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Tag Archive | "fishing"

Can I still go fishing?

Fishing is one of the outdoor activities that can be done with proper social distancing—keeping at least 6 feet between yourself and another person (outside your immediate household).

We understand there are questions about how COVID-19 is affecting outdoor recreation. Right now, yes, fishing is permitted, and the 2020 season opens April 1. In fact, fishing is one outdoor activity that can be done with proper social distancing; just make sure to remain 6 feet away from people outside of your household and be respectful of others. Also, keep it local. Extensive travel is allowed only for essential needs. Limiting your travel helps keep you and others safe, while also reducing the spread of COVID-19.

If you decide to go fishing, it’s easy to get your 2020 license online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses. For the latest fishing regulations, check out the 2020 Fishing Guide at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests.

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Fishing Tip: Catching big pike in the summer


Most anglers consider winter the best time to catch a trophy-sized pike, but following a few key pointers can make summer pike fishing worthwhile.

When it’s very warm out think about where pike will hide places with cooler water. These spots include along the thermocline, where coldwater streams/rivers flow into lakes, or around springs.

Look for water bodies that aren’t densely populated with pike so those present may have a chance to grow fairly large. Also consider locations that have special regulations (size limits).

Lastly, focus on water bodies that have a good pike forage base, particularly other species that prefer cooler water.

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Fishing for bass at night is fun!


With summer in full swing fish can become quite lethargic. No need to fret! For certain species, such as bass, you just might want to tweak the time of day you set out to target them.

Some of the best bass fishing this time of year occurs during the first hour or so after dark. Dusk and dawn can still produce fish but that first hour or two after dark can be exceptional.

After dark, bass tend to move shallow in search of an easy meal. Target them near the same areas you would during other times of the day while also casting and targeting the shallows. You’ll want to change your technique though! Since after dark you can’t see the weed line or other underwater structures, fishing subsurface lures is not recommended. It is time for surface presentations. After the cast, work them aggressively with a jerking motion making sure they pop and gurgle across the surface of the water during your retrieve. Pay close attention during the retrieve, watching and listening for the strike, which can be explosive.

If you’re feeling adventurous, get on the water at 10:00 p.m. and fish the shallows for bass until midnight or 1:00 a.m. The results can be spectacular!

For more information on fishing for bass in Michigan, visit their page online! Go to www.michigan.gov/dnr and click on things to do, then fishing, then bass.

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Bringing it all back home, from field to table

James and Jeff Pepin with some of the brook trout they caught from a stream in Houghton County.

By John Pepin, Deputy Public Information Officer, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Being a divorced parent with children involved is tough for anyone.

Those circumstances are made more difficult when parents and children live a long distance away from each other.

In my case, I was living out west when I got divorced. I moved back to the Upper Peninsula, where I was born and raised, leaving my two young boys 2,283 miles away in southern California.

According to online mapping information, it’s a drive via I-80 or I-70 with traffic, of 40 hours and 16 minutes each way.

It would be years before I fully realized the mistake I made. I had failed to consider the impact that distance, coupled with time, would have on our relationship and the challenges we would face apart.

For them, it was hard to understand a dad who would leave and go so far away, missing out on all their activities, events and changes. We had been a team, sharing lots of laughs, playing football on our knees in the house, fixing stuff, going to the park.

For me, it was hard to see these guys only in the summertime—missing all those same changes, events and activities—watching me fade from importance in their eyes as someone they were losing real familiarity with the older we all got.

At the same time, I was home and closer to my dad, who had been ill. To me, there were no easy answers to any of this.

No matter the situation, one thing I was always hoping to do was cement a connection between my boys and myself and the natural world outdoors.

Before I left California, there had been at least a couple camping trips with my oldest son, James, who wasn’t very old at the time. I took him with me on an overnight outing surveying spotted owls for the U.S. Forest Service in the San Gabriel Mountains.

It was his first time camping out, and we set up our tent on a hill high above the graveled canyon floor. We saw hummingbirds buzzing between the flowering plants, and a northern pygmy owl came to visit after we whistled him into sight.

That night, we heard a mountain lion down in the canyon. 

On another outing, my youngest son, Jeff and his mom were along with James and me when we all camped at Sulphur Springs, a spot tucked into the mountains above Los Angeles, where a trickle of water attracted a nice variety of birds and other wildlife.

I also liked to take the boys for nighttime rides out into the Mojave Desert near the Devil’s Punchbowl. I used to let them sit on my lap and steer my pick-up truck out under the stars on those dark, black-topped roads.

Once, young Jeff announced upon our return, “I ‘drived’ in the desert.”

Back here in Michigan, on one of their summer trips home, I took the boys to Houghton County, where we spent a few days in a cabin, taking day trips fishing for brook trout, checking out waterfalls, rocky rivers, deep woodlands and mosquito-clouded back roads.

They slept in bunk beds. We cooked on a grill outside the cabin door. The old deer camp-styled cabin was comfortable, with soft mattresses and thick blankets that held the damp nighttime air at bay.

I taught them how to tie a hook on their line, bait a hook and read a river to find fish, and they watched me clean and cook the trout.

A few years later, the boys had again returned for an annual summer visit. By now, they had learned a thing or two about how to fend for themselves. But while they had learned some things, I found out that others were still beyond their reach.

One day while I had gone to work, they planned to watch television and relax much of the afternoon, cooking hot dogs and macaroni and cheese for lunch – typical kid stuff.

When I got home from work, I asked how lunch was. They said they could only eat the macaroni and cheese, having to go without hot dogs because an electrical breaker had tripped, leaving them without the microwave.

“Why didn’t you boil the hot dogs in a pan on the stove?” I asked.

“You can do that?” they asked, incredulous.

I was shocked.

I thought they were kidding.

They were not.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I think, in that one brief instant, that I realized on some level I had failed them. 

This was perhaps one of the first indications for me that there was a whole network of cracked and unseen fault lines underlying the framework of our trying to make the best of this long-distance parent-child relationship.

A few more years had passed by the time we decided to return to the cabin in the woods for another “fishing excursion.”

This time, there was more indifference and less understanding between us. The awkwardness was palpable. There was tension I didn’t understand. We had continued to grow further apart.

But none of that stopped us from enjoying ourselves at the cabin and hitting the streams for a couple of days. As I drove, Jeff was in the front seat navigating, looking at a map.

At his direction, we stopped along a green, grassy meadow off the highway, where a small stream snaked its way into the woods, near an old concrete bridge that had fallen into disrepair.

Within a few casts of our spinners, we had a few nice fish. We repeated this process as we checked out the countryside, exploring new waters.

At a shallow, log-bottomed pond, with darkness on its way, James caught the biggest trout of the day.

Back at the cabin, the boys helped clean the fish. This time, I would show them how to cook up the trout in a frying pan on the stove, and they would learn by doing.

They helped wash and flour the trout.

“Just so you know, we’re going to be using real butter to fry these fish in—none of that low-fat crap,” I said, smiling.

I gave them the finer points—watching the color of the fish turn from opaque gray to white to know when the trout were cooked all the way through. I reminded them how to lift the spine to pull the rib cage and the rest of the bones out, flaking the fish off the bones onto the plate.

I also reminded them to eat the crunchy, butter-fried fish tails and to leave the skin on for some of the best taste.

Since James had caught the biggest fish, he was the first to try the fish. Jeff and I watched silently in anticipation.

“That is so good,” he said.

That’s all we needed to hear. We picked up our forks.

This trip back to the cabin would also be memorable for us, but not in the same way the first trip had been.

This time, it was more of a benchmark delineating how far we had drifted apart—but along with the fault lines we found, I know now there remained an enduring love and memories of the closeness we had shared way back before the divorce, before I had moved away.

I was pleased to hear the boys had been taking their own fishing and camping trips out west.

It took a half-dozen more years—more valuable time lost—before we were able to finally meet in the desert out west to settle our differences, men to man.

I had been asking them to grant me more access to their lives and their time. Clearly, they didn’t have to agree. They had grown beyond me long ago.

On my end, the older I got, the more I needed them, the less I saw them. I explained how, as the years go by, time gives you perspective and wisdom to see your faults.

I could only offer my truth and my love.

On a January afternoon, my plane circled and landed in Albuquerque. We headed south along I-25 toward the Rio Grande. We passed numerous roadside memorials and beautiful, small desert cemeteries.

Jeff, John and James Pepin out for a southwestern-style meal together in New Mexico.

We enjoyed the hot springs of Truth or Consequences, had some great local food and experienced the amazing Blue Oyster Cult in concert.

At New Mexico Tech, I shot some hoops with the boys, toured the campus and was surprised to find samples of almandine and chamosite from Michigamme, and Kona dolomite from Marquette in a display case at the school mineral museum.

We later sat in my little motel room there in Socorro. I had said I wanted to talk with them. After we heard each other out, we agreed to work together to reconstruct our lives together as much as we could—going forward.

They graciously accepted me.

I have visited both of their homes. I am so proud of them and the men they have become.

I’ve been introduced to my beautiful granddaughter Evelyn, who was just born this past autumn. I met her lovely mother in person too, and her parents.

I had missed the wedding—another time I had tried to do what I thought was best, but realized later, it was a time when my pride and insecurity tripped me on my face.

Last week, I talked with the boys for over an hour on a video chat. I got to see Evelyn eat her peas. We talk over the computer regularly now.

We have plans to reconnect in Michigan sometime soon.

With the trout season opening Saturday, it wouldn’t surprise me if we soon found our way back to the red-and-white cabin still sitting under the pine trees, just up the trail from where the river gets wider.

We could fish again together, walk those old dirt roads, talk about the good times way back when or just sit on the front porch of the cabin, watching the sun go down over the trees, waiting for the stars to come up.

Whatever we do, I know I’ll be happy to be there.

Want to take someone special fishing? Get more information on fishing in Michigan, including seasons, tactics, fish identification and more, at www.mi.gov/fishing.

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Catch of the Week

Alexei Morrissa-Jo Eadie is shown here fishing with her G-Pa, on Watermill Lake near Baldwin, with her new Barbie pole. She thinks it’s a keeper!

Congratulations, Alexei! You made the Post Catch of the Week!


It’s back—get out those cameras!

It’s that time of year again when anglers big and small like to tell their fish tales! Send us a photo and story of your first, best, funniest, biggest, or even your smallest catch. Include your name, age, address, and phone number, along with the type and size of fish, and where caught.  We can’t wait to hear from you! Photos published as space allows. Photos/stories may be sent by email to news@cedarspringspost.com with Catch of the Week in the subject line, or mail to: Catch of the Week, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.


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Lakes appreciation month: enjoy and protect Michigan’s lakes

Michigan is blessed with all types of waterbodies, including scenic locations without much civilization in site, like this view of Tahquamenon Natural Area between Newberry and Paradise in the state’s Upper Peninsula.

Michigan offers unique combination of four Great Lakes and 11,000 inland lakes

With Gov. Rick Snyder’s proclamation of July as Lakes Appreciation Month in Michigan, it›s the perfect time to encourage residents to enjoy and protect the state’s lakes.

Recreation on Michigan’s lakes—boating, fishing, birding, swimming and more on the water—leads to jobs throughout the state in support of a $7 billion recreational fishery, a $4 billion boating industry, and a major part of the state’s $38 billion tourism revenue.

Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes and four Great Lakes provide a combination of water resources and recreational opportunities not available anywhere else. In his proclamation, Gov. Snyder recognized “the need to protect these resources for future generations,” stating that “lakes and shorelines are critical resources to Michigan’s environment and quality of life, providing sources of drinking water, irrigation, energy, commerce, recreation, scenic beauty, and habitat for fish and wildlife.”

“It’s important for everyone who uses and values Michigan’s lakes to do their part to protect them,” said Joe Nohner, inland lakes analyst for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Our inland lakes face threats from declining water quality, invasive species, changing climate and unnatural shorelines that lack vegetation or woody habitat. There are simple steps each of us can take to protect the lakes we love.”

Fishing and boating go hand in hand as staple activities on many of Michigan›s lakes, making huge contributions to the state’s economy.

Here are just a few ways to show appreciation for these valuable natural resources:

Be a lake volunteer. Volunteer opportunities are available with programs across Michigan. Clean Boats, Clean Waters (http://micbcw.org/) is recruiting “volunteer heroes” to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by showing boaters how to inspect their boats, trailers and gear. Michigan’s Clean Water Corps supports volunteers engaged in water-quality monitoring through its Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program. Adopt-a-Beach volunteers remove litter from shorelines around the Great Lakes.

Protect your shore. Lakefront property owners can learn more from the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership about maintaining natural shorelines to improve fish and wildlife habitat and keep the water clean. Learn how to be recognized through the Michigan Shoreland Stewards program. http://www.mishorelandstewards.org/.

Prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Lakes Appreciation Month and Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week were kicked off by the 4th annual AIS Landing Blitz with outreach events at more than 60 boat launches, to raise awareness and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species through recreational boating and related activities. When it’s time to head home from the lake, take steps to ensure aquatic invasive species don’t come with you:

  • Remove weeds, mud and debris from boats and gear, and drain live wells and bilges before leaving the landing.
  • Give boats and equipment at least five days to dry thoroughly before heading to a different body of water.
  • If that’s not possible, clean boats, water receptacles and gear with hot water or a diluted bleach solution before the next trip.

In short, remember to clean, drain and dry boats, trailers and gear after a day on the water. Concerned about aquatic invasive species? Consider inviting the free Mobile Boat Wash to a boat launch near you. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/invasives/Boat_wash_flyer_2017_554286_7.pdf or check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MobileBoatWash/.

Take a friend or a young person fishing. Fishing Michigan’s lakes provides an opportunity to spend quality time with someone, reunite a friend with a favorite hobby, or introduce someone to a new pastime. Whether it’s taking the boat to that favorite fishing hole or casting from a pier or quiet dock, fishing is a unique way to connect with the water.

Spend a day at the beach. A picnic or a day of swimming is a great way to get the kids outdoors in the summer. A sunset stroll along the shoreline can be a relaxing end to a perfect day. Looking for a place to take your four-legged best friend? According to bringfido.com, there are 27 dog-friendly beaches across Michigan.

Float your boat. If that boat is still covered and sitting on the trailer, or the kayaks haven’t yet left the garage, it’s time to hit the water. Take a cruise or paddle around the shoreline of your favorite lake to admire the waterfowl and flowering plants, or visit a new lake – with more than 1,300 public boating access sites around the state to choose from, it’s easy to plan a water-bound adventure.

The Lakes Appreciation Month proclamation was supported by the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership, an organization that promotes collaboration to advance stewardship of Michigan’s inland lakes.

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Experience #MiFreeFishingWeekend June 10-11 and enjoy the outdoors

Grab a fishing rod and enjoy some of the finest fishing Michigan has to offer during the 2017 Summer Free Fishing Weekend, June 10-11. That Saturday and Sunday, everyone—residents and non-residents alike—can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.

Additionally, during #MiFreeFishingWeekend the DNR will waive the regular Recreation Passport entry fee for vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks and recreation areas. Several of these locations will host official 2017 Summer Free Fishing Weekend events perfect for the whole family.

Michigan celebrated summer’s #MiFreeFishingWeekend every year since 1986 as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams and 11,000 inland lakes—Michigan and fishing are a perfect match.

“Being outdoors and enjoying Michigan’s world-class fisheries never gets old,” said Jim Dexter, DNR Fisheries Division chief. “We encourage avid anglers to consider inviting a new angler out for this year’s Summer Free Fishing Weekend to show them how simple and fun it can be.”

Official summer #MiFreeFishingWeekend activities are being scheduled in communities across the state to assist with public participation. These activities are coordinated by a variety of organizations including constituent groups, schools, local and state parks, businesses and others. A full list of these events can be found online at michigan.gov/freefishing.

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Fishing with feet

By Ranger Steve Mueller


Ranger Steve Mueller

Ranger Steve Mueller

A reader told me that I probably would not believe him but he said he caught a trout with his foot. Before he said more, I said, “I believe you because I have also.” How many others have done the same? Trout fishing season is under way but angling with feet is not a chosen fishing tactic.

The reader was wading a stream when a fish tried to dart past him just as he stepped down and caught the fish between foot and substrate. My experience was similar.

In Calf Creek in Utah, I was wading bare foot in a small desert stream fed by snow melt and ground water from Boulder Mountain. The mountain road summit was over 12,000 feet with a spruce/fir forest in highest locations and ponderosa pines in the 8,000-foot range. Down the mountain, pinyon pines and juniper trees reigned at 7,000 feet.

Calf Creek was at 5,500 feet but that water remained cold, rich in oxygen, and full of trout food. Willows and other woody plants were abundant along the three to ten feet wide creek. In most places the creek was one to twelve inches deep. A beaver constructed a couple dams and created a pond where it built a lodge. After a few years, the beaver exhausted its food supply. The pond filled and became a wet meadow full of life.

It surprised me to see a Great Blue Heron standing on a bare sandstone desert cliff over Calf Creek. It made sense because trout were present for the heron to hunt in the stream’s shallow clear cold water.

My barefoot walk for about two miles was in the stream’s cold water but the desert air was near 100 F. The stream bed was mostly bare sandstone a few inches deep with frequent holes a foot to three feet deep. Deep holes were places the trout hid in shadows. They often remained stationary in shallow water with use of their powerful tail muscles beating just enough to hold their stable position.

As I walked downstream, a trout facing upstream was alarmed by my presence and attempted to dart past me up stream. My right foot was just coming down as the trout slipped between my foot and rock. The fish’s body pressed against the bottom of my foot and was squeezed to the sandstone stream bed.

Quickly, I shifted my weight to my left foot to prevent hurting the fish. Too late. The fish began to roll downstream stunned by physical trauma. I picked up the fish and held it with head upstream to allow water to flow over the gills.

For several minutes, I hoped it would recover as it continued to open and close its mouth. Each time I released it, it could not swim and rolled in the current. After considerable time, I let the fish roll out sight.

Such events are now out of sight but not out of mind. It occurred in the 1990’s but stays with me. Previously, I wrote about this in my column. Like most stories shared with family and friends, they get repeated at gatherings, campouts, or in another group setting. We all have experiences to share and reminisce.

Many do not end in tragedy like it did for this trout. When you are fishing or on adventures into the wondrous world around us, remember to bring back fish stories or those of your personal experiences with wildlife and nature niches. Truthful stories are best and most interesting. Exaggerated “fish stories” are not necessary. The more time you are outdoors the more exciting stories you will accumulate for sharing.

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: Targeting northern pike at first ice

First ice of the season is a good time to catch northern pike. Photo from the Michigan DNR.

First ice of the season is a good time to catch northern pike. Photo from the Michigan DNR.

From the Michigan DNR

Many anglers will agree the first ice of the winter season often produces some of the best northern pike fishing you can find.

There could be a couple of reasons why this is so. Perhaps it’s because there is plenty of baitfish for them to target thanks to a decrease in weed cover, or perhaps it’s because first ice is often clear and allows the sight-feeding fish to target their prey more easily because of the penetration of sunlight. Regardless, the coming weeks (weather permitting) are a great time to target this species.

You’ll want to use a tip-up for this type of fishing, with a minnow or small panfish on the end of your line. Keep in mind you can catch small panfish in the lake you’re fishing and legally use them as bait in the same water body.

Target similar areas that you may have fished for northern pike when there was still open water and you might see some success!

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Fishing Tip: Where to find northern pike in Michigan

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

From the Michigan DNR

As the temperatures continue to drop, fishing for northern pike will really pick up. Pike are extremely popular during the ice fishing season but are readily available throughout much of the year.

There are many notable northern pike fisheries located throughout Michigan, including on Muskegon, Portage and Manistee lakes and also Michigamme and Houghton lakes. But this species can be found in many lakes and virtually all larger rivers in the state.

Please check the regulations for northern pike regarding minimum size and possession limit. Be sure to read up on this species in the 2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide. It can be downloaded by going to www.michigan.gov/dnr. Once there, click on “Fishing” on the left side, then on “Fishing licenses, seasons, and regulations.” You will see the guide on the right side of the screen.

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Catch of the Week

OUT-Catch-of-week-TrollaFive-year-old Lincoln Trolla, son of Katie (Wolfe) and Joe Trolla, landed a 13-inch bass during his first river fishing trip in Breckenridge, Mich. While it was an inch short of being a keeper, it was a mountain of fun to reel in!

Congratulations, Lincoln, you made The Post Catch of the Week!

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Fishing Tip: Fall in love with fishing: hook, line and sinker

Have you ever wanted to learn how to fish? Partake in the DNR’s Hook, Line and Sinker program and you’ll be equipped with the skills to become an excellent angler!

This program is available weekly at more than 30 state parks and fish hatcheries from mid-June until the end of summer. The program teaches participants casting and fishing basics and equipment and bait are provided.

Participants under the age of 17 do not need a fishing license. Programs are free, but a Recreation Passport is required for entry.

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/hooklineandsinker.

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