of three shells of any one brand/ type at life-size paper turkey targets to get a consistent read on the average number of pellets in the head and neck. The range at which your outfit no longer consistently puts at least six pellets in the kill zone is maximum range for you. The right shell can easily increase your range by 10 to 20 yards. Here are some current turkey loads on the market. One or more should prove effective in your rig.

Browning BXD Extra Distance Lead Browning is getting into the ammo business this year with upland bird and waterfowl loads. They might not make it to store shelves in time for the turkey season, but if you see any of the black and yellow-orange boxes with a rooster pheasant on the front, you might consider the 3-inch 12-gauge and 20-gauge lead No. 5 shot loads for turkeys.

Federal Premium 3rd Degree

This new shell uses a stacked mix of 20 percent No. 6 Flightstopper-ringed lead pellets for good spread at close range, 40 percent No. 5 copper-plated lead pellets for tight clusters at mid-ranges, and 40 percent No. 7 Heavyweight

pellets for maximum penetration at long range. Federal claims 3rd Degree shells put 60 percent more pellets in a 10-inch circle at 50 yards than do standard lead turkey loads. At the same time, the Flitestopper pellets result in 60-percent wider patterns at 10 yards.

Fiocchi nickel-plated turkey loads Fiocchi plates lead pellets with nickel to harden them against deformation. This improves pattern density. These turkey shells are available in 3-inch and 31⁄2-inch 12-gauge shells with No. 6, No. 5, and No. 4 shot.

Hevi-Shot

Hevi-13 is reportedly loaded with tungsten pellets 20 percent more dense than lead. Enough said. There’s an extensive selection in 20, 12, and 10 gauges, with shot (See Shells Page 37)

More turkey hunters nowadays are putting more pellets on target with today’s specialty turkey loads. Contributed photo

Page 31


Page 32

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

EAGLE CAM. Here’s the address for the Minnesota DNR eagle nest cam, one of many in operation around the country: http://webcams. dnr.state.mn.us/eagle/

A

Watching Photo by Robert Asche

bald eagle swoops down to its nest in a tall white pine, a lifeless coot in its talons. Its mate proceeds to tear off small pieces of flesh for its several week-old downy chicks, the same story that’s played out over eons.

SPRING SCAMPER. Lewell Troast Jr. was lucky enough to be on hand as a hungry mink scampered along the nearby canal. SPRING SIGN. A handsome red-winged blackbird, a true sign of spring to many of us, claims a marsh for his territory in Rich Carlson’s photo.

FLAPS UP! A bald eagle prepares to launch itself toward a meal in Tim Hubert’s photo.

FLEDGING SOON. An adult bald eagle has just brought a food item to its juvenile nearly ready-to-fly youngster in Thomas Jacobs’s photo.

MIGRATION

’ve just returned from leading my annual spring trip to south-central Nebraska to see the sandhill crane migration. This year, record numbers of sandhill cranes greeted us. Within minutes of arriving in the area, we started seeing thousands of cranes in the fields. The official count was 230,000 cranes during our visit. At any given moment, you could look around in the blue sky and see hundreds, even thousands, of cranes flying in large family units. Each crane called loudly.

The web cam in my area, maintained by the Minnesota DNR’s Nongame Wildlife Program, focuses on a bald eagle nest in the Twin Cities. The female began laying early in the nesting season – the first of three eggs appeared Jan. 25. The region was still in the grip of winter, but developing embryos are much less sensitive to cold than to heat. (In fact, there are records of mallard eggs cracking in the cold, but still producing healthy chicks.)

COB FEAST. Terry Werneth caught a hungry blue jay snatching corn kernels after a late-winter storm.

Parent eagles take turns sitting on their eggs to maintain an internal temperature of just under 100° F (the participation by both adults is fairly unusual in the bird world, where most incubation duties are handled by females). As chicks get older, they “peep” inside their shells to tell parents if they’re chilled.

As I tell the participants on these trips, each year is different. People tend to think that nature stays the same; however, nature is dynamic and is always changing. There are similarities from year to year but it’s never the same twice. This year, the snow geese, which we would normally see in the hundreds of thousands, already had migrated north through the region. We only found a small group of about 50 snow geese feeding in a grassy field.

By late March, the young eagles are standing in the nest under the camera’s eye, alternating bouts of begging for food with long naps. Soon they’ll begin making short flights, and those watching at home will give sighs of relief at the end of another successful nesting season. (Robert Asche captured the image atop this column of a pair of bald eagles on temporary leave from their nest, but they’re not the nest cam parents.)

Each morning, we gathered before daylight and headed to one of the viewing blinds. Under a blanket of stars we navigated a grassy path. Once at the blind, we waited in silence for the sunrise. Meanwhile, about 10,000 or 15,000 cranes nervously called while they stood in the river in front of our blind, also waiting for the sun to rise. As soon as there was enough light to see, the cranes would peel off in small family units to surrounding cornfields to feed on spilled corn left over from last fall’s harvest. It takes a couple hours for most of the cranes to leave the night roosting spot in the river. The cranes stay about two weeks in this part of Nebraska along the Platte River, gaining weight before they continue on their journey northward. Nearly a half million sandhill cranes will pass through this 60- to 90-mile stretch of the Platte during the migration. It is a critical stopover. Biologists believe the cranes have been coming to this part of the Platte River for nearly 10,000 years. Why they don’t choose a different part of the Platte River is unknown.

What’s different is that thousands of avid eagle observers are watching this drama on their computers, tablets, and smartphones. A camera wired to a tree near the massive stick nest transmits video throughout the day over the web, putting humans on the rim of birds’ nests. We can watch the eagles rear their young without bothering them.

Eagles, ospreys, red-tailed hawks, kestrels, and peregrine falcons all are raising their offspring under the watchful eyes of web cams these days. And millions of us are gaining renewed appreciation for the renewing cycles of nature and respect for hard-working parent birds.

Sandhill Crane

I

NEST

Your photos are welcome. l images to Send prints to address below and digita ss. addre email m’s ingha Val Cunn

CONTACT INFORMATION:

valwrites@comcast.net • Stan@naturesmart.com Michigan Outdoor News: Attn: Backyard and Beyond PO Box 199, Lake Orion, MI 48361-0199

CRABBY SURPRISE. A late-winter snowstorm shocked a flock of migrating robins, who then dropped down to Gretchen Engel’s crabapple for a meal.

Some of these cranes will migrate to northern states such as Montana and North Dakota, but the majority spread across Canada east to Hudson Bay and westward up and into Alaska. A small percentage will make the 90-mile crossing from Nome, Alaska to Siberia. Here they will nest and raise their young. And you thought you had a long commute to work! Until next time …

NEW HOME. While Fern Harmon was sitting on her porch, she felt something watching her. It was a flying squirrel, now occupying the new birdhouse she’d recently installed.

• Sapsuckers, squirrels, and others lick tree sap for nourishment. • Eastern bluebirds and tree swallows are claiming nest boxes. • Tundra swans migrate overhead in large flocks. •

Woodcock engage in courtship flights, “peent”-ing in the dark.

• Painted turtles emerge to bask in the sun. Photo by Carol Shaffer

HEADING NORTH. A gorgeous snowy owl, just days from migrating back north, perched along the roadway as Cindy Timbs snapped some shots with her telephoto lens.


Also new are IMX models that can viewed online or at a G. Loomis dealer. gloomis.com

Stcroixrods.com

G. Loomis

Abu Garcia

G. Loomis is bringing their award-winning E6X graphite and Multi-Taper Technology to walleye anglers. With the new E6X Walleye series – including nine spinning and three casting rods, anglers of all levels can experience what G. Loomis rods are all about, with durable models for select specific walleye fishing techniques – vertical jigging,

The new Mike Iaconelli rod line consists of 15 different models and blank construction with 36-ton high-modulus graphite for the majority of the series along with some unique, high-strain glass cranking rods. Each rod in the series is technique specific. abugarcia.com

All Fox River rods are carefully made to U.S.A. specifications and tested prior to production. They feature Pac Bay components and 30+ Ton graphite blanks for ultra lightweight, sensitivity, and performance. They use premium “A” Grade cork for the handles and super-sensitive and light-weight Pac Bay Minima Guides. The old school look with the best of modern components and design make these rods one of the best performing rods on the market.

Fox River Rods

ART-reinforced slim-profile ferrules. Also new are Fuji Torzite guides with solid-titanium frames for unrivaled, 100 percent corrosion-proof performance. Torzite is the first ceramic created specifically for fishing rod guides, and it is stronger, lighter and five times smoother than Fuji SiC, the industry’s previous gold standard.

rigging, bottom-bouncing and trolling – plus “universal” actions for all around use. All are handcrafted in Woodland, Wash., and are backed the G. Loomis’ limited lifetime warranty and Expeditor Service.

G. Loomis

(From Page 30)

Fox River Rods

Daiwa.com

foxriverluresandrods.com

Travel Canada

Daiwa Bass anglers will love Daiwa’s

Beliefs (From Page 25)

to count the number of deer in a given area is to set out one trail camera per 80 to 100 acres of habitat, Winand said. After 10 days, cameras will give you an idea of what deer are present with 70- to 90-percent accuracy, he said. After two weeks, the accuracy increases to 90 to 95 percent. “I’m hoping state agencies will take the data from individual hunters’ trail cameras to lend more precision to their population estimates on a statewide and regional level,” Winand said. Some hunters believe spike bucks are inferior and should be culled, but that’s not true, Winand said. Antler development in yearling bucks is largely dependent on when they were born. A buck fawn born in May might grow a 6or 8-point rack as a yearling, whereas one born in August will likely grow spikes as its first antlers. A Texas study involving 1,800 yearling bucks found that those that were

spike bucks as yearlings actually developed slightly larger racks on average as 31⁄2-yearolds than those that were 4-, 6-, or 8-pointers as yearlings. What’s the bottom line here? You can’t tell if a buck is going to develop record-book antlers until it is 3 years old. It is well known that most yearling bucks disperse from their home range, so landowners who let young bucks go are raising them for someone else, Winand said. One study he cited showed that protecting bucks with less than a 15-inch inside spread kept more young bucks in their home area. “Prior to implementing the 15-inch inside spread rule, 70 percent of our yearling bucks were leaving their maternal home range,” Winand said. “With the 15-inch rule, only 54 percent of yearling bucks were leaving. If you want bucks, shoot the does and let the little bucks grow.” Do mineral supplements improve antler development and body weight? Not accord-

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ing to studies Winand cited in which tons of mineral supplements were added to the soil in the test area and none were added in a control area. Without naming brands, he said mineral supplements do not yield a significant difference in either antler growth or body weight. What about urine-based scents? In a wild setting, Winand doctored scrapes with doe, buck, and human urine, and then monitored buck activity at these scrapes with trail cameras. He found that scrapes with buck urine attracted the greatest number of bucks. Those with human urine were second, and those with doe urine tied with scrapes that had no urine added. There was no statistical difference in the number of bucks attracted to the different scrapes, however. A second study done the following year in the same area compared the relative attraction of buck and doe urine with “new car” scent and again found no statistical difference. Bucks seemed to check out a new scent at a scrape, regardless of what it was. Hunting over scrapes is generally a waste of time, though, as most bucks visit scrapes at night. The key to hunting over scrapes is not the scrape itself, but the “licking branch” that hangs over the scrape, he said. Remove that branch, and bucks will stop using a scrape. Does the moon phase affect rutting activity? No studies have shown a correlation, Winand said. By measuring fetal fawns found in car-killed does, biologists can determine the date of conception. Breeding dates follow a bell curve, Winand said, and every year the peak of breeding occurs in the second week of November, regardless of moon phase. Photoperiod – the amount of daylight, which is constant from year to year – determines rutting activity. Winand encouraged his audience to pay attention while scouting and hunting, and to draw their own conclusions from their observations, but not to take as gospel the claims presented in the outdoor media. These “facts” sell magazines, he said, but they don’t always stand up to scientific investigation.

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Page 34

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

DISTRICT 1 COs Ethen Mapes and Brian Lasanen worked a late-night patrol on Lake Gogebic prior to a fishing tournament with over 1,000 registered anglers. They located a tip-up blinking just off shore at 3:30 a.m. While they waited for someone to check the tip-up, another flag with a red blinking light went up. The conservation officers waited for over half an hour before approaching the tip-ups. Upon closer inspection, there were 10 total tipups. While checking the grid of tip-ups, a light came on in a nearby cabin. Contact was made with two anglers with winter clothes on and two additional “anglers” wearing pajamas. The two anglers with winter clothes claimed to be checking their tip-ups every 10 to 15 minutes. Enforcement action was taken for unattended fishing lines. CO Brian Lasanen was advised by the prosecutor’s office in Ontonagon County that the suspect who fled from CO Lasanen on an ORV this past fall was sentenced to 54 days in jail for fleeing and eluding. The suspect was operating an ORV with a suspended driver’s license. CO David Miller checked a closed section of the Falls River and observed three teenagers getting out of their vehicle with fishing poles. CO Miller made contact with the three teens and advised them that that section of the river was closed and they avoided further enforcement action. COs Ethen Mapes and Adam Leclerc patrolled Lake Gogebic on their ORVs, checking more than 100 anglers catching perch and walleyes. While checking a group of anglers, CO Mapes noticed an angler avoiding eye contact. When the angler was asked how the fishing was, he stated he had caught only one perch. When he was asked for his fishing license, the subject said he thought about getting one but decided not to do so. Enforcement action was taken for fishing/possessing fish without a license. DISTRICT 2 COs Kevin Postma and Jeff Panich were dispatched to assist a fisherman who could not get off the ice. The fisherman had gone fishing early in the morning when the weather was good. The weather began to get bad with blowing snow and white-out conditions resulting in heavy drifting. The fisherman attempted to get back to his vehicle, but became stuck on his ORV. He then found his way back to his ice-fishing shanty where he called his wife, who called 911. The COs located the subject’s ORV and eventually located the fisherman and escorted him back to his vehicle. Sgt. Mike Hammill and CO Brett Gustafson checked two fishermen on Big Manistique Lake. Both anglers were found to be fishing with too many lines – nine each. Enforcement action was taken. CO Chris Lynch was ice fishing on his day off when he observed an angler next to him leave out his tip-ups and go to shore. After waiting for 20 minutes, CO Lynch called Sgt. Jerrold Fitzgibbon to come meet CO Lynch at the scene. Enforcement action was taken. While on an ice-fishing patrol on Little Bay de Noc, COs Calvin Smith, Patrick Hartsig, and Mark Zitnik contacted more than 400 fishermen. In all, the anglers were very happy to see the COs, with minimal violations on the ice. A few citations were issued for ORV violations.

Cuffs & Collars Field reports from Michigan DNR Conservation Officers

While patrolling Munising Bay late one evening, CO Mark Zitnik observed several young adults burning an ice shack on the ice. The CO had them put the fire out and explained to them why it’s illegal to burn the shack. He advised that once they got out of school the next day, they were to pick up the shack and its contents and dispose of them properly. If they did not they would be cited. The individuals had properly disposed of the shack the following day as instructed.

This symbol denotes reports that Outdoor News editors find of special interest. in Ogemaw County. There were 190 people in attendance who asked the conservation officers a variety of questions about hunting and fishing laws. Gabe VanWormer from Michigan Out-of-Doors also attended the event as a guest speaker. CO Kyle Bader received an anonymous complaint through the DNR Dispatch Center indicating a deer had been taken out of season with a firearm. He was able to locate a possible address for the suspect. CO Bader, assisted by CO Casey Pullum, arrived at the address and made contact with multiple subjects who were involved. During the interview, a man confessed to shooting a deer March 7 with a 12-gauge shotgun. He processed the deer with friends and bragged about the incident. The firearm was seized, and charges are being sought through the Ogemaw County prosecutor.

DISTRICT 3 COs in Antrim and Charlevoix counties, Steve Speigl and Chad Baldwin, were checking into suspicious license purchases from the previous firearms deer season. The first hunter they encountered was found to be in violation, as he purchased his license after he had taken a deer. Evidence was seized, and a ticket was issued. COs Eric Bottorff, Matt Theunick, Mark DePew, and Sgt. Greg Drogowski did a group patrol on Burt Lake, checking about 100 ice fishermen. Nine tickets were issued for fishing, ORV, and snowmobile violations, and several warnings were issued for minor violations. CO Matt Theunick responded to a complaint in the Cheboygan area about a subject with two freshly killed deer in his yard. Evidence and a report are being turned over to tribal officers for prosecution in tribal court. CO Nick Torsky received a complaint about two subjects fishing during the closed season on the Pigeon River in Otsego County. Through his investigation, CO Torsky was able to determine who the subjects were and contacted them. The subjects readily admitted to fishing and were quite confused regarding where it was legal and illegal to fish. A warning was given to the 16-year-old subjects, and a thorough explanation of the regulations was provided. COs Brad Bellville, Tim Rosochacki, and Sgt. Joe Molnar spoke at a hunter safety class at the Alpena Sportsmen’s Club and interacted with approximately 50 students. DISTRICT 4 CO William Haskin went to speak with an elementary school class on the life cycle of a Michigan black bear. CO Haskin brought in a full-sized bear mount, a bear rug, a bear skull, and lots of items to hand out. CO Haskin spoke on the life of a bear, what bears need to survive, how they are similar to humans, and what to do if you encounter a bear. CO William Haskin and CO Steve Converse went to a residence to investigate a deer they suspected was shot before a license was purchased. While at the residence interviewing the suspect, they also discovered that a second deer also had been shot before a license had been purchased. After the COs interviewed the suspects, the suspects admitted to buying their licenses after the fact. Enforcement action was taken. CO Angela Greenway received a complaint in Newaygo County about a group of vehicles on state land tearing things up and going through streams and wetlands. When CO Greenway arrived on the scene, there was a vehicle still stuck at the bottom of a 60-foot steep hill with two subjects trying to get the vehicle

DISTRICT 6

Report of the weeK District 1

While patrolling Munising Bay late one evening, CO Mark Zitnik observed several young adults burning an ice shack on the ice. The CO had them put the fire out and explained to them why it’s illegal to burn the shack. He advised that once they got out of school the next day, they were to pick up the shack and its contents and dispose of them properly. If they did not they would be cited. The individuals had properly disposed of the shack the following day as instructed. freed. The vehicle owner stated he left his vehicle with the keys in it at the top of the hill the previous night. He stated he didn’t know how it got to the bottom of the hill. Enforcement action was taken. CO Craig Neal pulled into the Crooked Lake access to check on fishing activity. Two anglers were watching the officer through binoculars. CO Neal decided to check them first. The two anglers had eight lines in the water. Enforcement action was taken. DISTRICT 5

opportunity to harvest a wolf is not a management program. Both wolf and coyote (management) should require the practice of euthanasia. In the dens and aerial shooting during the bottleneck period is very controversial but an effective management practice, which only can be accomplished by the government. Canine population density rates need to be established and adhered to; again, this will not be accomplished through just public sporting measures. The Michigan DNR boasts about its elk management (great job), now manage the canines. There is a big difference between having independent or lone wolves and working packs consisting of an average of about six wolves. These packs require a large quantity of protein to endure. What do Michigan and the federal government believe these packs are feeding pups in May?

CO Mark Siemen investigated a complaint in Watertown Township in Sanilac County involving a subject who had shot a deer with a handgun. After shooting the deer, the suspect fled in a white van pulling a trailer. According to the property owner, the suspect pulled to the shoulder of the road, stepped out of his van, and shot a deer that was lying in his field. During the investigation at the scene, it was determined by CO Siemen that the deer was dead before the suspect shot it. With assistance from local law enforcement and CO Matt Zultak from Lapeer County, the suspect was later located driving the white van in Lapeer County. CO Siemen was able to respond into Lapeer County and stop the vehicle. The driver of the van stated he did kill a wounded deer that was lying in the field just off the road. The suspect stated he had a CPL and thought it was a waste of time to call a police officer to shoot the deer. The suspect was advised that he did not have the authority to shoot a wounded deer and did not have permission from the homeowner to be on the property. Enforcement action was taken, and the suspect was advised that the deer was already dead before he shot it. CO Will Brickel was checking anglers for marine safety equipment and for walleyes at the Zilwaukee Bridge boat launch. During the patrol, several anglers were found to have walleyes under the 13-inch minimum size limit. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Josh Wright and Ethan Gainforth were partnered up in Clare County when they heard radio traffic about a possible breaking and entering in progress. The COs responded to the scene and assisted Clare County sheriff’s deputies with the apprehension of a suspect. The suspect was lodged in the Clare County jail.

While checking anglers along the Chippewa River, CO Mike Haas encountered a fisherman who had not purchased a fishing license. After further investigation, it was confirmed that the man also had two outstanding warrants from Muskegon County. Enforcement action was taken.

COs Kyle Bader and Brian Olsen attended a sportsmen’s wild game dinner at a church

CO Richard Cardenas was patrolling the Barry State Game Area when he encountered a small-game hunter who believed that the orange gloves he was wearing met the hunter orange legal requirements. Hunters must wear a hunter orange hat, vest, or coat and it must be the outer-most garment and be visible from 360 degrees. Enforcement action was taken.

Letters (From Page 3)

COs Mark Siemen, Robert Hobkirk, and Seth Rhodea conducted a joint snowmobile patrol on the MSA trail system in Sanilac County. There were several tickets issued for trail permit violations; however, most snowmobilers were found to be in compliance.

Bears can be controlled by hunting. Increase bear permits to a level that equates to a sustained population and lower bear numbers where whitetail recruitment is being impacted. Raising bear numbers leads to additional predation of fawns at a time when this is critical to rebuilding whitetail populations. Prevention of “roller-coaster” wildlife populations should be the goal and can be achieved through action, not reporting after the fact. A Sault Ste. Marie DNR employee recently told me, “We believe three years ago 85 percent of the yearlings (deer) in Chippewa County died in the harsh winter.” In that winter, a citizen feeding deer in Chippewa County was ordered to stop because the established closures deadline came, but winter did not stop. It took a call by the citizen to the DNR in Lansing and two weeks transpired before permission to resume feeding was granted. This response was too late to save some of that herd.

Bruce Dragrub Williamston

DISTRICT 7

CO Steve Mooney checked fishermen at the South Haven pier and observed a good number of trout and salmon being caught. CO Mooney also located a subject fishing without a license and cited the subject. CO Andy Bauer was second on the scene of a reported drowning in progress near the Benton Harbor boat launch. At the scene, a deceased person was found floating near the shore of the river. An investigation revealed that the subject had been in the river for an extended length of time. The Benton Harbor Police Department will be in charge of the death investigation. CO Chris Simpson made contact with an angler and his 3-year-old son who were coming in from walleye fishing on Muskegon Lake. The two were in possession of 11 walleyes. The father indicated that they both caught their limit while trolling and had gotten so excited from their success that they had mistakenly threw an extra walleye in their bucket. Further investigation revealed that they didn’t have life jackets on

April 8, 2016

board. Enforcement action was taken. CO Justin Ulberg assisted the Wisconsin DNR in the investigation of a smallmouth bass that was illegally taken in a lake in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin DNR discovered a YouTube video showing a subject spearing the smallmouth bass and learned the subject lived in Michigan. CO Ulberg was able to locate the subject and obtain a full confession regarding the violation. A report was forwarded to the Wisconsin DNR for further action. DISTRICT 8 CO Larn Strawn received a Report All Poaching complaint about a person shooting a deer during the closed season in Ingham County. CO Strawn patrolled to the complaint location and conducted an investigation. CO Strawn located a dead deer in a field and contacted several people for interviews. CO Strawn developed information and will patrol the area in future efforts to locate the suspect vehicle. CO Christopher Maher received a complaint about a buffalo carcass on state land. CO Maher has been in contact with several local farmers but was unable to determine from where the animal came. CO Jason King conducted a check of a fisherman on Hopkins Lake in Shiawassee County. When the officer asked to see the subject’s fishing license, he stated he did not have one and that he did not think he needed one. CO King explained the fishing rules and regulations to the subject, and enforcement action was taken. CO Daniel Prince responded to a dumping complaint in the Oak Grove State Game Area in Livingston County. CO Prince was able to locate a possible suspect from items located at the dumping scene. The investigation is continuing. CO Chris Reynolds assisted a local Hillsdale County sheriff’s deputy on a domestic disturbance call that had turned physical. The deputy will be submitting a report on the incident. CO Joshua Jackson assisted local Branch County officers in a two-person search. The two suspects had stolen bottles of alcohol and other items from a local convenience store. The two suspects fled the scene and led the local officers on a short pursuit before hiding their vehicle and fleeing on foot. CO Jackson helped search nearby fields, woodlots, and out-buildings for suspicious activity. The incident is currently under investigation. DISTRICT 9 While checking anglers at Bolles Harbor, CO James Zellinger contacted a boater coming back to the access site after fishing. CO Zellinger discovered multiple panfish in the livewell of the boat. Later it was determined the subject operating the boat did not have a valid fishing license. Enforcement action was taken. COs David Schaumburger and Raymond Gardner were checking anglers in Detroit when they came upon one particular angler who said he did not have his fishing license on him. The angler stated it was at home and he forgot it, but he definitely had one. After an RSS check, it was discovered that the angler has not had a fishing license since 2009. The angler was then recontacted and finally admitted that the bait store was not open that day and he could not buy his license. Enforcement action was taken. Sgt. Damon Owens spoke to approximately 120 students at Owen Intermediate School. The students were educated about the duties of a conservation officer. CO Mark Ennett spoke at Wagar Middle School in Carleton for its annual career day. A total of 115 students revolved through five classes, learning and asking questions about the career of a Michigan conservation officer. CO Kris Kiel inspected a suspicious bobcat brought to the Wildlife Division office in Harrison Township ibn Macomb County to get sealed. The bobcat was brought in by a taxidermist for sealing for a client. CO Kiel explained to the taxidermist the legality of the situation, and that you could not bring an animal taken by another in for sealing. CO Kiel obtained the owner information and contacted him to have him come and have the animal personally sealed. The subject did arrive at the DNR office, but it was determined by talking to the subject that he was not the successful hunter. The subject explained to CO Kiel that it was actually his 14-year-old son who had harvested the bobcat. To make matters worse, through the interview CO Kiel found that the kill tag was acquired after the animal was taken. Enforcement action was taken.


Belonging is what makes a difference

April 8, 2016

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

By Russ Mason Contributing Writer

I

’ve written about R3 (recruitment, retention, and reactivation) in the past. The data are compelling and not entirely intuitive. Regulations aren’t especially important – antler point restrictions or the lack thereof, for example, aren’t likely to move the needle. Neither is more or less opportunity. Increasing convenient access can’t hurt, but it isn’t a variable that makes much difference when it comes to recruiting and retaining new hunters. What does make a difference is belonging. Becoming a serious hunter, fisher, or conservationist isn’t much different than joining a cult. Consider how much time was devoted to you or how much time you devote to your kids. It follows that what we need are strategies that foster a sense of inclusion in a valuable community. For that, the development of friendships and enjoyable group memberships are key. So, we all recognize that friendships are based on shared traits and interests. So too, shared interests, backgrounds, and interests are needed for the creation of strong mentored relationships that produce dedicated life-long hunters and fishers. Obviously, the process is a matter of personal chemistry. It’s necessarily idiosyncratic. Very little of what the conservation community does incorporates these undeniable facts. It’s self-evident that hunting field days of various kinds, youth hunts (typically weekends), free fishing days, volunteer events, and various other uncoordinated one-offs are popular. They leave all of us feeling good. Feeling good and effectiveness, however, aren’t the same. As well, hunter “education” is a one-time thing – typically, a couple of mandatory eighthour sessions in a fairly sterile environment with strangers. While that might have worked when hunter education was a rite of passage, it’s less and less effective. Fewer than 45 percent of people who complete hunter education are buying licenses a couple of years later. Nurturing strong one-on-one relationships is labor-intensive. Anything specific that agencies or conservation organizations have tried to date is far too artisanal (hand-made) to mass produce enough hunters or fishers to make a difference. There’s a screaming need for another approach. Perhaps the solution lies not in the making of the relationships, per se, but instead in providing the fertile seedbed for relationships to develop organically. Suppose, for example, that the existing hunter education program was broken down and the component segments offered all year long. A few hours of very basic classroom and field instruction could suffice to obtain a hunter safety card – the federal requirement is liberal. Subsequent classes could explore muzzleloaders, crossbows, compound bows, telescopic sights, or whatever. Interspersed, there might be

To make a difference in recruitment and retention, we need strategies that foster a sense of inclusion in a valuable community. Photo courtesy USFWS opportunities to learn different Outreach by MSU Extension fishing techniques, trapping and canned elementary school methods, fur handling, habitat coursework offered by the management, bird identificaDNR could be inserted at tion, or whatever, ad nauseam. every educational level, K-12, community colleges, universi-

ties. Throughout, hunter and angler field days (for youth, women, young adults, anyone else) could be used to create a full and coordinated calendar of opportunities. Any day, more or less, and anywhere, some opportunity would be available for people of different skill levels to come together and form critical friendly relationships in the context of hunting, fishing, and other conservation-related outdoor activities. Obviously, building and maintaining this outdoors calendar is real work, and it wouldn’t be one-and-done. There’s a need for coordination, perhaps provided by a person hired by the DNR, but better, a partnership position mutually funded by the agency and various conservation partners. This position is key, not only to make sure every activity is linked to every other, but also to choreograph the contributions of the multitude of groups. A coordinator could also

Page 35

assure marketing of the calendar to participants and collect information on participant engagement patterns and preferences, thus assuring good empirical information about what works and what doesn’t (no matter how we feel about it). At the end of the day, a 365day, 24/7 program is in everyone’s best secular interest. A strong program will make for more hunters and fishers (good for the development of essential resources to acquire and maintain habitat,) more target shooters and members of various conservation organizations, meaning stronger groups and partners. More outdoors people means more benefit for the business community that equips them. Most significant, the ultimate result is a stronger (and likely more diverse) conservation community. That is vital for continuing public support for what makes Michigan unique – abundant, restored, high-quality natural resources.

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Picture this:

Page 36

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

By Al Cornell Contributing Writer

T

he spectacle of spring waterfowl migration frequently gets viewed from afar, but a floating photo blind can get you close to the action. Ducks in spring engage in extraordinary mating displays that feature wing posturing, head tossing, bubbling, and courtship flights, along with an array of vocalizations. The entertainment is good, and the best seats are out in the wetlands. Otters, beavers, eagles, and sandhill cranes may inject confusion into the pageantry. As for blinds, I like simplicity. You can find sites on the web that explain how to build luxury models, but I doubt they function as well as the simple imitation muskrat house. Mine has served me well for 15 years, with a few minor tweaks along the way. A horseshoe-shaped Styrofoam platform constitutes the foundation of the blind. The Styrofoam takes a beating and holds up well. I’m constantly running into tree trunks and limbs that died and fell into the flowage where I do most of my floating photography. The Styrofoam shows wear, but has no significant damage. By spring, ducks have had some experience with camouflage, and, for the most part, are not easily fooled. For most of my floating photography, I launch in the dark and work to an area where I can back the blind into a cattail patch before daylight. It’s easy to enter the blind from the rear after it’s pushed into about 2 feet of water. I’ve learned the spots where I can sit quite comfortably on the edge of a cattail mat, submerged to my waist. A pair of 3.5 mm Neoprene waders pulled over long johns, pants, and a warm coat keep me comfortable for four hours on days that I break ice and sit on a submerged frozen ledge. When moving, I have to be a little careful to not get water down the front of the waders. As every duck hunter knows, sunrises on the water are spectacular. The noise of nearby feeding ducks continues to increase, and eventually there is enough light to take pictures. Inevitably, I try to get photos before the light is strong enough for good, sharp photos. That flock of greenwings or hoodies comes by too early. Clear mornings are much preferred for quality photos. Some days, an old Canada goose will give a few loud honks and no

Here’s the blind, parked in vegetation at the water’s edge. Photos by Al Cornell

Floating for spring waterfowl photos

A female hooded merganser shows off her hairdo in the morning light.

Inside the blind

From the bottom of this photo, you can see three layers of glued-together Styrofoam. Under that I added a smaller block of Styrofoam to each side to reach the desired flotation. A 1⁄4-inch piece of plywood is cut to fit on top of the Styrofoam. A small board laid across the plywood is held in place by industrial-strength Velcro. It can be pulled loose and moved forward when the blind is in a stationary location. There is a paddle held in place by Velcro and attached to a string in the front part of the blind. I use it when I get in water that is over 4 feet deep. A PVC framework is attached to the plywood base. Four inches of Styrofoam keep the camera above the water. A beanbag is held to the Styrofoam by Velcro, and the camera is held on it by a bungee. The camera is offset to the side at about a 45-degree angle because it is nearly impossible to look straight ahead through the lens at the camera’s low position. The inside of the camo cloth is sprayed-painted black to hide the silhouette of the photographer. There is limited visibility around the front PVC leg, but, for a better view, there is a mosquito-netting window at the top. It is held up by a spring-loaded PVC arm not visible in this photo. For the horseshoe of Styrofoam, I used three 36- by 44-inch blocks and rounded the front end. My interior cutout was 17 inches wide and 30 inches long. Any glue that holds up in water and does not dissolve Styrofoam can be used. I painted the outside of the Styrofoam black. My PFD pads my chest where it lays across the support board. I can stand in 4 feet of water and bend my knees to travel through water as shallow as 2 feet. I have a tail of camo cloth that extends a couple of feet behind the blind. It hides my legs when I extend them behind me in shallower water. This blind fits easily into the back of most cars. Pied-billed grebes frequently take a look at the blind.

A bufflehead hen rests a few feet in front of the floating blind.

ducks will come close. Other days, the goose will pay little attention, and I can slip magically among ducks that are nearly oblivious to my presence. Usually, it’s somewhere in between, and I take a bunch of photos. I thought maybe a goose decoy or a couple of mallard decoys resting on top of my blind would give the ducks more confidence. However, that never seemed to help. Most species of locally migrating ducks use the flowage where I photograph. A summer drawdown results in an abundance of smartweed, bidens, and wild rice. I can count on especially heavy usage the following spring as the migrating birds flock in to take advantage of the high-energy food supply. I also know of a few channels meandering through wooded areas that provide the needed water depth. I float those areas, stopping frequently to watch for wood ducks, teal, and hooded mergansers. Various other critters show up, depending on the time of year. In early spring, red-winged blackbirds sing from above me in the cattails, stretching out their wings to expose the red epaulets. Soon turtles crawl onto logs. They dive quickly if they detect movement. However, if I move really slowly, I can bump into them and they still don’t know anything is wrong. When floating for ducklings in May, soras and rails are possible subjects. During high water, I floated into a new area and discovered a young great-horned owl on a branch of a snag. Otters are always a possible subject. Photos gotten in this manner exhibit a delightful characteristic because of the low angle from which they are taken. The possibilities are numerous, and the memories are special.

Mallards swim in front of the blind.


April 8, 2016

Shells (From Page 31)

sizes from No. 7 through No. 4. Hevi-Metal turkey loads in 20 and 12 gauge combine a layered mix of steel shot and Hevi-Shot for more pellets at close range and less recoil due to a lighter payload. Magnum Blend loads include three shot sizes in each shell, either No. 7, No. 6, or No. 5, or No. 6, No. 5, and No. 4.

Kent

Kent Bismuth shells use bismuth pellets that aren’t quite as dense as lead, but legal where nontoxic shot is mandatory. There are 20-, 16-, and 12-gauge loads with Nos. 6, 5, or 4. Five Star Penetrator 12-gauge loads, 3-inch and 31⁄2inch, use a 50/50 mix of tungsten matrix and lead diamond shot in No. 5, what Kent and many turkey hunters consider the all-around best pellet size for turkeys. Traditionalists will want to test out the Ultimate Diamond Shot turkey loads featuring Kent’s hard-lead pellets in No. 6, No. 5, and No. 4 sizes.

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

Outdoor Market Winchester

RELAX!

Bed & Breakfast & Great Fishing Excellent food!

No. 6, No. 5, and No. 4 pellets locked in a resin that shatters into thousands of buffering granules upon firing. The result is tighter patterns and greater penetration over standard lead loads beyond 50 yards.

Long Beard XR is the hot 12-gauge ticket from Winchester these days. Available in 3 inch and 31⁄2 inch, these shells feature big payloads of copper-plated

Page 37

605-791-3273

WESTERN KENTUCKY BACKWOODS FARMS

www.BlackHillsHuntingandFishing.com

TROPHY BUCKS • FAIR CHASE • AFFORDABLE HUNTING THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF PRIVATE FARMS WITH STANDS HUNTERS GET A VERY LARGE FARM FOR YOUR GROUP ONLY

FREE BROCHURE 270-498-3374 READERSHOT PHOTO FORM Please include this form with your photo. Photos with this form included will receive first consideration to be published. PLEASE INCLUDE SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE IF YOU WANT YOUR PHOTO RETURNED. (PLEASE PRINT ALL INFO.)

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Remington

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Premier High-Velocity turkey loads feature buffered, copper-plated lead shot payloads of No. 6, No. 5, and No. 4 shot in various 20-gauge and 12-gauge configurations rated at about 1,180 fps. Premier High Velocity Magnum turkey shells in 12 gauge 3-inch and 31⁄2-inch use No. 6, No. 5, or No. 4 buffered, copper-plated lead payloads at 1,300 fps.

Other pertinent info:___________________________________

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_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________ PLEASE DO NOT PUT SUBSCRIPTION FORMS IN WITH YOUR PHOTOS.

Photo composition is the most important aspect of a good shot. No beer cans or cigarettes/ cigars in photos. Do not hold fish by eyes or gills. Stringer shots and hanging deer shots are not accepted. Shirtless subjects not accepted. Outdoor News receives large numbers of photos and will attempt to publish* every photo, but it may take a while. This form is for general reader photos. Specific photo contests will have their own form. Send to:

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Gear & Gadgets ADD SOME MAGIC TO YOUR GAME PLAN WITH LICK MAGIC Heartland Wildlife, makers of industry-leading food plot seeds, minerals, attractants and deer feed, has announced that Lick Magic, a mineral supplement that attracts, grows and keeps big deer on your property, is now available in an 8-pound bag. As the seasons progress, especially when spring transitions to summer, sodium levels in deer forage decreases — but the need for sodium in a whitetail’s diet doesn’t decrease. Lick Magic from Heartland Wildlife provides an economical solution to this common problem, bolstering nutrition and providing a mineral site that’s perfect for capturing photos with a scouting cam. Now available in an 8-pound bag, in addition to being offered in a 25-pound bag with an easy-carry handle — Lick Magic provides a great additional source of sodium, encouraging antler growth on bucks and a healthy herd overall. In addition, Lick Magic’s special apple flavoring creates a mineral site that deer find irresistible. For best results, use Lick Magic in the key antler growing season, beginning immediately after the spring thaw and maintaining the site through summer. Simply pour Magic Lick on the ground and watch the health and size of your herd improve. For more information about Lick Magic, or to see the complete lineup of Heartland Wildlife products, visit www.heartlandwildlife. com.

UNIQUE 1-PIECE VERSUS 2-PIECE ASSEMBLY MAKES QUANTUM’S NEW THROTTLE UNIQUELY SMOOTH Using the most compelling production technology available, Quantum’s new Throttle is the product of a whole new way to build a spinning reel in an all aluminum uni-body construction, versus a 2-part reel. The design keeps all key components in one Reel Engine™, which leads to more precise alignment of the gears for a smoother more durable reel at a shockingly low price. The single housing concept of Throttle’s production allows all its internal parts to move freer and last longer. Thanks to a rubber ‘braid band’ anglers can tie braided line directly to the spool with no monofilament backing necessary, and the uniquely designed MaxCast II spool offers superior casting distance because it reduces friction by eliminating line contact with the front edge of the spool. Featuring a total of 10 bearings, Throttle comes in sizes 20 and 30, and is also available as a combo. For more information on this and other products, go to shop.zebcobrands.com/ quantum.

IN-LINE FOUR OUTBOARDS Count on Yamaha’s reliable in-line four strokes to power the fun. Our in-line four-cylinder designs and electronic fuel injection make these babies strong, nimble, compact and light weight. In other words, they’re up for anything, making them the perfect power for cruising, skiing and sport fishing on flats, decks and offshore boats, and pontoons or deep-V hulls. We’ve even freshened up the best-selling 150-horsepower four-stroke outboard by refining the cowling drainage and adding a tough 8-tooth “dog clutch” to make this dependable workhouse even more reliable. Incredible versatility. That’s why there are more than 100,000 Yamaha In-Line Fours on the water today. Lightweight power is one of the many reasons In-Line Fours are bestsellers. They also offer: • Amazing Acceleration: Variable camshaft timing and four tuned intake tracks increase low-and mid-range torque, boosting acceleration on the F200. • Power/Reliability: 16-valve direct drive DOHC maximizes power by using four valves per cylinder, eliminating rocker arms and their adjustments and increasing air supply and volumetric efficiency for better performance. • Minimized Vibration: Counterbalancing technology on the F200, F175, F150 and F115 minimize engine vibration for a smooth ride. Visit www.yamahaoutboards.com for more information.

TROPHY XTREME SPOTTING SCOPES FROM BUSHNELL With best-in-class brightness, the new Trophy Xtreme spotting scopes from Bushnell are the brightest hunter in its field. Affordability makes them the brightest choice at the checkout as well. This tough, Xtreme hunting partner inherits the same rugged ergonomic design as Bushnell’s Trophy binoculars and features an adjustable sun-shade with built-in objective cover to protect big 50 mm or 65mm objectives. Matched with a waterproof hard case, and side-carry soft case to safely house an improved tripod it’s the most complete spotting scope money can buy. Other features and benefits include porro-prism design, premium fully multicoated optics, and zoom magnification up to 60x. Most importantly, the Trophy Xtreme spotting scopes come with Bushnell’s 100% No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty. Ask for the new Bushnell Xtreme binoculars at your favorite sporting goods store or visit www.bushnell.com for more information.

INTRODUCING THE NEW LINDY RALLY FISH CRANKBAIT Put on your rally caps! The new Lindy Rally Fish crankbait was designed to represent a blend of baitfish species to make it effective no matter the forage on any particular body of water. Combining the characteristics of a long, slender minnow bait and a bananashaped crankbait, the new Rally Fish has the shape and action to fool big gamefish no matter where they swim. The Lindy Rally Fish dives to 12 feet on the cast, but trolls down to 26-feet deep. Color patterns include cutting edge looks and proven classics. On the interior, the Rally Fish contains pitch-perfect rattles for long-distance fish attraction. It’s equipped with super-sharp #4 red treble hooks. The Rally Fish was built to catch fish both cast to shallow structure and trolled in deeper water. The new Rally Fish measures 3 ½-inches in length and weighs 3⁄8-ounce. It is available in 11 color patterns. For more information go to www.lindyfishingtackle. com. The Lindy Tackle Company was created in 1968 by members of the Nisswa Guides’ League in the heart of Minnesota’s Brainerd Lakes area. The goal was to market a revolutionary new walleye fishing product called the Lindy Rig. Since then, the original Lindy Rig has found its way into 40 million tackle boxes. During the decades since its creation, the company created several more products that deserve the “legendary” title, including the Fuzz-E-Grub and the Little Nipper.


Page 38

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

Banquets/Fundraisers

. April 9: Lenawee County WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., American Legion, Hudson. For more info call John Ofchar, 517-547-5055. April 9: RGS Banquet, 5 p.m., Imlay City Knights of Columbus Hall. For more info call Brad Johnson, 810-430-0138. April 9: Traverse Bay RMEF Banquet, 4:30 p.m., Park Place Dome, Traverse City. For more info call Bert Richards, 231-218-8224. April 12: Freeland WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., Forest Edge, Freeland. For more info call Jason Maraskine, 989-486-1961. April 15: Isabella WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Parish Hall, Mt. Pleasant. For more info call Scott Zeneberg, 989-289-0141. April 15: St. Clair WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Knights of Columbus, St. Clair. For more info call Fred Webber, 989-619-3481. April 15: Ravenna Conservation Club Banquet, at the Clubhouse. For more info call Ken Borgman, 231-750-3600. April 15: Clinton County DU Banquet, Clinton County 4-H Fairgrounds, St. Johns. For more info call Kurt Hufnagel, 989-224-2072. April 16: Shelby Area WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., Shelby Optimist Road, Shelby. For more info call Dustin Waller, 231-861-5599. April 16: Standish WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., VFW Hall, Standish. For more info call Jason Vallad, 989-928-8470. April 16: Sanilac WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., Woodland Hills Golf Course, Sandusky. For more info call Rick Mazei, 810-414-4371. April 16: Adams Chapter TU Banquet, 5 p.m., Park Place Dome. For more info call Robert Hoxie, 231-883-9960. April 16: Au Sable Valley DU Banquet, 6 p.m., Oscoda American Legion. For more info call Ben Eby, 989-385-0828 April 16: Multi Lakes Conservation Club Banquet, 5:30 p.m., at the Clubhouse. For more info call Glenn Kruckenberg, 734-4550710. April 16: Wild Game Dinner, 6 p.m., Ithaca Wesleyan Fellowship Hall, Ithaca Wesleyan Church. For more info call Ray Pratt, 989928-3857. April 18: Thunder Bay RMEF Banquet, 5 p.m., Sanctuary Inn, Alpena. For more info call Beckie Thomson, 989-379-3049.

Almanac Calendar of Events

April 22: Iosco County WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Knights of Columbus, East Tawas. For more info call Mike Westcott, 989-310-0760. April 22: Lakeshore RMEF Banquet, 5 p.m., Trilium Banquet Center, Spring Lake. For more info call Mike Kraushaar, 616-560-6278. April 23: Manistee Area WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., VFW, Manistee. For more info call Jim Kurdziel, 231-894-1515. April 23: Bear River RMEF Banquet, 5 p.m., Odawa Casino, Petoskey. For more info call 231-330-0970. April 23: Wm. B Mershon TU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Saginaw Valley State University, Curtis Hall. For more info call Joe Albosta, 989-7374938. April 28: Atlanta WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Olds El-Bo Inn, Atlanta. For more info call Gil Olds, 989-785-4713. April 28: Big Snow Friends of NRA Banquet, 5 p.m., Aurora Club, Ironwood. For more info call Nicole, 906-364-0905. May 7: Chelsea WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Chelsea Community Fairgrounds, Chelsea. For more info call Jamie Bollinger, 734-4331831. May 7: Jackson Area WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., Gene Davis & Sons Banquet Center, Jackson. For more info call Tom Cure, 517-524-6669. Aug. 7: West Michigan RMEF Banquet, 5 p.m., The Pinnacle Center, Hudsonville. For more info call Mark Veenstra, 616-738-1287. Aug. 13: Erie RMEF Banquet, The Landing Banquet Hall, Tecumseh. For more info call Robert Matota, 734-697-3932.

Dog Events

March-Oct.: Puppy Fair, 2nd Sun. each month, 8:30-2:30 p.m., Multi Lakes Conservation Club Commerce Twp., MI. For more info call Dave Elam, 248-624-0944. www.multilakes.com

Special Events

April 17, May 15, June 19, July 17, Aug. 21, Sept. 18, Oct. 16, Nov. 20: Dundee Sportsman Club, Breakfast, 8-noon. For more info call Sandra Collins, 734-707-8372. *** Multi Lakes Conservation Club Events. 3860 Newton Road, Commerce Twp, Michigan, 48382. For more info call Glenn Kruckenberg, 248-3639109 or www.multilakes.com

April 8, 2016

Four Square Conservation Club & Sportsman’s Association, 6777 Cline Road. 2013 Schedule of events. For more info call 810-327-6859 or www. foursquaresportsman.com Every Thurs. Night: Indoor Pistol Shoot. * * * Baldwin Rd, Chesaning, MI 48616. Schedule of 2010 Shoots. For more info call Duane Moore, 989-865-6940. Every Wed.: Trap, 6:30-10 p.m. * * * Michigan Outdoor News would like to list your upcoming banquet or event in our Outdoor Calendar. We need the date, time, place, organization name, how many people will be attending, a phone number where the public can call for more information and your name and address. Michigan Outdoor News will contribute newspapers for distribution at your banquet and free subscriptions to give as door prizes. Please mail the information at least four weeks prior to your event to: Michigan Outdoor News Subscription Services, Attn: Calendar, 9850 51st Ave., N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271 Fax: 763-546-5913 www.outdoornews.com/michigan/calendar

Sun.: 2nd Sun. of every month, 9-noon. Tues.: Bingo, 6:30 p.m. Fri.: Fish Fry, 5:30-8 p.m. April 9: Women on Target, 8:30-7:30 p.m. July 16: Rocking on Reed Lake, Concert, 4:30 p.m.

Season Dates April 15: Coyote season ends. April 15: Dog training season ends. April 18: Spring wild turkey season opens. April 30: Trout season opens. April 30: Pike, muskie, sauger, and walleye seasons open on LP inland waters. May 15: Walleye pike, sauger, & muskie seasons open UP Waters. May 28: Bass season opens except on Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair & Detroit Rivers. May 31: Spring wild turkey season ends.

Shooting Sports

June 16-19: MRC Sportsman’s Club, MEC Great Northern Side-by-Side Classic, 8 a.m., Medford, WI. For more info call Gary Kapfhamer, 715-965-7613. Oct. 7-9: Southern Michigan Gun Club, National Level Shooting competition, 8-4 p.m., at the Club. For more info call Chris Martin, 608-3478395. * * * Every Tuesday. Livingston County Wildlife Conservation Club, Trap Shoots, 4 p.m.-dusk. For more info call 810-231-1811. * * *

Rockford Sportsman’s Club, Schedule of Events, 11115 Northland Drive, NE, Rockford, MI 49341. www.rockfordsportsmansclub.com Cowboy Shoot: 1st Sat. of every month. * * * Post 46 Hunting & Fishing Club, 8888 Dexter Townhall Rd. Dex Tues: Trap Shooting, 4 p.m. * * * Rockford Sportsman Club, 11115 Northland Drive. For more info call 616-866-4273 or checkout www. rockfordsportsmansclub.com First Sat. of each month: Cowboy Action Shoot except November. * * * West Walker Sportsman Club, 2013 Schedule of Events. 0-601 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI. For more info call Patrick Murray, 616-453-5081. All Year: Open 7 days a week. * * * Big Bear Sportsmans Club, 2013 Schedule of Events. For more info call Dave Somset, 231362-3103. Every Sunday: Shooting 5 Stand & Trap, 10-2 p.m. * * * Twin Lakes Sportsmen’s Club events. For more info call 773-792-3457 or 262-279-3503. 1 & 3rd Sundays: Trap shooting, Individual Tournaments 200 targets 12 noon. * * * Multilakes Conservation Assoc. 2013 Events. 3860 Newton Road, Commerce Twp, MI, 48382. For more info call Pete Cesaro, 248-363-9109. Thurs.: 3-Dusk. Saturday: 10-3 p.m. Sunday: Noon-Dusk * * * Dundee Sportsmans Club 2016 shoot schedule. DSC, 2300 Plank Road, Dundee, MI. For more info call 734-474-8893. Now-April 9: Sling Shot League. Thursdays: Open Trap.

Archery April 16-17: Royal Oak Archers 3D Traditional Archery Shoot, 9-4 p.m. For more info call Chris Snure, 248-693-9799. * * * Oakland County Sportsmens Club, Clarkston. For more info contact 248-623-0444 or visit ocsclub.org

Perch (From Page 20)

Steve Joy, of Lansing, captured this photo of a bald eagle on his trail camera near Ovid.

Trail Camera Photos

Have an interesting photo on your trail camera? Michigan Outdoor News is looking for odd and unusual photos from our readers’ trail cams. Send them to Trail Camera Photos, c/o Michigan Outdoor News, P.O. Box 199 Lake Orion, MI 48361-0199, or e-mail them to ronnie@outdoornews.com. Please include your name, hometown, the town or county where the photo was taken, along with any other interesting details about the image collected from your trail camera. *Photos will be discarded unless self-addressed, stamped envelope is included.

the spikes until the minnows started going, too. Sowa’s theory is that we were drawing willing fish to the minnows. We sat on them for about two more hours, catching them regularly. It was never fast and furious, but it was fast enough that about any time Sowa contemplated making a move, one of us caught a fish. So we stayed put. There were some dinks mixed in with the keepers, for sure, but the bulk were 8 inches or larger, not

Now-May 1: Outdoor Hunter.

Women’s Programs May 21: Wm. B. Mershon TU, Women in Waders Fly Fishing Event, 9-3 p.m., Saginaw Bay Visitor’s Center. For more info call Laurie Seibert, 989205-3763.

Special Events

July 16: Multi-lakes Conservation Assoc. Rocking on Reed Lake, 4:30 p.m. For more info call Salvtore Ferra, 248-363-9109.

Meetings

\ April 14: Grand Haven Steelheaders Meeting, 6 p.m., Grand Haven VFW. For more info call Rich Wilson, 517-676-2920. Freeland Conservation Club meets 1st Wed. of every month, 7 p.m., at the Club. For more info call Ken Balden, 989-695-2641. Post 46 Hunting & Fishing Club meets 2nd Tues of every month, 7 p.m., at the Club. For more info call John Wilde, 734-646-6132. Flat Rock Chapter NWTF meets the 3rd Thurs. of each month, 7-10 p.m., Flat Rock Youth Center. For more info call 734-654-8108. Metro-West Steelheaders, meets the 1st Tues. of every month, 7 p.m., Livonia Senior Citizens Activity Center. For more info call Bill King. 734420-4481. Wayne County Quail Forever meets the fourth Monday of each month, 6:30 p.m., Flat Rock Rec. Center, I-75 & Gibraltar Rd. For more info call Ed Moore, 734-782-0329 or 734-771-5607. Mid-Michigan United Sportsman Alliance. Meets 2nd Tues. of each month, 6:30 p.m., Twin Ponds Sport Shop, Stanton. For more info call Dave Bean, 989-831-4890. Mulit-Lakes Conservation Assoc. meets every 3rd Wed. of the month except Nov., 8 p.m., at the Clubhouse. For more info call Sam Mullins, 248363-9109. Downriver Walleye Federation meets 3rd Monday of every month, except Dec. 7:30 p.m., Westfield Center. For more info call Terry Pickard, 248-520-0116. Huron Valley Steelheaders. Meets every 3rd Thursday of the month. American Legion Post #200 For more info call Carroll White, 734-6263112. Huron Valley Sportfishing Club meets on the 3rd Thurs of every month, 7:30 p.m., American Legion Post 200. For more info call Richard Montre, 734-847-7814. Detroit Area Steelheaders meets the last Tues. of the month, 7:30 p.m., Polish/American Hall. For more info call Bob Mitchell, 586-524-8887.

giants – I’m not sure we ever caught an honest 12-incher – but certainly worthy of the fillet knife. We kept about 60 or so from our second spot. Sowa said the spring perch bonanza on Muskegon Lake doesn’t last very long as the Lake Michigan fish head back out to the big lake for the summer. It’s unusual, he said, for the bite to continue into May, and with the fast-breaking spring this year, he expects it to be over sooner rather than later. But there are enough resident perch in the lake that you can continue to have decent perch fishing through the summer, Sowa said. If, that is, you give them what they want.

13 Either’s partner 14 Drive away (2 words) 15 Bird identifier 18 Not in the wind, at sea 19 Shelter for game, like brush for example 22 Light rains 23 Pink slip gives proof of it

Please send us your remembering photos! (L to r) Ambrose and Ray DeWyse, and Stan Bromberg, pose for this photo after a successful deer hunt near Seney in 1944. Photo courtesy of Michael DeWyse

Share Your Memories

If you want returned: PLEASE SEND SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE

Sunday: 4th Sunday, 3D Archery.

CROSSWORD PUZZLE

Remembering

Have a hunting or fishing photo from before 1980? Send it to Remembering, c/o Michigan Outdoor News, PO Box 199, Lake Orion, MI 48361-0199 or email: bpoutdoors@aol.com. Please identify everyone in the photo if possible and the year the photo was taken.

Monday: FITA, 6 p.m. Tuesday: Indoors, Cricket, 7 p.m. * * * Dundee Sportsmans Club 2016 shoot schedule. DSC, 2300 Plank Road, Dundee, MI. For more info call 734-777-2719.

Across 1 Type of rifle 7 Tree specialists

8 Insect 10 Employ 11 ____ anemone

Down 1 It holds the ammunition and charge 2 Catch 3 They will protect your hearing at the range 4 Carp, bass, walleye, etc. 5 Prickly flowers 6 On a boat 9 Large seabirds 12 Very long time period 16 Ready to react 17 Railbird 18 Point at a target 20 ___ cap, on a boot 21 Top grades See Answers on Page 37


April 8, 2016

Rig ato n i Ala Vodka Wild Game

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 39

Taste of the Wild

from Outdoor News

About the Chef:

John Ramage graduated from Johnson and Wales University in 1983. He worked as a chef on Long Island and in Manhattan (New York) before opening his own catering business. He currently enjoys hunting and creating wild-game dishes from his quarry. Chef Ramage shares that this recipe evolved from the most-requested item on his catering menu. “When I began hunting, I substituted the ground beef for ground venison and other wild-game meat. The dish has remained popular among friends, family, and fellow hunters,” he said.

Cooking Procedure:

Photo by Chef John Ramage

Ingredients:

Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes. Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking: 1 hour

2 pounds of your choice of wild-game meat (ground venison, elk, pork, moose, etc.) 1 pound of bacon, cut in small strips 3 medium onions, diced 3 cloves of garlic, chopped 2 – 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes 2 bay leaves

In a 4-quart saucepan, sauté bacon until slightly brown. Add onions and garlic; sauté until translucent. Add meat and bay leaf and cook until meat is cooked through. Add vodka and crushed tomatoes; simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes. Add heavy cream, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Add cheese. Season to taste. Add chopped basil. Serve over rigatoni, penne, ziti, or ravioli.

5 sprigs fresh basil chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 cup vodka 11⁄2 quarts heavy cream or light cream 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese 2 pounds rigatoni or pasta of choice Salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste

Find us on at www.facebook.com/OutdoorNewsTasteOfTheWild Find more recipes and share yours today! Visit the COOKING tab online at www.outdoornews.com


Page 40

MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS 

April 8, 2016

Lake Independence - Marquette County

26

41

Keweenaw Bay

Ontonagon Indian Res. 26

64

Keweenaw

Huron NWR

Houghton

L'Anse Indian Res.

38 38

Ontonagon

McCormick Wilderness

Baraga

Marquette

Gogebic 28

64

Grand Island NRA

28

2

L. Gogebic

28

45

Ottawa NF

141

35

Iron

94

95

9 67

41

Dickinson

2

H

69 35

95

D

Hannahville Indian Res. 2

Menominee 35

180

41

Keweenaw

Houghton

Ontonagon

Baraga Marquette

Gogebic

Luce Alger

Iron

Chippewa Schoolcraft

Dickinson

Mackinac

Delta

Emmet

Menominee

Cheboygan

Presque Isle

Charlevoix Otsego Montmorency Alpena

Antrim Leelanau Benzie

Manistee

Mason

Kalkaska

Grand Traverse

Crawford

Alcona

Oscoda

Iosco

Wexford Missaukee Roscommon Ogemaw

Lake

Osceola

Clare

Mecosta

Isabella

Gladwin

Arenac Huron

Oceana

Newaygo

Muskegon Kent

Ottawa

Allegan

Source: Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources. ©Copyright 2016 Sportsman’s Connection. All Rights Reserved.

Cass

Gratiot

Ionia

Barry

Van Buren Kalamazoo

Berrien

Midland

Bay Tuscola

Montcalm

St. Joseph

Clinton Shiawassee

Eaton

Calhoun

Branch

Saginaw

Genesee

Ingham Livingston

Jackson

Hillsdale

Oakland

Washtenaw

Lenawee

Lapeer

Sanilac

St. Clair Macomb

Wayne

Monroe

Mixed bag awaits anglers on Independence Lake By Bill Parker Editor

The state record yellow perch was caught in Lake Independence in the Upper Peninsula’s Marquette County. Eugene Jezinski caught the whopper, which weighed an unbelievable 3 pounds, 12 ounces and was 21 inches long, way back in 1947. Although there likely isn’t another perch that large swimming in the lake today, Independence supports great perch, pike, walleye, and smallmouth bass fisheries. “There are some trophy pike in there. The perch population is in very good shape. Walleye fishing is great, and there are some huge smallmouth bass in there,” says Brad Petzke, who owns Rivers North Guide Service. A DNR survey of the lake in 2014 backs up that claim. The survey found good numbers and sizes of all four of those game fish species. The walleyes averaged 14.7 inches and ranged up to 21. Pike averaged 22.4 and ranged up to 37. Perch averaged 5 and ranged to 9 inches, and smallies averaged 15.7 and ranged up to 19. Entries in the state’s Master

Angler program also back up Petzke’s claim. Since 2000, 13 pike (all over 40 inches), five perch (all over 14 inches), and one smallmouth (21 inches) from Independence have been entered in the program. Two rock bass, both over 11 inches, also were entered. “Lake Independence is a popular sportfishing lake located about 20 miles (northwest) of the city of Marquette,” George Madison, DNR Fisheries supervisor, wrote in a summary of the recent survey. “This lake has a long history of providing good angling opportunities for walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and northern pike.” Lake Independence is a 1,860-acre impoundment of the Iron River with a maximum depth of 30 feet. Sand covers the shoal areas, but gravel patches exist along the eastern shore. There is a flooded stump field in the mud shoal at the south end of the lake. The Yellow Dog River is the major inlet, but Johnson Creek, Alder Creek, and two unnamed tributaries also flow into the lake. The Iron River is the only outlet. Lake Independence features sparse patches of bulrush on

Lake Profile

Lake Independence Nearest town................Big Bay Surface area............1,860 acres Maximum depth.............30 feet Water clarity..................Stained Fish species present: Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, white sucker. For information: DNR district fisheries office (906) 293-5131, the DNR website http://www.dnr.state. mi.us, Rivers North Guide Service (906) 458-8125 or www.riversnorth.net

the north end and pockets of potamogeton (pondweed) off Alder Bay and McKenzie Bay. The DNR and the Big Bay Sportsmen’s Club have worked together since 1994 to periodically stock walleyes in Lake Independence. They were stocked in 1994, 1998, 1999, 2004, and 2013. The 2013 plant consisted of 9,850 spring fingerlings. The current prescription for stocking the lake calls for 10,000 walleye fingerlings to

be stocked every three years. “It will get stocked again this summer,” Madison said. McKenzie Bay, on the lake’s southwest end, is a hot spot for perch. Anglers also take good numbers of perch on the east end of the lake at the mouth of the Yellow Dog River, and along the weedy drops in front of the dam on the Iron River. Traditional perch rigs will catch fish, but a crawler on a small jig is deadly, too. In the winter, concentrate on the 15- to 25-foot depths with a jig and a minnow or wiggler. When the walleye season opens April 30 this year, anglers will concentrate on the sand and gravel points along the northeast shore and the drop-offs in McKenzie Bay. Anglers do well in these areas by drifting jig-and-minnow combos and nightcrawlers. Summer walleye anglers do well on the west side of the lake along the sparse, short weeds on the gradual dropoffs. The hump just north of Alder Bay in 18 to 20 feet of water is another summer walleye hangout. In warm weather, anglers prefer trolling with crankbaits and nightcrawler harnesses.

These same areas produce in the winter when ice anglers jig with minnows. The stump field in the northeast corner of the lake is a good spot to target the lake’s trophy northern pike. The weedbeds in front of the Yellow Dog River also are worth checking out. Try casting large bucktail jigs, Dardevles, and jerk baits up among the stumps and woody debris. “Twice in my entire career I have caught pike over 50 inches (during DNR surveys), and both times it was on Lake Independence,” Madison said. “The best thing is that the lake has an appropriate balance of pike and other fish.” The lake also features an underutilized smallmouth bass fishery. Four-pounders are common, and smallies up to 7 pounds have been caught. Rubber tube baits, topwater presentations, and live minnows are all productive. The lone public access point is at Perkins County Park on the west end of the lake in Big Bay. The park features a concrete boat ramp and a 90-foot, handicap-accessible fishing pier.

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Michigan Outdoor News - April 8th, 2016  
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