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Archive | Outdoors

Fletcher grasslands prescribed burns

A prescribed burn at Fletcher grasslands.

The Fletcher Grasslands is one of Michigan’s largest, contiguous, nonforested areas of public land, spanning 2,000 acres in southeastern Kalkaska County. Once managed specifically for sharp-tailed grouse, this area is now managed to support an ecosystem filled with diverse life. To maintain biodiversity in this grassland and oak pine barrens complex, a variety of techniques are used to manage the habitat, including native seed plantings, mowing, tree harvesting, farming and mulching. But there is one ancient approach preferred for taking care of this grassland: fire.  

Centuries ago, large wildfires burned across Michigan, shaping the composition of the land and creating open grasslands in areas with sandy soils. This natural disturbance had the unique ability to set back forest succession, promote the regrowth of native species, clear and warm seed beds, and recycle nutrients back into the soil. In modern fire management, controlled prescribed burns are used to obtain the same benefits that wildfires provided, without the variability and risk of an uncontained flame. Fire-adapted systems treated with a controlled burn become more resilient to climate changes, grow native species of greater diversity, and have improved overall ecosystem health.

The benefits of prescribed burns are on full display in the Fletcher Grasslands. Rich in wildlife, these areas provide countless opportunities for hunters and wildlife watchers. Wildlife species such as the tawny crescent, dusted skipper, eastern whip-poor-will, smooth green snake, wild turkey and white-tailed deer all depend on fire in the ecosystem to thrive.

To learn more about the benefits of fire, see where burns are taking place and watch footage from past burns, visit Michigan.gov/FireManagement.

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Thoughts and poetry

Ranger Steve

By Ranger Steve Mueller

A high school teacher from across the state requested writings or poetry for use with his science classes. I shared from my “Thoughts and Poetry” journal. In addition to what I sent him, I added further commentary.

Emotional Scientist

By Steven J. Mueller October 7, 1974

I am told as a biologist I cannot be emotional. Yet everything I live for, strive for, and believe in is in the dirt outside my door. The dirt outside my door is being carried away and someone says I have not the right to be emotional because I am a scientist?

Commentary: There was a time when farmers plowed from road to road, edge of property to edge of property. The dust bowl came and went stripping soil from the land that supports us. That catastrophic event helped us recognize the need for better farming practices. We began using winter cover crops to save soil from wind and water erosion. Areas prone to erosion like small valleys were left vegetated with cover plants and not plowed. Fence rows of wild plants were left along the ditches to reduce erosion and provide wildlife habitat. Many conservation practices are being abandoned by some to gain short term profits. Protecting soil for future generations is not a concern for some and has become a low priority. 

Life is a balance between emotional behavior with goals for personal profit and behaving in a manner that has scientific support that goes beyond personal wants to acquire a sustainable healthy society. Scientific credibility should not be compromised by emotional desires. That is why governmental subsidies for shelterbelts and conservation easements have been created. The Kent Conservation District will help assist healthy agriculture.

We Live from Day to Day

By Steven J. Mueller February 6, 1972

We Live from Day to Day,

We have hindsight, and to an extent,

Know where we have gone wrong.  

We have foresight and have philosophers 

Who guide us where we should go.

We do not live in the past

Nor do we follow long-range plans.

We live from day to day.

By living day to day,

We make the same mistakes.

Therefore, we need to live a long-range plan.

But that is philosophical,

And we do not live by philosophical plans.

We live from day to day.


By SJM April 20, 2010

We should not be known for being recognized but recognized for sustaining a healthy planet.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Fishing Tip: Let’s catch some crappie!

Crappie are among the most difficult pan fish to pattern because of their tendency to suspend in the water column, except in the spring. During this time, crappie move to shallow water—sometimes in water only a couple feet deep—to spawn, so there isn’t a lot of water column to suspend in.

Crappies like both minnows and jigs. The easiest way to fish for them is to suspend the bait under a bobber, halfway between the surface and the bottom, around any sort of cover—weeds, brush, dock pilings, etc.

Anglers who prefer a more active approach can cast with jigs and swim them back or fly fish with minnow-imitating streamers. Just think shallow in spring.

For more information on crappie fishing, visit the crappie page on the Michigan.gov/dnr website. At the site, click the down arrow on Education and Safety, then Learn about Michigan species, then Fish, then Crappie.

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Birds Star Gaze

Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Do you dream of walks on clear black nights under sparkling stars? It has always been a pleasure for me. It was especially enjoyable in my early adult years to invite a girl to join me for a night walk. Perhaps she thought I was seeking a romantic evening. I was young and innocent with an intellectual astronomical sighting purpose. Karen can attest to my science focus and priority. It is a wonder I ever romanced.

Birds are big time star gazers and put off romance also. As spring arrives, birds get are anxious for a sky trip. No walking road trips for them. Spring migration with star gazing is a priority. Getting from winter areas to breeding sites is a major undertaking and over half perish before completing a return trip. About 40 of waterfowl do not complete the round trip. It is a reason having many eggs and more than one brood is essential. Migration requires lots of energy but little planning. Ingrained in their brain is a travel route. 

Four major flyways are used in North America. They are the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific. Some birds including some waterfowl and shorebirds migrate east/west but most have a north/south movement.

How birds get from one location to another has received great inquiry, scientific testing and still has many unanswered questions. The Earth’s magnetic field helps birds orient. Landmarks like the Mississippi River are instrumental for navigation. A great percentage of birds migrate at night when visual cues are obscured. The illuminated starlit sky is crucial. It has been found that young Indigo Buntings must be exposed to the stars during the first month of life in order to imprint on the sky for proper migration behavior. 

Birds have been placed in planetariums with the night sky rotated and birds moved in a direction consistent with star placement for migration. Because magnetic field is also used, experiments utilized altered magnetic fields so observations could be verified to associate with star position. 

When it is cloudy and stars used for navigation are obscured, birds use alternate star groups. If a view of all stars is blocked, it is like blinding the birds. They need to stop migration or use alternate navigation methods. Birds fly at various elevations with smaller birds flying at 2000 to 3000 feet. Larger birds often fly 2 to 3 times higher but most travel below 3000 feet. 

On heavily clouded nights birds fly closer to the ground. My thought is they might do this to better hear sounds. Ground sounds such as wave action are documented as useful for navigation. In the absence of star viewing, sound might be important. I have not seen a study supporting my idea but many unknowns are pending study. 

Timing of migration is associated with seasonal progression of sun and stars. Not only is bird travel dependent on sun/star position and length of day/night hours, it depends on availability of emerging food. If birds arrive at a travel destination and food is not available massive starvation is likely. This has been repeatedly documented. I have witnessed it with swallow arrival when insect food was not on the wing.

A problem birds cannot anticipate are effects of climate change. When birds arrive and food is not available they die and their genes are not passed on to the next generation. The population numbers decline and a species can become endangered and face extinction. Climate change is challenging the human economy and community sustainability. It is having a negative impact on many animal populations. The speed of climate change is occurring faster than birds can readily adapt. For a healthy planet, reduction of atmospheric carbon is essential.

Once birds arrive on breeding grounds, they shift from star gazers to romancing a mate to insure survival of their species. American Woodcocks at Ody Brook are foot stomping and dancing in circles on the ground where they make a buzzy nasal peent. After sufficient ground dancing, they take flight, circle high overhead, and dive toward the ground with a twittering that ends before landing. They repeat the dance at dawn and dusk on spring evenings. Visit Luton County Park prairie at dusk to enjoy woodcocks and stay to star gaze. 

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Be black bear SMART from start of spring

Remove food sources like bird feeders to avoid conflicts with black bears.

Bear observations and encounters are more likely to occur during the spring and summer months, while bears forage for food. Most wild animals are generally fearful of humans and will leave if they are aware of your presence.

If you encounter a bear in your yard or on a trail, remain calm and be bear SMART:

S – Stand your ground. Do not run or play dead.

M – Make loud noises and back away slowly.

A – Always provide a clear, unobstructed escape route for the bear.

R – Rarely do bears attack, if they do, fight back.

T – Treat bears with respect and observe them from a distance.

Reduce the risk of encountering a bear by removing food sources from your property and enjoying the outdoors responsibly in areas where bears are found. Despite the abundance of natural food available in the spring and summer, human-provided food sources are often an easy meal for these opportunistic feeders.

“Every year we receive numerous reports of bears eating from bird feeders, garbage cans, grills and camp sites,” said Cody Norton, Michigan Department of Natural Resources large carnivore specialist.

“Leaving food accessible to bears is problematic for the bear and the community. Once a bear has found a food source, it will continue to return in search of meal, and while you may enjoy seeing the bear, your neighbor may not. Bears that rely on human food sources often encounter people, causing them to lose their natural fear of humans.”

Many of the annually reported bear conflicts are from urban and residential communities in northern Michigan, where there are numerous homes with bird feeders and accessible garbage cans and pet foods. If you live in a residential community, consider sharing the Bear SMART brochure throughout the neighborhood to prevent bear conflicts.

Additionally, chickens, apiaries (beehives) and other small livestock can attract the attention of a bear. To keep coops and beehives secured, install an electric fence or store in an enclosed area. For instructions and a list of materials to build an electric fence, see the How to Protect Your Beehives from Black Bears brochure.

“Removing food sources and knowing what to do in a bear encounter is the best way to avoid conflict and coexist with bears,” said Norton. “Those of us who live and recreate in the bear range share the responsibility of avoiding activities that create potential bear problems.”

For more information on how to handle conflicts with wildlife, visit Michigan.gov/Wildlife.

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DNR celebrates 100 years of conservation success

From restoration and recovery to resiliency and relevancy

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger is shown on a hunting walk with his dog. Photo from Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

One hundred years ago Wednesday (March 30), the Michigan Department of Conservation—the precursor to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources—was created as part of a state government reorganization effort by then Gov. Alex Groesbeck.

The legislation approved a century ago combined numerous components of state government into the departments of agriculture, industrial and labor, and conservation.

“That was a time when the conservation movement and the fish and wildlife movement across the country was just kind of getting born,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger.

In Michigan, those early Department of Conservation efforts focused on restoration of damaged landscapes and the recovery of game species and the habitats they live within. That work would characterize much of the new department’s activities over its first 100 years.

Otter River in Baraga County – AGR expedition, large log jam September 15, 1925. Photo from Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Eichinger said the Department of Conservation was created to be a hub where several state functions could be housed, managed and provided for. These activities included Michigan’s state parks program, game and fish law enforcement and the nascent movement toward protecting and conserving fish and wildlife and the places they depend upon.

“We’ve seen that mission expand and grow over the intervening 100 years from just being state parks, just doing some wildlife reintroductions, just doing fish stocking to now having a really expansive menu of areas that we work in,” Eichinger said.

In 1968, the name of the Michigan Department of Conservation was changed to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to reflect widening responsibilities.

Over the decades, several key pieces of legislation worked to aid the department in its mission to remain “committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.”

In an interview earlier this month on the program Naturally Speaking on WGVU-FM in Grand Rapids, Eichinger discussed the importance of significant wildlife species recoveries achieved in Michigan.

A cover from the November-
December 1965 issue of
Michigan Conservation is shown.
Photo from Michigan Department
of Natural Resources.

Some of these species that have attained recovered status include the Kirtland’s warbler, wild turkey, bald eagle and gray wolf.

“These are really important milestones because it’s sort of proof-positive that when you have the alignment of resources, the alignment of talent and the alignment of partnership, we can be successful in recovering species that were critically endangered and that is not only providing a regulatory framework to provide for their long-term conservation, but actually doing the really hard work on the ground, making sure that those habitats are conserved and that they’re restored,” Eichinger told program host Shelly Irwin.

Eichinger said none those alignment activities happen in a vacuum.

“That’s one of the remarkable things about what we have here in this state, that the story of the Department of Natural Resources is as much a story about the citizen conservationists across our state and throughout our history who have supported our work, stood side-by-side with us as we have worked to recover species, help to identify places the department needs to be pointing effort and pointing work towards,” Eichinger said. “The species that we have stewardship responsibility for are the fortunate beneficiaries of that tremendous partnership with state government, our citizens, federal actors, the non-profit community. It’s a fantastic and important part of the story of conservation.”

Eichinger said the DNR’s mission is necessarily long-term and makes the department “think over the horizon.”

“That’s one of the things I think is really gratifying about this work and I think why the folks who work in this space are so passionate about it—that the resources that we enjoy today in the good condition that they’re in is because of work that was done, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago,” Eichinger said. “Folks who had long-term vision to say, ‘I might not necessarily see all the fruits of my efforts today, but I know future generations will be able to derive benefit from them.’”

Throughout 2021, the DNR is commemorating and celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the department. Plans for in-person events have been scaled back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

DNR staffers have created a webpage at Michigan.gov/DNRCentennial to link the public to several ways to participate in exploration of the past century of the department’s efforts. As part of this, the DNR has produced 100 ways to celebrate the centennial.

Eichinger said the best way the department and everyone else in Michigan can celebrate the shared success of the past century of conservation commitment is to get outdoors.

“Find a way that you and your loved ones can connect with nature, find a pathway that you’ve never walked down, find your way or make your way to one of our beautiful state parks, one of the tremendous hidden places in our state forest system, wherever it is that you go, find a way and find a reason to get outdoors and share that with special people in your life,” Eichinger said. “There’s no better way to celebrate the work that we’ve all been able to accomplish than by simply getting outdoors and enjoying what we have in this beautiful state.”

For more information on the wide range of outdoor recreation opportunities and natural resource conservation activities the DNR is responsible for, visit Michigan.gov/DNR.

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April Cuts Corners

By Ranger Steve (Mueller)

A blue jay will take a seed and then fly out of sight. By Darren Swim – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2918281

One can learn common behaviors of animals by spending time with them observing. I enjoy horseback riding and learned each horse has unique behaviors. Decades ago, I rode a horse named April and learned she had a habit of cutting corners too tightly when cantering. I needed to head rein her to make wide turns on the trail.

One time when cantering through the Manistee national forest I forgot to make sure she made a wide arch at a curve in the trail until it was too late. She cut close to a tree and I knew my knee was going to hit the tree. Quickly I brought my leg up over the horse’s rump. Not quick enough and when my knee connected with the tree it knocked me off April. I rolled under her summersaulting. April continued on the trail and I rolled forward off the trail.

The person behind me said I went under the horse and it looked like I was getting kicked by the horse’s legs. All the riders stopped as did April. Somehow, she avoided kicking me and my summersaults protected me from injury. I remounted and our trail ride continued. I never forgot on future rides that April cut corners.

Daily, watch bird behavior around the bird feeders. Each species has unique mannerisms for retrieving seeds and eating them. Some take a seed and fly out of sight like the Blue Jay. Finches stay on the feeder to eat seed after seed until they are displaced with aggressive behavior by other birds. Chickadees and titmice take one seed and fly to a nearby branch where they peck through the sunflower hull to gain access to the seed heart. 

Their behavior of pecking breaks the bark on branches. Now that spring has arrived the tree wounds bleed sap. I notice patches of sugar water staining the sidewalk under the sugar maple tree, but I do not see where the bleeding sap stains the leaf cover under the tree. 

We are experiencing freezing nights with warm days. Sap continues to flow upward during the night and seeps from branch wounds. As it drips, the sweet sugar water freezes and forms sapsickles. Birds land on branches, hang down, and drink the sugar water during the day until the sapsickles melt. This winter Common Redpolls are present, and they join in eating the sweet treat. I like tasting the sapsickles when I can reach them.

Spend time watching interesting behavior of different species and possibly even how members of a species act. It is hard to recognize individuals of a species because they look similar. Perhaps you can pick out features that allows individual recognition, like how we recognize different people. Nature niche behavior is unique to species, but individuals also exhibit their own temperaments. 

Park service acquired different horses when I was a ranger at Bryce Canyon National Park. When two new ones arrived, a fellow ranger and I took them out to see how they responded. Dutch was a bit older than Midnight. We took them through their paces to learn behaviors to expect. 

They did well cantering and I decided to ride up a low drainage in a grassy valley where logs were placed as check dams to prevent erosion. As we came to each log, Midnight hurtled the obstacle, but Dutch kicked the top of each. Jim tried to rein the horse out of the drainage to avoid the logs, but Dutch refused and continued to follow me on Midnight. Jim called to me and said get out of the ditch. Dutch was set in his behavior to follow. 

Inexperienced riders preferred Dutch because he was calm and plodded nicely along without incident and was almost a sleepwalker. No surprises from him. LD was also an easy ride, but I did not like taking him because he had a habit of trying to bite the rider in the butt when his hooves were cleaned and struggled to prevent us from lifting his legs. My favorite was Thunder, who had the smoothest ride. Thunder was fearful of objects and, when he saw something unusual like a tree stump or some other unexpected object, he would shy with a quick bolt to the side. It was necessary to always maintain pressure in the stirrups or the rider would be unseated and find himself on the ground. Learning animal behavior helps understand how animals function. 

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Late season frogs

Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Northern leopard frogs were common when I was young and exploring neighborhood wetlands. They have become uncommon and even rare in many locations for reasons unknown. It is not just because I have grown and developed other pursuits that they seem less abundant. Herpetologists studying the frogs confirm decreased numbers. If you have them in abundance, celebrate and protect healthy habitat. We do not understand all the critical features in their nature niche needed for survival.

The pickerel frog is a small North American frog, characterized by the appearance of seemingly “hand-drawn” squares on its dorsal surface. Photo by Brian Gratwicke, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

They begin breeding later in spring than the Wood Frogs, Western Chorus Frogs, and Spring Peepers described in last week’s article. The late season frogs do best in permanent water. Shallow water near lake shores with lots of grassy vegetation, marshes, and moderately slow stream borders and inlets provide good breeding habitat. I think that clearing lake shores of vegetation for better beaches and eliminating vegetation for better swimming areas contributed to frog decline. I have not seen that confirmed by amphibian studies so that hypothesis remains unanswered. 

Removing vegetation chemically or with manual equipment does not bode well for aquatic organisms. People want fish to thrive, but fish are challenged with more sterile habitat as are amphibians, insects, and wetland feeding birds and mammals. 

Pickerel frogs look similar to leopard frogs but can be distinguished by two features. Pickerel frogs have large rectangular dark spots with narrower light areas between them. The leopard frogs’ dark spots are smaller and rounded with greater light color separating spots. More significant is the Pickerel frog’s hidden bright yellow at the base of the hind legs. Leopard frogs might have a faint yellow there. Both frogs normally develop into an adult in one season but some require two summers. That is a reason they do best in permanent waters. Those breeding in late April or early May are more likely to reach adulthood in one warm season. 

Two similar frogs are green and bull frogs. Bull frogs get much larger but that takes time and may require a few years growth. Both usually take more than one year to transform from the tadpole stage to a tailless adult frog. Green frogs line up around the edge of the vernal pond to the west of the Red Pine interpretive building at the Howard Christensen Nature Center. That pond sometimes retains water throughout the winter but not always. Many developing frogs that breed there must die. The permanent tadpole pond southwest of the building offers better survival chances. 

One habitat management policy I implemented when I was director at HCNC was for interpretive teachers to only take students around the west shore of vernal pond to allow the east shoreline to remain undisturbed by school groups. The purpose was twofold. Number one was to teach a respect and reverence for life and secondarily to hopefully improve survival opportunity for frogs in that half of the pond.

Green frogs have what is called a dorsolateral ridge or fold that runs from head toward the rear. This ridge is absent on bull frogs so even smaller bull frogs can be distinguished by the lack of the long ridge. Bull frogs have a ridge that runs from behind the eye and wraps around the flat circular eardrum called a tympanum that is behind and below the eye. Green and bull frogs sing when the temperature warms to above 70ºF making them the latest to join the seasonal orchestra. A green frog sounds like someone plucking a banjo or guitar string. Bull frogs resemble a cow mooing. 

The last late season frog common in our region is the gray tree frog that is medium sized between the wood frog and green frog. It is somewhat toad like in appearance and has suction cup toes and can climb windows. Like other frogs it breeds in water. It moves away from ponds when grown, like chorus frogs, spring peepers, wood frogs, and leopard frogs. These frogs all feed in moist forests but the gray tree frogs seems to tolerate drier areas better. They can be found hiding on the siding of our homes and feed on insects by lights at night. Their call is a sharp short trill unlike the exceedingly long trill of American toads that reside in insecticide free gardens.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Bear essentials

Bears commonly are attracted to bird feeders for their access to easy protein and fat calories. Food can erode the natural fear of humans that bears have.

If you live in northern Michigan, learning the “bear essentials” is the key to coexisting with wildlife.

Black bears have a big appetite, an excellent sense of smell and the ability to remember a food source year after year, which is why preventing conflicts with bears is necessary.

You can help your community reduce bear conflicts by following these simple steps:

  • Remove potential food sources, like bird feeders, from your yard.
  • Keep pet food inside or in a secured area.
  • Keep garbage and odor at a minimum by removing trash often, storing trash in a secured area and cleaning the container with disinfectant.
  • Keep grills and picnic tables clean.
  • Protect apiaries (bee hives), fruit trees and gardens from bears with electric fencing.

Watch the Bear Essentials video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6c1c3qw7dg for more tips on how to avoid conflict with black bears.

It is safer for both bears and people to keep wildlife at a distance. While putting out feeders for bird watching during the winter is a fun and safe activity, feeders can attract more than songbirds during the spring, summer and fall months. Removing them now reduces the risk of attracting bears or other curious wildlife to your property.

Additional tips and information on how to handle conflicts with wildlife are available at Michigan.gov/Wildlife.

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DNR’s walleye egg collection on Muskegon River starts Thursday

Angler holding a walleye. Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR. 

Muskegon River anglers should be on the lookout for Michigan Department of Natural Resources personnel collecting walleye eggs below Croton Dam this spring. Electrofishing boats will be on the water this week, starting Thursday, March 25, and work should conclude by April 16. People who want to avoid the walleye collection activities should fish downstream.

The DNR asks the public to use caution when fishing near the electrofishing boats. Anyone wading nearby when boats approach will be asked to exit the water to ensure everyone’s safety.

To maintain effective social distancing and allow fisheries staff to safely, efficiently collect eggs, the DNR also asks people not to gather at egg collection sites.

“The annual Muskegon River egg take is a critical operation for statewide walleye management,” said Jim Dexter, DNR Fisheries Division chief. “We’re planning to collect about 32 million walleye eggs during this effort.”

That collective egg take will result in fry (fish that have just hatched) for transfer to rearing ponds and direct fry plants throughout the Lower Peninsula. Walleye fry transferred to ponds will be raised to fingerling size (approximately 1.5 to 2.5 inches) and stocked in late spring or early summer in lakes and rivers throughout the state.

Lake Michigan and many inland lake walleye populations in the Lower Peninsula depend on the fingerlings produced from Muskegon River eggs. The size of the walleye spawning run in the Muskegon River is about 40,000 to 50,000 fish each year. DNR crews will strip milt (sperm) and eggs from approximately 500 adult fish, which will be returned to the river, except for 60, which will be sent to Michigan State University for fish health testing.

“This adult population consists of mostly stocked fish,” said Ed Pearce, DNR fisheries technician supervisor who coordinates the egg take. “The Muskegon River has the largest run of walleye in the Lake Michigan watershed south of Green Bay.”

Three to four days of fish collections are planned this spring. The date those collections will begin depends on water temperatures and the presence of ripe fish. This schedule can change daily for many reasons, but it is anticipated most work will be completed from the last week of March through the second week of April.

Walleye collection usually begins at Croton Dam each day about 8:30 a.m. and proceeds downstream to the Pine Street access Site. If more eggs are needed, additional collections may occur downstream to the Thornapple Street access site.

Learn more about how the DNR manages Michigan’s fisheries at Michigan.gov/Fishing.

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