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APRIL 2016


Woods-n-Water News
Michigans Premier Outdoor Publication

Secrets & Tricks
To Find Them!



U.P. Population Study

Trophy Fishing Experience

4 Turkeys, 4 Different Guns... 1 Year! Teaching On The River

Preparing Deer Stand Locations Michigans Bass Outlook
Raptors Spring Pike Ups & Downs Of Vertical Jigging Like us on facebook

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By Tom Campbell...Field Notes

Keep sharing

n last months (March) issue Tom

Huggler did a story on recruit,
retain, reactivate hunters and I
shared the story from eight-year
old Dylan Gasperoni and his dad
Joe all about families sharing
the outdoors. Those stories inspired
Eugene Zuzga of Macomb to share his
hunting story with his Grandson Noah
Eugene wrote:
After reading Tom Campbells
Field notes with young Dylan Gasperonis hunt story and Tom Hugglers
Recruit, Retain, Reactivate. I wanted
to share an experience I had with my
10 year old grandson, Noah, a new,
first time hunter.
The story began last year opening
day and I had prepared to spend the
entire day in my blind with plenty of
garlic bologna sandwiches and a thermos of coffee. It was 10 a.m. and I was

tired of watching turkeys and opened

a sandwich, and the garlic bologna
permeated my little blind.
As I glanced up, a six point was
walking right to me. I harvested the
buck and later relayed the experience
to Noah.
This year I planned to take Noah
on his first hunt during the early
firearm antlerless season. We had the
portable blind set up on a relatives
farm weeks earlier. We arrived to the
blind well before first light in the rain.
I figured the hunt wouldnt last long.
When day broke, I watched Noah
take in everything, his eyes were going
in all directions. We hadnt seen a deer
by 9:30 and I asked if he was ready to
go home. To my surprise his response
was, No! This is more fun than watching TV. Moments later he asked, Can
we eat some of the garlic bologna

Outdoor Information

Turkey licenses

Any remaining spring turkey hunting licenses are available anywhere

DNR licenses are sold or online at E-License. Dont forget, anyone can hunt
turkeys in Michigan. No is application needed, and you can buy the Hunt 234
license throughout the Hunt 234 turkey season, which gives you 30 days of
chasing turkeys in May!
For more information, visit or call 517-284-WILD

2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide (Two-Years)

The DNR has released the 2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide, which includes rules and regulations effective April 1, 2016, through March 31, 2018.
Copies of the two-year guide can be obtained at any location where fishing
licenses are sold. This years cover photo is of Grand Havens north pier and
was submitted by Eric Zattlin.
As in the recent past, this years guide is intended to be useful to anglers
in the field by being printed on higher-quality paper to better withstand the
wear and tear of fishing in Michigan, produced in a smaller physical size to
better fit in tackle boxes, and printed in an easier to read font size. The 20162017 Michigan Fishing Guide also is available in a user-friendly, electronic
format online at


Leave wildlife in the wild

The DNR reminds those who are outside enjoying the experience of seeing wildlife raise its young to view animals from a distance, so they are not
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. Some rescued animals that
do survive may become habituated to people and are unable to revert back to
life in the wild.
White-tailed deer fawns are one of the animals most commonly rescued
by well-intentioned 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
white-tailed 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. A list of licensed rehabilitators can be found by
visiting or by calling your local DNR office.

Brooke Walton with her first buck and wild boar.

I opened the sandwich, but he didnt
take his eyes of the field and woods
he was expecting every deer in the
county to come running because of my
story telling from the previous year.
I had Noah close his eyes, listen
and tell me what he heard. He told me
he could hear the wind blowing, the
corn stalks rustling, and birds hed
never heard before, crows and blue
jays. Once again he said, this is a
lot more fun and better than watching TV! And we hadnt even seen a
deer! Numerous times Noah asked,
Grandpa, I hope we can do this again
and a lot more.
I dont know who appreciated
our hunt together more. I know we are
both anxiously awaiting the spring turkey season. Sharing my hunting season
with Noah was really worth it for me. I
hope others do the same!


Heres another family sharing the

outdoors story: Brooke LeeAnn Walton,
an eleven-year-old from Lapeer Co. has
been hunting with her dad, Kyle and
grandpa Glenn since she was a little
girl. At eight years old she starting
hunting and took a doe hunting with
her dad using her grandpas crossbow.
She hunted hard her second year but
didnt have any luck.
At 10 years old and having two
years of experience Brooke took
another doe hunting with her grandpa.
Then this past season hunting Oct. 21

with her grandpa after school the two

watched a half-dozen does, none offering Brooke a good shot, and she knows
what a good shot is. Suddenly the does
ran from the area and a 7-point came
out, the same buck her grandpa had
passed on several times hoping Brooke
would get the opportunity. The buck
was on a steady path heading toward
the exiting does. Grandpa whispered
a plan for Brooke to shoot once he
grunted to stop the buck. The plan
worked perfectly and Brooke had her
third harvest with grandpas crossbow.
It was a storybook hunt and worth
grandpas sacrifice to both hunters.
Brooke then took her hunting skills
to the wilds of Georgia for a wild boar
hunt with her dad, grandpa and eight
other friends. The hunting was tough;
hunting from 5-11 a.m. and 3 p.m. until
dusk. The first two days she didnt see
anything. She didnt sit back, though,
she helped wash, butcher hogs, and
trimmed bacon fat. Finally the third
day she harvested a 145 pound boar
with a perfect shot.
By Brookes family sharing their
outdoor pursuits they created a huntress supreme. Her goal is to someday
go on a moose hunt, she dreams of
becoming a taxidermist, she loves
watching wildlife and is a great artist
as well.
The Waltons shared their story because, We hope this will encourage
other youths to get out in nature. Its a
great place to be!n


Open All Year Pike and walleye season on Lower Peninsula Great
Lakes, Lake St. Clair & St. Clair & Detroit Rivers
Open All Year Catch-and-immediate-release bass season on all
Michigan waters open to fishing
Now-March 31 Cottontail/Snowshoe season
Now-March 31 Crow season
Now-April 15 Coyote hunting (see regulations)
Now-Dec. 31 Pure Michigan Hunt application period
April 18-May 31 Spring turkey season statewide (various seasons
and areas-check regulations)
April 25-March 15 Pike and walleye season on Lower Peninsula
inland waters
May 1-June 1 Elk and Bear license application periods
May 15-March 15 Pike and walleye season on Upper Peninsula
Great Lakes, inland waters & St. Marys River
May 23-Dec. 31 Catch and keep bass season on all Michigan
waters except; Lake St. Clair, and Detroit and St. Clair Rivers, which
opens June 20




19744 15 Mile Rd
Clinton Twp. 48035

3001 Rochester Rd
Royal Oak, MI 48073




Best turkey decoy
Kenny Darwin page 8

Talking Turkey...Guns

Tom Lounsbury page 14

Four Turkeys--Four Guns

Darryl Quidort page 18

My take on turkey decoys

George Rowe page 44

Deer stand
location preparation...
Part I -- Tools
John Eberhart page 64

Using pheasants in training

Len Jenkins page 82

Dog Training Q and A

Charlie Linblade page 86

Michigan's treasure
Challenging the stubborn
Manistee steelies
Randy Jorgensen page 28

Is this for real?
The walleyes think so


Floats; early season's

best answer

Is your family prepared

for a home intruder?

ProNav promises the

ultimate in boat control


Jack Payne page 34

Tricia Auten page 86

Mark Romanack page 42


Trophy fishing experience 32

Bill Ziegler page 46

Destination Tawas/Au Gres

John Bergsma page 48

Get your boat




page 13

Mark Sak page 56

Aplenty and tricks
to find them

Jonathan Schechter page 40

A Michigan treasure

Roger Beukema page 58

April 1-2
Raptor Watch Festival
Betty Sodders page 60

Odd things can

happen when launching 80

Capt. Fred Davis page 63

The ups and downs

of vertical jigging


Robert Dock Stupp page 24

DNR Outdoor Skill Academy

Learn from the experts

Mike Gnatkowski page 50

MDNR page 69

Throwing lipless rattlers

Old Michigan
hunting guides

Buck Mallory page 52

Mark Martin page 16

Patterns for spring pike

Lane Walker page 70

Joe Bednar page 84

Embrace the
Sturgeon River

Mark Romanack page 12

Life in the Fast Lane...

Passing the torch
A Michigander's
dream fulfilled

DNR Master
Angler Program
Bird dog attacked
by wolves

Richard P. Smith page 20

Kenny Darwin page 36

The Early Bird...

John Ozoga page 66

Keith Kavajecz/Gary Parsons

page 30

Elk Research Project


The adaptive whitetail


ater News


Trail reading
Aldo Leopold

Harvesting spring
female walleye
Brian Miller page 26

Dear Fish Diary...

She is always right
no matter what...

Ron St. Germain page 62

Communication vital to
entice Michiganders
Rick Fowler page 70

Can Hinge-Cutting have

potential negative effects
on your forest?
Rick Lucas page 71

Muzzle season
quiet time please!

Thomas Carney page 22

Ed Spinazzola page 71

Teaching on the river

Jim Bedford page 38


Guest Column...
The day of the

Black Powder Shooting Sports...

Vignettes of life
from yesteryear

William Barry page 57

Michigan Meanders...
The streams of spring
Tom Huggler page 59

Dennis Neely page 54

Gun Chat...
Useful holsters

Lee Arten page 82

Jeff Pendergraff page 74


$13,000 Lure!
Hosmer Mechanical Froggie

Trophy Page. . . . . . . . 68 Classifieds . . . . . . 87-88

Sporting Collectibles...
Terry McBurney page 78

Op-Ed . . . . . . . . . . . 70-73 Real Estate . . . . . . . 89-97


To Find Them!



Kenny Darwin photo 8



Population Study

Trophy Fishing Experience

4 Turkeys, 4 Different Guns... 1 Year! Teaching On The River

Preparing Deer Stand Locations Michigans Bass Outlook
Raptors Spring Pike Ups & Downs Of Vertical Jigging Like us on facebook

Follow us on


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2015 BUCKS
Warren Walton




Coyotes Close
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ossible? All Aboeautt La
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New Subscription

Which turkey decoy is best?

There are several turkey decoys on the market that
can bring adult gobblers into shooting range. These
gobblers are interested in a submissive hen decoy.



ith all the new realistic looking turkey

decoys on the market, which is best?
Which guarantees
gobblers will come
runnin and how
do I set them up to
ensure wild turkeys will be attracted?
These questions and more are asked
by Michigan hunters looking to fill
their turkey tag. The answers are
simple yet somewhat complex and if
you read on you will become a much
wiser, more effective gobbler hunter.
In the world of wild turkey
products the choices seem endless.
Just look at the great variety in calls,
camouflage clothing, pop up blinds,
shooting sticks, face paint, vests, camouflage boots and more. But perhaps
the most important product is the
decoys you place near your stand. Use
junk decoys and wild birds will move
in the opposite direction when they
see your spread. But if you use new,
modern decoys with realistic feather
and body detail, the wild birds will be
persuaded to venture close for a better
look. This is best described by the following anecdote.
It was a beautiful spring morning when I placed the submissive
hen decoy in the small pasture near a
Clare farm. Wild birds were singing
at the top of their lungs when I heard
a nearby gobble. I responded to the

call with a few wake up sounds, putts

and finished with a few soft purrs. The
next gobble was much closer; obviously the wild turkey heard my call
and came to investigate. Thats when
I noticed three large
black bodies slipping
through the underbrush
headed in my direction.
When they reached the
meadow the lead bird
stopped, stood tiptoed
and eyeballed my hen
decoy. I gave a few
more soft purrs and the
big gobbler immediately responded with
a gobble then went
full strut, opened his
huge tail fan, puffed
up his feathers and
made tight circles in
an effort to encourage my decoy in his
A subordinate gobbler stood on
watch but after seeing the hen decoy
laying down, the invitation was irresistible and he broke rank and quickly
danced toward my set up. The boss
gobbler not to be outdone, lowered
his fan and charged ahead in order to
be first to greet the receptive hen. I
snapped photos as the adult gobblers
surrounded my hen. At one point they
were all fanned out, slowly circling
the hen but when the boss made a

move to mount the decoy I readied

the shotgun. Thats when things went
south and the decoy tipped over on its
side and somebody sounded an alarm
putt and the birds ran
a few feet and stood
heads up. The Benelli
found its mark and
with a boom the largest
gobbler with a 10-inch
plus beard lay next to
the toppled decoy.
Since this experience I set out to test
several turkey decoys
and a variety of set ups
in order to determine
which is best. Wow,
did I get an education and discovered
the trick to decoying
wild turkeys revolves
around one important
facet, a fanned tail. After decades of
sitting in a blind trying to get quality
photographs using decoys, a variety of
calls and more I hit on a system that
guarantees results. My secret trick is
a turkey fan. Of all the methods used
to entice adult toms into close range
nothing compares to the drawing power of a turkey decoy with fully fanned
tail feathers. More importantly, if you
move the fan, make it turn or go up
and down, side to side, the gobblers
go ballistic and charge the set up.
I hit on this tactic after studying

By Kenny Darwin

Indian folklore and came across a

painting of American Indians stalking
wild turkeys by hiding behind a turkey
fan. So, I grabbed camera gear and
tried the technique. The results were
impressive and thats when I used the
full fan decoy when hunting and had
fantastic results. I staked out the fake
tail gobbler and placed eye bolts in the
ground and ran clear fishing monofilament to the blind. When wild birds appeared in the distance I would tug the
line which caused the decoy to rotate
in a semi-circle and wild gobblers
came running. Some would attack the
decoy and eventually I replaced my
prototype with a manufactured decoy
with full fan.
Obviously, fanned tail feathers
send a message to other gobblers that
a receptive hen is nearby and they
quickly come to investigate. The
instant I switched from resting decoys
to full fan gobblers my success rate
soared and soon my photo file was
bulging with impressive images of
mature gobblers. It appears that the
visual stimulus of a fanned tail sends a
powerful message to love sick gobblers in search of a mate and they
instinctively want to join the party.
To make the set up perfect, use
a submissive hen decoy and face the
gobbler toward the hen. This sends a
second visual cue to other gobblers

Turkey decoys page 10



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February 15 to May 1, at an authorized
Dealer and recieve your 2016 Michigan
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New Walleye Rods - Spring 2016


Andy's Tackle
Anderson's Pro Bait
Port Huron
D&R Sports Center
Michigan Tackle Specialties Battle Creek
Jays Sporting Goods
Franks Great Outdoors
Fishing Tackle Grab Bag
Pappys Bait and Tackle
RP2 Tackle
Harrison Township
Lakeside Fishing Shop
St. Clair Shores
Johnsons Great Outdoors
Clear H2O Tackle
Sportsmen Direct
Harrison Township
Hicks Outdoors
Al and Bobs
Grand Rapids

Turkey decoys:
from page 8
that a receptive hen is laying down,
ready to breed and gobblers who see
the hen will charge within easy range
at lightning speed. A lifelike breeding pair ignites a mature gobblers
instincts, making boss gobblers aggressive. Some mature boss gobblers
are jealous about other toms breeding
hens on their home turf. This tactic is
deadly on huge gobblers with large
bodies and impressive beards or
What I discovered is that decoyshy gobblers that refuse to leave
safety of cover will decoy with ease
if you use this system. Some hunters use a decoy flock, not me. Others
spend money on expensive decoys
that stand motionless and lack the visual cue to draw big gobblers. If I had

anchored at a fixed point into the

ground and whose motion is derived
exclusively by power of natural
wind is legal. In my opinion this
is another ridiculous, antiquated law
that has nothing to do with protecting the resource and is designed to
dampen hunter success and the thrill
of the hunt. I hope legislative leaders
will soon strike it from the books and
Turkey Digest.
If your goal is to decoy adult wary
gobblers into easy range, use a decoy
with full tail fan. They can be used
with a flock or single receptive hen.
Dont overlook the Primos Chicken
on a Stick that can be used with other
decoys or when stalking wild birds.
Then again, our DNR has a
sentence in the Turkey Digest that


Heres a good example of a bad decoy spread. First, there is no fanned

gobbler decoy. Second, these decoys are cheap models that reflect sunlight
and do not have feather detail. The decoys also lack lifelike colors although
they can rotate on the stake and attract birds.


to pick just one decoy for wild turkey

hunting, it would be a gobbler in full
strut with fan fully displayed. The
trick is to select a decoy with lifelike
detail, stunning colors and realistic
feather detail. Forget jake or tom
decoys that are simply standing and
go with a gobbler in full strut with tail
feathers fully fanned.
Dont overlook the lifelike body
posture and amazing feather detail
of the DSD Strutter. Avian-X offers
a strutter crafted of rugged DuraRubber which folds with ease. Some
hunters like the Primos Killer B tom
decoy with fan pull cord to make the
tail move. Avian X sells a Lifeline
360 degrees pulley system that creates the kind of movement that brings
gobblers running.
However, the problem is the
Michigan DNR does not allow hunting wild turkey with Mechanical,
electronic or live decoys. Mechanical
means any devise that by design or
construction uses motion as a visual
stimulus to attract a wild turkey. A
wind sock or similar decoy body

discriminates against hunters who

use spot and stalk tactics. It says Do
not attempt to stalk a turkey. Your
chances of success are poor and at
best, you might get a glimpse of tail
feathers. More importantly, that gobbler or hen you are stalking may turn
out to be another hunter, a potentially
dangerous situation. This verbiage
is discriminatory toward hunters
and shows their lack of understanding regarding successful hunting
techniques. This paragraph is a poor
recommendation by the DNR, clearly
outdated and illustrates they have
little understanding of lethal modern
wild turkey hunting techniques.
Dont get me wrong, scouting can
be the key to turkey hunting success. If you pattern wild birds, know
their travel routes, daily routine and
roosting locations it can be relatively
simple to intercept a gobbler. But the
problem is most hunters dont have
the time to spend hours scouting
birds. If you set up in a gobbler rich
environment your hunt could be short
but most hunters rely on decoys and

Scouting can put you on a big gobbler. Using soft cutts, yelps and purrs will get his
attention but decoys will bring them close and hold their attention long enough so
hunters can touch off a lethal shot. Kenny Darwin photos
calling to bring birds into shooting
range. Those who know the basics of
calling and use full fan decoys can be
assured gobblers will investigate their
set up. In most cases it takes skill and
patience to fill a turkey tag.
Most hunters use enticing calls to
get the attention of wild birds but far
too often smart gobblers move into
distant cover rather than approaching
hunters. The trick to get wild gobblers
to commit and walk into your spread
hinges on whether you understand the
importance of gobbler decoys with
tail feathers fully fanned. Few thrills
in hunting can match a big adult gobbler walking directly at you, coming
kissin close and the interesting courtship dance he performs around your
decoys. Sometimes aggressive gobblers will charge a full fan decoy with
a come fight me stare and immediately initiate a fight. Those sex crazed
gobblers can be wild and crazy birds

that provide endless entertainment.

My friends call me the jolly
green giant during turkey season
because Im a perfectionist when
it comes to complete camouflage. I
wear a face mask, Bogs boots, gloves
and complete camouflage outfit that
is spray painted green. My goal is to
perfectly match the brilliant green
of spring grass and plants and the
detailed outfit helps me when spot
and stalking birds or when hiding
outdoors while sitting over decoys.
Sometimes I attach green leaves or
grass to my clothing to make the camouflage complete. The idea is to hide
my human outline from the sharp
eyes of wary gobblers. But after years
of chasing birds with telephoto lens,
archery gear or gun I have discovered
that my most valuable tool is a tom
decoy with fully fanned tail feathers.
Try one this spring and I guarantee
you will be impressed.n

The deadliest decoying pattern going is to set up your decoys to mimic a

live mating pair. The hen should be lying down with wings out and head
upright in breeding position. The gobbler should be nearby with tail feathers
fully fanned, ready for action.

Andys Tackle
Melvindale, MI
Al and Bobs
Grand Rapids, MI

Broadlows Fishing Hole Franks Great Outdoors

St. Joe, MI
Linwood, MI
D&R Sports
Kalamazoo, MI

Jays Sporting Goods

Clare, MI

Fishing Tackle Grab Bag Johnsons Great Outdoors

Davison, MI
Montague, MI

Lakeside Fishing
St. Claire Shores, MI

Hicks Outdoors
Clio, MI

Jenison, MI

Northwoods Outfitters

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Port Huron, MI


Michigans milder than normal
winter has a lot of ice fishermen
frustrated with the lack of good ice.
First ice came late and last ice was
over quickly, setting up a less than
desirable situation for those who
enjoy hard water fishing...



hen ice forms late in the Great

Lakes State, a sequence of events is
set into motion. What lots of anglers
Some of the best early
dont realize is that once the days
season bass fishing takes
start to lengthen after December
place days after the ice
22, the making of ice is not exactly
comes out and there is
a given. During El Nino years warm air from the
still some snow on the
gulf penetrates the north and slows the production
ground. Author photo
of ice or in many cases prevents ice from forming
all together.
For the anglers of Michigan there is nothing
Catch & Release Bass Season
that can be done to influence these cyclic weather
Its almost a given that lakes in southern
patterns. We cant change the weather, but we can
Michigan will be ice free in March this year. The
prepare for open water fishing opportunities that
will likely happen earlier in 2016 than the previous Michigan Catch and Release Bass Season allow
anglers to literally start targeting bass the day the
two years.
ice melts. Many old school bass fishermen feel that
bass dont bite well in icy cold water. The
truth is bass bite very well in cold water,
Detroit River Walleye
but tempting them requires ultra-slow
In the years that Michigan experipresentations including swimming weedences harsh winters, the ice typically starts
less jigs, casting weightless soft plastics
breaking up in late March and early April.
and jerkbaiting. By simply slowing down
Ice flows commonly plug the Detroit River
the presentation its amazing how both
during this time period, making it almost
smallmouth and largemouth bass can be
impossible to fish without the risk of getcaught in water temperatures barely above
ting cut off from the boat launch by
huge sheets of ice flowing downBy Mark Romanack Its also worth noting how fast
water temperatures spike upwards
With the milder than normal winter of 2016 its once the ice melts away. Long days and a high
a safe bet that the Detroit River will be ice free by
sun angle in the spring warm the shallows into the
late March and anglers will have a golden opporupper 40s and low 50s just days after the ice has
tunity to target trophy walleye. The adult female
melted. In fact, the ideal conditions for catching
walleyes of Lake Erie show up in the Detroit River bass during the Catch and Release Season occur when piles of snow can still be found on the
weeks before the smaller males. Prior to spawning
these fish put on the feed bag and some amazing
catches of trophy class fish can occur.
River Steelhead
A poor ice fishing season is bad for hard water
anglers, but this same situation can create amazWhen the winter weather is mild anglers can
ingly productive pre-spawn fishing conditions for
gain access to Michigans best steelhead rivers all
walleye on the Detroit River. Great fishing is found winter long. Typically the fishing gets pretty tough
on both the Michigan and Ontario sides of the river. in late winter because a lot of the available steel-

head get caught.

New tactics including fishing jigs on floats, bead
fishing and using more productive plugs for winter
steelheading takes a toll on fish during the winter.
Fortunately, not all the steelhead run the river at the
same time. Run off from melting snow and spring
rains often attracts a fresh run of steelhead in late
March and early April.
The best way to catch these spring run steelhead is to schedule a trip for immediately following
peak water flow. As the river reaches peak flow and
water levels gradually start to decline, ideal fishing
conditions set up.
During ideal conditions all the popular steelhead fishing methods will produce including rolling
spawn, fishing bead rigs, float fishing with spawn or
wax worms, plug pulling and even casting spinners.
The best fishing occurs while the river levels are
still above normal. Once the water levels get back
to normal, the water tends to clear up and fishing
can get tough again.

Great Lakes Walleye Trolling

The same great crankbait trolling action that

occurs in late fall, repeats itself in late March and
early April. While a lot of walleye are upriver
spawning at this time of year, not all the walleye
in the Great Lakes run rivers to spawn. In Saginaw
Bay and also Lake Erie, a significant percentage of
the walleye population spawns on reefs.
Shallow diving stickbaits and modest to deep
diving minnows are the hot crankbaits for trolling

up spring walleye. The list of must have baits for

this style of fishing include the Husky Jerk 12 and
14, Smithwick Perfect 10, Reef Runner RipStick
and Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow series. The top diving
minnows include the Deep Husky Jerk 12, Reef
Runner 800 Series, Deep Diving Yo-Zuri Minnow
and the Berkley Flicker Minnow Series.
All of these baits are fish catchers, but none of
them will produce good catches without the help
of in-line planer boards like the popular Off Shore
Tackle Side-Planer. In-line boards are ideal for this
type of trolling because they can be trolled slowly
(1.2 to 1.5 MPH) and still get great outward coverage.

Adding Scent

One final tip applies to all of the early spring

fisheries outlined above. In cold water, adding fish
scent to lures and baits can dramatically improve

fishing success. The problem with most fish scents

is they dissolve in water and quickly wash off the
Pro-Cure is a leader in producing fish attracting
scents. My favorites are the Super Gels that are designed to stay on baits. Super Gels are made from
actual fish forage species including crayfish, smelt,
alewives, shad, shiners and even nightcrawlers.
Super Gels stick to lures and resists washing off for
hours, creating a lasting scent stream in the water.
Not a lot of Michigan retailers carry Pro-Cure
as they are a west coast company. Fortunately
their products can be mail ordered at The variety of scents this
company produces is mind boggling and all are
designed to help anglers catch more fish.
The mild winter of 2016 certainly didnt do ice
fishermen any favors. Fortunately, with every new
season comes an opportunity to make up for lost
time on the water.n


Another successful
year for DNR's Master
Angler program

1916 - 2016

The original Williams lure that

started it all 100 years ago.
Stabilising ridge
7 sizes, 30 colours



The MDNR has announced the

2015 results from its Master Angler
program, which since 1973 has recognized large fish caught by recreational
This past year, 1,542 anglers representing 15 states and Canada submitted catches that were recognized as
Master Angler fish. That's a better
than 50 percent increase over the 987
fish recognized in 2014. The large
increase likely stems from the department's simplification of the Master
Angler application.
Of the entries accepted in 2015,
899 were categorized as catch and
keep and 643 were categorized as
catch and release.
Here is a breakdown of the most
popular 2015 Master Angler entries
by species:
142 bluegill
124 crappie
118 walleye
89 channel catfish
87 freshwater drum
82 smallmouth bass
Master Angler entries for 2015
included six state records, including smallmouth bass (9.33 pounds,
Sage Colegrove (right) with his state-record black buffalo.
caught on Hubbard Lake by Greg
drum (28.61 pounds, caught on Gun Lake by
Gasiciel of Rhodes), quillback carpMark Leep of Middleville).
sucker (8.52 pounds, caught on Hardy Dam
Submissions already are being accepted
Pond by Garrett Reid of Nashville), quillback
carpsucker (9.42 pounds, caught on Hardy Dam for the 2016 Master Angler program, and will
continue to be accepted through Jan. 10, 2017.
Pond by Blake Wilson of Lake Ann), black bufDownload an application at
falo (44.54 pounds, caught on the Grand River
masterangler. Anglers are encouraged to submit
by Sage Colegrove of Muskegon), white perch
their applications as they catch their fish and to
(2.0 pounds, caught on Bear Lake by Cindy
not hold them until the end of the year.
Lou Cordo of North Muskegon) and freshwater


All About Turkey Guns ... By Tom Lounsbury

ell folks, as I write this, over two feet

of snow has just dropped on my farm
in less than a week, and despite that,
Im already developing a serious case
of spring fever. It no doubt probably relates to the fact maple sap is
now running to be collected for maple syrup and
Ive already heard the distinct calls on the wind of
a couple flocks of Tundra Swans winging north.
Then there was the large flock of migrating robins
that passed through, but not before devouring all the
fruit off some crab apple trees in my yard. To compound matters, my twelve year old granddaughter
McKenna just informed me she wants to go spring
turkey hunting, very much to my delight.
I have no doubt at all as to what shotgun she is
going to use, which is my single-shot H&R 28 ga.
with a fixed modified choke. It is the shotgun all
three of my sons first ventured into local pheasant
hunting with many years ago and it is the gun that
enlightened me as to how truly efficient this small
bore is in the field. I already know how this shotgun
patterns and what load it prefers, so the only thing
left to do is to have McKenna practice with it to become fluent in the field. The petite H&R 28 will
certainly do its part if McKenna does hers.
The title Turkey Gun conjures up a variety
images in the minds of turkey hunters today. What

seems popular is a short-barreled (usually about

26 inches or shorter for more maneuverability) and
camouflaged (to avoid detection by sharp-eyed and
very color perceptive wild turkeys) shotgun that
is equipped with a tight-patterning screw-in choke
tube. It will also usually be a 3 inch or 3 and half
inch 12 ga. Magnum, or better yet, a 10 ga. using
3 and half inch shells for the ultimate performance
and reach in putting very tough and tenacious gobblers down for the count. The turkey shotgun will
also feature a sling for allowing hands to be free
while roving and calling or when a lucky hunter has
to carry a heavy bird out of the woods.
Specialized turkey shot-shells today are filled
with a copious amount of shot to put as many pellets on the target as is possible, and when you combine this fact with the tighter constriction of typical
turkey chokes, the end result is a very long shotstring, which in the world of turkey hunting isnt
a bad thing at all. The reality is we arent talking
wing-shooting here, and the main focus is placing
the shot pattern in the neck/head area of a usually
stationary bird, so it is more similar to shooting a
single projectile instead of a wide pattern, at least at
the closer ranges. For this reason a turkey shotgun
is often equipped with rifle-type sights, including (low power) optics, for precise shot placement. Without question the turkey shotgun and the

specialized loads it uses is a continually evolving

process that pertains to the continually growing
popularity of the wild turkey in this country.
Personally, Ive only hunted wild turkeys in
Michigan (thus far) and Ive been at it for more
than 45 years now. This has allowed me to witness
the continual evolution of the gear and techniques
which have developed while the wild turkey has expanded its numbers and range, not only in Michigan
but nationwide as well, including in places it was
never in before such as Hawaii. The wild turkey
in America is without question a very successful
conservation story and here in Michigan today, you
dont have to drive far to find good turkey hunting
When I first started spring turkey hunting during
the late 1960s, the options werent nearly as good. I
was very fortunate to have been drawn for a limited
hunt in northern Michigan, and had no idea what to
expect. My turkey call had to be special ordered at
the local hardware because none were stocked on
the shelves, and the shotgun I used was my Granddads old 12 ga. Auto-Five Browning. The load
I opted for was high-brass number twos (which
was legal then) that did a good job on waterfowl
and fox, so I assumed it was fine for wild turkeys. I
didnt have an opportunity to bag a gobbler on that
hunt but I became totally smitten with spring turkey

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offers two quick shots (if needed) and with sufficient patterns to 35 yards. It is also easy to quickly
load or unload in the field.
Spring turkey hunting opportunities began to
really pick up in the 1980s and better yet in the
1990s, including closer to home in my Thumb
area. It was during the Thumbs first early seasons
when my sons Jake and Josh were just into hunting
and lucked out on the draw. By that time nothing
larger than number four birdshot could be used for
turkeys, which wasnt a bad thing in my mind. It
was while patterning my sons 20 ga. shotguns that
I became really impressed with this smaller bore
for turkeys. Both pumps (one a Mossberg, the other
a Remington) proved to be effective turkey getters
out to 30 yards which works for me in the turkey
woods anytime. The fact is I often use a 20 ga.
today for turkey hunting because I appreciate the
lighter weight and recoil.
A point in fact about turkey guns is the local
girl youth hunter who used a single-shot H&R .410
to knock a gobbler spurs-up at just under 20 yards
thanks to the calling efforts of her father. The big,
mature gobbler never knew what hit him and to me
this scene is what turkey hunting is all about. All
firearms for hunting require the user to understand
any limitations and to stay within them before
touching the trigger. So the reality of what can be
The author, Tom Lounsbury, with his favorite turkey gun
determined a turkey gun is what the hunter has
these days, a camo-painted over/under 12 ga., choked
available and also what he or she is comfortable
with (my youngest son Joe still prefers to faithfully (standard) full and full.
use his Ithaca pump 16 ga.).
It is just that spring turkey hunting to me is the art
There is nothing at all wrong with a specialized of calling gobblers in close as possible and making
turkey gun and todays version are top performthe shot according to whatever shotgun is being
ers (and the ammunition is the best Ive ever seen). used, a done deal.n

hunting as it is a very unique and addictive atmosphere like no other.

During the 1970s, more spring turkey hunting
opportunities developed in northern Michigan and
I was quite often lucky in the draw and my skill
seemed to improve during a continual learning process, and turkey calls actually could be found on
shelves. Besides my Granddads Browning, I also
used a 12 ga. side by side double (featuring modified and full chokes) and a 12 ga Model 37 Ithaca
pump with a 30 inch full choke barrel. All three
shotguns use two and three-quarter inch shells and
quickly became my favorite turkey guns for 20
years. They did their part if I did mine, and I never
had a maneuverability problem with the Ithacas
long barrel, and in fact I appreciated its longer
sighting radius. Except for the double-barrel that I
painted olive drab, the other shotguns have a dull
matte wood/blue finish that I found didnt alert and
scare off any turkeys.
I never used a 3 inch magnum shell for turkeys
until I acquired a 12 ga. Remington 870 Express
25 years ago. It also featured the newly developed
screw-in choke tubes which are truly a versatile
blessing to avid shotgunners today. One thing I
discovered right away is that each shotgun is an
individual and has a preference for specific shotsizes and even brands when you pattern them. So
preseason patterning is an annual affair for me and
a very important and integral part of turkey hunting, magnum or otherwise.
A favorite turkey gun I use frequently today
is a Remington Spartan over and under 12 ga (3
inch magnum) that I had custom camouflage-painted, and when it is choked standard full and full, it

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The Ups and Downs

I am often asked what technique I use most to catch walleyes.

By far it is vertical jigging and it is the one technique anglers
can use all year long...By Mark Martin

lthough it rates right up

there, its not because the
tactic outfishes all others.
Rather, its the one ruse you
can use all year - including
this upcoming spring. And
the tactic works wonders for catching
walleyes in all types of waterways,
from natural lakes, reservoirs and rivers, and, in clear water or stained.
Is the technique a no-brainer to
use, however? Nope not even close.
I guess you could say it has its ups
and downs. (Pun intended.) Overall,
there are a lot of little details that
make a big difference that you must
pay attention to if you want to get bit.

boards is running - either the 250-hp

when Im heading to a spot, or, the
9.9-hp 4-stroke when I am trolling.
The one at the bow is for when my
bow-mounted electric trolling motor is
deployed and I am casting crankbaits
or jigging.
Why have my bow-mounted electric set up and running when vertical
jigging? Because good boat control
leads to perfect jig and jigging control; and all are crucial when it comes
to catching walleyes. (Well, all fish for
that matter.)

Vertical Means Vertical

Look up the definition of the word

vertical and youll find the answer
to be something like: at right angles
to a horizontal plane; in a direction, or
First and foremost, you need to
having an alignment, such that the top
jig where the fish are, not in the 90
is directly above the bottom.
percent of any water they are not. I
In short, this means vertical is
know this sounds obvious, but this
fact is overlooked by so many anglers. vertical. And when youre jigging and
your line is at an angle, any angle at
And this does not just mean fishing
all, then you are not vertical jigging.
in likely areas where walleye might
My bow-mounted electric trollroam, but pinpointing and jigging
ing motor is crucial when it comes
directly overhead where they are.
Modern electronics are one of the to keeping my jig rising and falling
biggest changes for the better when it flawlessly vertical. My foot is always
on the control petal; pushing forward
comes to fishing verses catching.
When I was a kid and fishing with hard; reverse lightly (or again hard);
right; left. It doesnt matter. Adjusting
my father and grandfather, for exthe position of my Lund so that my
ample, it was very difficult to isolate
line is continuously vertical is the key
specific structure as well the exact
to catching.
water depths that surrounded it. And
we wouldnt even know if there were
fish in the area unless we spent a lot of
The fishing line I use when vertitime with lines deployed.
cal jigging is the next most important
Basically, if we caught fish then
piece of equipment. It needs to be
we figured the fish were there. If we
ultra-sensitive so as to feel the lightest
didnt, wed move on and start over
strikes, and thin in diameter so as to
slice through the water and create
Nowadays, on both on the dash
very little drag. And it needs to be
and at the bow of my Lund Pro-V,
youll find Lowrance sonar units with bright in color so as to be easily seen.
And whatever you do, dont worry
GPS. And in the card reader of both,
about the eyes eyeing that bright line,
an SD card by Navionics, filled with
because they dont care. Seriously.
detailed mapping of most any lake,
By far, Berkleys FireLine in
river or reservoir I am on.
6-pound test and in Flame (bright
The nitty-gritty of it all is the in
green) color is the best I have found
details of the Navionics mapping
program. Navionics help me pin down for vertical jigging. Its a superline
where, exactly, all the humps, bumps, that has nearly no stretch, has an
underwater points and holes are, and, ultra-thin diameter (the same, if not
less than 2-pound monofilament),
allows me to be able to position my
boat directly over the breaklines. And and its color lets it stand out from the
background. The later makes it very
for the most part, it is on the breakeasy for me to see if it is at an angle,
lines nearest any structure where the
which means my boat is drifting too
walleyes will be.
quickly, as well for detecting strikes.
Why two units? The one on the
Often times Ill see the line twitch the
dash is for when one of my two out-

Fish Where They Are


Sight Seen, Not Unseen


Good boat control made for a perfectly presented jig, which helped Mark Martin land
this nice walleye. David A. Rose photo
instant a walleye strikes before feeling
A rod made just for jigging is essential, as well. Personally, I use Fenwicks EliteTECH Walleye spinning
rods built for vertical jigging - their
6-foot 3-inch medium-power fastaction rod is just right. And I couple it
with an ABU Garcia spinning reel.
The entire line of ABU Garcia
spinning reels are the most multispecies-friendly. This is because they
work wonders when I crank the drag
down to nothing (no line pulls out)
when fighting fish that dont make
hard runs, like walleye, yet have a
superior drag when needed for fish
like steelhead and salmon that require
an ultra-smooth drag system.

Heavy Metals

Two types of jigs come to mind

when it comes to vertical jigging, and
thats the ball-shaped lead-headed
jig tipped with live or fake bait, and,
minnow-shaped lures that sit horizontally in the water.
Northland Fishing Tackles GumBall Jig in Neon-Tone colors is my
go-to. They come in seven sizes, from
1/32 to 1/2 ounce to cover every need.
(Tip: Always use the lightest weight
jig you can get away with when jigging. They move much more naturally
in the water.)
When using a lead-head jig, I
always either tip it with live bait
fresh from my Frabill bait container
(minnows, leaches, crawlers and the
like), or with a Berkley Gulp! product
(again - minnows, leaches, crawlers
and the like). Both live bait and Gulp!

give off scent, which is important.

As for a jig with a horizontal profile in the water, I find Rapalas Snap
Rap offers not only a straight-up-anddown presentation, but has a slight
glide to it on the fall that walleyes just
And theres no need to tip the
Snap Rap with bait, live or fake. In
fact, it is not suggested as it will impede the action of the lure.
Slow and easy wins the race
The jigging action you should employ
when fishing vertical is not much of a
lift and fall at all.
Overall, a mere raising and lowering of the rod tip about 12 inches is
all thats needed to employ plenty of
action. Too much can actually spook

In The End

Looking to land a limit of walleyes during your next outing? Who

Use both sonar and GPS, coupled
with a mapping program, and youll
find the fish faster and easier than
ever before. And keep your boat under
perfect control at all times. Next use
rods, reels and line made just for the
technique. Tip your lead-head jigs
with live bait or imitations with plenty
of scent. Lastly, jig, but not too aggressively.
Mark Martin is a touring walleye
tournament pro and instructor with the
Fishing/Vacation Schools, who lives
in SW Lower Michigan. Check out his
website at for more










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round ball firmly down on top of it.

With a sharp flint in the jaws of the
hammer and a pinch of fine, 4fG powder in the pan, I felt that I was ready
for turkeys.
When Mike and I met up, near
dark that first evening, we had both
seen turkeys go to roost in the stunted
live oak trees and had a good idea
of where we wanted to hunt the next
morning. One of the rituals of flintlock hunting is firing the rifle each
night, cleaning it, and starting out
with a fresh load each morning. We
laughed out loud as fire shot several
feet out of the muzzles and the boom
echoed off the hills as we unloaded
t all started in March of 2014.
My friend, Mike, invited me on a our rifles in the darkness.
The next morning I was set up on
hunt in South West Texas for the
a ridge above a wide valley where I
Rio Grande species of wild turkey. We took both our traditional knew turkeys were roosting. In the
bows and our traditional flintlock stillness of the clear, cool dawn, I
experienced something unforgettable.
rifles along on the hunt. Either bow
Up and down the mile long valley,
or rifle is legal because in Texas it
seems they dont care what you use to gobblers were sounding off in unison
shoot turkeys. Carl, the ranch owner, from their roosts. For 15 minutes the
turkey talk was unbelievable. Then,
assured us that there were plenty of
as they flew down, the silence returkeys on the ranch, but the wide
open, rocky landscape made our self- turned. During the morning several
bows seem like short range tools in a flocks of turkeys moved around me.
Groups of a dozen hens were often
long range situation. Therefore, we
followed closely by half a dozen gobloaded our flintlocks and split up for
an afternoon scouting trip.
A hen decoy was useless. Why
My rifle was a .50 caliber Pennsylvania style that I had built from an would a tom turkey be interested in
assortment of parts and a curly maple a stationary, plastic hen when he had
so many real, live hens leading him
stock which had been inlaid for the
around? My calling didnt seem to
41 inch barrel. The rifle was my first
faze them. Mid-morning another
muzzle loader build and, although it
bunch of hens strolled by, followed by
displays all the common mistakes of
a first time builder, it works great and two huge gobblers. I leveled the flintis very accurate. That day in Texas, I locks iron sights on the largest one
poured a carefully measured 70 grains and considered the shot. A flintlock
of 3fG black powder down the barrel has a slower lock time than a modern
and used the ramrod to push a patched gun. Keeping the sights on the target

I really didnt set out to take

four wild turkeys in the same
year, let alone with four
different black powder
firearms. After the fact
though, I guess it does seem
like some sort of low level

By Darryl Quidort



This Texas Rio Grande turkey brought a smile to the authors face. It was taken with
his .40 caliber Southern style flintlock rifle.

Darryls .50 caliber flintlock was his first attempt at building a muzzle loading rifle.
until the ball leaves the muzzle can be
a problem, especially if the shooter
flinches when the powder in the pan
fires near his face.
Even though the range was a bit
farther than I liked, the sights held
perfectly steady on the big bird. The
shot felt right. I set the rear trigger,
slowed my breathing, and gently
nudged the front trigger. KA-BOOM!
As the gentle breeze moved the cloud
of black powder smoke aside, I saw
the hens running away. The big
gobbler was down though, with one
wing moving as if signaling me to
his location. Approaching gingerly, I
claimed my first Rio Grande turkey.
The birds coloring was beautiful. His
light tipped tail fan and light colored
rump feathers set him apart from our
darker colored Eastern turkeys. I
admired his 11 inch beard and sharp
spurs as I hoisted him over my shoulder for the walk back to camp.
The next morning I put the .50
caliber away and carried my accurate
little .40 caliber Southern squirrel
rifle. That beautiful little rifle was
built for me by noted gunmaker,
Dennis Priddy. Dennis made some
of the parts for the iron mounted
rifle himself, even turning the lock
and tang bolts on his own lathe. The
long, slender stock was formed from
a solid block of cherry wood. The
42 inch Green Mountain barrel is as
accurate as they come. If conditions
were right, I knew I could head shoot
a turkey with it just as well as I did
squirrels at home. I figured trying for
a head shot would result in either a
clean kill or a clean miss.
It looked like rain, and flintlock
rifles dont do well in a rainstorm, so I
elected to hunt from a pop-up blind on
the same ridge where I had hunted the

day before. What a difference a day

makes! Absolutely no gobbling occurred that morning. However, within
an hour I saw several gobblers hustling along a nearby ridge. My calling
had no effect on them as they went on
their way.
Then, fit-varoom, fit-varoom, the
drumming sound of a strutting turkey
reached my ears. I knew he was close
as the subtle drumming sound doesnt
carry very far. I peeked out the back
of the blind and saw five adult gobblers, 30 yards away, following a
flock of hens across an opening. What
a sight! All five of them were strutting at once and following the hens
single file in a stiff legged march. In
the time it took me to turn around,
poke the muzzle out the window of
the blind, cock the hammer, and set
the rear trigger, they had crossed the
opening and were entering the mesquite brush.
I took a deep breath, then slowly
let it out as I settled the open sights
on the tiny target of a gobblers head.
Then I completely relaxed and concentrated on the front sight until, KABOOM! I saw the turkey flip over
before the smoke completely obscured
my vision. I thought Id made a perfect shot until I trotted up to the still
flopping bird and noticed that I had
just been lucky. The tiny, .40 caliber
round ball, powered by 50 grains of
black powder, had missed the turkeys
head, but had neatly severed the neck
just below his chin. Didnt waste any
meat on that one! The big Rio gobbler sported a 10 inch beard and inch
long spurs. I thought he was even
prettier than my first one.
Back home in Michigan that same
spring, I purchased an over the counter tag for the ZZ turkey season which

gun. The old 10 gauge breech loader

resembles a tired, but still dependable, old work horse. It has no fancy
checkering or engraving, the wellworn stock has a bad crack which
was repaired long ago, and there is
no sign of any bluing left on the gun.
The heavily used appearance of the
old gun makes me wonder how many
miles it was carried, how many meals
of wild game it provided for my
ancestors, and how many roosters it
knocked down back when the pheasant was king of gamebirds.
Back in the day, when grandpas
gun was new, brass shotgun shells
were hand loaded with black powder
and paper (sometimes newspaper)
wads. Many years ago, before the
12 gauge was turned into a magnum,
the 10 gauge shotgun was considered
an upland bird gun. After a thorough
cleaning and inspection, grandpas
shotgun, with its tight action, heavy
stub twist barrels, and rabbit ear hammers, was deemed safe to shoot using

the black powder shells that it was

designed for. The old gun patterned
nicely with a moderate load of 3
drams of 2fG black powder and 1
ounces of #6 shot. I never got to hunt
with grandpa but it gave me a good
feeling to be able to hunt with the gun
he used as a young man.
On a sunny, Indian summer
afternoon I eased into an area where
I had lately seen a couple of old hen
turkeys and their young of the year.
Quietly opening the action, I dropped
a pair of black powder shotshells
into the breech. The old double
barrel snapped tightly closed as if it
meant business. Sneaking down the
trail, I watched for the birds where I
had seen them loafing during recent
afternoons. Suddenly, a turkeys head
popped up 50 yards away on a side
trail. I froze. After a look around,
the head went back down. I dropped
down and crawled to within range of
the trail in case the bird was coming
my way. Nothing showed up. Rais-

The authors Grandpas old black powder, breech loading, shotgun and the first game
taken with it in half a century.

Darryl hoists a big Eastern turkey taken

with a double barrel 10 gauge muzzle
loading shotgun.
ing up slowly, I could see unalarmed
turkeys moving away from me down
the trail. I crawled back out of
sight, then got up and circled ahead
of them. As I neared my ambush
spot, I saw a turkey run to my left.
I cocked the right hammer as two
more heads popped up and the birds
ran. I was ready when the next one
got up and made a perfect head shot
as it chased after the other turkeys.
When the smoke cleared, I had a nice
young wild turkey. That was the first
game taken with grandpas shotgun
in, wellprobably a half century or
more. I proudly picked up my bird.
Like I said, taking four wild
turkeys, with four different black
powder firearms, wasnt a goal I had
set, but I guess it was some sort of
accomplishment just the same.n


allowed me to hunt on private land

near my home. The state of Michigan
is ranked seventh in the nation for
wild turkey harvest and they are quite
common where I live.

I coasted my pickup to a
stop long before daylight and quietly
opened the door. Using the dim light
from the open truck door, I measured
100 grains of 2fG black powder for
each barrel of my 10 gauge muzzle
loading shotgun. After pushing two
over powder wads down, I dumped 1
5/8 ounces of #6 lead shot into each
barrel. Two over shot card wads
topped off my turkey loads. I would
wait until daylight to place a #11
percussion cap on both nipples of the
The gun was a gift from a friend
and I really wanted to take a wild
turkey with it, for his pleasure as well
as my own. I had spent some time
shooting various combinations of shot
and wads at large pieces of tablecloth
paper to develop a good turkey load.
Studying the shot patterns on the
papers gave me faith that the big 10
gauge would cleanly take a turkey out
to 40 yards.
Just as a pink glow developed
in the east, I slipped into my blind,
poured a cup of coffee, and sat back
to enjoy the morning. There were a
few gobbles off in the distance at daybreak, then all was quiet. Some wood
ducks whistled by overhead and a
few deer bobbed heads and stomped
feet at the sight of my blind, but there
seemed to be no turkeys in the area.
A quiet hour went by before a turkey
suddenly burst out of the woods and
went running across the clearing in
front of me. Big Tom! I quickly
grabbed my box call and gave him a
couple of loud clucks. He stopped,
looked, even puffed up a little, and
then ran on, like a kid late for the
school bus. So much for him.
Twenty minutes later another
gobbler came out at the same place
and ran into the clearing on the exact
route as the first one. Again, I gave
out a couple of loud clucks. He
stopped, looked, puffed up, even
gobbled once, then turned and ran
just like the first one. But this time
I was ready. The 10 gauge knocked
him flat but, due to the range, I was
afraid he wouldnt stay down. When
I rounded the blind on the run he was
already running away. After a hot
pursuit, I got close enough to finish
him with the second barrel. Thank
goodness for double barrel shotguns!
That adult Eastern wild turkey was a
big beautiful bird with a full beard,
nice spurs, and glossy, colorful feathers. I considered him a trophy, taken
with a muzzle loading shotgun.
My last turkey of the year was
taken in the fall season. This was a
special one for me because I used my
grandfathers old black powder shot-


Bird dog attacked by wolves

ennis Stachewicz from Gwinn

no longer considers a county
road in the city limits where
he routinely exercised his five
German Shorthaired Pointers
for years, a safe place to run his
dogs after a pair of wolves almost killed
one of his pointers.
Stachewicz, who operates Aspen
Thicket Grouse Dogs, was exercising a
pair of his female shorthairs on the afternoon of January 17 along County Road
EEA when the incident occurred.
Suddenly, I heard Gabby squeal-

By Richard P. Smith

ing terribly and

I immediately
thought she had
been caught in a snare, Stachewicz
wrote. However, it was worse. As I approached, I saw two wolves herding her
for the kill. The wolves had her in three
different places and she managed to
scramble away from them. Fortunately,
shes fast. Shes only eight months old.
My legs felt like they were in concrete and a lot flashed before my eyes in
those seconds. I yelled as loud as I could
and that gave Gabby an opportunity to

escape when one

wolf looked at me.
That wolf took off
as soon as it saw me.
Gabby shot past me and wolf number two followed her and got within 10
feet of me. That wolf looked me in the
eyes, and then turned and trotted into the
woods. Then I couldnt find Gabby!
I gathered up Georgia and then
called my wife, Rebecca, Dennis
continued. She told me that Gabby
was bolting up the driveway squealing
and went into her kennel. I checked the




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Phone: 517-324-5274 Fax: 517-324-4435







320 S. State St.

Harrisville 48740
1900 M-32 West
Alpena 49707
989-356-3596 x3

420 North Hooper St.

Kingsford 49802
551 Courthouse Dr., Ste 3
Charlotte 48813
517-543-1512 x5


387 N. Willowbrook Rd., Ste F GENESEE CD

1525 North Elms Rd.
Coldwater 49036
Flint 48532
517-278-2725 x5
810-230-8766 x3

303 North St.
Boyne City 49712



2847 Ashmun St.

Sault Ste Marie 49783



588 Olds St., Bldg #2

Jonesville 49250


1460 South Van Dyke

Bad Axe 48413
989-269-9549 x3





2343 N. US-27
St Johns 48879
989-224-3720 x3
6822 US 2-41 & M35
Gladstone 49837

431 Swartz Court, #300

Ionia 48846
616-527-2620 x101
211 W. Ganson St.,
Ste 200
Jackson 49201
517-784-2800 x5

1100 Sutton Rd.

Adrian 49221
517-263-7400 x3
8840 Chippewa Hwy (US-31)
Bear Lake 49614


780 Commerce Dr.,

Ste B
Marquette 49855
906-226-2461 x129


6180 W. Sanborn Rd.,

Ste 3
Lake City 49651


1137 South Telegraph Rd.

Monroe 48161
734-241-7755 x5


4735 Holton Rd.

Twin Lake 49457


940 W. Rex St.

Fremont 49412
231-924-2060 x101


7150 Dixie Highway,

Ste 2
Clarkston 48346


1064 Industrial Park Dr.

Shelby 49455
231-861-5600 x3


1900 South Morrice Rd.

Owosso 48867
989-723-8263 x3


1075 Cleaver Rd.

Caro 48723
989-673-8174 x3


1035 East Michigan Ave.,

Ste A
Paw Paw 49079
269-657-4030 x5

dog over and made a visit to the vet. We

couldnt find any external injuries, nor
did she respond to internal checks.
Dennis reported the incident to the
DNR and regional wildlife biologist
Terry Minzey has applied for a federal
permit that would allow them to remove
those wolves, which is necessary since
U.P. wolves are listed as an endangered
species even though they are not endangered. If wolves were under state control, as they should be, the DNR could
deal with the situation in a timelier manner. Where the attack happened is within
a half mile of the Maples Hills Subdivision and Gilbert Elementary School.
Fifteen minutes before the attack
on the bird dog, Stachewicz said he had
exercised two more of his shorthairs
along the same stretch of county road
where the attack occurred. Dennis thinks
the wolves heard or smelled the other
dogs and were waiting when he returned
with two more. Other people in the area
have either seen the wolves or have trail
camera photos of them.
During the 15 years that Stachewicz
has been hunting grouse and woodcock
with his dogs in the U.P., he has never
experienced any problems with wolves.
When hunting his shorthairs, however,
Dennis puts bells and electronic collars
on them that emit a beeping noise when
they are on point. The bells and collars enable Dennis to keep track of the
location of his dogs. At the same time,
Dennis thinks the noises those devices
make may keep wolves away.
He said the recent wolf attack on
Gabby might not have happened, if she
had been wearing a bell.
I dont normally put bells on them
during the winter, Dennis said, because they often get filled with snow.
Dennis said hes gotten a lot of comments from well-meaning people who
have suggested that he should have been
carrying a gun, and he should carry a
gun in the future and shoot the wolves,
if he sees them again.
The reality is that wolves are
protected and it is a federal crime to dispatch a wolf unless human life is in danger, he wrote in response. I personally
am not interested in being charged with
a felony and facing a conviction unless
I absolutely and truthfully believe, me
or my familys life is in danger. This is
no different than the responsibility that
comes with holding a CCW (Permit to
carry a concealed handgun).
I am going to give the professionals a crack at this. In my view, and
according to local documented observation, these are indeed problem wolves.
Therefore, I have to let the chips
fall where they may for now and
advocate for better laws, or a
population control hunt, and be on
the defense when we are outside.
Anger and frustration are understandable, but the illegal killing of a wolf
is not the answer and does more to
hurt the cause for any population



The centerpiece of A Sand County Almanac is a series of articles published

between 1938 and 1942 in the Wisconsin Agriculturist and Farmer.

Trail reading Aldo Leopold

In the Spring a young mans fancy
lightly turns to thoughts of love

turist and Farmer.

Starting in the late 19th century, two newspapers vied for the attention of farmers in Wisconsin,
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Wisconsin Farmer and The Wisconsin AgriculLocksley Hall turist. As late as 1925, they were such bitter rivals
that the Agriculturist ran an ad in The Milwaukee
nd in the spring in Michigan an older
Sentinel touting its dominance in commercial
mans thoughts might turn to woodcock.
lineage and adding, Can all of these experienced
Why not? This is the time of year we can advertisers be mistaken? Not to be outdone, the
behold the bird or at least the males of
following year The Wisconsin Farmer ran a fullthe species in all their audapage ad contesting claims the Agriculturist
cious amorous adventures. Their
had made. The advertisement ended with,
fancies turn to love while ours, to observaWisconsin Farmer told the truth and the
truth hurt.
In terms of treats delivered by beBy 1929, the two had merged to
neficent Nature, the mating ritual of the
become The Wisconsin Agriculturist and
American woodcock is about as special
Farmer. One source says the two parted
as they come. Each evening in the spring,
ways in 1958, and now the Agriculturist is
as sundown settles into the horizon, the
part of Penton Agriculture, a multi-media
woodcock trot out to their favorite
conglomerate with the trademarked
fields and begin their display.
slogan, Agricultures Information
Now, at best, the above pedesLeader.
trian description of the event serves merely to alert
If the Agriculturist and Farmer had run the
one to the existence of the woodcocks mating ritoriginal Sky Dance, therefore, it would have
ual. The passages bringing it alive come from Aldo done so between 1929, when the two publications
Leopold, the Father of Ecology in his classic, A
merged, and 1948, when Leopold died.
Sand County Almanac and Sketches from Here and
Thats nearly a 20-year range of possibility. But
There. The almanac section of the book includes
the trail narrows
little essays about nature as Leopold observed it
In the introduction to their 1999 book, Aldo
at The Shack and the 80-acre parcel of land he
Leopold, For the Health of the Land: Previously
nursed back to life along the sandy Wisconsin River Unpublished Essays and Other Writings, editors
in Sauk County, Wisconsin. He arranged the essays J. Baird Callicott and Eric T. Freyfogle mention
by month throughout the year. Among the April
that the centerpiece of A Sand County Almanac
entries: Sky Dance.
is a series of articles published between 1938 and
According to the folks at Oxford University
1942 in the Wisconsin Agriculturist and Farmer.
Press, publisher of the Almanac, the essay first
These short essays are mostly how-to pieces.
appeared in a publication called, Wisconsin Agricul- They were part and parcel of Leopolds agricul-


By Thomas Carney

The inside cover of Wildlife Conservation on the Farm with Leopolds Recipes for Rural Conserva-

22 tion along with the first page of the pamphlet, which introduces the concept and the collaborators.

The cover of the pamphlet that collected about

a dozen of Aldo Leopolds essays from the
periodical Wisconsin Agriculturist and Farmer .
Notice the stamped message near the top that
this Rare Copy must not be removed from
the office. Also, penciled in as the bottom line,
Sept. 1941 represents the best guess as to
when this collection was published. Photos/
Cour tesy David G. Null, University of WisconsinMadison
tural extension efforts practical advice for rural
landowners in Leopolds area of special expertise,
game management conceived. Although Leopold
addressed these pieces explicitly to farmers, he
viewed that audience expansively.
So, Leopolds splendid little essay about the
male woodcocks springtime mating dance originally appeared as a how-to piece for farmers.
Others of these vignettes that made their way into
the Almanac with slightly different titles are When
the Geese Return and Bur Oak Is Badge of Wisconsin.
At some point, after appearing in Wisconsin
Agriculturist and Farmer several of Leopolds essays were collected into a pamphlet, Conservation
on the Farm. Katie Rudolph, Archivist/Librarian for
Western History/Genealogy at the Denver Public
Library, sent a photocopy of it. Listed on the inside
cover are Leopolds Recipes for Rural Conservation. Facing the cover, the first of the unnumbered
pages in the pamphlet features a photo of Leopold
and artist Byron Jorns who collaborated on the
several how-to pieces contained within. The
selections are introduced by Wisconsin Agriculturist and Farmer as our exclusive series on nature
and wildlife on the farm, which has been published
at regular intervals during the past year. The series
will be continued with appropriate subjects according to season.
One wonders if the seasonal themes of the
essays suggested the structure of the Almanac to
Leopold or if he had already envisioned the monthto-month setup for the book prior to penning the
essays for Agriculturist and Farmer.
In the case of Sky Dance of Spring, the original name of the essay, theres even more mystery
involved. The exact spot where the essay has hidden in the pages of the Agriculturist and Farmer for
the past seven decades remains elusive, much like
the woodcock that it celebrates.
In an email, David G. Null, Director, University Archives, University of Wisconsin-Madison,

able to peer between the lines and to

identify a single moment in a single
essay when Leopold transcends his
role as merely a prescriber of recipes
for rural conservation this is it.
Leopold concludes the original
Conservation on the Farm piece with
this advice:
Woodcocks are just now in
special need of help, for the
spring blizzards of 1940 caught
them too far north; thousands
froze and starved. Such natural
losses are unavoidable, and would
only do temporary damage if the
breeding ranges were in good
shape. But in the dairy belt the
breeding ranges are being improved
to death. More people should learn
the sky dance; we cannot conserve
what we do not know exists.
Hes preaching to his readers in
the dairy belt. More people should
learn he advises. Telling people
what he thinks.
In the version that we know from
the Almanac, however, he deletes the
above paragraph and ends the essay

What readers of Aldo Leopolds A Sand County Almanac recognize as his Sky Dance
essay first appeared in the pages of Wisconsin Agriculturist and Farmer .
instead with one unearthed from deep
within the essays interior. Rather
than being lost among many other
no big deal thoughts, it becomes
the essays single-most effective note.
For instead of the scientist telling
people what he thinks, the poet/philosopher shares what he feels:

No one would rather hunt woodcock in October than I, but since

learning of the sky dance I find
myself calling one or two birds
enough. I must be sure that, come
April, there be no dearth of
dancers in the sunset sky.n


said, The booklet doesnt say what

issue of the WI Agriculturist and
Farmer the essay was printed in, and
I havent found it. I do see most of
the others in the magazine, and in his
bibliography, but Im not seeing it, so
maybe they never actually printed it
in the magazine? But it is in the booklet, which of course isnt dated but
everyone seems to think was Sept.
In the final paragraph of the
original essay, Leopold mentions the
effects of the spring blizzards of
1940. If the pamphlet were published in 1941, and if Sky Dance of
Spring appeared in a spring issue,
it had to have been published in the
spring of 1941. For the scientist to
have enough time to gather and study
the data, the essay could not have appeared earlier.
That final paragraph of Sky
Dance of Spring illustrates something more, especially when contrasted to the paragraph with which
Leopold concluded the re-imagined
Sky Dance as it appears in the
Almanac. We know what his intent
was in the original to offer practical advice to farmers. If one were


Patterns for spring pike

By Robert Dock Stupp

he first time I got a universal remote control

I thought to myself, This changes everything.
And when spring comes rolling in,
changes in the great Michigan outdoors
occur almost every day. Of course most notably is the transformation from ice to open water.
Sometime in early spring the ice on Lower
Michigan and UP lakes can be seen in the main
body of a lake while the bays have open water.
Since pike are cold water fish, last-ice fishing is a
great time to catch pike and sometimes some huge
water-wolves. It isnt unusual to set a tip-up in
2-feet of water with a nice shiner or sucker and just
wait for the action.
These pike are prespawn pike; they are setting
up in marshy areas, tributaries, and other shallow,
weedy areas ready to spawn. And that they do
when the water temperature gets in the mid-fortydegree mark. Not only that but prespawn pike are
hungry pike feeding to build up their strength and
endurance for the rigors of the spawning ritual.
Esox Lucius are one of Michigans first fish to
spawn. Lets call spawning the actual mixing of
eggs and milt. Occasionally, pike will spawn with
muskies; the result is a hybrid called a tiger musky.
After spawning, the pike fry hatch earlier than
other species and will feed on younger fingerings
like crappies and bluegills. Yes, its a dog eat dog
world out there, something like the presidential
campaign trail!
During the prespawn to postspawn periods in
spring, searching for and patterning the northern
pike offers excellent odds for catching lots of pike.
It is also prime time for catching monstrous waterwolves. Just seeing their killer eyes and toothy jaws
in clear spring water gets my blood boiling.


Patterning Spring Pike


Pursuing pugnacious pike in the spring is a

terrific way to get acclimated to boat fishing and I
mean lots of action right out of the gate. Prior to or
just after ice leaves the main lake, spawning occurs.
However, this is a benchmark and it also depends
on the weather and the type of lake.
Concentrating on currant and funnel areas is
a good way to pattern spring pike fishing. Then
search major structure such as points, reefs, brown
and green weedlines, and channel edges. But, soon
or later, pike will swim from areas in close proximity to the main lake and swim progressively to
warmer, shallower water in the big bays. Then, as
water temperatures rise, pike will then move into
smaller bays, backwaters, and creeks. A telltale
sign is snowmelt; watch for shore areas where the
snow and ice are melting into the lake. Start fishing
Cattails in back bays usually mean warmer
water for spawning. April into May is usually prime
time in Michigan. Before that however, like now,
my brain is racing.
I got to thinking the other day about how I went
about muskie fishing in the fall. I began by fan casting and soaking a sucker as I drifted along. Why
didnt I do this for pike, especially for big pike during the spring? However, instead of using live bait,

This pike whacked one of the authors favorite big pike lures. It was a rainy spring day and this water wolf hit next
to the boat - on a brief pause and wham! What a run she made. Author photos
it might be an opportune time to try soaking dead
bait like a sucker or smelt.

spawning period, and especially postspawn pike

and especially larger pike, when water temperatures
rise as summer approaches, will begin to migrate
to deeper, cooler water at around the 65-degree
Because pike eat dead stuff -- especially during mark. They leave the shallows for cooler climes and
the last ice period into spring when fish die from the become more difficult to catch.
rigors of a tough winter and loss of oxygen content
and a corresponding loss of vegetation.
Northern pike are accustomed to eating dead
On many early June, Canadian, fishing trips, we
fish on the bottom of lakes, rivers, bays, marshes,
caught nice walleyes and no-so-big pike. But pike
and other areas. So why not attract sluggish pike
were for fun. You became addicted to the fast action
with something that is easy for them to catch and
catching hammer handles and a few keepers on
almost every cast. But soon the excitement wore
And voracious eaters, indeed! During the
off; we had to search in deeper water

Why Be So Pro-Active?

A Lesson Learned

1-7/8 MIDGET through
Classic nishes.

Orange #82

Favourite for
trout and salmon.
Time tested
and proven.

Two of the many pike Snowman (Keith Generotzke) and I caught this fine spring day.

Deadbait Quick-Set
Techniques And Spring Lures

An axiom: Day in and day out, live bait outperforms any lure or dead bait.
Well, not so fast! Although live bait works
great, most avid pike anglers agree that live bait
performs better at first ice but, surprisingly, dead
bait performs better during late ice time and during
a pikes spawning period prespawn to postspawn
During winter food is harder to come by, oxygen levels are low due to dying vegetation, and water temperatures are exceptionally low. This does
not make for speedy pike. They are lethargic and
hungry. Therefore, they become more opportunistic
in winter and into spring.
The term, waterwolves, is applicable to northern pike. Wolves are fierce predators and they also
scavenge for food. But so do pike. They will eat
dead prey on the bottoms of lakes.
This is why the duel technique of combining
casting and soaking a dead bait in the open waters
of bays, current areas, marshes, and more, are very
opportunistic techniques for catching spring pike.
This is also where stealth is very important in
cold, clear and shallow water. A pike hunter can
either drift or use his electric, bowmount trolling motor in his search for pike. Sometimes I use
the electric transom motor when I am trailing a
deadbait and casting for pike because I have better
control of my quick-set rig. Windy days are an
Rigging a dead sucker or smelt is done with a

quick-set rig. In weedy areas I like to use a bobber

like a Thill Big Fish Indicator.
The popular in-line quick set rig For resting
deadbait on bottom a simple rig to assemble goes
like this: I use a medium/heavy muskie rod with
80-pound Stealth muskie line, five feet of Seaguar
Blue Label, 50-pound fluorocarbon, leader line
connected to the muskie line with a swivel.
Next, attach 20-pound Cortland Toothy-Critter
Tie-Able wire. Put two #6 treble hooks, one
stationary treble and one treble that slides up and
down the wire, depending on the size of the sucker
or smelt. Keep your bait horizontal. Use primarily
for resting baits on bottom.

The Upside Down Y

For Suspending Deadbaits

The tie-able wire rig: Attach 5-feet of

50-pound fluorocarbon to your muskie line with a
swivel. Then, attach 20- pound Courtland Toothy
Critter Tie-Able wire. Bend about 8-feet of wire
in the middle, Make a little loop and crimp it. This
leaves an upside Y. Tie two #6 trebles to the Y
ends. You can add a tiny blade onto a bead above
the trebles if you desire.
Place one treble on one side of the deadbait
near the head and the other treble on the other side
of the deadbait placed behind the dorsal fin. (You
can also use a stealthier fluorocarbon line for the
whole rig).
There are lots of quick-set rigs to peruse. A
good source is The Musky Shop (Rollie & Helen
in South Minocqua, Wisconsin, 800-453-5224) or
www.Musky Shop
Z Leaders (Products) is a great source for
leaders and quick-set rigs because thats all they
do www.ZLeaders. Last but not least, are Smity
Quick-Set Sucker Rigs & Kits.

Casting For Spring Pike

A few years ago I lived on a good pike lake.

The word in town said to use spoons for pike so I
threw #3 and #4 Mepps Spinners. I cleaned up.
Today I like to start with small bass-size spinnerbaits, with white/chartreuse in darker water and
pure white in clear water, especially in early spring.
When the bite slows I go to larger muskie spinnerbaits and catch larger pike.
A favorite of mine is the 8-inch, orange/chartreuse ReefHog. It triggers bigger, mama pike. The
pause is dyn-o-mite!n

Genuine silver, copper

and 24k gold nishes.
Proudly North American

3 1/6 oz
Bait sh prole.
Ultra thin spoon.

Ice #47

Stamped in
spring brass to
maintain its

The ash of genuine silver
and 24k gold nishes



Where were the bigger Canadian Pike?

It was like they disappeared. We didnt know
about the patterns of bigger pike so we researched
our target fish. Walla! We began trolling and casting in the surrounding deeper, cooler water. Photos
of pike in the 30 and 40 inch sizes were proudly
shown to family and friends.
True trophies in the high 40-inch category up to
50-inches are not exaggerations of your imagination in places like the Great Lakes, larger inland
lakes of Michigan, and fly-in trips into Alaska and
northern Canada.
If you want to improve your piking adventures,
you can visit sport shows about this time of year or
research resorts and outposts on your computer.


The spring walleye run only consists of 5-10 percent of the overall annual harvest. Author photos

By Brian Miller

ceptions today that are not founded by

scientific proof. We will discuss each
aspect and real facts around harvestne of the most controversial
topics around the spring wall- ing spring walleye.
eye season includes harvesting female walleye. With so
many people fishing the Lake
If you want to start an outright
Erie, Detroit River, and the
fight go onto any walleye social media
Maumee River everyone sees female
site or online walleye forum and ask,
walleye full of eggs being harvested.
Do you keep females in the spring
For some fishermen it is frustrating,
or let them go, and why? That is
however each fisherman has a very
the exact question I asked and in a
different opinion about keeping spring few minutes I had dozens of differfemale walleye.
ent opinions. Here are a few opinions
Were going to discuss the public from local Ohio fishermen, Let them
opinion, what is legal and where is the go or the limit will keep going down
ethical line. There are many misconand down and down. Catch it, clean


The Public View


This angler traveled from a nearby state to catch the two largest walleye of his fishing career.

it, and eat it! Let them go, if we all

kept the females there wouldnt be a
walleye run anymore. Yeah, I kept a
It is amazing to see how many
people have a strong opinion about
keeping female walleye. Even some
of the businesses around the walleye
run change their business model to
promote the release of females. Fish
cleaners are starting to charge more
for females, fishing tournaments only
accept males, and more. This has become an extremely hot among fishermen. With the public opinion in mind
what is the biological truth?

ages and sexes. Even with a recent

push of releasing more females during
the spring it has had no impact on the
sex ratios.

Straight Talk with Science

Lets get down to the real truth

about keeping female walleye. During
the spring, fishermen see females full
of eggs and feel bad about keeping
them. It appears as if we are neglecting the resources by harvesting that
walleye. Those make sense but lets
dig into the real truth with one of the
most knowledgeable and hands on
Ohio Fisheries biologist, Jeff Tyson.
Tyson is the Lake Erie Fish Management Program Administrator and his
insight and knowledge is far beyond
When the spring walleye run occurs, thousands of fishermen pack into anyone I have met.
I asked Tyson if keeping spring
the rivers to take home a limit of walleye. Since this is the largest walleye
walleye females has a negative impact
run east of the Mississippi River many on the fishery. Tyson said, Based on
fishermen travel from far away to ex- all the harvest assessments we are
perience the outstanding fishing. This finding the environmental conditions
is also the only chance many of the
drive the hatch. Keeping a female
fishermen get to catch Lake Erie wall- walleye in the spring has no impact
eye. Although it seems like organized on the upcoming walleye hatch. The
chaos with fishermen stack in the riv- three environmental factors that have
ers, the reality is only 5-10 percent of the largest impact on the walleye
the walleye harvest occurs during the hatch are; 1) good ice coverage 2)
spring season. Annually there are 1.5 South and Westerly winds, and 3) wet
million walleye harvested and a very
springs. For the second year, weve
small percentage occurs during the
had outstanding ice coverage which
spring walleye season.
will be beneficial for the hatch.
During the spring run, many male
Because the spring harvest often
and female walleye often occupy
occurs along the river shore line, it
different types of river structure. In
appears to others that large amounts
addition, male walleye are often more of walleye are impacted. However,
active and feeding. During the spring Tyson indicated far more female wallwalleye runs the Ohio Department
eye are taken in early summer (June.)
of Natural Resources (ODNR) have
During this time of the year 10 of
compiled years of data which shows
thousands of fishermen are running
the typical harvest is 90 percent male out of many locations, across many
and 10 percent female. Furthermore,
different Lake Erie access points. The
when walleye spawn, the sex ratios
late summer timeframe has the largest
are 50/50. Even after harvesting
impact on the harvest. Tyson also reinwalleye, the sex ratios do not sway in forced that whether they are taken on
Lake Erie across the different walleye the lake in June, during ice fishing in

The Spring Walleye Harvest

January, or during the spring run the

walleye will not be reproducing.
The ODNR biology continues
to extensively research the walleye
fishery. Tyson said, If we find harvesting female walleye has an impact
on the hatch well work to implement
regulations to protect the walleye.
In addition, we have to have firm
evidence before we take opportunity
away from fishermen. However the
success of the hatch largely relates to
the weather.

Debunking Myths

larger fish produces more eggs

than a smaller fish. Therefore
the only difference is the quality
of eggs.
Larger walleye have a stronger
fishy flavor to the meat that smaller
fish do not have. In addition, the meat
around the belly area is difficult to
filet on females. This is a truth, the
meat on a larger male and female
walleye have a stronger flavor. Most
often the perfect eating size walleye
is an 18-22 inch male. If youre after
a trophy then keeping a large female

is perfect but if you are looking for

the best tasting fish a mid-sized walleye is perfect.

In Conclusion

That is a lot of information that is

contradictory to many of the conversations that occur around harvesting
spring walleye. This is why it is always important for me to get the real
facts. Its a fishermens decision on
whether they want to harvest a female
walleye during the spring run. It is

completely legal and the DNR biologist studies indicate that it has no
impact on the success of the harvest.
Its your decision, are you going to
keep or release?
For a complete guide to fishing
the Maumee River Walleye
Run check out the authors book
Fishing the Maumee River Walleye Run. Additionally the Maumee
River water levels and water
temperature are available at

Now that we have waded through

fact and fiction we need to debunk
a few river myths. Many fishermen
will push out eggs and sperm in the
river before taking the walleye. There

are so many factors that have to be in

place for this to be successful. There
needs to be the right mixture of eggs
and sperm, clay in the water, timing
of the eggs, and more. Therefore Tyson said, Pushing the eggs out does
not work.
In addition fishermen have mixed
feelings about older walleye. The
opinions range from harvest them
because they do not produce valuable
eggs to protect them because they
have so many eggs. Both thoughts are
a myth. Tyson indicates, Both older
and younger walleye produce valuable eggs. Even female walleye that
are very old produce valuable eggs.
Therefore the age of a walleye has
no bearing on the success of a hatch.
Tyson indicated, We know that a


Perfect eating size walleye often are 1822 inches.


Michigans treasure
Anglers are fortunate to have so many outstanding rivers

he large orange float

kept pace with the rivers
current. Keep an eye on
it, instructed the fishing
Just in front of that limb sticking out
is the hole, steelhead hang out there,
he continued, pointing down the river.
The excitement in his voice building
in anticipating a potential strike.
The method is called Float Fishing and Capt. Larry Raney has been
using it for many years. Its simple
enough, anchor the boat 90 feet or so
from a known steelhead hole, use an
8-foot lightweight
rod, baitcast or
spincast reel, large
float and spawn.
The idea is to
drift the spawn
past the nose of
a steelhead and
hope the fish is


By Randy Jorgensen


Capt. Larry Raney with a healthy brown trout from the

Manistee River near Brethren Michigan.
in the mood to strike.
Yeah, thats it, find the hole,
watch the float and reel in the fish.

Easy, right?
Heres what I learned, the fish
only bite when you look away from

the float, if only for a mere instant.

BAM! And just that fast!
For a daydreamer like me,
watching the float and not glancing
at birds overhead or passing boats is
near impossible. Meanwhile the float
is submerged from the tugging of a
record book steelie.
Despite my attention disorder we
did manage to take a nice steelhead
and beautiful brown trout.
Michigan anglers are so fortunate
to have outstanding rivers to fish,
from the famous Pere Marquette,
Manistee and Pine to the AuSable,
Sturgeon and Black to name just a
few. And, although Ive challenged
the head shake of steelhead, brown
trout and salmon in the past, I remain
a novice.
A while back chatting with friend
and business associate, Jim Adams
(Freeway Sports Center owner) he
invited me to go along with him on
a fishing trip to the Manistee River.
Jim has a passion for river fishing,

I couldnt get enough of it, he

went on to say.
When Larry decided to guide
full-time he simply never looked
back. His love for the river, his pleasant manner and dedication to the
sport helped him build a large client
base. A base that is very loyal.
I also saw Larry pays special attention to detail. His clients are made
to feel comfortable, from the warmth
of a heater on those cold February
days to a nice bowl of soup at lunch
time. Its clear he is a people person
and no wonder he has clients booked
a couple hundred times a year.
I want to provide all my customers a quality experience. I would love
to have them have the fishing trip of a
lifetime, Larry goes on to say.
This is what I do for a living,
its not a weekend hobby. I want to
build lasting friendships
with my clients, Larry
Our day ended a little
early due to high winds

Author with a
steelhead caught
while float
fishing the
Manistee River.

Jim Adams and Capt. Larry Raney take time for a hot bowl
of soup, which is just one of the many details not forgotten
when fishing with Premier Angling Guide Service.
(upwards of 35 to 40 mph). Larry
fished hard all day long even though
the steelhead are known to be both
stubborn and spooky, we did boat
If you decide you would like to

take up the challenge the steelhead of

the Manistee River offer, please be
sure to visit Larry Raneys website
for information: or call 231510-5862.n

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he loves the fight a mighty steelhead

offers and the scenic beauty of the
Manistee River. He also appreciates
the skill of Capt. Larry Raney of
Brethren, Michigan.
Capt. Raney is a talented fisherman, with 25 years experience on the
many rivers of northeast lower Michigan. For the past several years, when
he is not guiding fishermen on the
Manistee River just below the Tippy
Dam, hes guiding clients in Alaska
for giant salmon in late July and early
Capt. Raney offers fishing trips on
the Manistee River and other rivers
near his home year round. He is an
avid fly-fisherman and offers instruction throughout the year.
I used to build homes and although I enjoyed it...I always had this
river on my mind, Larry told me.


Is this for real?

The walleyes think so!

Next Bite...By Keith Kavajecz and Gary Parsons

pring is in the air, which means

it is time to clean out the garage.
Since you are going to need
space to work, the first thing you need
to do is hook the boat up to your truck
and pull it onto the driveway.
Once it is out of the garage, take a
slow walk around your rig and wipe

your finger along the hull of the boat.

Now, look at your finger. Is there dust
on it? If there is, you have a problem.
Obviously you cant spend the day
cleaning your garage, just to park a
dusty boat back inside! Thats like
tracking mud across a freshly mopped
kitchen floor!

By following the lines instead of trying to get the jigs to follow the boat, youll find
it much easier to be successful at vertical jigging.

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As luck would have it, the rivers

are open, giving you the perfect place
to take your boat for a bath. Being the
multi-tasking person that you are, it
would only make sense to bring your
river fishing gear along to catch a
meal at the same time!
One of the best ways to catch
walleyes on rivers in the spring is by
vertical jigging. Keeping the presentation vertical means youre fishing with
the least amount of line out, therefore
youve got the most direct line to the
fish. The goal is to drift the river the
same speed as the current. The biggest
problem to doing this is usually the
wind. No matter if the wind is blowing up stream, downstream or crossstream, point the bow into the wind,
set the tolling motor speed on a higher
setting, and use short, powerful bursts
to quickly move the boat in order to
keep the lines vertical. That way, as
soon as the lines angle off to the left, a
quick burst of power moving the boat
to the left brings them back vertical again. By following the lines
instead of trying to get the jigs to follow the boat, youll find it much easier to be successful at vertical jigging.
Keep your eyes on the depth finder at
all times to maintain proper depth, or
hold on a break or channel edge.
When it comes to bait, a basic jig
tipped with a minnow has been the
go-to presentation for years. Now,
even the most die-hard river rats are

changing their ways. Over the past decade, artificial baits have been proven
to be just as effective as their live bait
counterparts when it comes to catching walleyes.
They can also save you a lot of
time and hassle on the water. Artificials tend to be more durable on the
hook than live bait, so you save time
not having to re-bait as often. That
stay on the hook characteristic can
occasionally even get you a second
chance bite that you would not get if
you were using live bait.
For most early season vertical
jigging scenarios, a subtle action tail
will be your best choice. The Berkley
Power Jig Worm is a 3-inch worm
with a paddle on the back. This worm
is very limber, which means that you
dont have to put a lot of effort into
moving the bait to give it a lot of action. We prefer to stick with natural
colors to make the worm look more
like a real crawler.
Another go-to bait is the Berkley
PowerBait Minnow in the 2 or 3-inch
sizes, which mimic a real minnow
quite well. We often will double up
the baits, threading a 3-inch minnow
on the jig right up to the jig head,
followed by hooking a 2-inch version
through the nose. This tandem bait
set-up is deadly at times because it increases the lures profile, adds a little
extra action to the presentation, and in
the event that a short strike results in





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One of the best ways to catch walleye on rivers in the spring is by

vertical jigging. Keeping the presentation vertical means youre fishing with the least amount of line out, therefore youve got the most
direct line to the fish.
lows the bait to disperse scent almost
like a blood trail, expanding the strike
zone by attracting fish that do not see
the bait. Thats why it is important to
fish GULP! Baits slowly and allow
the bait to do what it is intended to
do: disperse scent.
Once the water begins to warm
up, you will want to move to a bait
with more action, such as the 3-inch
Berkley PowerBait Ripple Shad. This
bait has a rippled minnow-shaped
body that gives it vibration and swimming action. It also has a paddle-tail
that puts out a lot of vibration as the
lure is retrieved. The Ripple Shad has
become a lure that we use almost like
we would a mini-crankbait or small
swim-bait, but with a jigging action
rather than a steady retrieve. You
want to make sure when you work
this lure, you jig it in such a way as
to make sure that paddle tail vibrates
vigorously on the up-swing and flutters as it drops back down. Fish the
Ripple Shad on a heavier jig than
you would normally fish live bait,
typically in the quarter to 3/8 ounce
range. This will help you get the action needed to make the tail work the
way you want it to.
Another great bait to try in warmer
water is the 4-inch Berkley PowerBait Pro Shad. Like the Ripple Shad,

it has a paddle-tail that helps to attract

the walleyes through vibration. The
large minnow profile gives it a very
realistic look.
As the water continues to warm
up throughout the spring, dont be
afraid to push the envelope with
your presentation. A Moonshine
Shiver Minnow is a great bait to use
for more aggressive walleyes. The
darting action of the lure catches the
attention of the fish. Drop it down
to just above bottom and then pop
it up to make it jump. Then give
the lure some slack to make it turn
around and return to the starting
position. Hold the lure in place and
shiver it with a quick shaking of the
rod tip. This will make it look like a
minnow holding in current. You can
use these baits tipped or untipped.
Not only can artificial baits save
you time on the water, but also so can
your choice of jigs. We like to use the
Bass Pro Shops XPS Walleye Angler
semi-standup jig heads. Not only does
this jig reduce your chance of getting
snagged, but it also puts the hook in
the right position for walleyes that
grab it off the bottom.
Using the anchor mode on your
MotorGuide Xi5 bow mount trolling
motor can also be a huge time saver.
As soon as you get a bite, press the

button on the FOB hanging from a

lanyard around your neck. The motor
will hold your position while you
fight the fish, unhook it and re-bait
your hook! It also gives you the opportunity to take note of where you
caught your fish, and continue fishing
where you left off, instead of several
hundred feet downstream.
By now you should have enough
fish for a meal and the winter dust
washed off your boat, but cleaning
the garage can wait another day. Enjoy the day on the river while waiting
for your Next Bite!n


the 2-inch minnow being plucked off,

you can quickly drop the bait back
down to the fish, often resulting in a
second strike that will hook the fish.
We like to work these baits by
giving the jig a sharp pop off the
bottom, followed by holding it for a
couple of seconds before slowly lowering back down. As soon as it hits
bottom, pop it again. The walleyes
are relating to the bottom, so keep the
pop to a minimum, usually about 6
inches. You dont want to let the jig
sit on bottom very long, as it will drag
in the current and snag. If you feel
weight on the lift, set the hook!
Another bait that can add even
more scent appeal to the presentation
is the 3-inch Berkley GULP! Minnow. GULP! Products are not soft
plastic. Soft plastics like the PowerBait line are made with oil-based
resins, whereas GULP! is made with
water-based resins. This allows for
much more scent distribution since
when scent is added to a bait created
from oil-based resins, the oil literally
traps the scent inside the bait. While
some of the scent does get out, the oil
is actually functioning as a barrier.
Gulp!, on the other hand, disperses
the water-soluble scent as soon as it
hits the water because there is no oil
barrier keeping the water out. This al-


Cover Story - Biologists Conducting U.P. Wolf Survey...

DNR supporting efforts to return

wolf management to Michigan

n a snow-swept back road in Delta County,

a Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist drives his vehicle
slowly. Watching out his windows, he scans
each set of animal tracks he sees pushed
into the fresh snow.
Among the footprints left by bobcats, whitetailed deer, snowshoe hare and other animals, hes
looking for the large-pawed tracks of gray wolves,
laid out in a path down the road or into the woods.
Discovering wolf tracks and then following
them for long distances helps biologists estimate
population size and delineate where, and how, wolf
packs are spending their time this winter.


Population Dynamics


Originally native to Michigan, wolves had

all but vanished from the Upper Peninsula not
including Isle Royale by the early 1960s. This occurred through hunter bounties and as white-tailed
deer populations declined.
Michigan protected wolves as endangered species in 1965. Federal protections were solidified
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
As neighboring Wisconsins wolf population
began to rebound during the 1970s, reports of lone
wolf sightings increased in the U.P. Biologists confirmed a pair of wolves in the central U.P. in the late
1980s, a union that produced pups in 1991.
Since the winter of 1993-94, combined wolf
numbers in Michigan and Wisconsin have surpassed 100, meeting federally established goals
for population recovery. The Michigan goal of a
minimum sustainable population of 200 wolves for
five consecutive years also was achieved.
From 1994 to 2003, the U.P. wolf population
saw an average annual growth rate of 19 percent.
Growth shrunk to 12 percent as the wolf population
neared the maximum level the U.P. could sustain
the biological carrying capacity.
Since 2011, wolf population estimates have not
changed significantly. The DNRs most recent minimum estimate of the U.P. wolf population was 636,
issued in spring 2014.
A new DNR wolf survey began in December.
No preliminary results are available yet, but a new
minimum population estimate is expected in April.
Biologists are surveying wolf populations in
some areas and extrapolating that data to estimate
the number of wolves across the region.
As weve done over the past few years, to
reduce staff effort and expense, a stratified sampling method is being used to carry out the survey throughout the Upper Peninsula, said Kevin
Swanson, a wildlife management specialist with the
DNRs bear and wolf program. We are now more
than halfway through that survey period.
During February, survey biologists began looking for signs of breeding exhibited by scent marking and blood in urine, which indicates a female
wolf may be in estrus (heat).
Based on the wolf sign I am finding while
searching for packs in central and southern Marquette County, northern Menominee and northern
Delta counties, I do not anticipate any drastic fluctuations in wolf abundance in that particular area,
Swanson said. But results may vary significantly

Negative wolf interactions with humans are compounded by a deer herd struggling to recover
from the series of consecutive harsh winters. Rick Baetsen photo
in other parts of the U.P.
The migration of deer from the northern to the
southern parts of the U.P. was postponed by several
weeks this winter, which has been comparatively
milder than the past three.
The delayed deer migration is now over in
many areas so we will focus more of our survey
efforts in deer yarding complexes, places where
wolves frequent to prey on deer, Swanson said.
In the Lower Peninsula, over the past few years,
there have been persistent reports of sightings,
tracks and other evidence of wolves.
In March 2014, biologists with the Little Traverse Band of Odawa Indians discovered tracks and
collected scat from what was presumed to be a wolf
in Emmet County. DNR biologists also visited the
In September 2015, confirmation was received
from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario,
that the Emmet County scat submitted for DNR
analysis was from a male gray wolf. This marked
the second confirmation of wolf presence in the
Lower Peninsula since 1910. The first occurred in
2004 when a wolf collared by the DNR in Mackinac County was caught and accidentally killed by a

coyote trapper in Presque Isle County.

The DNRs ongoing wolf track surveys are conducted only in the U.P. Wolf reports in the Lower
Peninsula continue to be investigated.

Legal Challenges

In January 2012, citing wolf recovery in the

region, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took gray
wolves off the federal endangered species list in
Michigan and Wisconsin and the threatened species
list in Minnesota.
Gray wolves are thriving in the Great Lakes
region, and their successful recovery is a testament
to the hard work of the Service and our state and
local partners, Fish and Wildlife Service Director
Dan Ashe said at the time. We are confident state
and tribal wildlife managers in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin will effectively manage healthy
wolf populations now that federal protection is no
longer needed.
The ruling allowed Michigan, Minnesota and
Wisconsin to manage wolves according to their
wolf management plans. Michigans plan was crafted with the help of a panel representing a wide span
of interests ranging from Native American tribes to

An aerial photograph shows par t of the Upper Peninsulas wolf population. Wolf surveys are
conducted every two years. A survey now ongoing is expected to produce a new minimum population estimate in April. MDNR photo
numerous sporting groups granted, among other
provisions, sole authority to the NRC to designate
game species.
Now Michigan law, the Scientific Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Act supersedes the ballot referendum voters passed to repeal the NRCs
power to designate game species. The commission
and the Legislature may establish the first open
hunting season.
In July 2015, the Michigan Court of Claims
dismissed a lawsuit by Keep Michigan Wolves Protected that challenged the constitutionality of the
Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.
With the federal court appeal on the delisting
decision still pending, lawmakers in Washington,
D.C., have sought to remove wolves from the endangered species list through acts of Congress.
So far, none of the bills have been passed into

Legislative Challenges
Between the wolfs Great Lakes region delisting in 2012 and the 2014 lawsuit decision, the
Michigan Natural Resources Commission voted to
allow a wolf hunt in three wolf management zones
in the U.P. to reduce wolf conflicts.
A total quota of 43 wolves was set, with all
1,200 available licenses sold. Trapping was not
allowed. Hunters killed a total of 22 wolves during
the hunt, which lasted from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31,
In response to the wolf hunt, Keep Michigan
Wolves Protected spearheaded two ballot referendums that were passed by voters in November
One of the measures repealed Public Act
520 that designated wolves as game species and
allowed for the establishment of wolf hunting seasons in Michigan. The second referendum repealed
Public Act 21, which gave the NRC the authority
to designate game species and determine hunting
However, in August 2014, prior to the fall elections, the Michigan Legislature passed a citizens
ballot initiative called the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The initiative advanced by

Kevin Swanson, a wildlife management specialist with the DNRs bear and wolf program,
inspects a set of tracks on a back road in
nor thern Delta County. MDNR photo
If wolves were successfully delisted, the Michigan laws allowing the killing of attacking wolves
to protect hunting dogs and livestock would be put
back into effect.
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission
could decide to authorize a wolf hunt, following
sound science and provisions of Michigans wolf
management plan.
DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason
said people will be more comfortable living with
wolves if they or the DNR can take steps to resolve

conflicts and concerns where and when they occur.

Keeping wolves on the endangered species
list, long after population goals set for their recovery have been reached, only teaches people to hate
wolves, to hate endangered species protection in
general and to discount professional management
of the resource in favor of reactionary hearsay that
often serves anything but natural resources conservation and wise use, Mason said.

Social Carrying Capacity

While these legal issues have tied the hands of
state wildlife management officials, wolf interactions with humans have increased in some areas
and deer hunter frustration with predator impacts
has risen.
In Gogebic County, Marenisco Township
Police Chief Bruce Mahler sent a Feb. 25 letter to
the DNR documenting 41 reports of wolf sightings,
depredations or interactions with humans close to
their homes.
The reports suggested between two to four
wolves have been involved, some killing deer and
a domesticated rabbit.
The ever increasing wolf population and wolf
activity in my township, and specifically in the
town of Marenisco, has become not a deer management issue, but a true public safety concern,
Mahler said.
The reports in the town of fewer than 200 residents occurred over the past year.
Its not good enough anymore to say the
wolves are not a threat or that there is nothing we
can do because theyre an endangered species,
Mahler said. I now have people arming themselves and I foresee it wont be long before people
take matters into their own hands.
DNR biologists said deer feeding by residents
in town contributed to the circumstances.
Negative wolf interactions with humans are
compounded by a deer herd struggling to recover
from the series of consecutive harsh winters.
With the deer population down, hunters in
the U.P. are acutely concerned about the negative effects wolves can have on deer, said NRC
Chairman John Matonich of Bessemer. We think
the endangered species list should be reserved for
animals facing extinction. Gray wolves in the Great
Lakes region have more than adequately recovered.
Meanwhile, DNR officials continue to support
efforts to remove wolves from the federal endangered species list for Michigan.
Our continued hope is that authority will be
rightfully returned to the Michigan DNR, so that
we may provide scientifically based management
of this valuable species, Swanson said.
For more information, visit the DNRs webpage


trappers, hunters and environmentalists.

The 1997 plan, which was updated in 2008 and
2015, allowed for lethal means to control a limited
number of wolves each year where conflicts had
occurred. Michigan law allowed citizens to kill
wolves that were actively preying on their hunting
dogs or livestock.
However, Michigans laws on wolf depredation
and the ability of wildlife managers to use lethal
means, including hunting, to control wolves was
suspended in December 2014, after a ruling from
the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
In a lawsuit challenging the federal delisting,
the court ruling found in favor of the Humane Society of the United States, ordering wolves returned
to federal protection. Wolves have since remained
classified as endangered species in Michigan and
Wisconsin and threatened in Minnesota.
Because of the federal endangered species status, wolves may legally be killed in Michigan only
in defense of human life.
After the courts finding, Michigan, Wisconsin,
some private groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service appealed the decision, filing their initial
legal briefs in the case late last year.
In over a decade of litigating about delisting
the gray wolf, this is the first time the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service has been willing to bring an appeal, said Trevor VanDyke, director of the DNRs
Legislative and Legal Affairs Office in Lansing.
Other states with an interest in the outcome of
the case, but that are not parties to the appeal including Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota
and Utah all filed briefs in support of the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Services delisting of the wolf in
the Great Lakes region.
The Humane Societys response brief was filed
in February.
The federal and state parties will reply to the
Humane Societys response during April and May
of this year, with the final briefs, if any, being filed
by June 8, VanDyke said. The court has not yet
scheduled a hearing on the briefs and may not do


Floats; early seasons best answer

ver the years I targeted walleye,

bass, perch, bluegills, steelhead,
crappie, catfish, pike, brown
trout and white bass all with a
bobber or more precise, a float.
Some anglers snuff their noses
at floats but talk with any river guide
and they will show you a handful of
floats. A guide I know uses floats at least
half of the time with his clients.
Floats perform to two tasks perfectly. They keep your lure or bait exactly at
the depth that you desire and are a spectacular strike indicator. There are fixed
floats and slip floats. A fixed
float is attached to your line
and stays at that exact depth. A
slip float is adjustable for any
depth and my favorite.
I carry one rod with a slip
float all season. The slip float
is adjustable from the shallow
depths to depths pushing 30
feet or more. Some floats
are designed for current
or heavy winds, others are
slender like a porcupine quill. You also
have weighted slip floats that cast great
and stand up vertically in an instant.
I like the Weighted Slip Floats from
Carlisle when chasing down pike, bass
and walleye.
Slip floats are great when panfish are
feeding on the surface or just below. Set
the float depth at two feet with an ice
fishing teardrop or a spider. Tip it with a
spike or a wax worm. Otherwise use an
ice ant or a hackle jig. These very small
ice jigs will sink ever so slow and the
hungry panfish can suck them in without
feeling any resistance.
At ice out a casting float and a fly
are killer on gills and specks. Gills will
be found in two areas. Canals, channels and shallow bays or feeding on the

surface over very deep water. Countless

evenings we enjoyed success casting a
small casting torpedo float with a fly or
ant hanging back five feet. One slurp
and your line would go tight.
Other early spring days the shallowest waters would hold huge schools
of hand size gills. Casting a slip float
with a spider or an ant and allowing it to
slowly sink would trigger the weariest
of gills, No sinker, just the spider and
the wax worm.
Another technique to describe is
the one most often overlooked. If you
do not have a graph then this
technique is for you. Fish
swim rafts that are out beyond
the drop-offs. Bluegills just
love shade. Ask anyone that
snorkels on your favorite lake
and they will tell you how
often that they found big gills
under a raft in deep water.
The best rafts are
those that are not used
all of the time. You can
literally catch your limit from one raft.
A raft or dock that sits close to the water
surface and has some cobwebs showing
is the prime spots. When raft fishing set
your bobber very shallow.
Just before sunset look for ripples or
rings on the surface. Regardless of the
depth often a school of gills will start
feeding on the surface. A slip bobber
set for two feet without any sinker or
weight is deadly.
Pike or muskie fishing in the fall
can be great with a large sucker minnow
floating two to four foot down over and
alongside a cabbage weed patch. Use
the biggest sucker minnows or chubs
that you can find. Hook your bait with a
quick strike rig to avoid gut hooking the
fish. A quick strike rig has two hooks.

By Jack Payne

One goes into the mouth and the other

under the dorsal fin parallel to the baits
fishs body.
Most years on opening day of pike
fishing this is my bread and butter bait.
One rod rigged with a lively sucker minnow and the second rod with a frozen
smelt. Working the flats that are the
closest to an inlet the better the action.
If small perch are in your lake, search
them out. Knocked down weeds and
debris hold small perch and hungry
pike will cruise these areas once the sun
starts to warm things up.
Walleye love rock, rip rap, humps
and sharp breaklines. There is hardly a
better way to fish rocks than with a slip
bobber. In this case we use the multi
colored jig heads. My favorite bait is a
leech. A light hooked leech dances and
wiggles uncontrollable in the water and
will last a long time. We have a lake
where our best fishing comes from a
long dock bordering a deep drop-off.
All of the guys grab a chair, a cold drink
and throw out floats.
Early or late nothing beats a good
3-4 inch minnow. Hook the minnow
through the lips for the best action. We
often add a stinger hook when using the
larger minnows with a jig head. A small
number 8 or 10 stinger hook will land
any big walleye and hardly impedes the
action of the minnows.
We spent a few days on Lake Leelanau in August of last year and enjoyed
great walleye action. The walleye were
holding tight to the short grass in 18 feet
of water. The graph showed the short
grass and the slightly suspended fish.
This long bar was maybe 200 yards
long but varied between 3 to 10 foot
wide. Just above this sweet spot the water shallowed up and just below it was
a fast drop off. Perhaps you could have


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The author likes to use weighted slip floats.

worked this location over with a Lindy
Rig, but the slip float put the hurt on the
fish three nights in a roll.
I know that the diehard bass anglers
will not like hearing this but a leech
or a minnow under a float is deadly on
both large and smallmouth bass. We use
circle hooks when targeting fish that we
plan on returning because 90 percent
of the hooked fish will be caught in the
corner of the mouth. Circle hooks can
be used for all fish and another great
trait of a circle hook is that the fish most
often hooks themselves!
People pay big money to fish with
shiners in Florida for big bass. Nearly
all of the guides run shiners in January,
February and into March. We are talking
4-6 inch baits, sometimes even larger.
Fishing shiners or minnows is best done
near cover. Lily pads, cattails, any type
of wood or newly emergent weeds that
hide a bass.
Your best bass fishing locations
include rock, rip rap, the deep side of
the weedline and once fall arrives, the
shorelines where the majority of the
frogs are at.
Steelhead anglers like to float single
eggs and spawn sacs over the reeds and
into a log jammed deep hole. The float
rig snags much less than when rolling
the spawn directly on the bottom. You
can paint the tips with glow paint when
fishing under the cover of darkness.
Fishing a float is a precise instrument
and extremely versatile.
A jig head provides weight and
color and is my first choice on walleye.
Crappie or bluegills we normally place
a glow in the dark teardrop or a rubber
spider with glow in the dark legs.
I cant think of a better way to fish
crappie during the dog days of summer
than with a green light and slip floats
with the tips doused in glow paint. The
action after dark is four times better than
during the daylight hours.
Slip floats are perfect for a family
outing where skill levels might not be
equal. They offer a pin point presentation, perfect depth control, a great visual
aid and extremely productive on any
species that swims.
From ice out to ice over floats are
deadly and often the best choice with
which to fish.n

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Habitat Specialist On Staff


Morels aplenty and

tricks to find them

check soil temperatures. Morels pop

like popcorn when the earth gets between 45 and 50 degrees.
There is a lot of mystery and old
wives tales revolving around morel mushroom growth and how to
find them. Hey, forget moon phase,
barometric pressure and locations that
always produce and concentrate on
looking under dead or decaying trees.
f morel mushrooms are difficult
Sure, moisture can be important, hill
for you to find or not showing up slope can help or hinder and lay of
where you live they soon will be.
the land counts, but the most
Are you ready to find
important element is decaythem by the bushel full?
ing trees.
Michigan is blessed with
My strategy is simple.
some of the best mushroom
Ive found that morels flourpopulations in the upper
ish under dead and decaying
Midwest but spotting morels
trees. They are sort of tree
can be difficult. The trick to
huggers. Their favorite tree
success hinges on how much
in southern Michigan where
you know about why they
I hunt is elm trees. Learn to
suddenly pop out of
identify elm trees, the
the ground and where
morel favorite and
to target patches full
I guarantee instant
of big morels.
mushroom success. When you locate
Morels are very fickle and they
a dead elm with abundant mushrooms
dont like to show in any numbers
at the base study the tree, learn the
until air and soil temperatures are
texture of the bark, scrutinize the deideal. The trick is to keep an eye on
gree of decay and use the information
the temperatures outside. Morels sud- as a rule of thumb to locate more trees
denly sprout when air temperatures
with identical characteristics.
reach 60 degrees and above during the
Truth is I seldom wonder through
day, and night temperatures are above Michigans forest looking on the
40 degrees. Ideal night temperatures
ground but spend much more time and
stay above 50 degrees all night. Savvy effort locating dead trees that support
morel pickers use a common therfungal life by the bushel. Once I lomometer to monitor and constantly
cate dead trees I zero-in on the forest

If you get excited at the thought

of filling your basket with
plump morel mushrooms, you
better listen up. The following
mushroom hunting secrets can
guarantee success to fuel your
morel mushroom dreams...


By Kenny Darwin

If you find mature morels that are bending over rather than standing straight and

36 stems have holes and are turning reddish brown they are old and starting to decay.

Edward Carlin with a handful of morels found in his yard located at a cottage along
the Lake Michigan shore near Whitehall. While grays are more flavorful, big whites are
easier to locate and often grow in open terrain, lawns, fields, ditches, fencerows and
more. Kenny Darwin photos
floor around the base and downwind
area. It can be an adrenalin rush identical to harvesting a big buck, catching a lunker trout or anchoring a boss
gobbler when you stroll up to a dead
tree and find morels growing by the
dozen. What fun!
Once you succeed with this
strategy it gives you a rush that keeps
you looking all day long, never bored,
energetically positive about being
outdoors. Although there is something
powerfully addictive about being outdoors on a warm spring day with birds
singing, plant life springing to life
and the sweet smell of Mother Earth.
Savvy hunters learn to cherish morel
outings and frequently take pause to
enjoy the environment, rekindle their
outdoor spirit and recharge their body
and soul.
Ill never forget a turkey hunting trip near Dansville State game
area when I spotted several elm trees
with bark starting to peel. I knocked
on the landowners door, got permission and soon stood in the middle of
a white phase morel patch that filled
my shopping bag to the brim. In
less than an hour I picked over 200
tasty morsels. Since then, I no longer
wonder aimlessly through Michigans
forests in search of mushroom, instead
I look for dead elm trees and search
beneath the decaying bark. Sometimes
the morels are hugging the base of the
tree and there times they are scattered
in a downwind pattern from dead elm.
When I venture into upper Michigan
I still concentrate on dead trees but
I shift to apple orchards or decaying
poplar and ash. You can instantly up
your odds for a bountiful harvest of
morels this season if you search under
dead and decaying trees.
Once you hit on locating mushrooms under dead trees you quickly
identify which trees produce. When an
elm is dying it produces ideal mushroom habitat for a period of about
three years. Few appear the first year
the tree is dead but when the bark

begins to peel and pieces touch the

earth it creates a mushroom honey
hole. Once the tree is climatic, all the
bark has peeled off, the number of
morels will slowly decline. The trick
is to locate trees that are in the active
phase of decaying and morels will be
there. But bear in mind that morels
also show up wherever they show up
and some years are better than others.
Years ago while fishing trout along
the Pine River west of Cadillac I ran
into a team of professional mushroom
pickers who had a truck full of morels.
They parked next to me and when
I came off the river I could smell
morels as I approached the downwind
side of their vehicle. They told me
they were looking for newly logged
areas on state land where the soil had
been disturbed. They insisted that morels popped up downwind from logging operations and viewed logging
areas as prime morel locations.
They also said wildfires promote
mushroom growth. Thats when I
drove to an area where Highway 55
and 37 in Wexford County where
logging operations disturbed the soil
with heavy machinery. Not far from
Petersons Bridge the woods was torn
up and morels were everywhere in
the disturbed soil. I halted trout fishing and filled my coolers with fresh
morels that I shared with family and
Funny how after years of chasing
all over west Michigan in search of
mushrooms two savvy pickers put me
on the hot tactic for filling my trunk.
Knowledge regarding mushrooms,
when they grow and where they grow
is the key to success.
Ill never forget a trout fishing outing on the Betsie River in May when
temperatures soared into the 70s and
hot, humid weather was followed
by spring thunderstorms. The next
morning I slipped along the bank of
the beautiful trout stream in search
of German brown trout but instead I
hit the mother lode of morels. Ap-

parently the temperature was right

and the added oxygen, nitrogen and
refreshing rain fueled morels to show
themselves. I set my rod against a
cedar tree, took off my fly vest and
proceeded to fill my trout wicker
basket to overflow capacity with succulent morels. That night I dined on
butter fried stream trout smothered in
fresh mushrooms. The moral to the
story is rain, moisture after a long dry
spell, high humidity and warm air
and ground temperatures can result in
colossal mushroom growth. A warm
spring rain is just the right medicine
for getting morels to show themselves.
Early in the season check the
south slope of hills where the earth
warms first. Thats where morels will
start showing up first. Keep in mind
mushrooms like loamy soil like you
find in creek bottoms, along trout
streams but not water logged cedar
swamps. Morels like well-drained,
moist but not wet soil, with a mix
of sand, clay, and of course decaying trees that provide calcium and
lime. Grays are the first to show but
they are smaller, have more flavor
and meatier almost like eating steak.
Grays have a nasty habit of growing

in thick cover and sometimes are difficult to see in leaves, fallen branches,
rolling terrain that has a lot of brush.
Yellows or whites are larger, easier to
spot, arrive later in the year and can
spring up overnight.
There is an art to spotting mushrooms. Dont rush in, take your time
and slowly scan around dead trees
and work in a semi-circle. Some hunters are gifted morel spotters others
need to find a few before they get the
hang of it. I like to carry my grandfathers old walking stick and use it to
move leaves and help scan the forest
floor. My walking stick is powerful medicine that makes me think of
years hunting morels with relatives
from long ago, it makes me reflect on
the true art form of stalking for mushrooms like a predator seeking hidden
game. Take my word for it; a walking
stick is a helpful tool. Mine helps me
to forget my hectic modern life, slow
my pace and become a more proficient mushroom hunter.
When you start picking, try to
not rip the fungi roots from the soil.
Pinch off the mushroom with your
thumb nail and leave the roots and
base to grow and regenerate in the
future. Savvy hunters carry an onion

Savvy mushroom hunters pinch off at base of stem or cut with a pocket knife to not
disturb the fungal root system, allow it to grow and regenerate next year.
bag and allow spores from the harvest
crop to drop on the ground and hopefully create more crops in the future.
Last year went in the record
books as one of the coldest springs
in history and then we had too much
cold rain. For me it was a tough year

for morel mushrooms. Too bad, because 2014 I found so many mushrooms that I got tired of eating them.
I hope 2016 has perfect weather and
yields a healthy crop and you take
my advice to help you locate a bushel


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Teaching on

hen I retired from my

day job almost 18 years
ago I gave thought to
guiding in my retirement years. I was
already teaching river
fishing classes at my local community college and guiding seemed like
a natural extension. But, the more
I thought about it the more I didnt
want the pressure of putting paying
clients into fish. I also didnt like
the idea not fishing while I
guided. In my fishing classes
I fished with my students but
always gave them first water
unless they asked to see how
I would approach the next
spot. It was always a joyful moment when a student
hooked and landed his or her
first steelhead.
Now, I have also
retired from teaching
fishing, not because I
didnt enjoy the teaching but because
of increasing administrative hassles.

Utilizing my modest notoriety as an

outdoor writer I still get to fish with
many new people by donating a wading trip to my university, conservation organizations and fishing clubs to
be auctioned off as a fund raiser. This
lets me give back and have lots of fun
doing it.
The goal of this article is to share
with you some of the things that have
worked well for me when getting new
anglers started in river fishing. Many
of the readers of WoodsN-Water News have a fair
amount of experience in their
chosen methods of fishing.
And, you have children or
other relatives and friends
you would like to get started
in this wonderful pastime.
Hopefully you will find an
idea or two below that, while
it may be in need
some adapting to your
favorite method, will
help you get some new folks turned
on to the great sport of fishing.

By Jim Bedford


Hello, this is Charlie Morse.

At 63 years old I don't have a lifetime
to wait! Air pruned containerized
plants, equals RESULTS SOONER!


When tossing lures for steelhead or stream trout in small rivers casting accuracy
coupled with reading the water are real keys to success.
As a first step, it is important
to make sure your angler is well
equipped and properly dressed. If
your partner for the outing has his or
her own equipment make sure it is appropriate and in good working order.
Over the years I have accumulated a
bunch of loaner fishing rods and reels
so I am always ready to switch them
out if I think their outfit wont do the
job. Make sure they are dressed for
the weather and have remembered
their polarized sunglasses. Knowing
how important vision is when wading small rivers I will always have an
extra pair with me that will fit over
regular glasses if necessary.
As you start out, emphasize that
the goal of the trip is just as much
or more about learning as it is about
catching a fish. This is especially true
when I take beginners trying to catch
their first steelhead. To take some of
the catching pressure off, I remind
them they we are not fishing for pan
fish but rather a trophy rainbow trout.
Steelhead usually require some dues
paying and I will remind them of that.
While I will be trying real hard to
make them successful, some days just
dont work out with fish landed. When
such fisheries are available, it can be
very helpful to fish for steelhead in a
stream where trout and other fish can

be caught. Fooling a nice brown or

smallmouth can be a real confidence
When tossing lures for steelhead
or stream trout in small rivers casting accuracy coupled with reading
the water are real keys to success. I
always try to teach my new partners
the underhand, pendulum cast as it is,
without a doubt, the most accurate. It
allows the angler to follow the lure to
the target and make mid-air corrections if their spinner or plug is veering
off target or going to overshoot the
mark. Some anglers catch on right
away while others have trouble. I
never force anyone to switch to this
cast but just dropping my lure close
to the cover time after time while
they are ending up in the overhanging
vegetation usually gets the message
Reading water and figuring out
where fish might lay is key for any
river angler. With new river fishers I
always emphasize the importance of
cover to the fish. Migratory fish have
recently left the ocean or large lake
and will feel vulnerable in their new
environment. Resident fish need to
worry about birds and other predators from above so overhead cover is
very important to all the fish in a river.
Depth can sometimes provide this

steelhead, a subtle difference in

location can make or break you when
the fish are not very aggressive. Also
the fish may not see the offering in
time to grab it. So, the second or third
pass might be the fish catcher rather
than the first. While it is important
to cover lots of water when lure
fishing, I have a two cast minimum
rule. Never pass a good looking spot
without at least two casts. The better the spot, the more presentations
you should make. The first cast may
evoke some interest but the steelhead
wasnt ready. The next cast will often
result in a savage strike.
Getting your lure hung up on a
snag is inevitable when stream fishing. While I preach getting near the
wood or close to the bottom with
lures, it is important to minimize
getting hung up. Taking advantage of
the fact that lures will draw fish out of
the cover is important. This is easier
said than done with beginners and
you can expect your partner to snag
up a bunch of times. It would not be
a good plan for you to keep fishing
while he or she tries to free the lure.
Now is the time to teach them some
tricks on freeing their lure. Remind
them that you are most likely going
to have success by moving the lure in
the opposite direction that it encountered the branch or rock. If the lure
is in wadeable water you can almost
always free it by reeling your rod tip
down to the spinner and gently pushing it off.
If the lure cant be freed and is
lost let your partner use your rod
while you get him or her re-rigged.
Similarly if your partner gets a big
tangle in their line it is time for you to
stop fishing and aid them in un-snarling their outfit, teaching as you go. If
it is really a mess, you can again let
them keep fishing with your outfit,
while you work out the tangles. This
would also be time to tell them about
soaking their line, if they are using
nylon monofilament, to make it more
limp and manageable. You can even
demonstrate on the stream by pop-

Success - young anglers showing off a brown trout. Jim Bedford photos
ping off the spool and submerging it
for a minute or two while reminding
them that this is best done at home
just before you go fishing.
A big advantage of fishing with
your new or less experienced angler
is that they can also learn by observing what you are doing. Without
preaching tell them why you cast
where you did, why you let the lure
sink a little bit before beginning the
retrieve, why you let your lure sweep
across the current, and why you gave

line in fast water and retrieved in

slower flows. These are just examples
but any time you can slip in a nugget
of wisdom when they ask why you
did something will help them learn
the sport you love so much. And, of
course, nothing beats the positive
re-enforcement that a steelhead on the
end of their line provides. Cheer them
on without over instructing them
on fighting the fish and have the net


cover but something solid like a log,

boulder, or overhanging vegetation is
usually better. An easy way to get this
concept across is to relate that if the
water is deep enough or the cover is
thick enough so that you cant see the
bottom or the fish cast your lure there.
Fish also need shelter from the
current. Often the big rock or log that
provides overhead cover also blocks
the current. These are key spots for
fish to lie. Anadromous fish like steelhead orient to the current because
they are traveling so they are always
searching for places to rest near their
travel lanes.
The submerged boulder is a great
learning tool for an angling friend
new to river fishing. I teach my partners to look for subtle disturbances in
the water surface that give away the
presence of a boulder. They can also
feel their spinner blade tick the top of
a big rock as it sweeps over it. Noting
that the boulder provides a holding
spot just upstream of it as well as in
the downstream slots will emphasize
its importance in a moderately deep
run. Of course, nothing beats the
positive re-enforcement that happens
when they feel their spinner blade
tick the rock followed by a crushing
strike of a steelhead.
As you move upstream with your
partner make occasional suggestions
on where to cast but dont overdo
it. You might mention that the submerged log across from your partner
has produced steelhead in the past.
Then note where to land the lure so
that it can be swept across in front
of the log. When your partner does
make a good cast dont hold back on
acknowledging the fact by saying
nice cast. You can then say that he or
she will soon make a perfect cast and
light heartedly explain that a perfect
cast happens when a good cast results
in fish on.
Sooner or later you will hook a
fish behind your partner. This is no
time to gloat or tease your partner
about not making a good presentation. Instead, explain that with


Embrace the Sturgeon River: Paddle into

spring on the fastest flowing L.P. river!

By Jonathan Schechter

he duel between seasons

continues. Melting snow
fuels the meandering journeys
of our rivers and excite those
afflicted with incurable wanderlust fever and a passion for
the wilder side of Michigan. Count me
among them. Riverbanks in these late
days of March are many-splendored
things, some crackle with shards of
ice, others are rich with unpredictable
subtleties, wildlife encounters and
raw wildland beauty scented with the
aroma of cedar, hemlock and pine.
Perhaps our most exciting, and easily
assessable river that embraces the seasonal change is the Sturgeon River, a
river that beckons outdoor adventurers
with its average descent of 13.8 feet
per mile. That rate of descent makes
this crystal-clear spring fed river the
fastest flowing river in the Lower
Peninsula, a very sweet temptation for
paddlers. And, the Sturgeon is designated as blue ribbon trout stream.

Ready to raft?

Its easier than you think, but


1/2 WEEK


Late winter paddling on the Sturgeon River is a perfect mosquito-free adventure. Jonathan Schechter photos
an early spring paddle is best when
spiced with situational awareness,
and a little help from friends in the
know. Snow was steadily falling on
the February morning I walked into
the offices of family-friendly Big Bear
Adventures to meet my friends that
would accompany me on a winter
rafting adventure that would take me
beneath a canopy of snow-covered
evergreens and enable me to Experience the breathtaking beauty and
solitude of winter.
I am a skeptic when it comes to
poetic descriptions in any company
brochure. But these words turned
out to be so very true, as was another
comment from Pati Anderson, the
owner/manager of Big Bear, You will
see much more when trees are leaf-

less, and the raft will not flip. Anderson was right on both accounts, and
I was especially pleased with the not
flipping comment. As much as I push
the window a bit with my outdoor
adventuring pursuits, I am not fond
of going into the drink in winter, or
the early days of spring, even if the
river is an average of four or five feet
deep. Depth means nothing when
conditions can lead to a hypothermic encounter. And thats why I was
happy to have a guide. You might
want one too, and my guide, Sean
Boughner, was the right guy for the
If you are thinking, Ill wait for
a warm and sunny summer day to
raft or paddle you just might want
to think again. The closing days of

were promised. And Tufted Titmice,

Black-Capped Chickadees, and at
least one worm-hungry American
Robin witnessed our passing.
But even with our chattering and
the early warning system of crows,
we still managed to startle deer that
had bedded down along the shore
and perhaps did not pay much attention to the music made by a restless
river, and the occasional splash from
a paddle. The deer gave us the kind
of look that seemed to say, Paddling
nowfoolish humans? and then
vanished into thick stands of cedar.
Mink and coyote tracks near the
shore added to the pleasure of the
adventure. And just as a hidden
pileated woodpecker pounded away
on a distant hillside tree our guide reminded us bald eagles are sometimes
spotted on snags. No eagles this time.
But I will return, for the Sturgeon is

What You Need To Know

Big Bear Adventures is easy to

find and located across from Burt
Lake State Park in the town of Indian
River. Their headquarters includes a
small general store and an on premise
Subway Shop. For a larger hearty
meal after your adventure walk across
the street to Wilsons River Edge
Restaurant. Be sure to contact
Big Bear Adventures by phone
(231-238-8181) and visit their
website (www.bigbearadventures.
com ) for details and reservations for
guided late winter rafting trip.
Many other options for rentals,
rafting, tubing, canoeing or kayaking
are also offered as spring wins out
over winter. No special equipment is
required, but common sense dictates
dressing for the weather and bringing
a change of clothes. Many camping
and lodging opportunities are in the
area or consider Northwoods Lodge
( )

Deer casually watch the passing of rafts, and then head back into the hills.


The entire region is rich with

lakes, streams and wildlands presenting endless opportunities for outdoor
adventure from hunting and fishing,
to mushrooming and wildlife photography. And of course there are miles
of trails for tree-huggers like me in
the center of our Northern Lower

Peninsula, home of the Sturgeon

River, one of many rivers spawned by
glacial action some 11,000 years ago.
Jonathan Schechter is naturalist/
medic/adventurer in Brandon Township and an active member of the
Wilderness Medical Society. Email:

Fishing Benzie County is

Fish on some of Michigans finest waters,

in Benzie County, Michigan!
Enjoy Lake Michigan from our port city of Frankfort or try your
luck on one of our over 57 inland lakes, two rivers and several
streams. Our waters are rich with Coho Salmon, Steelhead,
Brown Trout, Bass, Pike, Walleye, Bluegill and Perch. Every
fishing enthusiast will find just what their fishing for. Crystal
Lake, Big & Little Platte Lakes, the Betsie and Platte Rivers and of
course, Lake Michigan are the most well-known, but you will also
discover hidden gems like Turtle Lake, Long Lake or Herring Lake
that may just be the experience youre looking for.

2016 Fishing
Benzie CounTournaments in
ty, Michigan!
Big Brown Tro
Contest - Ma
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Battle at the
Betsie - June
Uncle Sams
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Benzie Fishin
g Frenzy - Au
gust 26-28

Lodging choice abound and area sporting shops sell all your fishing
needs and provide tips on the hot spots. Great local shopping
and dining options make for a well-rounded trip to Benzie County.
For more information, call our office or visit our website at
800-882-5801 or

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Benzie County
Visitors Bureau
Northern Michigan Preserved


This Ad Size is 2 Column by 4" or 4.24" by 4"

March and the month of April are free

of crowds and perhaps more importantly are free of the infamous hordes
of blood-thirsty mosquitoes that loiter
in the attack mode during sultry days
of summer.
Now is a great time to arm yourself with a paddle and embrace the
seasonal change of the river. There
really is breathtaking beauty along
the riverbanks and the adjacent
glacially sculpted forested hills. The
drift and paddle speed is slow enough
to immerse oneself in natures offerings, while the guide provides the
experience and knowledge to prevent
immersion in water, or becoming
hung up in bankside shrubs or low
hanging branches known as strainers.
Strainers are obstructions, such
as fallen trees or partially submerged
brush that allows water to pass
through, but stops and traps and endangers objects such as boats--- and
people. Strainers are not real issue
along this section of the Sturgeon,
but situational awareness is always
Sean remained us to keep PFDs
on, and detailed how and when to
Stoke right, Stroke left, as he guided us down the river for three miles,
around sunken logs and under lowhanging snow-laden trees. With me
in the bow of the seven person raft
that plan almost became problematic
for the others were to paddle when
I paddled. However, every now and
then we went a bit off course when
the camera instead of the paddle was
the focus point of my attention. But
regardless, we navigate the obstacles,
photographed wildlife and had one
heck of a good time under a steady
snowfall and had good stories to
share when we got back home, even
if some of those stories best stay on
the river.
Crows sharply cawed our arrival
as we slipped under those snowcapped canopies of evergreens we


Technology is a wonderful thing for those who embrace it...By Mark Romanack

ProNav promises the ultimate in boat control

m proud to say that technology

improves my fishing success
almost on a daily basis. During the past three decades, Ive
benefited first hand with some
amazing technology. At the top
of that list I can say with confidence
that the introduction and refinement
of Global Positioning Systems or GPS
has helped me catch the most fish.

ProNav Goes A Step Further

Recently Travis White of

blew my mind by demonstrating how
his product can be used to control bow
mounted electric motors including
the popular Minn Kota Power Drive
V2, Terrova or the newly introduced
MotorGuide Xi5 which has a home on
the bow of all my boats. Essentially
ProNav is an aftermarket plug and
play product, says Travis White.
People often ask if the ProNav
system is hardware or software. Our
product is actually a hardware device
and the app is the software that allows
ProNav to connect to the electric moThe author was one of the first national media members invited to sample the ProNav
tor, explains White. The ProNav
technology. Mark Romanack photos
unit is then used to control the elec-

tric motor with a smart phone and or

Essentially ProNav provides
any bow mounted electric motor the
option of providing GPS routing
or anchoring points and interfaces
directly with lake map or satellite imagery technology. This alone would be
super cool, but the ProNav does a lot
more. This unique hardware and app
combination interfaces with the most
sophisticated mapping and satellite
software available to enable an angler
to save and store an unlimited number
of routes with the cloud component that allows anglers to access this
information anytime on their phone or
personal device. This makes it possible for anglers to scout a particular body of water and prepare sample
routes or anchoring points even before
launching the boat!

Why Is GPS So Important?

What makes GPS technology

invaluable is the fact the angler can
see a map of the area he or she is
navigating and at the same time see
your precise location on that map. For
example, an angler can visualize on

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the mapping screen a main lake point

that tapers into deep water and see
exactly where his boat is positioned
in relationship to that point. The
same is true of countless other fishing
This kind of GPS technology allows anglers to find specific bottom
contours, cover types and structure
with 100 percent confidence again
and again. Marrying up actual bottom contours and cover to highly
accurate mapping systems is how
modern anglers find fish quickly.
Now that is cool stuff and the kind of
technology that helps anglers catch
fish day in and day out.
Its also important to note that you
dont need a satellite signal to use the
data in the ProNav system. All you
need is the ProNav hardware, a smart
phone or other personal device and a
little knowledge of how to operate the
The ProNav system is great for
targeting fish in open water situations,
but it can also be used for targeting
fish on bottom structure and also
cover types including weed edges,
submerged wood and a host of other

fishing applications. Invaluable for

trout, salmon, walleye, bass, pike,
musky and even panfish applications,
ProNav is yet another piece of critical
fishing equipment that helps anglers
achieve the best possible boat control.

The Field Test

The field test that Travis White

provided in my boat took place on
Houghton Lake. This shallow and
weed choked body of water represents the ultimate test for GPS
navigation technology. The contours
on Houghton Lake are subtle to say
the least. After launching and taking
about five minutes to set up the ProNav on the MotorGuide Xi5, Travis
quickly demonstrated how we could
identify a depth contour and follow
that contour like a beagle following a
hot rabbit track!
The ProNav system stuck to the
depth contour, maintaining a route
and allowing us to speed up or slow
down as desired. In fisheries where
mapping data is not available, satellite information becomes another
invaluable aid in fishing.
Some years ago another electric

motor technology hit the market that

was designed to follow depth contours. Known as Pinpoint the technology was years ahead of its time and
unfortunately the technology wasnt
100 percent bug free.
Today a similar, but much more
refined GPS technology can be combined with sophisticated mapping and
satellite technology to create a boat
control system that is simply amazing. The ability to pick apart a lake
days or even weeks before a fishing
trip is another huge advantage of the
ProNav system.
The ProNav system costs about
$699 and it can be used on both the
Minn Kota and MotorGuide electric
motors. Sold at both locations of Jays
Sporting Goods, the ProNav can also
be ordered on-line at
Technology is a wonderful thing
for those who embrace it. Sometimes
technology makes fishing more complex, but in this case it helps make
boat control a hands off experience!
Thats a good thing because the last
time I looked you want your hands
firmly on a rod and reel.n

The ProNav unit uses hardware

that mounts to an auto-pilot electric motor and software that loads
to your smar t phone that can
control a boat like never before.


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There May Be No Other Form Of Deceit More Successful...

My take on turkey decoys

he outdoor set practices all sorts of deceit.
We imitate geese to call them, we grunt
in a sexy way to lure whitetail bucks. We
cover up our scent and offer instead smells
that attract deer. We fashion fishing flies of
hair and feathers and cast them upon the
streams to lure wily trout from their hidey
holes. There may be no other form of
deceit, however, that is more successful or
more easily accomplished than decoying
A decoy can and will accomplish
many things for the turkey hunter. First
and foremost, it will bring in a wary gobbler, right to the gun, from as far away as
that bird can see, which is considerable. The decoy can provide some
ranging, if the hunter is careful to
locate the decoy out in front a measured distance, well within range of his weapon.
Calling will bring a bird close and then, when the
bird emerges from the woods, it will provide a path
right to the hen that was sought. With no decoy, that
gobbler might walk right by you, out of range, still
looking for his hen, so the decoy provides closure.
A decoy can work wonders, even without calling. Last years spring bird provides a good example. Plopped down next to a cut corn field before

dawn, I heard a gobbler call from the roost just

twice. No other turkey sounds were heard over the
next few minutes and I did not call simply because
I didnt know whether or not the bird or birds had
left the roost. In just a few minutes, however, a hen
was spotted in the mist, well out in the field, and
this bird continued to walk straight across
the field, well out of range. Another hen
appeared shortly, closer, and this one spotted my single hen decoy and immediately
turned and headed right for it. Right behind her was a nice gobbler, in full strut.
It was hard for me to raise the shotgun
with two birds coming straight at me but I
was back in the woods about twenty feet,
backed up with thick stuff and, of
course, in camo from head to foot.
The gun came up very slowly and
gradually. I dont like shooting a
turkey while he is strutting but there was no choice.
He went past me and turned a bit and gave me a
head shot at close range. He went down hard with
hardly a flutter. A nice tom had been bagged with no
calling at all.
Positioning the decoy is important. Ideally, if
you know the direction from which the gobbler will
be coming, the decoy should be facing away from
him. If he perceives that the hen is coming toward

By George Rowe





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him, he may just wait for it to approach that

would be the way it would happen, naturally. Also,
the decoy should be positioned so that the approaching tom doesnt look straight past the decoy
at you. Those sharp eyes can pick out the slightest
motion so you really want the tom staring at the
decoy and not in your direction.
The number and gender of decoys is very
much a personal choice. When hunting by myself,
I employ a single hen, one that folds up nicely for
carrying in my vest. I only use a jake decoy if I
am hunting with someone else and that someone
wants to take a mature gobbler. A jake decoy or
even a gobbler decoy will work well, with a hen or
hens, to attract the neighborhood boss gobbler but
it may not work well for a jake or the typical group
of jakes. A young male is not about to walk into a
situation in which he might get his butt kicked by a
senior bird. A single gobbler decoy can be effective
for attracting a mature tom but it will probably be
more effective if used with a hen or two.
Spring turkey hunters often get the opportunity
to use a real decoy. If you spot a hen or hear one,
it will pay dividends to get that hen to come in and
hang around your decoy. While this may not work
well with a decoy spread that includes a male (the
hen will figure out the fake rather quickly) the hen
may hang around for a while if you are using a hen
or two for your decoy(s).
A few years ago, I was calling to a gobbler that
was up on a ridge close by when I heard a hen off
to my right, in a field. She was also talking to that
gobbler and soon she walked right by me, on the
way to him. That, of course, is just what you should
expect the hen goes to the gobbler. On this occasion, the hen was followed by three jakes and the

first one that came into range was invited to dinner.

Getting a hen to respond to your yelps can also
provide some very entertaining practice for the
turkey caller. There is nothing like the real thing to
copy. Once the hen responds, just repeat everything
she says and the results will be very satisfactory to
you and any tom in the area.
If you hunt in the late season, you might have
to limit your use of decoys, especially if you have
any reason to think that your gobbler has been
called or decoyed before. Many turkey hunters
have experienced a situation in which toms approached, when called, but showed fear and hung
up when decoys were spotted. You can expect this
of both jakes and mature birds. If you call a bird
or two and they approach but stall when the decoy
is spotted, you are probably out of luck, that day.
Next time you set up in that area, however, you
might call them out to you successfully with no
decoy in sight. Another trick for that decoy-shy
situation is to have a caller well behind the hunter,
assuming that the birds will come in close enough
before displaying that late-season caution. There
can be no question, however, that turkey hunting
with a decoy will almost always be more successful
than a hunt with no such deception.
The quality of the decoy is a matter of some
debate. When you consider that a mature gobbler
will try to mate with a plastic hen or fight with a
poor imitation of a gobbler, I believe its evident
that it doesnt take realism to fool a turkey. The
decoy in the photo illustrates that idea it is made
with parts of a cane and parts of an umbrella but
with a real beard and a real fan. It fools turkeys

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? The key to

this different looking tom decoy is the real beard
and real fan. George Rowe photos

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Anne Ziegler, formerly of Crystal

Falls, with a nice Lake Superior
tributary steelhead.

great scenic spot to photograph in addition to fishing.

Huron River - Baraga County.
The Huron is also a very popular
steelhead fishing stream. Scott Lynum
of Indian Country Sports Shop in L
Anse reports a fair steelhead run typically occurs in the Huron. The DNR
has good wader angler access at several good steelhead concentration points
from the mouth up to low falls that
the fish can ascend, such as Big Erics
Bridge and the East Branch Falls. The
Huron River is regularly stocked with
steelhead yearlings.
Big Garlic River- Marquette
County. Madison states the Big Garlic River supports a good steelhead
Carp River- Marquette County.
Madison reports a fair to good steelhead run in the Carp River just east of
the City of Marquette. Dr. Fredrick
Hoenke of Marquette said the sections of the lower river have a steep
gradient with pocket water and a few
pools. The best steelhead angling
is reported to be from Morgan Falls
Creek down. The Carp River is regularly stocked with steelhead.
Chocolay River Marquette
County: Cory Kovaks, Fisheries
Biologist from Newberry covers
the Eastern Lake Superior Tributaries. Kovaks reports the Chocolay
receives a good run of steelhead. The
lower river provides the best access
and stretches to fish.
Kovaks said the Au Train and
Anna Rivers in Alger County both
have a fair to good run of steelhead.
The Ontonagon River is regularly
The Anna River is regularly stocked
stocked with steelhead.
with steelhead.
Misery River - Ontonagon CounKovaks also rated the Sucker
ty: The biologist recommends the best River in Alger County as having a
steelhead fishing can be found in the
very good steelhead run.
lower Misery River. A DNR Public
Kovaks said the Two Hearted
Access Site can be found at the mouth River in Luce County is good to
on the east bank of the river.
excellent. The Little Two Hearted
Falls River - Baraga County. As
should be included as well as good
the name implies, the Falls River has runs have occurred over the last few
many waterfalls and steelhead can
years with higher water (Little Two
only run up this river a short distance Hearted does not have the extended
before being blocked by a waterfall
trout season). Good reports of steelbarrier. Madison rated the short
head have been received by DNR all
distance run as good. This is a very
the way up to County Road 407. The
picturesque river and there is a set of
Two Hearted River receives regular
falls that is easily accessible from the DNR plants of steelhead.
LAnse Public Access site. A well
worn foot path runs up the north bank
of the stream.
Silver River - Baraga County. The
The Menominee River - MenomSilver is a very popular steelhead river
inee County on the UPs southwest
and Madison rates the run as good.
border with Wisconsin has a fair run
The two best public access sites are
of steelhead. Most angler fish on the
a DNR Public Access at the mouth
and another DNR Access at the Silver Michigan shore below the Hattie
Falls upstream. This falls is a barrier Street Dam which is the upstream barrier to steelhead, being only 2.5 miles
to upstream steelhead passage and a



Streams provide a trophy fishing experience...


Steelhead (rainbow trout) were widely

introduced to trout streams in both the
Upper and Lower Peninsula of Michigan from the late 1800s through the
early 1900s. Steelhead are the anadromous (lake run) form of rainbow
trout. The Michigan Fisheries Centennial Report states the first rainbow
trout were obtained from California.
Initial introductions were made into
the Sault Rapids on the Saint
Marys River in 1897 and
1998. Other introductions
had been made in some Lower Peninsula rivers prior to
that. In 1911 and 1912 large
numbers of rainbow trout
were ascending the Lower
Peninsulas Pine River and
Manistee Rivers. The first
spawn from wild fish
for Michigan propagation was taken from
the Pine River around 1918. DNR
records indicate that rainbow trout
runs developed in streams tributary to
Lake Superior about the 1920s. About
that time the Sault Rapids at Sault St.

Marie Michigan had developed into a

world famous rainbow trout fishery.
The following is a brief description of the U Ps steelhead streams
and ratings by the local DNR Fish
Management Biologists.

Lake Superior Tributaries

George Madison - Fisheries Biologist in Baraga covers the Western

Lake Superior tributaries.
He stated that the steelhead
runs in the Montreal and
Black Rivers in Gogebic
County are short distance
due to waterfall barriers near
the mouths of those rivers.
Ontonagon River
System Ontonagon and
Houghton County: Madison recommends the
steelhead fishing in the
Ontonagon, and its upper tributaries the East Branch of the
Ontonagon and Jumbo Rivers. Much
of the upper East Branch and Jumbo
Rivers run through US Forest Service
land in the Ottawa National Forest.

By Bill Ziegler

Lake Michigan and

Huron Tributaries:

upstream from the mouth at Green

Bay. There is parking and angler
access below that powerhouse and
dam. The Menominee River receives
regular stocking of rainbow trout
from Wisconsin DNR.
Cedar River - Menominee
County. The Cedar River had an
excellent steelhead run until about
2003. Unfortunately, the two steelhead stocking sites were combined
and moved to the mouth by a former
DNR Fisheries Administrator. Subsequently the steelhead run collapsed.
Due to sportsman club pressure in the
last few years the former successful
steelhead stocking sites were restored
for the annual plants.
It is hard to rebuild a good fishery once it has been lost, although
hopefully re establishing the former
steelhead stocking sites will eventually restore the former outstanding
steelhead run.
Darren Kramer, the new Fisheries
Supervisor from Escanaba covers the
northern Lake Michigan tributaries.
Kramer reports a fair run of steelhead in the Whitefish River in Delta
County near Rapid River, Michigan.
The Whitefish River is regularly
stocked with steelhead.
Sturgeon River - Delta County is

stocked with steelhead and supports a

fair run of fish. The better steelhead
fishing can be found upstream of U
S 2 and off Forest Highway 13. The
Sturgeon River has been stocked
through 2013 with steelhead.
Manistique River - Schoolcraft
County, has a good run of steelhead
according to Kramer. There are
steelhead in that river from October
to April said Kramer. The steelhead
fishery is within the first mile of the
river upstream from the mouth. A paper company Flume and Dam acts as

barrier just upstream of Highway US

2. There is no regular upstream fish
passage from there according to Darren Kramer. There is adequate access
on the East side of the river and some
of the river is wadable. The Manistique River receives regular plants of
Kramer stated the next notable
stream going east is the Brevort River
in Mackinac County. The Brevort
River is regularly stocked and
supports a fair run of fish.
Neal Godby, Fisheries Biologist

Steve McMahon, formerly of Marquette, with a nice Lake Michigan tributary steelhead. Brad Petzke photo.

of the Gaylord office covers the UP

portion of Lake Huron. Godby rated
the Carp River in Mackinac Countys
steelhead run as good. He said public
access is also good as much of the
Carp runs through National Forest.
The Carp receives regular plants of
The St. Marys River in Chippewa County continues to be a good
steelhead stream. Godby states the St
Marys has a good steelhead run. He
reminds anglers who are wading the
only access to the rapids is on the Ontario side of the river. Wading anglers
should use caution and check current
and river conditions before venturing
out. He said if too many flow compensating gates are open at the head
of the rapids they become un-wadeable. Godby recommends checking
a web link at to
find current river conditions. The St.
Marys receives regular stocking of
steelhead by the Michigan DNR.
Although some steelhead often
enter tributary streams in the fall ,
retired Baraga DNR District Fisheries Biologist Ray Juetten formerly
reported, as a result of surveys,
increased steelhead coming into the
streams when the water temperature
rises to the lower 40s F and the water
level is rising.
Current Baraga Fisheries Biologist George Madison offered the
following tip. Many of the Lake
Superior Rivers hold steelhead into
May. Steelhead are known to
spawn at water temperatures as high
as the low to mid 50s F. Steelhead
can spawn over a period of time and
some steelhead anglers have given
up before this period, as the early
runs declined. Scott Lynum from
LAnses Indian Country Sports Shop
stated that the spawn bags continue to
be the best bait in early season with
yarn flies in later season.n


Jumbo Falls - Ottawa National

Forest near Kenton can be
a concentration point for


Destination Tawas & Au Gres - Sunrise Coast


ou know its going to be

a great day when you pull
into H & H Bakery and
Restaurant on the outskirts
of Au Gres. I jumped out
of my truck with anticipation knowing that my day was going
to be fantastic...and why not? The
sun was shining, there was not even a
breath of wind and I was going fishing
with one of the best guides that the
outer Saginaw Bay region
has to offer! Captain Mike
Veine and I have been friends
for more than 20 years. We
met while fishing the In
Fisherman PWT on Lake St.
Clair. We had a good day
then and we have always had
great days whenever I would
join Mike for a day on
the water.
Today was different only in that Mike
would be fishing with me in a beautiful new Crestliner 2050 Authority
decked out with all the trimmings; a
complete set of Traxstech rod holders
and downriggers, a pair of Lowrance
HDS 9s and a new MotorGuide Xi5

trolling motorlife is truly good. To

say that I was ready was an understatement, I live for days on Lake Huron. The Sunrise Side, as many of the
locals refer to it as is as great a fishery
as there is in Michigan! The outer bay
is a consistently great fishery all year
long. Thats right, many dont think
the bite starts right away but it does.
April and May offer some of the
better big fish bites anywhere around.
The fish are generally close
to the harbor and with just
a few adjustments in your
presentation you can really
catch good numbers of walleye. The key for the early
season is definitely speed.
Whether you use crankbaits
or spinners it seems these
fish want it slow at
this time of the year.
I typically will fish a
combination of both
subtle stick-baits like a Smithwick
Rattlin Rogue or Jr Thundersticks.
I present these baits about six feet
behind a one ounce snapweight. I
usually run out somewhere between
20-40 feet of line out to achieve the

By John Bergsma

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545 West Burnsline Melvin, Michigan 48454

M-90 between M-53 & M-19 -- Approx. 50 Miles North of Detroit

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DAILY 7 AM - 10 PM


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fish catching depth. I also like to run

a couple of spinners with crawlers at
the same time as the cranks. You can
do this very well when the trolling
speeds are slow and by running both
at the same time I can let the fish tell
me which they prefer that day. Remember you are not fishing that deep
early in the season, maybe 12-20 feet
so it is pretty easy to work your way


Rams & Goats $325 & Up

Lake Huron lake trout and walleye caught trolling stick baits along the shore during
spring fishing. Mike Veine photo

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Quality deer hunting also available 1 man per 40 acres!

through the water column and get the

right depth. Speed is critical and early
season for me means 1 to 1.2 on your
June and early July offers what I
feel is the best and fastest bites on the
outer bay. Fish scatter through-out the
area in all directions from the port of
Au Gres. This is spinner and crawler
time from me. I am an old school guy
so keeping it simple helps me stay on
the fish. I use two rules when fishing
the bay: The upper 10 feet and the
bottom five feet. I know at times there
are fish in between but I have had
such good luck with this pattern that I
just fish it all the time.
Heres my thoughts, the fish in
the bottom five feet I can mark and
see on my electronics. Running baits
five feet off the bottom means any fish
that are on or near the bottom can see
my baits. This is where my dead rods
in the rod holders with three ounce
bouncers are the bomb!
I often can catch a bunch of nice
fish through-out the day with these
two rods are they are brainless to set
and monitor. The upper 10 feet rods
are also easy to run, you just run out a

one ounce snapweight about 25 feet

and hook on the Offshore board and
you are good to go. I always run these
on the outside of a two board set as
they are the highest baits and should
be set furthest from the boat. The last
two rods are your play rods, I use
these two to experiment with leads
and colors to find those middle fish. I
dont worry about how much I catch
on them but somedays you get lucky
and do well with the search rods.
August and September are the big
fish/big water months. This is the
prime time for the Charity Islands
as well as the Tawas area deep water
fishery. I have a tip that may help you
during this period. I have really done
well early each day on the shallow
rock around the Charity Islands. This
bite is especially good under stable
weather. Big north winds really disrupt these fish and you must be willing to move around based on where
the wind pushes the schools of fish. I
stick with spinners and crawlers but
my speed may be as high as 1.5 or
more when the water is warm. I have
done very well in the area around
the steeples as well as gravely shoals
and behind the islands in shallow
water. When the fish are in shallow it

The Tawas area offers a year round sport fishery. From panfish to steelhead, opportunities are endless. Ice fishing in Tawas Bay is great
for Perch or Lake Trout from the point to the state harbor. In spring the thaw brings the steelhead spawners into the lower Au Sable River,
just a short distance to the north. From mid-March through April you can experience an adrenaline rush hooking up with a fresh run steelie.
Hot-shotting with plugs to floating spawn bags many chrome beauties can be had. Starting mid-May, the Tawas area offers a mixed bagged
fishery. From Lake Trout to Atlantic salmon, steelhead to walleye, the area offers a very diverse catches. In late summer the offshore catch
begins to focus on the fall salmon & steelhead run. This continues until mid to late September at which time we switch to river fishing for
both species again until the river freezes in January. One of the best kept secrets of the area is the fall whitefish run by the Tawas State
Dock. This traditionally takes place on or around November 15. The author, John Bergsma will be fishing this summer with Gene Kirvan from
Calypso sport fishing and will give you a full story after his trip.
doesnt take long to get a good catch.
Next time you are looking for
something different try the Sunrise
Side of Michigan and the towns of Au

Gres and Tawas for some of the best

fishing Michigan has to offer!
John Bergsma travels Michigan
and the Great Lakes fishing and film-

ing for his TV show. For great destination information, fishing reports or
to watch his show online check him
out at www.fishermansdigest.comn


with your host


Visit our website and find out about . . .

Destinations Fishing Reports
Our Show Cooks Corner




Lakes Cadillac & Mitchell


Lakes Mitchell and Cadillac are often viewed by

anglers as one and the same. Separated by a short
canal (and M-115), the two lakes shared a common
name historically - 2,580-acre Lake Mitchell was
originally called Big Clam Lake, while 1,150-acre
Lake Cadillac was called Little Clam Lake. To
some degree, theyre joined at the hip, said Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Mark
Tonello, who oversees the lakes. Theyre similar
in a lot of ways. There are some differences, too,
though the differences seem to have lessened over
the years.
The fish communities in both lakes have
changed over the last couple of decades, becoming more homogenized. They went from basically
walleye/pike-dominant lakes that had some bass in
them to now being viewed as bass lakes. Pike are
still prevalent but walleyes are a smaller part of the
fish community than they used to be and they no
longer reproduce. We have to supplement them with
stocking. Tonello indicated that similar changes
are taking place on Missaukee and Fife lakes where
largemouth bass are becoming the predominate
Tonello says what happened is a bit puzzling,
but there are a few theories. Largemouth bass have
always been the dominant bass species on Lake
Mitchell but in the last 20 years they have exploded, Tonello said. Twenty-five years ago, Lake
Cadillac was virtually all smallmouth bass. Now we
see largemouth have become more dominant -- 60
percent largemouth, 40 percent smallmouth.
Tonello said he suspects bass tournaments might
have played a part in the change as many tournaments go out of a Lake Cadillac site and largemouth
bass, often caught in Lake Mitchell, wind up getting
released into Lake Cadillac.
We also think it might be climate, Tonello
said. A warmer climate probably favors a species like largemouth over walleye and smallmouth
because a warmer climate favors more plant growth,
which will benefit a weed-loving species like largemouth bass.
There's some research coming out Minnesota
and Wisconsin thats showing the same phenomenon, where bass populations are exploding to the
detriment of walleye, he continued. They believe

largemouth bass have the ability to suppress walleye yearclasses, likely through preda-

the Advance area and around Whiting Park on the

main lake. In the North Arm, concentrate on Oyster
Bay, Two-Mile Point, the Depot Beach Area and
the mouth of the Pine River channel. Jiggin, slabbin and other techniques catch smallies in water in
excess of 35 feet at times.
Walloon Lake this one has been a bit of
a sleeper, but the past couple of years I have had
some great reports, claimed Hettinger. Most
anglers dont think of the deep, clear 4,320-acre
Charlevoix County lake as a prime location for
smallmouths, but they should. The smallmouth are
concentrated in the relatively small amount of shallow water found on the lake and most anglers are
concentrating on other species.
Hettinger rated both North and South Lakes
Leelanau as exceptional smallmouth waters.
Anglers should look for smallmouths in the 15 to
25-foot depths near the narrows between Brady and
Warden points on deeper 2,950-acre North Lake
Leelanau and anywhere your LCG indicates a ledge
or drop-off extending from shore. Spinnerbaits,
crankbaits and jigs all take their fare share of bass
that will sometimes scare the heck out of 6 pounds.
5,730-acre South Lake Leelanau probably has
the best smallmouth numbers of the two lakes.
Concentrate on the south-end weed beds and gravel
bars in Perrins and Weisler bays early in the season. Later in the summer, move out to 12 to 18 feet
of water and concentrate on the inclines, irregular
points and rocky substrate.
Smallmouths are fairly easy to find in Antrim
Countys 18,770-acre Torch Lake. Just look to the
shallow drop-offs. Most of Torch Lake is deep and
cold so bass tend to concentrate in the warmest
water found close to shore. Concentrate on southfacing shorelines in the spring and early summer
where you find points, break lines and drop-offs.
For more information on northwest Michigan
bass lakes contact the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources Traverse City Field Office at 231-922-5280.

A change in angler behavior - i.e. more catchand-release fishing - probably benefits the bass
population, too. Twenty-five or 30 years ago, more
people were keeping bass than they are today,
Tonello said. But if youre a tournament bass
angler, youll absolutely love Mitchell and Cadillac
because the bass fishing is terrific. Most boats in
most tournaments limit out. There are a lot of twoto four-pound bass in those lakes.
617-acre Fife Lake in Grand Traverse County
has been considered one of northwest Michigans
best lakes for walleye and smallmouth for years.
Surveys conducted there in 2013 seem to indicate
that largemouth bass are taking over there, too. Of
particular concern in the Fife Lake survey was the
absence of smaller fish. Another trend from the
2013 survey was that fewer fish were caught overall
than in 2001. This may have been due to colder
water temperatures in the 2013 survey, which was
conducted nearly a month earlier than the 2001
survey. Fewer panfish were caught in 2013, including only 83 bluegill compared to 547 in 2001. Also,
only a handful of bluegill younger than age five was
caught in 2013.
In contrast, the largemouth bass catch of
107 fish from the netting portion of the survey far
eclipsed the 2001 catch of only 18 largemouth bass.
It is possible that the increased largemouth bass
population has affected the abundance of bluegill in
Fife Lake, wrote Tonello. A similar trend has been
observed in Missaukee Countys 1,985-acre Lake
Missaukee and Mason Countys 5,000-acre Hamlin Lake. If youre a diehard bass fisherman, thats
good news. If you like to catch walleye and perch,
the trend is disheartening.

Green, Duck and Long Lakes

Whenever youre fishing, its always good to

have a back-up plan. If youre targeting smallmouth
bass in the Traverse City area, thats not too difficult. There are more than a dozen great smallmouth
waters in the Traverse City area and three- Green,
Duck and Long lakes- are close enough that you
can fish them all in a single day. You could walk
from Green to Duck lakes and Long Lake is just
across US-31. All are top-notch smallmouth lakes
that produce good numbers of bass and fish of 5
pounds or more. All the lakes are similar in that they
are crystal clear, right around 2,000 acres or so and
have great fish habitat in the form of islands, rocky
shoals, spits of gravel, sloping contours and deep
Green and Duck lakes feature two-story fisheries. Both lakes are planted annually with a potpourri
if trout species that thrive in their deep recesses.
Long Lake is more of a bass/walleye lake that has
good numbers of both. Drift with a minnow on a
jig or below a slip bobber and youre likely to catch
smallmouths and walleyes along with a few jumbo
Long Lake can be tough to fish though because
it has so much good structure. Bass can be widely

Fletcher Pond, Grand and Hubbard Lakes

The cold, clear lakes of Grand Traverse County are known for giving up trophy smallmouth like the one Joe Balog is admiring.
scattered and the lakes intense clarity make fish
there spooky and they tend to hold deeper than
normal. Look for smallies to be clustered in the
shallows early in the season where rocks and shallow water soak up the spring sunshine. The brown
bass remain shallow into July. Casting with tubes or
pumpkinseed-colored twister tails is a proven technique. The same technique works well on the bass
in Green and Duck lakes, too.

Lake Charlevoix, Lakes Leelanau,

Torch Lake and Walloon Lake

Farther to the north, Traverse City Field Office fisheries management biologist Heather Hettinger said its pretty hard to beat lakes Charlevoix,

Leelanau, Torch and Walloon when it comes to

smallmouth bass. The problem with my lakes with
largemouth is that they are small, and cant really
handle all that much pressure. And truthfully, even
my good largemouth lakes are pretty mediocre
compared to others in the state. These bigger systems are much better at sustaining good populations
of big smallies, even under pressure. My area of the
state rules for smallies! declared Hettinger.
17,260-acre Lake Charlevoix is a favorite of
Michigan resident and famous bass pro Kevin
VanDam for good reason. The lake is loaded with
3- to 5-pound smallmouths that produce great fishing all summer long and well into the fall. Prime
locations include Hemingway Point, Horton Bay,

Alpena Countys 9,000-acre Fletcher Pond is

an anomaly. Its a shallow, stump-filled largemouth
factory in an area that is famous for its deep, clear
cold lakes. Created in 1931, the backwater of the
Upper South Branch of the Thunder Bay River is
one of Michigans most steady producers of trophy
Fletchers largemouth population holds up
pretty well in spite of the fact that its so shallow,
suggested North Lake Huron Management Unit
Fisheries Supervisor Dave Borgeson. Flowing
water prevents winter kill and bass survive very
well in the reservoir. If youre a bass angler taking
a long, hard look at Fletcher Pond, it will have you
drooling. Its shallow, weedy, filled with stumps and
screams Largemouths! The entire lake is a great
place to chuck spinner baits, skim buzz baits or
dance weedless plastics.
The main river channel is a focus on Fletcher
Pond, especially on the east end, but bass can be
found anywhere in the weed mats and timber.
You wont find any water deeper than 8 feet and
the myriad of stumps keeps high-speed boating

in check. Polarized glasses are a necessity to spot

subtle structure that holds fish.
Grand and Hubbard lakes are gaining a reputation for being some of the top waters for smallmouths in the state. Hubbard is really good for
smallmouths, claimed Borgeson, and Grand Lake
has some really nice smallmouths in it and good
numbers. Youll find a lot of bass in the 14- 18-inch
range all the way up to 21 or 22 inches. The smallmouths there are under fished because most people
want walleyes.
8,850-Acre Hubbard Lakes smallmouths have
gained great popularity since the state record was
taken by Greg Gasicel last October; a 9 pound 5
ounce beast that was 24.5 inches in length. Known
bass hangouts include Doctors Point, along the
contours found off Hardwood Point and in the 10to 30-foot drop-offs found in South Bay.
Smallmouth numbers are booming on Presque
Isle Countys 5,660-acre Grand Lake. Target the
east side of the lake off Whiskey Point and in apply
named Black Bass Bay. Crankbaits in perch and
fire tiger colors take smallmouth that will push 5
pounds on occasion. With few spots deeper than 25
feet, the whole lake is a smallmouth factory.
For more information on bass lakes in northeast
Michigan contact the MDNR Gaylord Customer
Service Center at 989-732-3541.

Kent, Cass and Pontiac Lakes

There are a lot of great bass lakes in southeast

not named St. Clair. I would have to say that Kent
Lake is one of the best in southeast Michigan for
both largemouth and smallmouth, stated Lake Erie
Management Unit fisheries biologist Jeff Braunscheidel. Youll find good-sized examples of both
species. The lakes tend to get pretty weedy later in
the summer, so late spring and early summer is the
easiest time to fish it.
Access is good to 1,000-acre Kent Lake via
Kensington Metro Park. The lake is one of the
states busiest with regards to fishing pressure, but
there are numerous coves and bays where anglers
can find a spot all to themselves. The bays and
coves tend to get very weedy in the summer, so
theyre great places to pitch a jig, slither a frog or
call up a largemouth on a buzz bait. Kent Lake has
been known to produce bucketmouths in excess of
7 pounds. Smallmouths are more likely to be found
along the old river channel and amongst the riprap
along I-96.
Pontiac Lake is another lake in the area that is
good for numbers of largemouths, claimed Braunscheidel. Look at a map of 585-acre Pontiac Lake
and youll see that it has an abundance of weed
beds and stumps that provide perfect largemouth
bass habitat. An impoundment of the Huron River,
a steady flow of water and nutrients produces excellent numbers of bass and fish to 5 pounds on occasion. Shallow-water techniques excel on the lake,
although you can find depths to 30 feet on the lakes
east end. That is a good place to concentrate your
efforts during late summer.
For details on bass lake in southeast Michigan
contact the Lake Erie Management Unit of the
MDNR at 313-396-6890.n


By Mike Gnatkowski

f youre a bass
angler in Michigan there probably
hasnt been a better time to practice
your sport. Bass numbers are thriving;
opportunities abound and appear to
be getting even better. Many lakes are
undergoing changes that have benefitted
largemouth bass and their numbers have exploded
in many Michigan lakes plus the Michigan Natural Resources Commission now allows catch and
release bass fishing year round and an earlier opener
on Lake St. Clair.
Be it largemouths or smallmouths, there are
plenty of options for bass aficionados in the Great
Lakes State. Following is a list of waters youll
want to wet a line in this season.




Lakes Cadillac & Mitchell


Lakes Mitchell and Cadillac are often viewed by

anglers as one and the same. Separated by a short
canal (and M-115), the two lakes shared a common
name historically - 2,580-acre Lake Mitchell was
originally called Big Clam Lake, while 1,150-acre
Lake Cadillac was called Little Clam Lake. To
some degree, theyre joined at the hip, said Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Mark
Tonello, who oversees the lakes. Theyre similar
in a lot of ways. There are some differences, too,
though the differences seem to have lessened over
the years.
The fish communities in both lakes have
changed over the last couple of decades, becoming more homogenized. They went from basically
walleye/pike-dominant lakes that had some bass in
them to now being viewed as bass lakes. Pike are
still prevalent but walleyes are a smaller part of the
fish community than they used to be and they no
longer reproduce. We have to supplement them with
stocking. Tonello indicated that similar changes
are taking place on Missaukee and Fife lakes where
largemouth bass are becoming the predominate
Tonello says what happened is a bit puzzling,
but there are a few theories. Largemouth bass have
always been the dominant bass species on Lake
Mitchell but in the last 20 years they have exploded, Tonello said. Twenty-five years ago, Lake
Cadillac was virtually all smallmouth bass. Now we
see largemouth have become more dominant -- 60
percent largemouth, 40 percent smallmouth.
Tonello said he suspects bass tournaments might
have played a part in the change as many tournaments go out of a Lake Cadillac site and largemouth
bass, often caught in Lake Mitchell, wind up getting
released into Lake Cadillac.
We also think it might be climate, Tonello
said. A warmer climate probably favors a species like largemouth over walleye and smallmouth
because a warmer climate favors more plant growth,
which will benefit a weed-loving species like largemouth bass.
There's some research coming out Minnesota
and Wisconsin thats showing the same phenomenon, where bass populations are exploding to the
detriment of walleye, he continued. They believe

largemouth bass have the ability to suppress walleye yearclasses, likely through preda-

the Advance area and around Whiting Park on the

main lake. In the North Arm, concentrate on Oyster
Bay, Two-Mile Point, the Depot Beach Area and
the mouth of the Pine River channel. Jiggin, slabbin and other techniques catch smallies in water in
excess of 35 feet at times.
Walloon Lake this one has been a bit of
a sleeper, but the past couple of years I have had
some great reports, claimed Hettinger. Most
anglers dont think of the deep, clear 4,320-acre
Charlevoix County lake as a prime location for
smallmouths, but they should. The smallmouth are
concentrated in the relatively small amount of shallow water found on the lake and most anglers are
concentrating on other species.
Hettinger rated both North and South Lakes
Leelanau as exceptional smallmouth waters.
Anglers should look for smallmouths in the 15 to
25-foot depths near the narrows between Brady and
Warden points on deeper 2,950-acre North Lake
Leelanau and anywhere your LCG indicates a ledge
or drop-off extending from shore. Spinnerbaits,
crankbaits and jigs all take their fare share of bass
that will sometimes scare the heck out of 6 pounds.
5,730-acre South Lake Leelanau probably has
the best smallmouth numbers of the two lakes.
Concentrate on the south-end weed beds and gravel
bars in Perrins and Weisler bays early in the season. Later in the summer, move out to 12 to 18 feet
of water and concentrate on the inclines, irregular
points and rocky substrate.
Smallmouths are fairly easy to find in Antrim
Countys 18,770-acre Torch Lake. Just look to the
shallow drop-offs. Most of Torch Lake is deep and
cold so bass tend to concentrate in the warmest
water found close to shore. Concentrate on southfacing shorelines in the spring and early summer
where you find points, break lines and drop-offs.
For more information on northwest Michigan
bass lakes contact the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources Traverse City Field Office at 231-922-5280.

A change in angler behavior - i.e. more catchand-release fishing - probably benefits the bass
population, too. Twenty-five or 30 years ago, more
people were keeping bass than they are today,
Tonello said. But if youre a tournament bass
angler, youll absolutely love Mitchell and Cadillac
because the bass fishing is terrific. Most boats in
most tournaments limit out. There are a lot of twoto four-pound bass in those lakes.
617-acre Fife Lake in Grand Traverse County
has been considered one of northwest Michigans
best lakes for walleye and smallmouth for years.
Surveys conducted there in 2013 seem to indicate
that largemouth bass are taking over there, too. Of
particular concern in the Fife Lake survey was the
absence of smaller fish. Another trend from the
2013 survey was that fewer fish were caught overall
than in 2001. This may have been due to colder
water temperatures in the 2013 survey, which was
conducted nearly a month earlier than the 2001
survey. Fewer panfish were caught in 2013, including only 83 bluegill compared to 547 in 2001. Also,
only a handful of bluegill younger than age five was
caught in 2013.
In contrast, the largemouth bass catch of
107 fish from the netting portion of the survey far
eclipsed the 2001 catch of only 18 largemouth bass.
It is possible that the increased largemouth bass
population has affected the abundance of bluegill in
Fife Lake, wrote Tonello. A similar trend has been
observed in Missaukee Countys 1,985-acre Lake
Missaukee and Mason Countys 5,000-acre Hamlin Lake. If youre a diehard bass fisherman, thats
good news. If you like to catch walleye and perch,
the trend is disheartening.

Green, Duck and Long Lakes

Whenever youre fishing, its always good to

have a back-up plan. If youre targeting smallmouth
bass in the Traverse City area, thats not too difficult. There are more than a dozen great smallmouth
waters in the Traverse City area and three- Green,
Duck and Long lakes- are close enough that you
can fish them all in a single day. You could walk
from Green to Duck lakes and Long Lake is just
across US-31. All are top-notch smallmouth lakes
that produce good numbers of bass and fish of 5
pounds or more. All the lakes are similar in that they
are crystal clear, right around 2,000 acres or so and
have great fish habitat in the form of islands, rocky
shoals, spits of gravel, sloping contours and deep
Green and Duck lakes feature two-story fisheries. Both lakes are planted annually with a potpourri
if trout species that thrive in their deep recesses.
Long Lake is more of a bass/walleye lake that has
good numbers of both. Drift with a minnow on a
jig or below a slip bobber and youre likely to catch
smallmouths and walleyes along with a few jumbo
Long Lake can be tough to fish though because
it has so much good structure. Bass can be widely

Fletcher Pond, Grand and Hubbard Lakes

The cold, clear lakes of Grand Traverse County are known for giving up trophy smallmouth like the one Joe Balog is admiring.
scattered and the lakes intense clarity make fish
there spooky and they tend to hold deeper than
normal. Look for smallies to be clustered in the
shallows early in the season where rocks and shallow water soak up the spring sunshine. The brown
bass remain shallow into July. Casting with tubes or
pumpkinseed-colored twister tails is a proven technique. The same technique works well on the bass
in Green and Duck lakes, too.

Lake Charlevoix, Lakes Leelanau,

Torch Lake and Walloon Lake

Farther to the north, Traverse City Field Office fisheries management biologist Heather Hettinger said its pretty hard to beat lakes Charlevoix,

Leelanau, Torch and Walloon when it comes to

smallmouth bass. The problem with my lakes with
largemouth is that they are small, and cant really
handle all that much pressure. And truthfully, even
my good largemouth lakes are pretty mediocre
compared to others in the state. These bigger systems are much better at sustaining good populations
of big smallies, even under pressure. My area of the
state rules for smallies! declared Hettinger.
17,260-acre Lake Charlevoix is a favorite of
Michigan resident and famous bass pro Kevin
VanDam for good reason. The lake is loaded with
3- to 5-pound smallmouths that produce great fishing all summer long and well into the fall. Prime
locations include Hemingway Point, Horton Bay,

Alpena Countys 9,000-acre Fletcher Pond is

an anomaly. Its a shallow, stump-filled largemouth
factory in an area that is famous for its deep, clear
cold lakes. Created in 1931, the backwater of the
Upper South Branch of the Thunder Bay River is
one of Michigans most steady producers of trophy
Fletchers largemouth population holds up
pretty well in spite of the fact that its so shallow,
suggested North Lake Huron Management Unit
Fisheries Supervisor Dave Borgeson. Flowing
water prevents winter kill and bass survive very
well in the reservoir. If youre a bass angler taking
a long, hard look at Fletcher Pond, it will have you
drooling. Its shallow, weedy, filled with stumps and
screams Largemouths! The entire lake is a great
place to chuck spinner baits, skim buzz baits or
dance weedless plastics.
The main river channel is a focus on Fletcher
Pond, especially on the east end, but bass can be
found anywhere in the weed mats and timber.
You wont find any water deeper than 8 feet and
the myriad of stumps keeps high-speed boating

in check. Polarized glasses are a necessity to spot

subtle structure that holds fish.
Grand and Hubbard lakes are gaining a reputation for being some of the top waters for smallmouths in the state. Hubbard is really good for
smallmouths, claimed Borgeson, and Grand Lake
has some really nice smallmouths in it and good
numbers. Youll find a lot of bass in the 14- 18-inch
range all the way up to 21 or 22 inches. The smallmouths there are under fished because most people
want walleyes.
8,850-Acre Hubbard Lakes smallmouths have
gained great popularity since the state record was
taken by Greg Gasicel last October; a 9 pound 5
ounce beast that was 24.5 inches in length. Known
bass hangouts include Doctors Point, along the
contours found off Hardwood Point and in the 10to 30-foot drop-offs found in South Bay.
Smallmouth numbers are booming on Presque
Isle Countys 5,660-acre Grand Lake. Target the
east side of the lake off Whiskey Point and in apply
named Black Bass Bay. Crankbaits in perch and
fire tiger colors take smallmouth that will push 5
pounds on occasion. With few spots deeper than 25
feet, the whole lake is a smallmouth factory.
For more information on bass lakes in northeast
Michigan contact the MDNR Gaylord Customer
Service Center at 989-732-3541.

Kent, Cass and Pontiac Lakes

There are a lot of great bass lakes in southeast

not named St. Clair. I would have to say that Kent
Lake is one of the best in southeast Michigan for
both largemouth and smallmouth, stated Lake Erie
Management Unit fisheries biologist Jeff Braunscheidel. Youll find good-sized examples of both
species. The lakes tend to get pretty weedy later in
the summer, so late spring and early summer is the
easiest time to fish it.
Access is good to 1,000-acre Kent Lake via
Kensington Metro Park. The lake is one of the
states busiest with regards to fishing pressure, but
there are numerous coves and bays where anglers
can find a spot all to themselves. The bays and
coves tend to get very weedy in the summer, so
theyre great places to pitch a jig, slither a frog or
call up a largemouth on a buzz bait. Kent Lake has
been known to produce bucketmouths in excess of
7 pounds. Smallmouths are more likely to be found
along the old river channel and amongst the riprap
along I-96.
Pontiac Lake is another lake in the area that is
good for numbers of largemouths, claimed Braunscheidel. Look at a map of 585-acre Pontiac Lake
and youll see that it has an abundance of weed
beds and stumps that provide perfect largemouth
bass habitat. An impoundment of the Huron River,
a steady flow of water and nutrients produces excellent numbers of bass and fish to 5 pounds on occasion. Shallow-water techniques excel on the lake,
although you can find depths to 30 feet on the lakes
east end. That is a good place to concentrate your
efforts during late summer.
For details on bass lake in southeast Michigan
contact the Lake Erie Management Unit of the
MDNR at 313-396-6890.n


By Mike Gnatkowski

f youre a bass
angler in Michigan there probably
hasnt been a better time to practice
your sport. Bass numbers are thriving;
opportunities abound and appear to
be getting even better. Many lakes are
undergoing changes that have benefitted
largemouth bass and their numbers have exploded
in many Michigan lakes plus the Michigan Natural Resources Commission now allows catch and
release bass fishing year round and an earlier opener
on Lake St. Clair.
Be it largemouths or smallmouths, there are
plenty of options for bass aficionados in the Great
Lakes State. Following is a list of waters youll
want to wet a line in this season.


Early Bassing...By Buck Mallory

Throwing lipless
rattlers in April



efore we get going with this

column, please note: I am
not in any way sponsored by
Strike King. So, although this
months article is all about
fishing that companys Red
Eye Shad lipless rattler, its only because thats the no-lip crankbait Ive
always thrown and honestly havent
spent much time throwing other
That said, I want to add that the
Red Eye Shad does something that not
all other lipless rattle baits do. No, its
not the color schemes or the particular
kind of rattle it makes. Its different
from a lot of the others in the way
that it falls, and thats what needs to
be emphasized in this column about
throwing lipless rattlers in the cold
water of April.
Heres why the fall is important: Lures that fall like a stunned
baitfish, wiggling, shimmering, and
shaking, naturally get eaten because
thats what bass do. They eat injured
baitfish. Nothing against the original
Rat-L-Traps and the many knockoffs that have flat sides and a flat
bottomtheyre fish-catchers, too.
But they just dont have that same
fall when you kill the retrieve. They
kind of spiral downward, which still
gets bitessometimes more than a
Red Eye Shad does, But, overall, the
quivering manner that a Red Eye Shad
falls is so enticing that I wouldnt be
surprised to see an alley cat jump into
the water after one.
Im not saying the Red Eye Shad
is unique in this. Im certain that other
lipless rattlers have a similar fall. In
fact, some friends of mine swear by
the Rapala Rippin Rap for the way
it seductively sinks. I personally just
havent experimented with other
But back to why the fall is important, especially in cold water, which
is when these lures can shine the
brightest, and why its a good topic
for April.
Many anglers think of a lipless
rattler as a chunk-and-wind kind of
no-brainer bait. You take a long cast
and just retrieve it back at a steady
pace. That approach catches fish, for
sure, which is why most guys and
gals have at least a few lipless lures
in their tackle arsenals. Wind a tightly
wiggling, rattling lure that looks like
a baitfish into a basss strike zone
and a lot of times that fish will eat
it, even in cold water. The thing is,

though, in cold water a basss strike

zone is smallermost times they just
dont have the spunk to go chase a
lure thats very far away, especially
one that is just cruising along at a
consistent speed, making no evasive
But take that same lure, make that
same long cast and greatly vary your
retrieve, and Im convinced that you
can bring some bass over closer to
check out whats going on.
So try this: Take your long cast
around some green weeds in cold
water and really fish that lure. Start
by letting it sink close to where you
think bottom is and start reeling just
fast enough that you can feel the lure
vibrating and not sinking any farther.
Now make three fast reel-handle
cranks, fast as you can. Stop reeling
altogether for a second. Start slowrolling again, like you would while
keeping a spinnerbait right along the
bottom. Give the lure a few twitches.
Stop. Twitch twitch. Now point your
rod directly away to the left so the
lure changes direction; now swing
your rod all the way to the right so it
changes direction again. Get creative.
Next cast you feel the lure run into a
big weed stalk. Let it stay fouled on
the weed and just shake the lure. Now
rip it free.
A strike can come at any moment,
so hopefully you were paying attention to exactly what that lure was
doing when the fish bit. Try the same
sequence in your next few casts and
see if another bass will strike when
the lure makes the same action.
The best bass anglers I know
always monitor what theyre doing
closely, and thats real key any time
of year. In the spring, might as well
crank up your focus as the season
starts so it becomes second nature
throughout the rest of the year.
Whatever retrieve you end up using to get strikes, odds are good that
a lot of the hits will come as the lure
falls, and thats worth talking about a
little bit more.
For whatever reason, bass just
cant ignore something bite-size and
that looks like food when it falls
through the water column. Possibly,
the gamefish see a lot of baitfish dive
towards cover to escape getting eaten,
and your lure heading towards the
bottom pushes the basss strike buttonits now or never if he doesnt
want that meal to get away. I think
thats especially true with fast-falling

This bass ate a lipless crank bait on Michigans Austin Lake near Kalamazoo last April.
lure like a Red Eye Shad, especially
around weeds that offer some potential for a baitfishs escape.
Exactly how you let that Red Eye
fall is important, too. You really want
it to fall vertically, and that means on
a slack line. If you keep contact with
the lure so that you actually can feel
it as you let it fall, youll be letting
the lure glide toward you and not fall
straight towards the bottom. This usually is not as effective as letting there
fall straight down. Sure, bass being
bass, that glide might get more strikes
than a slack line fall. But usually,
letting the lure fall on a slack line is a
bazillion times more effective.
In April, in many of our Michigan
lakes, bass are coming up and feeding
as well as starting to check out spawning areas. Perfect places to find bass
are large flats with deep-water access
nearby and pods of weeds up on top.
Because lipless rattlers are heavy and
compact, you can cast them like a
bullet and a long wayanother reason
that they are a good tool now. You can
use them to cover a lot of water.
Red Eye Shads come in 1/4-, 1/2
and 3/4-ounce sizes and I generally
only throw the bigger two sizes in
spring. Much of the forage a bass eats
has survived a whole year and its bigger, so the bigger lures better match
the hatch on most waters. The other
reason, and you might have guessed
this, is the bigger baits fly farther
when I wind up and let the bait caster
rip, and I want to cover a lot of water
on each cast.
A 7-foot, 6-inch bait casting rod
maximizes long casts, and I like one
with an even, parabolic bend. I feel

like a flexible rod helps keep fish

hooked when they jump and try and
shake the lure out of their mouths.
These dense, heavy lures are pretty
easy for a bass to throw, so the parabolic bend keeps just the right amount
of pressure on the fish.
The baitcast reel I use has a 6.3:1
retrieve ratio which is about medium speed. I dont want a super-fast
retrieve because I usually dont want
to burn the lure back too fast. Another
key is 12-pound test, non-stretchy
fluorocarbon line. Because it has less
stretch than monofilament, I can feel
the lure working as soon as I start
reeling, even if its a good ways away.
Also, the low stretch of the line helps
get the hooks home when the fish
bitesI get a good hookset.
As for colors, the more natural the
better in spring, at least in our area.
Guys in Texas use those Rayburn Red
Crayfish colors and certainly catch
fish. In fact the orange belly crawfish is effective even in clear water
in spring. But overall, I like colors
that bass are more likely to see. Sexy
Shad, Silver Sexy Shad, and naturallooking bluegill and sunfish patterns
are all good. One of my very best is
Lavender Sexy Shad, which really has
similar colors to Michigan bluegills.
So this spring, spend some time
tossing a lipless rattler as soon as
the water hits about 45 degrees. And
instead of simply chunking and winding, get creative on the retrieve and
pay special attention when you let the
lure fall. Lots of times, youll start
reeling again and feel a nice-size bass
pulling back.n


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From ice-out in March
through April, Lake Erie
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All through spring and

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Catch limits there are very
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Saginaw Bay


Black Powder Shooting Sports...By Dennis Neely

Vignettes of life from yesteryear


robin twittered in the hardwoods. Three

unarmed colonial woodsmen walked
abreast on the sandy wagon trail. Each
wore a sleeveless waist coat; one was
dark-blue wool, one natural linen, and the
last, in great need of repair. The younger
man, tall, lanky and without his hair braided or tied
back, sported a gray-checked trade shirt that had not
yet seen a vigorous hunt. That trio slipped over the
rise in silence.
To the east, the brown-robed Father Thomas
Fern hobbled around the bend. Hunched forward,
aided with a slender shepherds staff, the humble
missionary shared a story, then a laugh with James
Fairchild, the tentmaker from the Illinois country.
As the two journeyed closer, the large, silver Celtic
cross that hung about the good fathers neck shone
in the mid-morning sunlight.
Attired in leather riding boots, linen knee
breeches, a block-printed shirt and an elegant waist
coat, the merchant smiled and tipped his tricorn hat
as a gray-bearded frontier gentleman approached
the fork in the road from the south. Come, join
us? Fairchild asked, motioning the fellow traveler
closer with an inviting gesture of his right hand.
A short distance over the rise, 18th-century
flags lined the east edge of the curving, rutted path.
Neat rows of weathered canvas dwellings filled the
clearing and spilled on into the forest. White smoke
hung in the green-leafed canopy. A blacksmiths
hammer rang an anvil twice, then thudded four
times as it struck and shaped a red-hot bar.
A few tents beyond the flags, a villager brought
a brass-mounted flintlock pistol to the gunsmith
who worked at a modest bench under an open-sided
canvas fly. Can you adjust the trigger, sir? the
guns owner asked. Two camps beyond, a woman


Blanket traders, like Mark and Joanne Dickinson (far left), spread a wool blanket or canvas tarp on the ground to
display the trade goods they had for sale. Wild Rivertree photos
in a white mop cap, blue petticoat and berry-stained
apron dickered with a trader for a new broom.
Across the way, a gray-haired woman outfitted in Indian dress shook out a red trade blanket

The smell of wood smoke perfumed the forest. Some participants camped in the shade of the hardwoods while others chose to dwell along the village streets.

while her French-trader husband poked a campfires

coals to life. She spoke kindly to the gentleman
who walked by with a kettle of fresh water suspended from each hand. He smiled and nodded back.
Morning, he said in a cheery tone.
The last week of June in 2014, living historians from all over the United States gathered for
the 33rd Annual Midwest Rendezvous, held on the
home grounds of the Grand Valley Cap n Ballers
located at 3576 26th Street (at 136th Avenue) in
Hopkins, Michigan.
In the early years of the Rocky Mountain fur
trade, hunters and trappers hauled their peltry to
the trading center at St. Louis, Missouri. In 1825
several fur companies transported their trade goods
into the mountains by mule train and set up a festive trade fair called a rendezvous. The last great
mountain man rendezvous was held at the Green
River, near present-day Pinedale, Wyoming, in
1840. The location is a National Historic Landmark.
The 1930s saw a revival of interest in the
muzzleloading arms of our forefathers. That revival
sparked an enthusiastic thirst for knowledge about
the life and times of the men and women who
relied on those old shooting irons. Over time, twoor three-person primitive camps grew into local,
black-powder club outings. Then the idea of hosting a series of regional primitive camping events,
modeled after the fabled Rocky Mountain fur trade
rendezvous, became a reality.
Today, The Midwest, as it is known, is one of
a half-dozen major primitive camping events held
across the country each year. Midwest Rendezvous,
Inc. (
is a nonprofit organization that focuses their attention on educating people about North Americas

Marcie and Russ Anderson returned to their teepee

after a pleasant morning spent at the shooting range.
To maintain the historical integrity of the camp,
dog soldiers patrol the streets, offering a polite
reminder when a modern transgression detracts
from the intended authentic impression. The dog
soldiers also carry two-way radios hidden in a
haversack or pouch to ensure a quick response and
proper communication when an emergency arises
outlined the basic camping rules, listed the weeks
educational seminars, planned activities and important camp events. The handbook spelled out the

David Connolly (left) and Butch Beltz (right) play a friendly game of cards in the early afternoon shade. The atmosphere at any rendezvous is always laid-back and relaxed, Beltz said.
rules for the shooting matches, knife and tomahawk
throwing contests and traditional archery competitions, along with a schedule of times and locations
for each event.
The Midwest booklet also included a map of
the entire rendezvous grounds, complete with a
grid of streets named after forest animals and
birds. Rather than separate the vendors on a designated traders row, the merchants were mixed
among the common camps.
Vendors sold trade silver, imported Venetian
glass beads, hand-sewn clothing, gun parts, rolls
of leather, forged knives and axes, brass, tin and
copper kettles, canvas goods, homemade soap,
beeswax candles and a host of other backwoods
At the northeast corner of the canvas village, a
large walled tent housed a primitive kitchen with
three smiling cooks. On the patron side of a modest counter, rows of burgundy painted tables and
trestle-style benches formed a dining hall by day
and a candle lit tavern by night.
Skilled artisans plied their trade for all to see.
A lady spun wool into yarn; another finger-wove a
sash. A mother hemmed a daughters new petticoat;
a friend chatted as she made cordage with a lucet.
Children giggled and laughed as they played. A
woodsman cast lead balls beside the fire, and sitting
across from him, a militia-man swabbed the bore of
his Virginia fowler.
At the end of Bighorn Street a gentleman
scraped a cows horn smooth as he made a powder
horn. The candle maker dipped; the blacksmith
hammered; and the gunsmith carved. A stroll
through The Midwest, or any rendezvous, presents
visitors and attendees with a timeline of Americas
rich frontier heritage through a series of vignettes
of life from yesteryear.
The people at The Midwest didnt want a
rendezvous in a wooded area, because you cant lay
out the streets for the camps, Dennis Priddy later
said. But they came up to Michigan to look at
our site. Wed had a lot of rain. Roads were closed
flooded, but our clubs ground was dry. The soils
sandy here. They said We can make this work.
Volunteers from the club spent six months
preparing the site, clearing trees, trimming under-

brush, removing stumps and cutting firewood. Club

members planned with the local first responders
and tried to anticipate every need that might arise.
Being the first time hosting a major rendezvous, Priddy continued, it was difficult to know
what to do. Weve put on our Frontier Shoot for
so many years that everyone knows what has to be
done and it gets done in a hurry. But the rendezvous was different.
The Midwest folks were thrilled. We had over
100 camps on about 30 acres, the most theyve ever
had. They liked it so much The Midwest is coming
back to Grand Valley in June of 2017. The folks at
the Old Northwest took note, too, and we are hosting them June 24th to July 1st, 2016. Theyre hoping the Michigan site will bring in 120 campsites,
and well be ready.
For more information about the 2016 Old
Northwest Rendezvous, contact the NRLHF at
717-312-3016 or Hank Filter of the Grand Valley
Cap n Ballers at 517-852-9252.
Give the black powder shooting sports a try, be
safe and may God bless you.n

Muzzle Loading State Events

April 2 - April Fool Shoot: Benzie Sportsman Club 231-378-2145
April 2-3 - Steak & Dollar Shoot (Rifle & Trap)
Grand Valley Cap n BallersTM: 269-792-4384 or 616-836-5760
April 9 - Spring Blanket Shoot: White River Muzzle Loaders:
Rothbury: 616-218-7037
April 10 - Woods Walk: Washtenaw Sportsman Club: 734-484-1243
April 10 - Woods Walk: Clinton River Muzzle Loaders:
Detroit Sportsman Congress: 586-731-6088
Apr 16Sporting Clays (Modern Shotgun)
Grand Valley Cap n BallersTM: 616-836-5760
April 17 - Bridgeport Fun Shoot: Bridgeport: 989-746-0723
April 29-May 1 - Spring Shoot: Grand Valley Cap n BallersTM
616-681-0164 or 616-836-5760
April 12 Aug 30Summer Aggregate: Benzie Sportsman Club:


historical progression from 1640 to 1840. Another

nonprofit, the National Rendezvous and Living
History Foundation (, oversees the Corps of Discovery, Old Northwest, Northeastern, Eastern and Southeastern rendezvous.
In the modern sense, the term rendezvous
takes on a broader meaning and can include any
history-based primitive camping event set within
the 1640 to 1840 timeframe. A strong emphasis is
placed on family-oriented fun, camaraderie and fellowship throughout the week-long encampment.
Participants wear authentic clothing from their
chosen time period, camp in a canvas tent, teepee
or other shelter called a lodge, cook over an open
fire and live in a manner consistent with that bygone era. Throughout the day, the aroma of sizzling
bacon, fresh-baked apple pies, corn-bread muffins
or hearty venison stew waft on a gentle breeze and
tease the palate, sometimes triggering involuntary
Non-period necessities, such as an ice chest
containing fresh meat, milk, medications or other
perishables, must be kept out of sight under a trade
blanket, canvas cover or within a rustic wooden
box designed for that purpose. Beverages packaged
in aluminum cans or plastic bottles are transferred
into period-correct drinking cups made of wood,
tin, copper or pottery.


Get your boat

rigged and ready

By Mark Sak

opefully boaters
in Michigan will
be able to get on
the water soon. It is always a
longer winter when we have
a nice boat in the garage
and we start to see pictures on social
media of folks taking to the water in
other places. Our waters in Michigan
are nothing to toy with though. It
can be a very dangerous place. We
have all seen our share of boats being
towed back to launches and I have
towed a few in myself. Even the newest boats can have mechanical issues
so it is important steps are taken to
minimize these issues from happening. Now is the time to be preparing
or working the bugs out. Here are a
few tips I have learned over the years
to minimize these issues and decrease
potential critical situations on the
Review all of the systems on your
boat. The batteries are an essential
focus during the preseason, especially
the cranking battery. All batteries
get weak as they age. It is advisable
they be tested under load. Cranking
over a 200 horsepower outboard puts
a whole lot of load on a battery. Just
seeing the green light on the battery
charger isnt enough. Most auto parts
stores can do this for free. Obviously
another way to test this out is launching on a smaller body of water and firing the engine up. I always back mine
in and start it while its on the trailer.
Does the volt gauge return to 12 to 14
volts if it starts?
If the volt gauge hangs around 6 to
8 volts the system either has a heavy
draw pulling on that battery or the battery is not being charged. This could
be a bad battery or a bad alternator. I

actually have two batteries in my battery box.

One for engine start and
one for accessories like bilge pumps
and live wells. If Im 20 miles offshore on Lake Erie and a battery fails
I can easily switch over to the other
battery to get under way again. This
is a significant safety feature that can
save a life, especially if this happens
while waves are building.
The next most important detail
is to check the state of the bilge
pump. These little pumps are incredibly important. Taking a wave over
the bow or over the transom can and
often leads to disaster, 800 pounds of
water in a boat can cause havoc and
prevents the boat from being able to
swiftly navigate waves. Again I go a
lot further with my bilge pumps. I run
two in the bilge area, one automatic
bilge that will kick on anytime there
is two inches of water in the bilge
area, and one switched bilge that I
can control from the dash. Here is the
kicker for safety on bilge pumps. I
have one more bilge in my front storage compartment that has six-feet of
wire and four-foot of hose attached. It
allows me to use this in an emergency
just in case I need an extra pump to
get water out quick. I can move and
connect it to any battery on the boat.
I have used it on several occasions to
help other boaters bail the water out of
their boats. Can you imagine the look
on their face when I pull up and hand
this pump to them as they were slowly
sinking. I hope I never need to use it
on my rig but it stands ready. It is the
best safety advice I can offer.
Another very important this to
check is the state of the ancillary
pumps in the boat. Live wells all have

The author, Mark Sak had his boat rigged and ready to get on the early spring walleye.
pups that usually draw water from
the bottom of the transom to fill the
boats live wells with water. If any
water was trapped in these pumps for
any reason the cold weather can easily
crack the plastic pump or pvc line running to the outside of the boat. This
would have no different outcome than
having a hole in your boat and water
will most likely fill the bilge area very
quickly. Live well drains also fall into
this category as they drain water back
into the lake. A broken drain can fill a
boat up with water in 10-15 minutes.
Last but not least it is important to

check the hull itself for crack, leaks

or separation. Aluminum boats may
have riveted of welded seams, while
fiberglass can crack or chip. All can
cause an instant issue when that big
four foot wave comes out of nowhere
and hits the hull with mighty force.
Most hull issues are fixable, but I
encourage all boaters to do it correctly
with a good fiberglass shop or boat
I hope you have a safe and productive boating season this year. Ill
see you on the water, hopefully under




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ts funny that I can get up

before the actual alarm clock
goes off if Im going fishing,
but getting up for work is
always a problem.
Its a three-hour drive
from the city to the western
side of the state to one of my
favorite steelhead rivers. Im on my
way thinking about if I packed all
the gear for the weekend. Then it
happens, I start dreaming of steelhead that comes to the perfect cast.
The smell of the woods. The sound
of the water as it rolls over the
rocks. The light shimmering on the
riffles before the pools. Knowing
that the fish that I have been dreaming about for years is right there
waiting for my fly.
The next thing I realize, Im at
the river. My heart is starting to race,
and I cant move fast enough. I pull
my waders on, put my rod together,
put my vest on, and Im off to the
trailhead. Looking down at the
water, my heart is racing faster and
Suddenly, the stress is gone. Im
in the place where I can feel free. I
start to listen to the water, the forest
as the leaves awaken for the year.
Now Im at my favorite hole, stripping line from the reel for the first
time. My first cast looks like its my
worst, so I strip the line back to the
reel, take a deep breath, and start a
new cast. Its perfect, the drift could
not be better.
As the fly swings down the river
the line stops, just for a second, and
I gently strip as I raise my rod tip.
Its there. Nothing in the world is
going to come between me and this
fish. The reel starts to scream as the
line comes off. The fish runs down
the river and back again. I fight
the fish for more than 10-minutes,
knowing that this is the biggest one
in my life. Then just like that, the
leader breaks.
Im not mad, its not only about
the catch, its the time on the river
that heals me. The serenade of the
water is likely the best therapy for
the weathered soul of the fly fisherman.
Thats my day. Im glad for it.n

Author photo


Jay Stielstra Captures The Universal Elements...

A Michigan treasure

ay Stielstra is well known

around the Ann Arbor area for
his contribution to sports. Hes
also known for his talent as
a songwriter and a musician
singing songs about Michigan
and many of its popular places. Stielstra taught high school history for 20
years at Ann Arbor Pioneer and eventually was inducted into the Michigan
High School Football Hall of Fame.
Hes comfortable around a campfire, strumming a guitar, on opening day of deer or trout camp or out
stomping the woods looking for morel
mushrooms. During a long, successful
career as both an athlete and coach,
Stielstra, now 82, is an avid hunter and
fisherman, especially fly-fishing.
A graduate of the University of
Michigan he was recruited by the late
Don Canham, University of Michigans track and field coach. Stielstra lettered four years at Michigan,
starting in 1952 when the Wolverines
were strong during those years. In the
outdoor season, Michigan was second,
second, second and first, also in 1955
when Stielstra won the long jump.
My best long jump in college was
slightly over 25 feet, good enough to
win the Big Ten championship, says
Stielstra. The man who awarded my
medal was Jesse Owens. I still have the
medal, the only one Ive kept.
Because music was a part of the
household, Stielstra began learning to
play the guitar.
After I finished up coaching, I
started to play a little guitar and write

He composed the North Country

Opera and three other folk operas and
has written several plays and poems.
Basically, Im a song writer and
Ive produced a number of musical
plays around Ann Arbor. To call me a
musician, I dont know about that. Im
a bit of a singer and song writer, he
Listen to Stielstras
music-mostly written about
Michigan-and you hear family names like the Manistee
River, Deward and Sharon,
the Mackinaw Bridge, Midland, Clare the U.P. the Fox
and Tittabawassee Rivers
and other places known by
Michiganders and the travelling public. He has
written 150 songs,
about Michigan and
his experiences fishing and hunting.
Along with Judy Banker, David
Roof and Emily Slomovits, Stielstra
performs some of his songs
throughout Michigan about one
a month.
His natural ability to tell accurate
stories about places you and I have
visited and do it in a modest almost
shy way, adds to his popularity. A
construction accident almost cancelled
his guitar playing days. I left teaching
to become a carpenter, Stielstra said.
I had to learn how to play the guitar
all over after I had an accident with
a saw, he said indicating part of his
index finger missing a digit.
Like most of us along the journey
through life, Stielstra has had a combi-

nation of experiences.
I used to hunt birds. Back in the
old days there were a lot of pheasants
but now they are mostly gone, he
said. In the late 60s we moved to the
country for the first time. We got a lab
and are now on our fifth one.
Stielstra began his guitar playing
by singing nursery rhymes to
his daughter Julie, who was
five at the time. That first
time I played the Ark in Ann
Arbor I played a song I made
up in the early 70s, he said.
Stielstra is one of those
rare individuals you meet
once in a lifetime that has
hardly any ego, are comfortable with whom they are and
a joy to be around.
They willingly share
their talent but are
reluctant to talk about their popularity
or accomplishments letting their music
speak for them. The newest song
Stielstra has written is about the UPs
Cutriver Bridge that crosses Highway
Its beautiful around there in the
fall and was very moving for me to be
near it, Stielstra said.
Another Stielstra favorite is the
Manistee Waltz. Those that have flyfished this river will recognize familiar
names and places; Deward, Sharon,
Yellow Trees and others:

By Roger Beukema

Will the whippoorwill

call by the river tonight,
And the big trout rise for the fly,

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Will Old Friends gather

in the campfire light,
As we have in years gone by,
The Manistee River
runs through Deward,
And the Manistee runs through Sharon,
She flows I know,
when were thinking out loud,
And she flows when nobodys caring.

It speaks to a time in trout camp

when one of the regular group has
passed on. It also mentions the beer
being cold at the Mecum Bar. You
wont find the Mecum Bar, Stielstra
said with a chuckle. Its the name of
a road that runs near the river. Several
of us used to hide beer underneath a
certain tree on Mecum Road. When
you finished fishing, you could usually find a cold beer or two there. I
have enjoyed a beer or two and left
several too.
Why write just about exclusively
about Michigan? I love northern
Michigan and spend a lot of time
there, he said. We have a cabin
up north and spend time around
Seney because I like to fish the Fox
Banker says, Jay stands out as a
person. His house, the way he spends
his time and the way he lives his life
are complexly integrated. Jay lives his
work. I think his lifestyle is a work of
On Friday, April 16 Jay Stielstra
and his group perform songs about
Michigan during a concert-sponsored
buy Live! From the Living Room at
Unity Church, Baldwin Road in Lake
Orion. Admission to the concert is
$10. The concert begins at 8p.m. Visit for
updates. Stielstra has recorded three
CDs that are available at the concert
or from
Often described as a Michigan
treasure, Stielstra has been writing
and performing his original songs
throughout the Midwest for several
decades. The author of a number of
musical plays -- North Country Opera,
Tittabawassee Jane, America America
and The Prodigals -- Jay is an awardwinning actor and gifted playwright.
His songs tell stories about the
outdoors, life experiences with some
lighthearted situations weve all experienced.
With clarity, wry observation,
humor and honesty Jay captures
the universal elements of friendship,
love, loss, war and the wonder of
fly-fishing in the still of the north
Email Roger Beukema at

Michigan Meanders: When I Was A Kid Growing Up In Southern Michigan...

The streams of spring

half-drowned log, or a slithering blue
racer fresh out from its volcano-like
winter lair.
In March we gathered pussy willows to take home to our mothers,
along with Dutchmans breeches in
April and cowslips in May. I can still
see the painted turtles sunning themselves, hear the din of spring peepers,
and smell the skunk cabbage wafting
from wet spots along the
What is it about moving water that mesmerizes
so? Maybe its the way a
bank-full flow scours away
the waste of winter. Or the
simple fact that water only
passes this way once. I remember whittling my initials
into a shiny stick, the
bark gnawed away by
a beaver I never saw.
Finally bored, I tossed the stick into
the creek and then found it, weeks
later and a mile downstream, pinned
into a log jam.
I set it free to wander once more,
in the same way that kids still do
when turned loose outdoors, their
hand-held electronics put up for the
day by Mom or Dad.
Butternut Creek was the right
place for the years first skinny dip, an
annual rite of baptism practiced much
too early in the year for our parents to
discover. Nor did the adults know of
other things we did, including pranks
like the time Ernie was trying to
cross the creek on a shaky log when a

By Tom Huggler

New for 2016!

perfectly-timed cherry bomb went off

beneath, spilling him into the drink. I,
for one know Ernies dad would not
have appreciated the torrent of cursing
that followed.
Someone always brought along
a gun, as I recall, and we took turns
plinking at wood chips tossed into the
stream with air rifles andas we grew
older and more skilled with .22 caliber
riflesfiring at matchsticks from atop
the trestles as the tiny targets bobbed
along far below.
Of course, there were other youthful streams we frequented, especially
in early spring before the mosquitoes
arrived. For example, Kearsley Creek,
a larger Flint River tributary, was the
best place to spear suckers. Although
nearly 60 years have passed, I can still
hear the lantern hiss and see our shadows beyond its yellow glow as we
probed slowly upstream, spears poised
like Amazonian natives hunting for
supper. Farther downstream where
the creek chuckled along through a
golf course was a terrific place to hunt
for night crawlers (and lost golf balls),
another after-hours sport we practiced
on warm summer nights.
And there was Johnson Creek, a
small freshet much closer to home
where wild spearmint grew and where
leopard frogs, so highly prized, lived.
The big attraction of Johnson Creek,
though, was the big herd of Angus
cattle that roamed its banks. To us
they were buffalo and we hunted
them with air rifles and stolen flour

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You could say such daydreaming
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just when spring will arrive. Of this I
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othing dashes the hope of

spring more than a foot of
snow in late winter. The
storm that blew itself out
before dawn this morning
has left behind a world of
white that was golf- course green
just the other day. Cardinals scratching through the meringue whips for
sunflowers under the bird feeder look
like spattered blood. Shoots
of tulips and daffodils that
dared inch above the earth in
our flower garden lie buried
again under a new grave
The groundhog saw his
shadow a whole month ago
today. But if we want spring
to arrive before it is
ready, we must turn
away from the window
and look inward. The
imagination is where seasons change
the fastest.
Creeks, rivers and streams were
always the true harbingers of spring
when I was a kid growing up in
southern Michigan, and none was
more important than Butternut Creek.
Rising near Otter Lake in Lapeer
County, Butternut Creek flowed west
and south into the Flint River in
Genesee County a mile or so upstream
from the village of Genesee where
I lived. Looking back, it seems as
though my friends and I spent half of
our young lives exploring the twisting
waterway that averaged a dozen feet
wide and a foot or so deep. Along the
way, we caught creek chubs, shiners
and horned dace; northern pike from
the gravel pit above Mt. Morris Road
(where the Genesee County Parks &
Recreation Commission manages The
Mounds ATV area today); and white
and redhorse suckers from the fishing
hole where the creek sluiced the river.
Along the creek we speared frogs
in summer, hunted rabbits and pheasants in fall, and trapped muskrats
and raccoons in winter. During many
a cold and dark January morning,
we hauled our sheet blind and crow
decoys on a toboggan along the old
railroad tracks, crossing the trestle that
spanned Butternut Creek, on our way
to the old hog farm (now the Genesee
County Fairgrounds) where the City
of Flint dumped its garbage. Hundreds
of crows converged there from all
compass points, and we shot our share
of them.
Always a place of high adventure, Butternut Creek seemed to take
on magical proportions in spring.
Although every pretzel bend was as
familiar as my bedroom, we boys
never knew what lay around the next
turn. It might be a blue heron stalking
minnows, a mink bounding along a


Over 50,000 Raptors Migrated in the Straits of Mackinac Region Last Spring...By Betty Sodders

First Annual Raptor Watch Festival April 1 - 2

Nov. 16, 2015: I did finally end up
catching that noisy saw-whet owl
from two nights ago. It was the last
capture of the night making our total
on Wednesday a whopping two birds.
Still pretty exciting with that longeared owl that came in. Last night
started off looking really promising
with four saw-whets captured in
the first few hours after setting the
mist nets. Unfortunately, the winds
picked up and I had to shut down
the banding station at 2330 hours.
Rain followed at around 0200 hours.
Weve seen some pretty impressive
winds here on the point today, but
it looks like theyre starting to die
down with a current west wind of 17
mph with gusts at about 28 mph.
Well have to see how things look
around dusk.
Selena Creed, biologist

Kathy Bricker, Secretary of

MSRW, claims that while the number
of birds is impressive, it does not convey the sense of wonder and beauty
of being outdoors. A report posted on
the groups Face Book Page (www. described
a readers reaction; From a tree limb
in a nearby field, a red-tailed hawk
takes flight, It soars, circling higher
and higher above the field using the
updrafts created by the warming air,
it climbs to staggering heights until
lost against the clouds. More and
more hawks; eagles and vultures soon
join in the aerial waltz that began in
times forgotten. A common loon cuts
through the sky taking a direct route
across the lakes. Undaunted by the
water, it needs not climb to dizzying
heights before crossing the five-mile
wide strait.
A boisterous trumpeting precedes
50 sandhill cranes flying in formation,
making their own way to the land beyond. Meanwhile, the number of raptors in the air reaches numbers almost
Spring Owl Survey held last year at Cheboygan State Park netted 132 northern sawuncountable. When they finally reach
he Mackinac Straits Raptor
whet owls banded/recorded and released.
the crest of the updraft, one by one
Watch reports a record year
biologists conducted mist netting and they peel away from the dance gliding
in 2015. Tens of thousands
during the spring 2015 migration
into the distance in hopes of reaching
banding of owls at Cheboygan State
of eagles, hawks, owls and
50,399 raptors were counted during
Park. They set nets on 40 nights total- land on the other side without having
vultures were recorded in
613 posted hours by counter Kevin
to flap their wings and use precious
ing 281 hours of research time. 132
the Mackinac Straits region,
Georg. Of special interest were the
energy. Taking their place lower
northern saw-whet owls, four barred
attracting observers from around the
golden eagles with 374 recorded. In
owls along with four long-eared owls down come other birds from farther
state and U. S.
all my outdoor moments, I have yet
were captured and banded by Macki- south, in the constant soar and glide
The Straits of Mackinac region
to witness a golden eagle sighting in
procession of the spring migration.
nac Straits Raptor Watch chair, Ed
has been garnering national attention
Later in the year the total number
for the vast numbers of raptors gatherAnd the red-tailed hawk numbers Pike and contracted biologist Selena
of recorded guest visits more than
ing here during their annual migration were remarkable; 9,334 to be exact,
doubled, from 352 in 2014 to 987 in
Of note, 11 of the saw-whets had
cycles including the highest number
the highest of any spring count in
previously been banded at Whitefish
of golden eagles counted anywhere
the entire country. What a fantastic
For those readers who are not
east of the Mississippi and the highplace to be to watch this semi-annual Point (Paradise) and Point LaBarbe
familiar with all the birds of prey
(St. Ignace), Indiana, New Hampest number of red-tailed hawks tallied event at the Mackinaw City side of
that exist, a list of the members of this
shire and Ontario. Banding provides
across the entire United States.
the Mackinac Bridge. Last spring
species follows:
It remains difficult for most of
over 700 guests signed the Mackinac valuable information regarding owl
Hawks and Eagles: Broadwing,
distribution, migration and life indius to fathom the remarkable number
Straits Raptor Watch register.
Coopers, Ferraginous, Northern Gosvidual spans. Recently, the National
of raptors that use the flyways durIncidentally, the organizations
Audubon Society declared the Straits hawk, Northern Harrier, Red-Shouling spring and fall migrations at the
Spring Owl Survey held last year
of Mackinac as an important bird area. dered, Red-Tailed, Rough-Legged,
Straits of Mackinac. For example,
from March through May 2, where




Go To:

Commemorative Bucks of Michigan P.O. Box 307 Owosso, Michigan 48867 Phone (517) 679-6226

Commemorative Bucks of Michigan is a non-profit organization that measures and maintains records on trophy class Whitetail Deer,
Black Bear, Elk and Turkeys, taken by fair chase in the state of Michigan. We use the Boone and Crockett method to score all three
big game species. Visit our web site to learn more and get connected to the latest in Michigan hunting.

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Day or Week

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016


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include modern, antique,
blackpowder and more at
public auction. Also selling
hunting/fishing related items.
For more information go to

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Small Mouth Bass.

A family and pet friendly

resort with 5 cottages and 3

motel rooms located on the lake.
For more information Call


Foundation and the Petoskey Visitor

Bureau. Ed Pike added, Our research and outreach efforts rely on
the generosity of private individuals
interested in nature. We thank all
of them along with the Bay Harbor
Foundation, MPS Foundation, Straits
Area Audubon Society, Audubon Society of Kalamazoo, Copper Country
Audubon, Thunder Bay Audubon
Society, Genesee Audubon Club and
Au Sable Valley Audubon Society.
We especially appreciate the friendly
spirit of the Mackinaw City community during the spring hawk watch.
To increase the chance that raptor
fest attendees will get to see golden
eagles as well as bald eagles, along
with red-tailed-hawks, rough-legged
hawks and other species, the
Mackinaw Raptor Fest is scheduled
early in the season, with the
main day being April 2. Visit for
more information and to register.
A free, family-friendly public
program featuring live hawks and
owls will be held at Camp Daggett

There will be plenty of events for the entire family at the Raptor Festival.

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Monday-Friday: 10am-6pm.
Saturday: 10am-5pm
Closed Sunday



Helping Michigans Fisherman Since 1959


50 years, some folks noticed that exceptionally large numbers of raptors

pass through Mackinaw City and St.
Ignace. The birds concentrate before
crossing the five-mile-wide Straits.
During the daytime, hawks are easily
visible as they ride rising air currents
to gain altitude for their flight. We
have counted hawks in Mackinaw
City for five springs with the most
thorough coverage being during 2015
when 50,399 were tallied.
Owls, which generally tend to
move at night, are less easily observed by the general public. Some
species of owls migrate through the
Straits in considerable numbers and
we are studying them as well. All
data collected by MSRWs paid
contractors is made available free
to researchers, conservationists and
wildlife managers concerned with
population levels, life histories and
geographic distribution of these species. In 2015, the first fall water bird
survey of migrating loons, grebes and
ducks was conducted by volunteers.
All the research is free and open
to the public with most people coming to watch the hawks. The word
is spreading; especially about the
golden eagles.
Looking for something different
in Michigans out-of-doors? Why
not attend the April 1-2 Raptor Watch
Festival at Mackinac City and see
the magnificent migration of birds
of prey as they glide and wing flap
across Michigans Mackinac Straits.n

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Full Line of Tackle
Assortment of Materials For The
Live Bait
Hunting & Fishing Licenses
Fly-Tying Supplies

Gift certificates

on Walloon Lake on April

2, at 10:30 a.m. There is
no need to pre-register for
this program presented by
Rebecca Lessard, Wings
of Wonder, from Traverse
The second part of the
Mackinaw Raptor Fest
requires advance registration and runs from 7 p.m.
April 1 through all day and
night of April 2, in Mackinaw City.
It features outdoor observations of
hawks and owls, conditions permitting and educational indoor programs
about birds of prey. Wings of Wonder
will repeat its live raptor program
for these attendees in the afternoon.
After dinner at Audies the keynote
speaker, Dr. William Bowerman from
the University of Maryland, will present information and reflections
from the just-completed 55
years of research on bald
eagles nesting in Michigan. Visit for the
full schedule, presenter and registration information.
Field trips are presented throughout the year by the Mackinac Straits
Raptor Watch. One of interest is cosponsored by MSRW and Headlands
Dark Sky Park. If interested register
early. The program is free and held
at Headlands. It will be offered April
8-9 and titled, Owls & Stars.
An indoor talk followed by
outdoor hawk watch will be co-sponsored by Earth Week Plus and Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch (www. on May l4
at 1:00 pm. Check from time to time
for additional information regarding
future field trips.
In closing I might state that the
Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch was
created in 2014 to survey the hawks
and owls that migrate through the
Straits region every fall and spring.
Chair Ed Pike explained, For over

All inclusive, housekeeping packages and

cabin rentals on a remote Algoma Lake.
Fish for . . .
Northern Pike, Walleye, Lake Trout,
Perch, Smallmouth Bass and Whitefish
Train-in or Boat-in Only
Canadian Funds



Sharp-Shinned and Swainsons.

Eagles: Golden and Bald.
Falcons: American kestrel, Gyrfalcon, Merllin.
Osprey: Osprey.
Owls: Barred, Boreal, Eastern
Screech, Great Gray, Great Horned,
Long-eared, Northern Saw-Whet,
Short-Eared and Snowy.
Vultures: Turkey Vulture.
Due to the interest of birding
in the Straits of Mackinac area, the
group has planned its first annual
birding festival to be held April 1-2
in the Mackinaw City-Petoskey area.
Also in the works are new rack cards
to inform the public, regular media
releases, radio interviews, field trips,
social media, word-of-mouth attention, presentations, poster displays
at Michigan and Ohio birding nature
festivals; combined they will reach
thousands of people throughout 2016,
informing them about the straits migration spectacles.
Generous funding for the festival
has been received from the PetoskeyHarbor Springs Area Community


Dear Fish Diary - My Thoughts: Whether She Catches Any Fish Or Not...

She is always right no matter what...

very year I get several emails
from women complaining
about fishing with their husbands or boyfriends. The tone
of the complaints vary, but the
bottom line is always the same.
Men tend to use the fishing adventure
as a way of flexing their muscles. A
way to show their women how much
they know aboutfishing. After all,
while shes reading People Magazine,
youre reading your favorite outdoor
magazine. You wouldnt dare tell her
how to put on her makeup, so what
gives her the right to suggest a different way for you to fish. You dont
have a clue how to match
your clothes if they are not
camouflage, so of course, she
wouldnt know how to match
a lure color with the tint of
the water. And on and on and
My first reply back to
complaining emails is a
rather simple question that
is purely hard to
answer. Why do you
keep going out fishing with him?
If I dont get a response to that
question I answer it myself. I speculate that shes most likely going out
fishing with him to make sure hes
actually going fishing. The second
question would be, why is he taking
her out fishing if hes just going to
dictate every little maneuver. I guess
the answer to that is pretty simple too.
Because she willingly goes.
Cast it here, cast it there, dont
reel it in so fast, use this lure, you cast
this lure like this and retrieve this lure
like this and this lure you jerk. Let it
sink to the bottom, youre doing it all
wrong Bla bla bla Sounds like
fishing with little kids all over again.
Speaking of little kids, how many
times has the guru sat and watched
some youngster pull in a trophy on a

day hes being skunked? Right, its

what I call the So What effect. So
what if you think you know everything? So what if you watch every
fishing show on television. So what
if you subscribe to every outdoor
magazine on the planet. So what if
youve been fishing your entire life.
So what if you have the best boat. So
what if you have 20-Master Angler
patches and a den full of trophy fish.
So what if you won your local bass
tournament. So what if you have the
best line, best reel, best rod and most
sophisticated electronics on the market. At some point in your life, some
child with a kiddy pole and a
container of worms is going
to show you up while fishing
from shore. It might even be
a neighbor kid fishing from
your dock.
The complaints I get are
sometimes hard to answer.
Such as, He wont let me
have my own rod, it always
has to be his rod and
I have to hold it a
certain way. He acts
like a jerk-bait when were out on the
lake. It always has to be his spot, his
schedule and his wayI mean, geesh,
if that was the only place in the lake
there were fish, then why isnt every
boat in the lake in that spot?
And I dont know why I have to
stay so quiet, its not like fish have
ears or anything.
I do understand the confusion
there because fish technically dont
have ears. But, there is a red-eared
sunfish. Andwhat appears to be
where an ear would be isnt really an
ear and its really not all that red. But
these are the types of things you just
shouldnt even try to explain to her.
Guys, can womens intuition
come into play when fishing? I think
so. And besides, people can only
sit on their duff for so long taking

By Ron St. Germain


For Great Pheasant Hunting

VISIT . . .


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We are not the biggest, we are
not the lowest priced, but we strive
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or check out our website

Dont treat her like she doesnt know anything, treat her like she knows everything.
Because she does, and the sooner you admit it, the easier your life is going to be.
orders before finally having to revolt
and do their own thing. So when
she reaches for a lure youre pretty
confident wont work, let her, because
you arent catching fish anyway. Its
not really mutiny, its boredom and
curiosity. This philosophy will only
humble you, because time after time I
get emails from women who have defied their know-it-all counterparts and
landed trophy fish using something
that shouldnt have ever worked in
the first place. Its called fishing not
catching. And sometimes it takes a
woman to defy all fishing logic.
And like it or not, that is exactly
what her intentions are on your fishing
voyage. She just wants to prove you
wrong. She will use that useless lure
for weeks and not catch a thing while
you limit out. Because the first time
she does catch something on that useless lure, youre going to hear...Ha, I
told you so!
It wont matter if you have caught
200 fish since she had been using that
lure. The point is, you told her it was
worthless and wouldnt catch a thing.
Ive seen this happen too many times
and know it to be true.
If she thinks smearing herself in
mayonnaise will keep the mosquitoes
off, then let her smear herself in mayonnaise. If she thinks dipping your
lures in jello will help you catch more
fish, then let her dip the lures in jello.
If she just wants to read a book
let her. You arent going to be right
anyhow so just let it go. Have fun, roll
with it brother you cant fight it so
why even try.
The point Im making here is to
just let her do her thing. We didnt
figure this fishing thing out overnight,
and she just might surprise you. And
whether she catches any fish or not,

shes going to be right anyway and

there isnt a thing you can do about it.
Or possibly you dont want her to
enjoy the fishing experience with you
so shell quit asking to go. I mean, are
you with her strictly to double your
creel limit or do you really kind of
like her?
If you really kind of like her, give
her free roaming rights of your tackle
box. Let her treat it like a toy box.
Who are you to tell her shes wrong.
But reallyIf you want to be right
just once, remove the hooks from the
lure before tying it on her line and sit
back and enjoy your moment in the
sunTogether. But dont be shocked
if she actually catches something on
the hook-less lure. Dont treat her
like she doesnt know anything, treat
her like she knows everything. Because she does, and the sooner
you admit it, the easier your life is
going to be. And possibly, I will stop
getting all of these complaints about

Have a funny fishing story to share?

I Need Your Fishing Stories...

Send a short description of your

best or worst fishing day, or worst
fishing-related adventure to me.
You dont have to write the entire
story, just a brief outline of what
happened. If it has some humor to
it Ill be getting in touch with you
and well work on the completed
story together. Fishing isnt always
fun you know.
Have a fun or interesting fishing
related story? Woods-n-Water News
columnist Ron St. Germain can be
reached by calling (517) 626-2814,
Visit the authors online photo gallery
at DaPhotoDude.comn

Boat Smart - Be Sure To Check Everything Before Getting Underway...

Odd things can happen when launching

may have had upon your boat.
I had many salvage cases of boats
taking on water at dockside, even one
of my own. One year I was
down at the marina assisting the yard crew with a
wooden vessel that had to
swell while hanging in the
lift. A boater came running
up to tell me my bilge pump
was continuously running.
After investigating I leaned
the thru-hull transducer I had installed
with a wooden
spacer to keep it level was the problem. The transducer was plastic, the
wood mahogany. The wood swelled
and cracked the transducer which than
started leaking. Had I not been nearby
and another boater noticed; my vessel
would have sunk.
Another time, when I started my
engines, the port engine started right
up and was pumping out the exhaust.
When I started the starboard engine,
only a small flow of water ran out.
Since the engine was not heating up,
I gave it a boost with the throttle and
sure enough a birds nest blew out of

the muffler. One time I started both

engines and one ran fine and was
pumping well but the other was not
pumping. I shut it down, let
it cool and removed an intake
and primed the pump. When
I re-started that engine, it ran
The next boating season went the same way, one
engine started fine and the
other started right up but
in a few seconds it
quit. I checked the
engine to see if it
was hot, which it was not. After waiting a while, I restarted the engine and
checked the exhaust which was pumping fine but the engine quit again. I
changed both the water separator and
the filter and noticed both were near
dry. I started the engine and it still
quit. At this point, I switched tanks
and the problem resolved. After a
few checks, I removed the vent hose,
applied an extension and restarted the
engine. Problem solved. After blowing
out the vent I found out it had served
as a spiders home and blocked the air
flow to the fuel tank.

By Capt. Fred Davis

When checking down below, look

at your fuel lines and electrical wiring. Make sure your fuel vents arent
blocked. Start your engines and watch
for debris such as the birds nests
and spider homes I described at the
exhaust outlets.
It always seemed an odd problem
would show up at launch time. That
is why I always made sure I was there
before the lift began so I was able to
solve them.
If you have your boat placed in
the water be sure someone is standing by to check it out and ensure the
bilge pump is operating properly and
there is no water in the bilge. When
you do get aboard, be sure to check
everything before getting underway.
Dont get in a hurry and risk the lives
of your passengers or wind up paying
a hefty fee to recover your boat that
sank at dockside.

Capt. Fred Davis is a retired

charter captain and nationally published author of boating articles. His
columns appear monthly in Woods-NWater and are published online



Time to think of prevention of those
beaches, golf courses, condo
grounds, parks and recreation areas.


Will solve your goose problems!
Its time to order your spring and
summer Control to rid those pesky geese
problems. Remember when the grass
starts turning green its time to apply


he arrival of Memorial Day

usually produces a rush by
boaters to get their vessels in
the water. Although that date
is still in the future, because
of the mild winter, many of
the serious anglers are already getting
ready to launch. As an experienced
boat owner, having launched my vessels each year over a period of over
fifty years, I feel compelled to offer
some perspective.
Many marinas, if requested, will
place owners vessels at dockside
while they are not aboard. If you have
your marina set your boat in your slip,
who keeps an eye on it? The marina
owner and crew are busy with a whole
list of boats to work on and launch so
they will not likely re-visit one they
finished. What if your intake, exhaust
or drain hose develop a leak? If undetected, your vessel may sink.
You should be aboard when your
boat hits the water with your launch
checklist. Besides hoses, I/O drives
have boots that could have torn or
leaked. Inboards have shaft logs that
often leak. You really need to be
prepared to handle any affects winter


Location Preparation Requires Specific Tools...

Deer stand location preparation tools

about every
By John Eberhart used
conceivable location

roper location
can make the
difference in whether or not
you have success deer stories
to tell. While your on-foot
scouting only required the use of maps
and or a notebook, location preparation requires specific tools and a great
amount of physical labor. I finished
drywall for 14 years and like any
trade job, the more prepared you are
concerning tools; more thorough and
expedient the job will be done.
The ideal scenario is to be able
to pack in and carry the necessary
tools to totally prepare a location yet
be mobile enough to walk, wade,
or crawl through any type of cover.
Please note that I didnt say comfortably. Location preparation is a necessity that should be treated as a labor
of love and while you can dress at the
vehicle for comfort your preparation
ventures will likely not be.
Listed is the gear and tools required for properly and expediently
preparing hunting locations during
post season through May.


Clothing and Boots


While scent control should be a

factor when preparing locations during pre-season, one of the beauties of
preparing locations during post season
is you dont have to be concerned
about leaving odor.
Military surplus pants are perfect
because there permeable, durable and
have several large pockets for carrying items up trees.
A long sleeve cotton Ts and a
lightweight permeable jacket will
keep you from getting poked and
scratched when busting through brush
and pricker bushes. A billed ball cap
is advised to aid in blocking branches
from poking your eyes and face.
Always wear leather gloves as every
preparation application is tough on the
If its raining or is in the forecast,
wear or carry a lightweight durable
rain suit. If its raining, once the labor
begins youll rapidly overheat and
likely take it off and work without it
as the cool rain will feel good.
Wear an uninsulated pair of knee
high rubber or neoprene upper boots
because in spring there will usually be
areas of standing water. If youll need
hip boots or waders, carry them with
you until needed.
I keep an old watch in my pack to
have access to the time. Ive lost several when I used to wear them on my
wrist by having them break off when
working without knowing it.

Gear and Tools

Over the years Ive owned and

preparation item and

tool and have found that some brands
simply perform better than others.
The poor performing brands either
sit idle or have been given away or
sold and this list has been narrowed
down to necessary items and to save
you money and time I will mention
favorite brands and an explanation of
why they are. They will also be listed
in order of quality and performance.
Let it be perfectly clear that unlike
so many hunters in the media that get
paid to endorse things they actually
dont use, I dont and never have been
paid to endorse anything, so I have
no horse in the race when mentioning

When it comes to saw blades the
cutting edge teeth on them make all
the difference in the world in cutting
time and sierra toothed blades, hands
down, outperform all others. I will
never look at a saw without a sierra
toothed blade and every saw mentioned has them. The length of the saw
blade also makes a huge difference in
cutting time due to the length of each
cutting stroke.

Extendable Pole Saws

As far as Im concerned, its impossible to properly prepare a location
without an extendable pole saw of at
least 12-feet in length when extended.
You must be able to reach and cut
high branches in shooting lanes that
protrude into and potentially block a
potential shot opportunities. If I had
a dime for every time Ive heard a
hunter say they hit a branch, Id be at
least $50 richer. Thats an average of
10 times a year for over 50 seasons
and $50 may be on the light side.
Some saws come with rope pruners and theyre a huge plus for quickly
nipping limp limbs up to an inch-anda-half in diameter. When the saws
totally extended, oftentimes its tough
to keep the blade in the same cutting
groove because the limb is limp and
sways and the pruner simply snips
them off.
Silky makes the best and most
expensive extension saws on the
market and if you can afford them,
theyre worth every dime. They have
heavy aluminum frames with excellent extension locks and extra-long
sierra toothed blades that offer longer
cutting strokes and due to their cost
Silky saws are rarely found in sporting
goods or hardware stores but rather
at specialty Stihl chain saw shops or
their online website. Jays Sporting
Goods is the only sporting goods store
I know of that carries Silky saws.

The author, John Eberhart, trimming loose bark from tree where he hangs in sling harness.
I have a 14 foot ($200) and a 21 foot
($300) extendable Silky saw and
neither has a rope pruner. They have
17-inch long blades making each cutting stroke very effective.
Corunna offers a couple extendable saws and the one I use is 14-foot
long when extended, has a tubular
fiberglass pole, a chain driven rope
pruner, and a 14-inch blade. Corunna
saws can be found or ordered at most
independent hardware stores for
around $50.
Hooyman offers a 5 and 10 foot
aluminum I-beam framed extendable saw and are commonly found in
sporting goods stores. The upside of
Hooyman saws is they collapse very
short with the 5 footer being 12 inches

and the 10 footer, 28 inches when collapsed. Their downside is they dont
come with a rope pruner and only
have a 7-inch blade or working stroke.

Sheathed Camp or Handsaw

There is never a time when just
scouting or preparing locations that
I dont have a sheathed camp saw
strapped to my belt. These saws
typically have 13-inch long blades
and scrape bark, cut trees, saplings,
branches and tall stick-weeds much
faster than the short folding hand saws
that are sold everywhere. I use camp
saws so much that Ill burn the teeth
out of a couple each year.
Because theyre much faster, these
saws have replaced the machetes and
sickles I carried in the past for slash-

On a typical location preparation
venture I carry everything other than
my extension saw and sheathed saw
in my backpack and like anything
else you get what you pay for when
purchasing a backpack. A well-made,
well-designed pack with well-padded
shoulder straps and padded waist

strap will aid in overall weight distribution and comfort when loaded.
For sheer comfort and the ability to take serious abuse, Bad Lands
packs are the best and they offer
many styles and sizes and come
with a lifetime unconditional warranty. I have used the same Bad
Lands daypack for over 20 years and
carry pointed tools, hatchet, 20 or
more sharp threaded edged steps and
oftentimes a cordless drill with extra
batteries and have yet to wear it out
beyond use. Its getting close however.
All the major stress point straps
are carried through to a second stitch
point and are reinforced stitched with
Kevlar thread. My favorites are their
Super Day and Recon ($150-$200).
Look at pack models that are
at least 1800 cubic inches and tall
enough to contain a hatchet and extra
sheathed saw.
A military pack would be my
second option as they are durable
whereas most inexpensive hunting
packs would wear out in a year or
My Bad Lands location preparation pack is used exclusively for that
purpose as I use a Scent Lok carbon
lined backpack for hunting.
The following is a list of location
preparation tools and items carried
within my backpack:

Folding Handsaw

There are many brands of folding

handsaws and as long as they have
sierra-toothed blades they all work
well with the major differences being;
the strength of the locking mechanism, quality of steel in the blade and
teeth, and length of blade.
My brand preferences in order
are; Corunna (has a longer blade),
Wicked, Gerber, Hooyman, Browning, Coglans, HME. These hand saws
cost anywhere from $12-$20.

Ratchet Pruners
When I began using ratchet pruners ($10-$20) they were only available in the lawn & garden section at
hardware stores.
They work great for snipping
flimsy branches, brush, pricker
bushes, and stick weeds. Cutting any
of these with a saw usually requires
both hands, one to hold it in place and
the other to make the cut. With pruners that job can be done much faster
and with one hand.
The original Florian pruners are
my favorites but all brands work
about equally as well and are now
found in nearly every sporting goods

Hatchet and Belt Holder

Extension saws left to right are; a 14-foot
Silky, 21-foot Silky, Homemade 14-foot w/
pruner, Corunna 14-foot w/pruner.

On severely rough barked trees

(white oak, hickory, choke cherry,
cottonwood, etc.) I use a hatchet instead of my sheathed saw to chop and
scrape off bark as it dulls the teeth
of a saw down too quickly. I carry

Saws left to right are; a Coglan camp, Corunna camp, Corunna long folding, Corunna folding,
Wicked folding, and Realtree folding. Author photos
to the size of a softball, weighs a
a hatchet in a leather hammer loop
pound-and-a-half, and easily fits in
holder (found in hardware stores)
my hunting pack with all my other
and slide it on my belt next to my
layer garments and gear and I use the
sheathed saw.
same harness for every tree I have
No brand preference here but do
prefer a hatchet with a wide chopping prepared.
While I cant intelligently talk
blade and good handle grip.
about strap-on sticks, I do have
several brands of them that have been
For large public land areas you
given to me. While I dont use them,
may want to mark your locations on
I loan them out to my kids for bear
a hand-held GPS. For me this is just
hunting and they say the Lone Wolfs
a precaution in areas I dont hunt
are the lightest and best.
very often where there is always the
I use steps and while a bit more
possibility that someone removed my expensive, Cranford makes the
entry reflective tacks.
absolute best steps from a strength
and ease of use perspective, in every
category. Cranfords conventional rod
In dense timber and swamps
step ($5), single fold deluxe step ($5),
far from the sound of road traffic,
and double fold folding steps ($5.50)
its easy to get turned around and
are all simple to start and screw-in
I always carry a good compass for
and their folding steps have hardened
such occasions. Its also used when
pivot pins.
finished preparing a location to get a
Ive used every brand of steps
direct line to the road for making and
the years and while theyre
marking entry and exit routes.
much less expensive ($2 to $3 per rod
step) theyve all been very difficult to
A military style belt is used to
start into trees because they paint or
attach the sheath saw and hatchet
coat the threads.
to because they can be adjusted
Cranfords folding strap-on rope
(no gapped adjustment holes) to
steps ($10) are what I use on state
any length, theyre strong, and can
and federal lands as screw-ins are
quickly be adjusted when in awkward illegal. Climbing sticks also strap-on
positions while in trees.
and can be used anywhere as well.

Tree Steps, Sticks, and Stands

The vast majority of hunters use

climbers, hang-ons, climbing sticks,
and ladder stands and I feel sorry for
those that have to lug that cumbersome, awkward, heavy stuff around.
So-called TV and video hunting
experts are commonly seen walking
down a nice clean 2-track or through
an open woodlot with a climber, or
hang-on with sticks on their back, and
thats fine for the managed areas they
hunt in, but it simply doesnt mesh
with hunting in heavily pressured
areas where you typically have to
traverse through brush or heavy cover
to access your hunting location.
Since 1981 Ive exclusively
hunted from a self-designed harness
(arborist) style system that rolls up

Bow Holders
Cranford offers the best in this
category as well as the threads on all
their products screw in easier than
the competition. Since I face the tree
when hunting, I use Cranfords bow
and gun holder ($4) as they start and
screw in easily, dont bend in hard
trees, and are made of premium steel.
HME also offers a decent bow holder
($1.50) with easy to screw in tapered

A rope is used to pull my extendable saw up into the tree for cutting
out of reach branches in the tree that
could interfere with shooting lanes

Preparation tools page 66


ing tall weeds.

Silky offers several sizes of
sheathed saws ($70-$100) and they
are hands down the best, however
because I go through a couple a year,
Ive never bought one.
Corunna offers an excellent saw
($18) with a slightly bowed blade and
while its my favorite as an affordable
saw, it doesnt come with a sheath.
Ive altered a Coglans camp saw
sheath to fit a Corunna saw. These are
sold in or can be ordered at independent hardware stores.
Coglans offers an excellent
sheathed saw ($18) and you can
purchase replacement blades. These
were the first sheathed saws I used
and I purchase blades by the dozens
directly from the manufacturer. Many
large sporting goods stores carry


Preparation tools:
from page 65
and it can also be used for hoisting
hang-on stands.
I carry a 40-foot, 3/8-inch diameter solid nylon rope (not poly core).
The large diameter rope is strong and
doesnt get tangled up as easily as
small diameter ropes do.

Reflective Tacks,
Ties, and Trail Markers
At no time and especially in the
dark do I want to take one step off
course when using entry and exit
routes that traverse through timber,
brush, marshes, or along difficult to
follow routes and use reflective markers to mark routes. In the 70s I bought
thumb tacks and put reflective fishing
lure tape over them.
White reflective tacks are offered
by many companies (around $5 for
50) and HME offers brown, and orange tacks as well, and HMEs are the
best because they use stronger pins on
their tacks and they rarely bend when
pushing into hard trees as many of
the other companies do. HME, Allen,
Eastman Outdoors, and Primos offer
white tacks and Hunters Specialty
offers white tacks and white reflective
bread ties.
The reflection from a white tack
can be seen from farther distances
than a brown or orange tack so they
are what I use most often.
Wherever trees, hard brush, or
hard-stemmed stickweeds are available I use reflective tacks and on limp
brush, tall weeds, marsh grass or cattails I use reflective bread style ties.
Hang-on reflective markers have a
much larger reflective area but due to
their cost and how easily they are for
other hunters to see, I dont use them.
I shy away from using flagging
tape for anything other than blood
trailing as its an eye sore in the
woods and an easy way for other
hunters to find and possibly set-up
near a location.

Water or Energy Drinks

Always carry water or a quenching energy replenishing drink and let
the weather conditions and approximate time you plan on spending in
the field dictate how much you take.

You never know when you may
need a knife.


Toilet Paper


While this needs no explanation,

its definitely better than using leaves.

Climbing Harness
This is the most important tool I
carry because when preparing trees
my life is supported by it. A climbing
harness has to be safe, comfortable
and allow you to have both hands free
for installing steps, cutting branches,
scraping bark, hanging sticks and

There used to be several climbing
harnesses on the market but due to
lawsuits likely from user error, liability insurance rates have skyrocketed
and hunting companies opted out of
the business. You cant fix stupid and
it only takes a few morons to destroy
a category for everyone.
The climbing harnesses I use were
made by API and they came with zippered side pockets for holding steps
and tools. I suggest Googling arborist
harnesses and choose one thats easy
to adjust. A company named New
Tribe makes a nice one called Aero
Hunter Evolution (is also a hunting
harness) and you can read some user
testimonials on the talk forum site:
If needed side pockets can be
sewn onto any harness system at any
canvas or awning shop.
This completes my list of basic
tool requirements for location preparation but there are a few other items
I carry in my van just in case theyre

Chain Saw
Some private property owners
allow using a chainsaw and I carry
a 14-inch Stihl for those occasions.
When cutting shooting lanes a chainsaw can save a ton of time and energy. When tall trees are cut they have
to be cut into manageable lengths in
order to move them away from the
immediate area and a chainsaw will
make that job much faster and easier.

Neoprene Hip Boots and Waders

Your aerial maps can often show
if youre going to have to cross a
river or creek and you need hip boots
or waders to do it.

Canoe or Boat
On several occasions Ive used a
canoe or boat to access remote areas.
The best one person canoe is Radisons foam-lined, lightweight aluminum canoe and my 15-footer only
weighs a manageable 44 pounds and
came with oars and oar locks.
Next Month: Now you have the
equipment information; Johns preparation series continues in the May
issue with Location preparation.
John Eberhart is an accomplished
big-buck bow-hunter that specializes in heavy consequential hunting
pressure areas with 28 bucks listed in
CBMs record book from 19 different
properties in 10 different counties.
John produced a 3 volume instructional DVD series titled Bowhunting Pressured Whitetails and coauthored the books, Bowhunting
Pressured Whitetails, Precision
Bowhunting, and Bowhunting
Whitetails The Eberhart Way. They
are available at:

The adaptive

By John Ozoga

n the Northern Hemisphere, the white-tailed deer's cyclic rhythms in

physiology, metabolism, coat molt, reproduction, and general behavior
are closely regulated by the changing amount of daylight, or "photoperiod." The shortening day length in autumn triggers a complex chain
of events that lead to the whitetail's growth of a thick insulated winter
coat, the accumulation of heavy fat deposits, breeding, and various
other changes in behavior. All improve the species' prospects for surviving
the bleak winter season.
In the North, especially, the timing of the whitetail's breeding is
strictly regulated by decreasing photoperiod. This ensures that fawn births
occur on schedule in spring and early summer when food, cover, and
weather conditions are most favorable for their survival.
Even within the continental United States, due to varying environmental pressures and resultant selective forces, the seasonal biological
needs and behavior of
whitetails in winter
differ rather dramatically from north to
south. Although the
winter season may not
be particularly tough
on deer in southern
parts of the United
States, winter is still
a sinister grim reaper
in northern states. The
combination of prolonged cold weather,
deep snow cover,
inadequate shelter, and
poor food conditions
frequently contribute
to extreme hardship
for whitetails.
As we've seen in
the recent past, the annual winter death toll of whitetails in northern Michigan may even exceed
that of the legal harvest by hunters.
In the North, selective pressures have favored whitetail traits that are
closely linked to rhythmic, often abrupt, seasonal fluctuations in the availability of food and shelter. As one progresses northward, more and more
of the whitetail's lifetime is devoted to preparing for, enduring, or recovering from the stressful winter season.
How a northern whitetail behaves during winter, and whether or not
it survives, will hinge heavily upon when it was born, how well it was
nourished and grew during summer, the level of fatness it achieved during
autumn, and the severity of the winter season relative to the availability of
food and shelter.
During winter, deer must become ultra-energy-conservative in order to
survive. Their adaptive traits for winter survival include an array of timely
physiological changes, greatly reduced movement activity, shelter-seek
behavior (referred to as yarding), migration, intense socialization, and a
host of other behavioral adjustments. These adaptive changes permit them
to better cope with the pending negative energy balance and to minimize
the dangers that hungry predators present.
Northern whitetails deviating greatly from these highly adaptive adjustments -- generated through centuries of ancestral response to environmental stress -- are less likely to survive and perpetuate alternate patterns
not conducive to softening the impact of the harsh winter season.
For obvious reasons, selective pressures imposed by cold weather and
snow cover are less operative in the South. There even late-born, small,
and weak deer stand a good chance of surviving the comparatively mild
and typically brief periods of winter.
Commencing with my studies in 1961, I've watched whitetails struggle to cope with unbelievable winter stress, especially as it prevails along
the south shore of Lake Superior. I've seen hundreds of them die there
during tough winters. But I continue to marvel at the fact that somehow,
almost miraculously, so many can survive such hardship and deprivation.
Believe me, this critter we call the whitetail is as opportunistic as any
of God's creatures, and far more resourceful than most.

Make Camping A Power Trip.

Take a lightweight, portable Honda Generator on
your next outdoor sporting trip and youll have power
for just about anything. Like a coffee maker, electric
lights, TV or even a stove for all the fish youll reel in.

The EU Series features generators that are easy to

start, produce fewer emissions and are remarkably
quiet. Plus, theyre covered by our 3-Year Warranty.
Theyre the catch of the day. And thats no fish story.












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Bryan Turner II (middle) caught this 42 inch, 20
pound northern pike Feb. 6 on White Lake with a
tip up and shiner fishing with (lt.) Justin Giddings
and Jeremy Holman.

TEEN HAS GREAT YEAR! Cody Remick, 15, harvested 3 Michigan

trophies this year. On May 17 he took this tom with a 10 inch
beard and 1 inch spurs in Tuscola Co. Also in Tuscola Co. hunting the youth hunt Cody took a beautiful 8-pt. and hunting near
Grand Marais on Sept. 18 he took a dandy black bear.

Ben Tank, of Snover, and

Chad O'Berski, of Ubly, managed to find a few jumbo
perch, the biggest being 14
inches. All were caught on
Kens and Guster spoons.


her first
with her
crossbow at


Ann M.
Lavery took
this beautiful 8-pt. Oct.
22, her second largest
buck with a

Lisa J. Clark of Holton

took her first buck on
her birthday Nov. 16.

Rob Kittle, of Woodhaven, caught

this monster 31 inch, 10.7 pound Craig Hansen of Watervliet
harvested this 8-pt. Nov. 21
walleye Jan. 23 on Breast Bay.

Chris Robbins felt like he hit the lottery when he took this pair of 10pt. bucks on Oct. 2 in Antrim Co.

hunting in Van Buren Co.

His daughter Emily was very
proud of her daddy.

Jim Lyons
of Linden
took this 4
8-pt. with
a 17 inch
spread in
Rob Koco of Westland took this 10pt. with a 16 1/4 inside spread on
Nov. 9 in Lake Co.

Nik Kenny
11, of Birch
Run, had
on his first
goose hunt,
thanks to
Ray Hoody
and gang.

Joe Bastien, of
Columbiaville, took
the first
shooter he
saw since
Nov. 15,
this nice

Traynor, 9
took this
buck in
Co. during
the youth

The Delecki sisters; Violet,

8, and Noelle, 5, teamed up
to wrestle this 32 pound
pike they caught ice fishing
near Lowell.

Braden Berridge of Lansing

on his first hunt took his first
deer, this doe, hunting near

DNR Outdoor Skills Academy:

Learn from the experts

State park interpreter Kevin Perry, left, works with a participant at an academy steelhead fishing clinic. MDNR photo

Academy director Ed Shaw instructs a student during a fishing class. MDNR photo
People want to learn about it, he said.
One big reason Smith got involved
at the academy is his interest in getting
kids and more women out on the ice.
That includes his wife, Teri, now in her
second year of ice fishing.
We always cater to children when
were out fishing, and often give them a
pole to help keep their interest, Berry
Fellow academy pro staffer, and
Fish Bones Custom Lures owner, Matt
Peterson agreed.
We love the opportunity to teach
older people our techniques and tricks,
but most of all its about getting kids
out and showing them how easy it is if
you have the right equipment, Peterson
said. Get them off these Xboxes and
out in the field.
In addition to the expertise of the
academy pro staff, the DNRs own instructors bring considerable knowledge
to the table.
I give my staff a lot of credit.
Without them, the academy wouldnt
have happened, said Shaw, who cited
park interpreter and instructor Kevin
Perry as an example. Kevin knows
the Manistee River as well as anybody.
He can teach people what hes learned
in living here and fishing here for 30
DNR wildlife biologists and conservation officers are also part of the team
that teaches students skills needed for
outdoor pursuits like bear hunting.
The Hunt and Fish Center had been
offering classes on outdoor activities for
several years. However, in 2014, Shaw
and his staff including Kevin Perry,
John Zakrajsek, Chuck Fales, Dennis
Hewitt and Ed Cieslinski originated
the academy.
More than 150 students many of
them new to hunting for bears attended the academys most recent bear
hunting clinics in August, the same
month the academy held its opening
ribbon-cutting ceremony.
One of those students, Eric Lardi,
ended up shooting a bear weighing over
300 pounds during a subsequent bear
hunt in Canada.
Lardi called the bear hunting clinic
an excellent introduction to hunting for
my grandkids.
The guides in Canada reinforced
everything said and I would not change
the class, Lardi said. The conservation officers experience was invaluable
to us, as to bear behavior and what to

Roger Kremers, a hunter and angler
from Rapid River who also attended
the bear hunting clinic, said he considers his day in the class well spent, even
though he didnt harvest a bear last fall.
Kremers said he learned a lot.
Very good information from the
biologist, Kremers said. He explained
very well how the bear population is
managed, how (the) DNR determines
the allotment of licenses, et cetera.
He said he also enjoyed the information provided by a DNR conservation
officer who explained how to take care
of a bear quickly following a successful
hunt and what to do with the bear hide.
Shaw said the Outdoor Skills
Academys unique brand of instruction
is bringing people from around the state
to Wexford County to attend classes. In
turn, the academy provides a boost to
the local economy.
The academys most recent Hard
Water School an ice fishing clinic held
in early January was filled to capacity, with about half of the participants
driving to Cadillac from locations as
far away as Farmington Hills, which is
just about 200 miles away in Oakland
People are travelling in from other
parts of the state for classes, spending $400 or $500, Shaw said. Were
putting heads in beds people attending our programs are customers at local
hotels, restaurants and gas stations.
The next scheduled programs at
the Outdoor Skills Academy include
steelhead clinics April 2 and 9 and June
25, an open-water walleye clinic April
16, a turkey hunting class April 23, a
beginners fly fishing clinic May 21, a
beginners bass fishing clinic June 5 and
bear hunting courses July 30 and Aug.
7 and 13.
Peterson, who is also a duck and
goose hunting guide, said a late-summer
waterfowl clinic is in the works as well.
Students who take five Outdoor
Skills Academy classes get a graduation
certificate and their name listed on the
academy website. There is no age limit
for the class, but Shaw recommends
students be at least 8 years old.
There is a cost for most of the
classes ranging between $25 and $40;
others are free.
To learn more about
the Outdoor Skills Academy
or register for a class, visit


magine youre interested in taking

30 years of Michigan walleye fishing
up golf and have the chance to get
experience. Ive been living the outout on the links for some pointers
door life my whole life. Im able to help
from Tiger Woods.
out not only with my knowledge but
In a similar fashion, the Michi- with products.
gan Department of Natural ReBecause of his relationship with
sources is offering an opportunity that
companies like Clam Outdoors and
comes close. Those who want to learn
Vexilar, which both have donated equipmore about fishing and hunting can link ment for programs, Berry can bring
up with expert instructors at the DNRs the gear that helps make these classes
Outdoor Skills Academy.
Its like Michael Jordan coming
In fact, support from dozens of
to help us teach basketball, said DNR
sponsors and partners helps keep the
park interpreter and academy director
Outdoor Skills Academy running.
Ed Shaw. These guys are the Michael
Shaw said that while many people
Jordans of the fishing world.
in the outdoor industry know about the
Shaw runs the academy
academy and people are
out of the Carl T. Johnson
coming out of the woodHunt and Fish Center at
work wanting to sponsor
Mitchell State Park in Caus, there are many hunters
dillac. Instructors include
and anglers who still dont
seven seasonal interpreters
know about it.
and seven pros, with the
Some of the pro stafflist continuing to grow.
ers said the same thing.
Shaw has enlisted pro
Berry grew up in the
staff from fishing gear
Grand Rapids area and
companies like Fish Bones
didnt know about the
Custom Lures, Clam
Hunt and Fish Center until
Outdoors, Vexilar and HT
Enterprises, who team up
A lot of outdoor
with DNR instructors to
dont even know its
Outdoor Skills Academy
present hands-on clinics for
there, Berry said. A lot
Director Ed Shaw of people dont know that
newbies and experienced
anglers and hunters who
the DNR isnt just a law
want to brush up on their skills.
enforcement or state park agency, but
Theyre professionals who know
is also there to teach people outdoor
how to teach this stuff, Shaw said. Its skills.
pretty cool to have a staff of experts.
Norm Smith, an Outdoor Skills
Ive learned a lot from them.
Academy pro staffer who is also on the
The first Outdoor Skills Academy
pro staff at HT Enterprises, said he too
professional was Steve Berry, former
wants to get the word out about profishing charter captain and member of
grams like the academys that help get
the pro staff for several fishing equippeople involved in outdoor recreation.
ment companies.
Were interested in helping people
Berry said he started out by helping learn what weve learned over the
with a kids ice fishing clinic at the Hunt years, Smith said.
and Fish Center. He enjoyed it and liked
Smith has won many fishing
Shaws programs and future vision for
tournaments and uses a technique
the academy.
called tight-lining that tends to pique
Its not just children but adults
peoples curiosity. Smith said tightwho want to learn how to do these
liners do well in tournaments and catch
things, said Berry, who has more than
a lot of fish.


Hot Topics, My Thoughts, My Views...

Communication vital to entice Michiganders outside

The population needs to know that outdoor recreation generates five billion dollars annually. Plus
the importance of traditional heritage for recreational opportunities needs to be communicated
better with an emphasis on our bountiful Michigan resources...By Rick Fowler



The single biggest problem in

communication is the illusion that
it has taken place.
-George Bernard Shaw

ndeed a lack of communication can lead to a

myriad of issues, especially when it comes to
government entities. Michigans Department
of Natural Resources has not been immune to
such criticism but that, according to Mark
Hoffman, DNR Chief Administrative Officer,
is starting to change. During a February meeting of the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association
(MOWA) at the RAM Center on Higgins Lake,
Hoffman explained that the department recognizes
this lack of communication and have been more
open with our decisions, consensus and compromise.
Hoffman added, With closer collaboration
within all divisions of forestry and wildlife over
the past few years, services have improved. This
is evident in that efficiency seems to now be a key
in how they spend money and also achieve a better
grasp of managing land. Case in point, 60 percent
of the land in Roscommon County is owned by the
DNR. Before now there was little communication
between the Department and individual landowners. We now recognize that a tract of land, or a
smaller acreage parcel in counties like Roscommon
might be more beneficial for a private landowner
rather than us. In other words, we can let it go to
help the neighboring individual(s).
Also, We need to be more transparent when we
are working on thematic and long-term issues and
ideals. For instance in a recent DNR survey, it was
found that a surprising number of Michigan believe
that wildlife management is just not that important.
In fact, 90 percent of Michiganders dont hunt and
85 percent dont fish. With these facts it is evident
that more communication is needed to get more
people to commit to the outdoors and understand
the role of the DNR and their work. In other
words, How do we reach and engage those who
dont hunt or fish? Hoffman said.
At present the DNRs communication strategy
is to:
1) Help uncommitted individuals understand
the passion for hunting and fishing.
2) Attempt to make it easier to hunt and fish
with additional lessening of regulations and more
educational venues.
Some of the existing educational programs include, Salmon in the Classroom Academy of Natural Resources, school clubs for archery and skeet,
Summer Youth Employment Initiative, and Project
Wild, a national concept and curriculum connection
between humans and the outdoor world.
Coinciding with the DNRs aggressive and positive two-fold communication effort is the Michigan Wildlife Councils efforts to achieve a better
understanding of why so few people participate in
the outdoors. According to Carol Rose, one member of the Wildlife Council, only 10 percent of
our Michigan population trap, fish or hunt. While

another 10 percent adamantly dont believe in such

practices. This leaves 80 percent of the population
Like the DNR, the Councils objective is to
start messaging their expectations and accurate
facts. The population needs to know that outdoor
recreation generates five billion dollars annually.
Seventy two thousand dollars of this amount comes
from the sale of fishing and hunting licenses. Also
the importance of traditional heritage for recreational opportunities needs to be communicated
better with an emphasis on our bountiful Michigan
Our wildlife need to be managed for the
enjoyment of future generations, Rose reiterated. We as a council have confirmed a strong
desire to communicate more of our population to
get outside through an all-out effort of attraction,
marketing strategies, and keeping the population
better informed. We need to focus on the 80 percent
through the above mentioned plans.
Sadly, it is easier to stay inside or just not participate in Michigans great outdoors. With social
media, electronic games and an ample amount
of entertainment at their whim, too many people
young and old are adverse to other forms of recreation.
To make matters even more frustrating there is
a new disorder that has attached itself to many of
todays children, and this one scares me because
there is no medicine which can be ingested or
injected to alleviate the symptoms. This recently
discovered disease is Nature Deficit Disorder
(NDD), and, according to Richard Louv author of
Last Child In The Woods, is making our kids
depressed, distracted and overweight and I might
add, disinterested.
Louv states, As childrens connections to
nature diminish and the social, psychological, and
spiritual implications become apparent, new research shows that nature can offer powerful therapy
for such maladies as depression, obesity, and
ADD. Environment-based education dramatically
improves standardized test scores and grade-point
averages Plus, nature is a key factor in children

Pass the torch

ideo games, computers and social media are just some of the outside influences pulling our children away from the
woods. The responsibility falls on all of
us, not just parents, but everyone that has
a passion for the outdoors.
There is nothing complicated about introducing
a kid to the outdoors.
In fact, its easy.
The hard part is keeping them interested, stimulating their attention during those early years can
be challenging.

Our wildlife need to

be managed for the
enjoyment of future
becoming sensitive, expressive and essentially human.
Will these kids be tomorrows ambivalent 80
percent adults or will they be part of an increasing number of people who recreate in the state of
Michigan? With the current initiatives by both the
DNR and Michigans Wildlife Council to communicate better there is hope for sustainable forests,
wildlife and outdoor recreation.n

The two words information and

communication are often used
interchangeably, but they signify
quite different things. Information
is giving out; communication
is getting through.
-Sydney Harris

Lane Walker
Even though the challenge is tough, its not
impossible. If you do it right, you might just have
a best friend and hunting buddy for life.
However, if it goes wrong, a child will see
hunting as boring.
There are some great ways to introduce kids to
the world of hunting and keep them interested, but
you might have to try some different approaches.
Not every youngster learns the same, or enjoys the
same things. As an educator for the past 14 years, I
have seen it firsthand. If your teaching isnt reaching the student, teach the way they learn best.
One key to keeping kids excited about hunting

Pass the torch page 72

My Thoughts, My Views, My Opinions...

Can Hinge-cutting have potential

negative effects on your forest?

et me begin by saying, I love

my deer and deer hunting as
much as anyone out there.
Just like many of you, I plan
my vacations around the deer
hunting seasons. Deer talk
isnt just something that happens
during the season. It is a part of life
year round in my camp. My passion
for all things outdoors, lead me to
choose a career in natural resource
management where I have been a
forester for nearly 34 years now.
For the past 28 plus years, I have
been a public service forester administering the Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) for the Osceola-Lake and
Mecosta Conservation Districts. The
primary target of this state funded
service is the private landowners who
collectively own nearly 90 percent
of the land base found in my service
area. The principal goal of the service is to help the private landowner
to make informed decisions about the
management of the natural resources
found on their property.

My favorite part of the job is

meeting onsite with private landowners. Its during these one-on-one
site visits that Im able to assess the
needs of the property relative to the
landowners goals and objectives. It
shouldnt come as any big surprise
that more management decisions on
private lands are made with wildlife
habitat goals in mind than for any
other reason. The wildlife species
most revered, is the white-tail deer.
For some time now, while conducting site visits, I have been
encountering a tremendous increase
in the utilization of hinge-cutting
techniques aimed at enhancing deer
habitat. Some applications appear to
hit the mark quite nicely. Yet others,
are starting to raise a bit of concern.
While Im not the biggest advocate
of the practice, Im certainly not opposed to its use. With a well thought
out plan, it can be an effective, shortterm fix to a necessary deer habitat
component that is lacking in many
private forests.
However, setting my wildlife
passions aside, the forester in me, is
starting to ask, has the hinge-cutting
craze gotten out of hand? Are there

Muzzle season,
quiet time please!

f it isnt broke, dont fix it. Many

hunters find the mid-December
muzzle deer season a special
gift. Its different, its a challenge
with a single shot, usually cooler conditions and
possibly snow being evident.
I and several close friends
have joined the smoke poles
fraternity since its beginning
in Michigan and experienced
many precious memories on
our private land in Clare and
Gladwin Counties.
Starting the season
the second Friday of
December made good
sense then and still does today. Reasonably quiet time after the firearm
season prior to the muzzle season is
critical and obviously needed.
QDMA sponsored radio collared
deer studies have shown that even
a single hunter in the woods for a
single day and not even firing a shot
can shut down deer movement up to

ten days.
Many deer hunters take advantage of the last few days of the rifle
season to fill the freezer. This is
good and should continue,
now lets give some of this
consideration to the muzzle
Since the change in
our Zone 2 to start the first
Friday of December our
opening day experience has
significantly changed. We
are still experiencing
memories but not precious ones. We hunt
on private and some
heavily populated deer country and
practice serious Quality Deer Management since 1993, yet last years
opening day, 2015 our group of six
had three of us not seeing any deer
and for the first time. It got rather
warm later and nobody took venison

By Ed Spinazzola

Muzzle season, quiet time page 73

One of the best investments you can make for your property is to schedule an
appointment with a natural resource professional to learn more about your forest.
potential long-lasting consequences
to the future health, productivity and
sustainability of certain private forestlands that are being over-looked? Are
there other alternatives to managing
the forest resource that better serve
the wildlife resource? Should private
forest owners be asking these same
questions before they set their actions in motion? At this point in time,
I would answer yes to each of these
As many of you will already
know, the term hinge cut refers
to cutting partially through a small
tree by only applying a back-cut so
that it can be tipped over, yet the
tree remains attached to the stump
and alive for a period of time. The
technique is commonly applied to
accomplish three objectives: 1) create
instant hiding places where deer will
bed; 2) provide a source of browse
in two formsfirst from the hinged
tree itself and secondly from the new
shoots and forage that spring up once
sunlight is allowed in; 3) and strategically felling trees to funnel deer past
a desired ambush location.
I have utilized the practice on
my own property albeit on a small
scale basis. Applying hinge-cutting
techniques to cull trees (undesirable species and those of poor form)
will increase deer cover, browse and
improve the overall health and quality
of the forest. Smaller trees generally
are more conducive to hinging and
far less dangerous to cut and tip over.
Some tree species are better suited to
hinging than others as well.

The strongest argument against

hinge cutting is human safety (hingecutting seriously violates the basic
rules for chainsaw safety while safely
felling a tree). I get that and I hope
you do as well. I grew up in a family of loggers and know all too well
the harm a chainsaw can cause in the
blink of an eye.
A chainsaw is arguably the most
dangerous hand-tool known to mankind. Yet it can be purchased without
any proof of qualifications or certification. According to Chuck Oslund, a
Professional Chainsaw Safety Systems instructor, a chainsaw operating
with a chain speed of 50 mph will
send 500 uncovered teeth per second a few inches distance from your
leg (or in the case of hinge-cutting,
mere inches from your face). Think
about that! If you learn to operate a
chainsaw properly and maintain it in
good working condition, it can make
easier work of getting many forestry,
agriculture and homeowner jobs done
with greater efficiency and exactness.
If you use it incorrectly, haphazardly
or casually, it can become a powerful,
forceful tool capable of doing great
bodily harm.
In addition to safety concerns,
some natural resource professionals
(myself included) are beginning to
raise questions about the long term
impacts on forested sites where the
over-aggressive application of hingecutting has taken place. Among those
concerns, are sites where rapid inva-

Hinge-cutting page 73


By Rick A. Lucas
CF CD Forester


Hot Topics, My Thoughts, My Views...

Passing the torch... from page 70
is to start them early. There really is
no wrong age to take kids hunting.
In Michigan, some smart legislators
initiated a Hunter Mentor Program allowing kids at any age to hunt with a
licensed adult. This has really opened
up some doors for our kids to start
earlier and stay interested.
What age should I take my child
out hunting? Theres no such thing
as too young when it comes to introducing a child to the outdoors. It can
start as something as simple as putting them into a backpack and going
for a nature hike. Going for walks
and toting your child into the woods
is a great initial way to get them fascinated with Gods creation. Not only
will they see all the brilliant sights
and sounds, they will also feel more
comfortable in the woods alleviating
some fear. Once they learn there is no
big bad wolf, they will want to spend
more time exploring.
Give your child room to move
when hunting. I have a hard time
sitting in a blind for a couple hours;
now imagine trying to get a child to
sit motionless for hours.
In most cases, its not going to
Dont set them up to fail. My
three little girls, six years old and
under learned this lesson years ago.

All my girls wanted to go on a turkey

hunt. What an adventure, we lasted
about 11 minutes and scared everything away for miles. But they loved
it, they even wore camouflage and
painted their faces. Those 11 minutes
paved the groundwork and now they
keep asking me when they can go
deer hunting. We set up in a tent, so
they could still move and talk.
This should have more to do with
your expectations than theirs. I wasnt
expecting to go out and shoot a big
old longbeard, I was expecting them
to get excited about nature and the
Allow your kid to be a kid!
Remember you are building for the
Let them get up and stretch and
walk around, those are important
steps in the teaching process. If they
really get fidgety, take them still hunting, get them up and move around.
While it might not be your idea of
still hunting, at least they are in the
woods. Along the way show them
tracks and rubs, use the time to teach
them how to become a better hunter.
The last tip proves to be happy
the most important, keep them happy
and engaged.
Make sure you pack plenty of
snacks, coloring books, etc. Having


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something for them to do will be a

benefit for both of you. Also make
sure they are dressed properly, nothing is worse than being cold. While
even adults find it tough to hunt in
certain weather conditions, kids will
want to head when things get uncomfortable. Good clothing is important,
but dont forget to buy some hand
warmers. Those disposable hand
warmers can be your childs best
friend during a cold hunt. Consider
packing a blanket or cushion to make
them even more comfortable.
Above all, dont push a child or
make them feel uncomfortable. Show
a child the greatness of being in the
outdoors, give them reasons to want
to get up before sunrise.
Dont let your own pursuit of
an animal trump getting your child
involved in the outdoors.
Not only are those early years

important, they are years you will

never get back. Include your child
and show them the wonders of the
outdoors one hunt at a time.n


(Including Blues)

Your Dog & You Will Be Great

The author and his turkey caller and hunting buddy, his 7-year old
daughter pose with their 2015 spring turkey. Author photo

(Lunch Provided)

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My Thoughts, My Views, My Opinions...

Hinge-cutting: from page 71
sion of undesirable shrubs such as
autumn olive, honeysuckle, Japanese
barberry, buckthorn, and others are
out-competing native flora. Over a
period of time, invasives can completely displace native vegetation and
seriously run the risk of compromising the long-term health and ecological functionality of the forest.
On sites where red oak is present,
additional concerns are raised for the
potential introduction of oak wilt.
Oak wilt disease is spread between
trees through roots, by beetles, and by
the movement of firewood. The critical DO NOT prune period to lessen
chances of introducing oak wilt is
April 15 through July 15. While most
landowners wont be including red
oaks in their hinge-cutting activities,
some already are. Even an accidental
injury to a red oak during the felling
process while hinge-cutting will create a potential open invitation to oak
Aspen is another tree species
that every deer habitat enhancement
enthusiast should take note of. If it
appears on your property, you will be
making the best long-term investment
in enhancing your deer habitat by
regenerating and expanding its presence where possible on your property.
If aspen is a minor component species
found amongst other tree species,
you risk losing it if it is cut incorrectly; i.e. you fail to provide the full
sunlight condition needed for sprout
survival. Less aspen, less deer. You
Furthermore, exposing some
high-value hardwood species to full
sunlight will likely result in excessive
sprouting on the clear limbless stems.
This will vastly diminish their future
value. Lastly, most landowners wont
be hinge-cutting high value tree, but
again, some already are. The loss in
current or potential future income can
be quite significant if the wrong trees
are sacrificed.
Participation in some state and
federal programs requires the professional management of your forest resource. A state tax reduction program

like the Qualified Forest Program

(QFP) requires participants to professionally manage their forest resource
according to a certified management
plan. Hinge-cutting can be a practice
to improve the overall health of the
forest while meeting wildlife objectives for the property.
The problem arises when forest
owners over-use hinge-cutting activities to the extent that careful control
of the stands density is compromised
to the extent that it affects current
and future productivity of the stand.
Although hinge-cutting can effectively play a role in eliminating identified cull trees in many timber types,
removing too many of the wrong
trees can result in an understocked
forest. This could potentially lead to
dismissal from the QFP tax reduction
Federal Farm Bill programs can
also be applied for and utilized to
enhance forest and wildlife habitat
objectives. These financial incentive
payments are provided with prior approval and implemented according to
a participants certified management
plan. Misuse of forest stand improvement practices could potentially
jeopardize incentive payments.
One of the best investments
you can make for your property is
to schedule an appointment with a
natural resource professional to learn
more about your forest. Not all sites
are created equal, in terms of their
potential. Seeking professional assistance will keep you working within
the limits of the property and help
you to avoid a hit and miss approach
to your decision making.
Many forest management practices provide better long-term wildlife
habitat enhancement benefits than
hinge-cutting. In addition, many forest management practices have the
potential to generate a source of revenue. And, where safety is an issue,
they will be applied by experienced
professional equipment operators.
At the current time, 49 counties
are covered by the Forestry Assistance Program. When at full capacity,
there are 20 public service foresters

Upland Bird Hunting
August 15April 30

like myself available at no-cost to

help private forest owners to make
informed resource management
decisions for their property. Make
a visit to the Michigan Department
of Agriculture and Rural Development website. Locate Privatelands
Initiative and an interactive map to
the FAP. If your property is located
in a county not currently covered by
the FAP, go to the Michigan Forest
Association website at: and
click the MFA Foresters list to

locate a professional forester

near you.
Hinge-cutting can play a role
in enhancing your deer habitat. But
before you fire up the chainsaw, consider taking a chainsaw safety course;
be sure you have the proper personal
protective equipment recommended
while operating a chainsaw and be
sure to wear it; check your insurance
policy; and lastly, visit with a professional forester to be sure youre
managing your forest resource not
just cutting trees.n

Muzzle season, quiet time please: from page 71

home also for the first time.
Starting the second Friday of
December helps the odds of having
snow and freezing weather.
Those who hunt the north know
the value of snow during the muzzle
season and the deeper the better.
Even with a good acorn crop that
eight inches of snow temporarily puts
the deer into a panic and they start to
move during daylight into our food
Bowhunters have their opening
day surprise on deer and have
many days of deer moving during daylight during the rut seasons.
Open Since 1987

Everyone knows about the firearm

opener, where the deer are running
about with shots being heard all
day. Three days later, taps are
This year there is a single day
of quiet prior to the muzzle opener.
Next year there are no quiet days
between the end of the firearm season
and the muzzle opener.
NRC Commissioners, please give
us back that extended quiet period in
Zone 2 for the muzzle season.
Keep the fun in hunting! Ed
Spinazzola, an old Michigan deer
hunter since 1952!n

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Old Michigan
By Jeff Pendergraff, retired Capt. MDNR



ecently my friend showed

me some of his old hunting
guides, licenses and back
tags that he has kept since
the 1960s to the mid-1970s.
Some might be asking,
what is a back tag? I will
get to that later in the story.
By the way, I am not that old!
I really didnt start actively hunting until the early 1980s. I became a
Michigan Conservation Officer in 1980,
so I remember a lot of the laws that
were active then. When I started reading
these old hunting guides, I was really
surprised how things have changed
since the mid-1960s to now.
In 1966 the DNR was called the Department of Conservation. There were
as many as 600,000 deer hunters in
1966. The annual harvest each year for
the ten previous years had been around
100,000 deer.
Of course that was during a time
period when very few antlerless permits were given out. If you were lucky
enough to draw an antlerless tag and
you filled it you could no longer harvest
a buck. If you harvest a buck, then the
antlerless tag was no longer valid. Basically, you could only harvest one deer.
Harvesting does back then wasnt
very popular. Many hunters thought it
was wrong, some hunters would apply
and if drawn they would throw the antlerless tag away.
The price of a deer tag for a resident
in 1966 was $5 and $15 for a non-resident gun tag. A camp deer permit was
$15 and again you might be thinking,
what is a camp deer permit?
A camp deer permit was available
for use of hunters in a deer camp for
food. There had to be four or more hunters in camp to buy a camp deer permit.
You had to harvest a buck and the intent
of camp deer permit was for a group of
hunters to be able to harvest an extra
deer to be consumed in deer camp. At
that time, deer camps were big all over
northern Michigan and the UP. Generations of families were involved in
deer camps. Many of these deer camps
lasted the entire deer season. Over the
years with older members passing on
and different generations growing up,
these camps are almost a thing of the
In 1966 a resident bear tag was $5
and the cost of a non-resident tag was
$25. The bear tag could be bought over
the counter; no drawing for a tag like
it is today. During the deer season you
could harvest a bear with your deer
Deer season in the UP ran from Nov.
12-27. In the lower it ran from Nov. 1927. Archery deer season ran from Oct.
1-Nov. 5.
Licenses then were sold at sporting-

good stores and written out by hand,

unlike today when they just swipe your
license through a little machine that
then prints off your license. Along with
your hand written hunting license you
were also issued a back tag. This back
tag had a number on it in large print that
was also the same number of your license. This back tag was to be attached
to your back. The intent of the back tag
was for you to be identified by someone
if you were violating.
Pheasant season started on Oct. 20
at 10 a.m. I heard the reason was to allow farmers a chance to get their chores
done on the opener and get a fair chance
at the pheasants as everyone else, not
sure if that is true or not. The 10 a.m.
start time lasted until the mid-1980s.
You couldnt hunt from a raised
platform with a firearm. There were a
lot of counties in southern Michigan
that had Sunday hunting closures. Some
counties you could hunt on state land,
some allowed hunting for waterfowl on
the Great Lakes, some would allow archery but no firearm hunting and some
didnt allow any hunting at all.
Over the years from working many
of these counties I had heard that the
law was in place (since the 1920s) so
farmers wouldnt be bothered with hunters asking for permission to hunt their
land on Sunday, a day that most of them
would be in church. Not sure if this is
accurate information for the purpose of
Sunday closures.
There was some type of closure in
Branch, Hillsdale, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, St Clair, Huron,
Sanilac, Lapeer, Shiawassee, Tuscola
and Washtenaw. Over a period of time
these Sunday hunting closures laws
were repealed.
In the 1969 hunting digest the Department of Conservation is now called
the Department of Natural Resources.
Gun deer season dates are Nov. 15-30.
Archery deer season is Oct. 1-Nov. 14
and again from Dec. 1-31.
They still had camp deer permits.
Gun and archery tags for both residents
went up a whole dime each.
In the 1971 small game and bear
digest it shows there is no closed season
on coyote or fox. There was a bounty on
both coyotes and fox. Females brought
you $20 and $15 for a male. That was
a lot of money back then. You needed
to present the entire carcass to a Conservation Officer or to a DNR Office
within seven days of harvesting the
animal. That is probably why we had so
many more small game animals then as
compared to now. The best I can make
out from the digest that I have is that
the bounty stopped in the mid-1970s.
Its too bad that we dont have a bounty
on coyotes and raccoon now. They kill
a lot of small game animals, including

Top photo: A 1962 back tag hunting license. Bottom photo: Guide books from decades ago were much smaller than current hunting digests. Author photos
coyotes preying on fawns.
Small game license for a resident
was $3.10 and $20.10 for a non-resident.
In 1972, small game license went
up $5.10 for a resident and $20.10 for a
In 1974 and 1975 there was a combined digest for the two years. A deer
tag for a resident was $7.50 and $40
for a non-resident. An archery tag was
also $7.50 and a small game was $5 for
In 1976/1977 waterfowl digest a
state water stamp was $2.10.
Unfortunately, the 1976/1977 waterfowl digest was the last digest my friend
could find.
Its amazing how things have
changed. It wasnt until the late 1990s
that the law changed allowing hunters to
hunt from a raised platform.
The digests I looked at were very
small, just a few pages. Unlike today,
without the advertising and many more
In the 1976/1977 digest it lists the
Hunters Code of Ethics.
1) I will consider myself an invited
guest of the landowner, seek his permission, and so conduct myself that I may
be welcome in the future.
2) I will obey the rules of safe gun
3) I will obey all game laws and
4) I will do my best to acquire those
marksmanship and hunting skills which
assure clean, sportsmanlike kills.
5) I will support conservation efforts
which can assure good hunting for
future generations.
6) I will pass along to younger hunters
the attitudes and skills essential to a true
outdoor sportsman.
They sound corny today when you
read them, but they are so true. If we
could just everyone to follow the Hunters Code of Ethics our sport would be
so much better off!
It took many years for the Sunday
hunting closures to be changed. The
camp deer permit which was abused by

a lot of hunters was changed. I would

check many deer each year in the 1980s
at deer processing plants where I would
find a buck with a camp deer permit
attached but never consumed in deer
camp. Camp deer permits ended in the
mid-1980s, most likely due to the fact
that the DNR started issuing more antlerless permits.
Until the early 1980s your spouse
received a free fishing license once you
bought your own fishing license. There
was a carbon copy of the fishing license
that your spouses name was written
in on. There was a lot of abuse with
the spouse fishing license. People were
giving them to people other than their
They changed the rule on having to
wear a back tag. Many hunters complained when you leaned your back
against a tree it made noise and an
animal could hear it.
No longer can you just buy a bear
tag over the counter, in some bear management units you may have to wait up
to seven years to draw a tag.
There were almost no turkeys back
in the 1960s. Now you can buy a tag
over the counter.
We also have special hunts like the
Liberty and Independence Hunt.
Probably the biggest changes are in
the license we buy. Of course the price
has gone up over the past 50 plus years.
Now you have to buy a base license
at the cost of $11, which allows you to
hunt small game. A single deer license
is $20 and a combo (two kill tags) is
$40. The cost of non-resident licenses is
comparably a lot more than they were in
the 1960s or 1970s.
I do a lot of hunting out of state and
in Canada. A lot of people believe the
license fees in Michigan are too high.
But, I can tell you if you look at the
price of licenses in these other locations you will see that most of them are
higher than in Michigan, especially the
price on non-residents licenses.
Author is Jeff Pendergraff, a retired
Captain with the Law Enforcement
Division of the DNR.n


30th Annual





Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds - Imlay City


Outdoor Exhibits,
Seminars, Puppies
Gun Auction & More


Reader Trail Cam Photos

Send your Reader Trail-Cam Photos to:
Brian Rand
caught this
Oakland County
coyote howling
on trail cam. If
you look closely
you can see the
winter breath of
the coyote.

Here is a picture our friend

Dan Burke
captured on
trail cam of a
bobcat near his
cottage in

Kyle Phillips captured this beautiful trail cam

photo in Hillsdale county of an eagle with a leg
band. Great photo Kyle and thanks for sharing.

Jim Lyons of
Linden got this
black bear on
trail cam in
Manistee County.


Jake Hessler was

able to get this
photo of a hawk
on a carcass with
his trail cam.


Dan Burke got this big black bear on trail cam

near his cottage in Curran.

Russ Videan of Tustin, Michigan sent us this trail cam of two small bucks
facing off.
Rick Krueger got
this picture of
a coyote in his
backyard using
a handheld trail
cam out his back

Jake Hessler also sent us this ghostly pair of whitetail does fighting on their hind legs on trail cam.

Ken Klebba captured this trail

cam photo of a
coyote carrying
away a deer leg
in its mouth. The
trail cam photo
was taken in
Lapeer County.


Rich Perry of
Lowell was
able to get
this trail cam
picture taken
on public land
of a fawn



The Hosmer Mechanical Froggie

was appraising antique tackle at

the Outdoorama in Novi, Michigan and was just finishing going
through an old tackle box when
I looked up and greeted the next
person in line. He was
carrying a dealer box of
Dardevle spoons, which was
not surprising since they are
such a popular lure and were
made only thirty miles from
where I sat. I did a double
take, though, because resting
on top of the box of Dardevles was a Hosmer
Mechanical Froggie,
considered by many
fishing lure collectors
as the most sought
after mechanical frog bait ever! The
wood lure had been fished hard and
showed considerable wear, but it was
still a Hosmer Froggie, one of the
beyond rare lures that I had hoped
one day to add to my collection of
Michigan baits.
This rare frog lure was the creation of John Deibel Hosmer. Born on
July 16, 1892 on the family farm in
Millington, Michigan, he was one of
eight children. His widowed mother
and her remaining children relocated
to Dearborn around 1914, a small
community on the southwest side of
Detroit. Dearborn soon became the

hub for the Ford Motor Company,

which started bringing in assembly
line workers from all over the U.S.
The resulting growth in population
changed the village from 911 people
in 1910 to over 50,000 inhabitants twenty years later!
John married Nettie Johnson in 1911 and the couple
had two children, Walter
Mills and Avis Elaine. The
first occupation I can find
for him was as a machinist
for Ford Motor Company, a
listing from his WWI
Draft Registration.
The 1920 Census
showed his occupation
as a car inspector,
terminal R.R., and by 1930, John had
become successful selling life insurance for the Mutual Life Insurance
Company. He had an affable, pleasant
personality and people naturally liked
The bottom fell out of the economy with the start of the Great Depression in October 1929 including the life
insurance business, and he was soon
out of a job along with millions of
other Americans. Sometime in 1930,
John found employment working for
the city of Dearborn. He remained
One of the earliest examples of a Hosmer Mechanical Froggie - made in Dearborn,
a city employee until his death in
Michigan, circa 1939. Author photo
September 1954 having worked as a
wire, washers and a bunch of screws.
clerk in several departments or as a
I have been told by a Hosmer expert
city messenger delivering mail and
packages to the different departments that each Hosmer Froggie had 55 total
around Dearborn.
John loved to fish for smallHe had problems properly balancmouth and perch, whether it was on
ing the wood body because of all the
a Michigan lake or on fishing trips
metal parts. After working with difto Canada. His favorite was Lake
ferent buoyant woods, he chose balsa
Ocqueoc, which is located between
wood as it performed the best. OnCheboygan and Rogers City and just
the-water testing continued until 1939
off of Hammond Bay on Lake Huron. when John felt his frog was finally
Family outings included John, several finished and ready to market locally.
of his brothers, his son, Walter and
The accompanying photo of John
his grandson, Jack. The family mostly Hosmer was inscribed: 4 -lb. Black
used live bait and was most successful Bass caught by John D. Hosmer, 6052
trolling with night crawler harnesses. Kenilworth Avenue, Dearborn, Mich.
The grandson, Jack Hosmer, told me
in Bass Lake near Camp Morrison,
he lost a green Hosmer Froggie on the Pentwater, Mich. June 30-39, first fish
largest bass he had ever hooked while to be caught on mechanical frog patfishing Lake Ocqueoc many years
ent pending. (Bass Lake is just north
ago. That would be quite a lure to find of Pentwater with a small stream
floating near shore!
emptying into Lake Michigan).
Hosmer was inventive and alAccording to his son, Walter, proways could be found tinkering on
totype models had a rubber vertical
new ideas in the family basement.
rudder extending from the rear of the
He also enjoyed writing and recitfrog. This experimental feature was
ing poetry, especially during fishing
eliminated in the production model.
John, along with his son, Walter,
Lure inventor John Hosmer and a
jigsawed the main body and legs to
4 -lb. Black Bass caught June
1936. Progress was slow because his
shape, as well as built a number of the
30, 1939 the first fish caught on lures design was so complicated.
key metal parts. The brass belly plates
a production Hosmer Mechanical
Besides the wood, there were hinges, were purchased from a local metal
Froggie. Photo courtesy of the
a belly plate, a body shaft, springs and shop while springs, hooks, washHosmer family
brackets, hooks, glass eyes, weedless ers, screws, glass eyes, paint, sealer,


Sporting Collectibles
By Terry McBurney


Hosmers. My guess is that it was in

the late 1930s and possibly in 1939
because the Hosmer Mechanical
Froggie that she inherited was most
likely one of the first to be produced.
The main body is more shaped,
especially the face. The painting is
also less refined as compared to later
production Hosmer Froggies that
have been found. In my opinion, John
found it easier and quicker to jigsaw
the body in a simpler fashion with a
block-shaped head as he made more
of the lures. He also would have gotten better at painting as he produced
more of them.
Her Hosmer Froggie did not sell
at the estate sale she and her siblings
held after her fathers passing. The
remaining items were split up among
family members, and she ended up
with the unknown frog lure. She told
me that the lure was displayed in a
number of rooms in her house over
the years as a reminder of her father.
It made its way to the garage several
times and once she even considered
throwing it out! Fortunately, I am
now the proud owner of this remarkable early version of the Hosmer
Interestingly, a letter written by
John Hosmer to the Paw Paw Bait
Company dated July 1, 1940, was
found by Michigan lure historian and
former Woods-N-Water News writer,
George Richey. The letter was printed
on Hosmers letterhead that read:
J.D. Hosmer Company, Manufacturers of Mechanical Fishing Lures,
6052 Kenilworth Avenue, Dearborn,
Michigan. Hosmer had sent them
one of his lures along with the letter,
which read in part:
I am not at present in a position
to manufacture and market this lure
on a large scale and would therefore
be interested in contacting some company that does have these facilities.
This lure can be made of plastics and
simplified considerably in the frame
construction. Because of its leg action
I believe this lure has great possibilities provided it can be made or sold
for a more reasonable price. The local
stores retail the lure at $1.95 and have
sold them as fast as I can make them.
But the present cost of production is
too great. Therefore, I must make for
other arrangements.
The Paw Paw Bait Company responded with a short note stating that
their 1940 line of baits was complete
and they were not interested in producing his mechanical frog lure.
What Hosmer was not aware of
was that the company had recently
introduced their own mechanical frog
lures in the 1940 PawPaw catalog.
This was for their new Wotta Frog
baits, which came in two sizes, a 3
-inch size and a 4-inch model. Both
became best sellers for Paw Paw,

A near mint example of a green Hosmer Mechanical Froggie along with its original
box. Frank Baron collection

The underside of a Hosmer frog showing the belly plate, weedless hooks, stainless
steel center shaft and hinges. Michael Stevens collection

This extremely rare example of a Hosmer Mechanical Froggie in yellow with box sold
for over $13,000 at auction. Photo courtesy of Langs Sporting Collectibles
especially the smaller size, which retailed for less than $1. The Paw Paw
Bait Company did return the sample
of the Hosmer Mechanical Froggie to
him along with their rejection note.
John Hosmer, with his sons help,
invented and developed a classic lure
that was a marked improvement, a
better bait as compared to the frog
lures produced before theirs. Unfortunately, its complex design was difficult and expensive to produce. It also
must have proved hard to sell since it
was his only product. Furthermore, he
also ran into the challenge of getting
metal parts with the onset of WWII.
Regardless, his creation has proved to
be the most sought after mechanical
frog bait ever manufactured.

Thanks to the following who allowed me to photograph their Hosmer

Froggies: Frank Baron, Sandra Watts,
Michael Stevens, and Langs Sporting Collectibles. Special thanks go to
Jack Hosmer, grandson of John and
Nettie Hosmer, for his help answering
all of my questions. And a special acknowledgement goes to Frank Baron
for his excellent article: The Hosmer
Mechanical Frog Bait in the July
1993 issue of the NFLCC Magazine.
Feel free to contact the author
at with
your questions. Photographs are
important, so please send them. They
help me with identification and give
me an idea of the condition of the


solder and glue were purchased locally. Final assembly was either done by
John alone or in tandem with his son.
Grandson, Jack, remembers many
Saturdays spent sitting on a stool in
his grandfathers basement listening
to the men talk while watching them
hand assemble the Hosmer Froggies.
This would move the timeline for
production starting in 1939 to at least
1946 and after WWII.
John did the final shaping of the
balsa wood parts, as well as all the
painting. The basic wood parts were
first given two or t coats of sealer
then painted with an oil-based paint
the final painting operation was a
coat of clear sealer to further seal and
waterproof the bait.
There were four different Hosmer
Froggie colors according to Walter
Hosmer. The most common color
was green frog with yellow and black
spots, while two other extremely rare
colors have been found and are in the
hands of a few fortunate collectors.
The first is a yellow frog with black
and red spots. The second is a silver
frog with black and yellow spots. The
fourth color mentioned by Walter
Hosmer in a 1988 interview was an
all-black model, which makes a lot of
fishing sense. An all-black Hosmer
Froggie would be the perfect lure
for night fishing. However, to my
knowledge, no black Hosmer Froggie
has turned up to date. To put this into
perspective, finding either a yellow
Froggie or a silver Froggie with a
box in very good condition, each lure
with box would sell for over $10,000
in todays market! Find the missing
all-black Froggie with a box in very
good condition, and the price could
John Hosmer did patent his special frog. He applied for a patent on
May 22, 1939, just a month before he
caught the first black bass on his creation. Patent #2221381 was granted
to him on November 12, 1940.
No local or national ads appeared
to have been run promoting the Hosmer Mechanical Froggie, and no production records have survived, so no
one knows just how many John and
his son, Walter, built between 1939
and for a year or two after WWII.
John would have primarily sold them
locally in the Detroit area through
local sport shops or given them to
family and friends. The best guess is
less than five hundred were made.
The Hosmer Froggie that I appraised at the Novi Outdoorama was
owned by woman from Westland.
It originally was her fathers fishing
lure and was found in his tackle box
after he died. Her father had been
employed by the city of Dearborn and
worked in the department responsible
for surveying and engineering where
his path must have crossed with John


DNR begins new elk tracking

research project in the northern L.P.

A helicopter moves in on elk in the

Lower Peninsula. MDNR photos

An elk lies in the snow,

covered by a net that
just fell from the sky.
A mugger jumps out
of a helicopter, while a
ground team moves in...

One of the goals of this project is to

look specifically at the effects of recreation in the core elk range by tracking elk movements over the next three
years, said Brian Mastenbrook, DNR
wildlife field operations manager.
Michigans core elk range includes the Pigeon River Country State
Forest, which encompasses more than
100,000 acres of public land northeast
of Gaylord in Otsego and Cheboygan
his is net-gunning a process counties.
the Michigan Department
This tracking research project had
of Natural Resources used
been in the works since 2006 and was
recently in the northern Lower identified by the DNRs Elk ManagePeninsula to fit 40 elk with
ment Advisory Team as a subject to be
GPS collars.
The DNR and Michigan State
In the early 1980s, our research
University are jointly funding this
looked at the effects of oil and gas
new tracking project, which is bedevelopment. In the late 1980s, we
ing researched by an MSU graduate
looked at how hunting affected elk
behavior within the elk range, said
Across the country, wildlife
DNR wildlife research biologist Dean
research biologists are interested in
Beyer. Now as time has passed,
the combination of wild animals and
we face new issues. This research is
human activities.
designed to look at elk habitat and



Brad Johnson, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife technician, releases a GPS-collared bull elk that will be tracked in northeast Michigan.

how elk move in relation to human

activities, specifically horseback and
mountain bike riding.
The net-gunning capture effort
began Feb. 14 with a safety meeting
of DNR staff, Michigan State University researchers and a helicopter flight
crew from Texas. In all, about two
dozen people were involved with the
With multiple aircraft, ground
crews and live animals involved,
clear and reliable communication was
needed. Also, the elk would not be
tranquilized, making this collaring
effort unique.
Not tranquilizing an animal
changes the ground game in this collaring. We are handling large animals,
fully aware and capable of moving, so
we need to move quickly, Beyer said.
The elk can then be back on their
way and return to their natural setting.
Fortunately, we have highly qualified
and experienced staff to make this
An adult Michigan elk can stand
up to 5 feet tall at its shoulder and
weigh up to 900 pounds. The male, or
bull, elk hadnt dropped their antlers
at the time of collaring, adding sharppolished bone, weighing up to 40
pounds, into the safety equation.
Crews in two DNR airplanes,
looking down from low altitude, had
no problem locating groups of the
large elk against the white, snowy
Its like hunting for morel mushrooms, said DNR wildlife technician
Mark Monroe. Just like morels, if
one elk is spotted, typically others can
be found because elk are a social
Monroe was leading the ground
team of multiple snowmobiles that
were in constant radio communication
with the two airplanes and the helicopter.
The plane would alert us to the
number of elk theyd spotted, their
location and if they were males or
females, Monroe said. The best re-

ports were multiple elk near a clearing

which is great, because we need the
room to work.
The helicopter crew and the
ground team would develop their plan
the route, number of elk and which
team would go where.
Ground teams would then head in
on snowmobiles.
Timing was important. They
couldnt go in before the elk were netted or they would risk scaring away
the big animals.
Guided by crew in the two DNR
airplanes, the helicopter would fly low
to herd the elk into a safe position for
The net-gun was then fired from
the helicopter to capture the elk.
The mugger is the first person to
get out of the helicopter once the elk
is netted. Muggers hold the net until
others arrive.
Experienced handlers immediately
place a blindfold on the captured elk
and secure the legs with hobbles,
which are small belt-like straps.
Meanwhile, other members of the
team start to remove the tangled bright
orange net from the captured elk.
Now, the crew will fit the elk
with a GPS tracking collar. The collar
sends signals to satellites, providing
researchers with information about the
elks movements and location at any
given time.
The collar is designed to fall off
after three years, eliminating the need
for researchers to handle the elk again.
If elk movement isnt observed, a
distress signal will be sent.
The entire collaring process can
take a three-person ground team about
10 to 15 minutes.
When the teams work is complete, the elk is released by first
removing the hobbles and then the
blindfold, allowing the elk to immediately run off on its own.
During this February outing, the
collaring team worked out of the

New elk tracking project page 82


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Dog Training...By Len Jenkins

Gun Chat...By Lee Arten

Using pheasants in training Useful holsters

f you want to develop your dog as a pheasant hunter, you should use
pheasants in your training regimen. Since the wild pheasant season is
very short and since there are very few pheasants anyway, youll have
to buy pheasants from a licensed gamebird breeder. This is all done
legally and the gamebird breeder will give you a shipping tag with his
license number and a date on it.
You can then use the pheasants you purchased for training your dog.
You can place the pheasant in a gamebird spring launcher which can
be operated mechanically or electronically depending upon the type of
launcher youre using. Place the launcher in the grass so its not visible to
the dog.
Then start working your dog downwind of the bird. When your dog
smells the bird as you work him into the scent cone, youll notice increased animation as he cocks his ears and extends his nose high. His general body language will tell you when he smells the bird. Whoa him. Place
the hitch around his hindquarters and tie your check cord to a sapling or
a whoa stake. Then flush the bird. You can shoot the bird once its in
flight. It was a lot of trouble setting all this up so dont miss the bird! If
you do, however, you cant go after the bird since once the bird is in the
wild he is then property of the state.
Now, if you do this on a licensed shooting preserve of dog training
ground, you can pursue the bird, relocate your dog and shoot the bird. Its
all legal. If you dont have a launcher, you can put the bird to sleep according to this procedure:
1)Tuck the head under a wing. 2) Hold the legs and thighs straight
back. 3) Holding the legs, grasp the tail by holding it down with your
thumb. 4) Place the bird flat on the ground with the breast down. 5) Place
your hand on the vertebrae just above the tail. 6) Let the weight of your
hand stay on the birds back (youll be able to tell when he falls asleep).
7) Make sure the bird remains still with both legs straight back. 8) Walk
away from the bird. 9) The bird should sleep for about ten minutes. 10) If
the legs move or the head comes out from under the wing, you did something wrong (you cant have any jerky movements as you put the bird to
sleep). 11) Try again youll get the right technique with a little practice.
12) After your dog is on point and holding, walk up to the bird and tap
him upward with your toe. 13) If your dog is a flush dog, let him flush the
bird. 14) If you do all this right, make the shot and drop the bird. 15) Have
the dog make the retrieve.
Now when you use pheasants in this manner, you must be smooth
and do the procedure just as described. If you dont do it exactly this way
it wont work. Since youre not going to dizzy or rock the bird, hell fly
hard and fast since he is not disabled in any way. If you miss the bird and
he flies off, youll get a good feeling knowing youve contributed to the
pheasant population (unless youre on a preserve). Hopefully youve purchased more than one bird. Try again. Practice makes perfect!
When you transport your birds have them in a low wooden crate so the
birds cant fly up against the top of the crate and scalp themselves. If you
dont have a crate, put the birds in a burlap bag. They wont get hurt.
If you want to purchase birds or if you want to see this technique
demonstrated, visit my preserve any Sunday bring your dog and shotgun. Youll be very pleased knowing that youve mastered this method of
planting pheasants for dog training or a hunt.n


New elk tracking project: from page 80


DNRs Atlanta field office. The team

met its goal in just two days 20
male and 20 female elk fitted with
GPS tracking collars.
We are very excited about how
quickly we were able to complete this
collaring mission, Mastenbrook said.
Although the project development
itself was years in the making.
Recently, elk population estimates
were made during an airplane survey.
DNR staff flew over the Michigan elk core area for nine days and
observed 1,002 elk situated within 88
transects they flew. This aerial survey
not only provided population esti-

mates, but also showed the location

of elk and the proportion of males to
As responsible managers of
natural resources, we need to understand what, if any, effects recreation
has on our elk, Mastenbrook said.
We are managing wildlife for all of
the people of the state of Michigan.
This type of research gives us information that helps us make the right
management decisions.
To learn more about Michigans
elk populations visit www.michigan.

f I had to reduce my holster collection to one type it would be a

outside the belt holsters worn on the strong side. These holsters are
made for almost all handguns in production now, and were made
for many that are no longer manufactured. They can be had plain, or
in exotic leathers. They are also made in more modern materials like
I have outside the belt holsters for single-action and double-action
revolvers, and various semiautomatic pistols. Although long-barreled
handguns are often carried in shoulder or chest holsters, I have a hip
holster for Smith & Wesson N-frames with eight and three eighths inch
barrels. I used it to shoot a steel plate match with my long-barreled .41
Magnum several years ago. It would also fit long-barreled revolvers in
other calibers including some in .357 and .44 Magnum.
Since these holsters are so common they are often the type
thrown-in with used handguns. I got a Hunter hip holster with the
first .357 Magnum, a Ruger Blackhawk, that I bought in 1979 and am
still using it. More recently I was given a more modern version of the
same design. It seems sturdier, and doesn't have the scuffs and dings
from years of use. It will work just about the same as the old one but
look better.
Holsters that are more decorative but work the same way, include
single-action designs like the Slim Jim. Often made for long-barreled
single actions, these were developed in the Old West. I just saw photos
of a couple of beautifully done Slim Jims that were made recently.
Belt holsters from Ted Blocker and El Paso Saddlery for double
action revolvers are in my collection. Made for four-inch duty type
revolvers, they don't have the lines of some single-action holsters but
they are good leather. I wore the Ted Blocker holster while trout fishing
and carried a S&W M28 revolver. The holster kept the big .357 close to
my side and carrying it wasn't difficult. On other trips I carried a
S&W M58 in the El Paso Saddlery No. 88. It also worked well.
Some shooters would be likely to pick inside the belt holsters as the
most useful. I have two made of horsehide, by Kramer, and one or two
others made of cowhide. I like the quality of the leather work, and the
lightness of the horsehide. I got a deal on each of the Kramer holsters. I
thought they'd get more use but I'd get rid of many other holsters before
That's not true of another type of holster. I had two paddle holsters,
made with a stiff flap of leather that goes inside the belt with the holster
outside. The type is convenient when one has to disarm frequently. I
still have a hybrid paddle holster, with a flap and a belt loop on one
side. It isn't perfect but is steadier on the belt. The pure
paddle holster I owned was made well, but it moved too much on the
belt for my taste. There was just enough movement to be distracting. I
sold the holster after a couple of years.
Shoulder holsters are another type I thought would suit me better
than they have. The one I've used most is a Thompson Center Arms
leather holster for the Contender pistol. I hunted deer with my Contender for a few years using a barrel in .357 Maximum. Almost forgotten now, the .357 Maximum was a hot .357 caliber pistol round with
a lengthy case. I shot many .38 and .357 Magnum reloads in practice,
and in NRA Hunter's Pistol Silhouette matches with the Max. I used the
TCA holster and a camouflage shoulder holster made of nylon to carry
the Contender in the woods.
The TC holster came from a gun store holster box and I didn't pay
much for it. The camouflage holster may have been bought new, but if
so it was also on sale. I have a Hunter shoulder holster that fits a Colt
1911. It doesn't fit me as well as it does the Colt. I should probably sell
For carrying a small handgun, like a S&W J-frame, pocket holsters
work well and three or four are in my holster accumulation. The Uncle
Mike's Size 3 gets a lot of use. A Mika holster, for a snubnose K-frame,
makes a good coat pocket holster. Nylon pocket holsters should be
replaced often. The older they get the more they tend to come out of
the pocket with the gun still inside them. That could be distracting right
when it was time to concentrate on other things altogether.
As stated above, nylon holsters have been around for years. I've
used some of them without complaint. Kydex and Kydex and leather
hybrid holsters are common now but, so far, I don't have any. Perhaps
I'm a holster dinosaur but, so far, leather holsters suit me best. I expect
that to continue to be the case.n

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A Michiganders dream fulfilled

By Joe Bednar weeks without daylight,

and potentially unfriendly bands of Eskimos. Igloo living she

argued would not suit us.
The looking got more serious
starting around 2010, when I realized
at the rate I was proceeding I may
only be able to tour my property using a walker or wheelchair someday,
if that. So there were more scouting
trips after finding listings with potential, and visiting some land auctions
where I even raised my hand a few
times. But all candidates with the right
features, including a close enough
distance from us, were beyond what
we could afford.

The Search

The Find

For decades I felt I knew what

I wanted, probably ever since I was
about 10 years old and I recently just
turned 50. The property had to have
enough area to stomp around on and
hold wildlife, preferably be surrounded by other decent country, and have
or touch some water that can sustain
fish, or possibly have a pond building site. As the casual looking around
continued over the years, I also feared
that if it was too far away we wouldnt
get there enough to fully enjoy it, and
maybe to actually live on it while still
holding the jobs we were lucky to
Also my wife was not on board
with anything too distant, especially
going further north which I believe
beckoned. She loves our summer trips
that way but firmly believes anything
north of Lansing is unforgiving Arctic
territory in winter, complete with


marauding polar bears,

ike no doubt other

outdoor enthusiasts, Ive often
dreamed of having my own
hunting, shooting, hiking and
possibly even fishing property
for the family to enjoy and maybe live
on too, as well as hopefully pass on
to future generations. OK the dream
wasnt really that noble, its focus had
been mainly on me to enjoy, though
Id let family and friends also partake
some (strictly under my self-serving
rules so they wouldnt diminish my
fun). In any case, after decades of
dreaming about this I finally did
something about it, and thought Id
share the story here.

Then in 2012, the search took a

very different direction, and I flat out
got lucky. Going on three years of
futility, more if you count the
decades of longing, I used county
parcel maps with overhead photos
and property owner identities, and
plenty of driving, to note nearby
good ground that wasnt for sale, but
the owner I thought could be
interested. This of course would be
depending on their situation, but these
sections of their farms werent being
used for farming itself due to marshes,
steep woods, and other features.
I wrote a bunch of polite letters
to the owners of these properties to
inquire, heard from a couple, and
amazingly, it happened. A really good
and generous guy Im lucky to still
call my friend, it came together as we
pulled it off without realtors and attorneys, but we still carefully covered the

The authors pond turned out great too, with a bluegill and bass population already

84 thriving while also serving as a wildlife magnet.

The author is living the dream instead of just still dreaming. He walks right out the
back door to hunt, target shoot or fish, or enjoy other outdoor time. Author photos
bases as he sold us 14 acres of ground
not suited to farming, a small piece of
his large family farming operation.
We now had our property! We
closed on it in early 2013, not very
large to many people at 14 acres, but
big to those of us who never owned
more than a half-acre. Its beautiful
rolling terrain with steep woods and
marsh including adjacent pond potential, great location, road frontage and
even a perfect building site if we ever
got to that.

it would collapse very soon, so we

needed a self-reliant home on our
new country ground with its natural
resources for sustenance. Our life savings and current income would soon
be worthless anyway, so lets use it
all right now. It was the smart thing to
In 2014 I tried to get the home
underway, couldnt bring it together
including the finances, then decided
to wait on that part but had to have a
pond to help sustain the family with
fresh fish for when we did build.
Even if we couldnt build as soon as
We quickly fell in love with the
we wanted, we needed those fish for
place, putting in an access drive,
our immediate survival if we camped
trails, a shooting range, camping
there full time after the Apocalypse.
spot I was there almost every
Like most everything else I try to
evening on patrol, if not working on
do, there was much more to that than
my projects. But then my obsessive
I thought, steps such as permits and
compulsive side really took over,
timber removal then the major excamore than anything it ever consumed vation work contracted out, and we
before, which is saying a lot given my did end up with a small but beautiful
past madness including detailed writ- fishing pond by the end of the year.
ten records of every one of thousands
Then in 2015 my tangled plan
of fish Ive caught in my life, down to to build a home on our budget was
the tiniest bluegill. Now I wanted it
launched, though maybe not as well
all, had to have it the property, the
thought out as it should have been. To
fishing too (by way of a new pond),
summarize the process, it was long
and yes, the home.
and involved in large part because I
We had to find a way to live there. also convinced myself it must be no
If we didnt this beautiful little nature ordinary home like weve had so far.
preserve and all its wildlife would be It had to fit the new self-reliant lifein serious jeopardy, right? Of course
style required in a collapsed society
nothing had harmed it for centuries as smaller, using much less energy and
best we could tell, but I was conat least partly our own resources, so
vinced we were critically needed as
wood heat and maybe a conventional
permanent park rangers, just in case.
back-up system.
Everything quickly escalated,
Also it must be log or log-sided. I
finances be damned! Part of my ratio- argued it had to be this way so I could
nalizing included trying to convince
use raw trees to repair or modify it
my family that society as we knew
when such supplies as vinyl siding

But Then

A Michiganders dream fulfilled and it

was Michigan made, nature friendly

and drywall are no longer available.

Plus I always liked to think I was
meant to be a northwoods fur trapper
from yesteryear, though Id so far
only managed to trap a few problem
moles from my suburban lawns.

And Then Again

Just getting started was quite the

undertaking, also with the budget
being tough, I planned to do a significant amount of the work myself. Then
a big surprise came when my friend,
the farmer who sold us the property,
planned to retire and sell the adjoining farm itself. He offered us the
rest of the farms connected untilled
ground at a very generous price
but I was already under multiple
contracts and commitments to begin
the housebut this was once in a
lifetime, no way would I be ever have
another chance to live on what would
now be a total of about 38 acres of
beautiful nature.
So again, we had to. All the chips
went in, our life savings, a big chunk
of our retirement, revamped the sons
college financing, cut everything else
to the bare bone, wed live on strictly
bugs and other wild edibles if we had
to. The grasshoppers on our new
ground were extra-large and juicy at

Offering affordable,
exceptional, quality hunting
and fishing experience.


least, crunchy hot dogs with legs and

wings. I was out of my mind and my
wife seemed to be too. A sane wife
would have drowned me in the pond
by now. Id be turtle chow.

So At Last

I cant say it all went smoothly,

but we ended up in a beautiful log
sided house on our now larger piece
of nature, with a pond thats doing
very well too. Were utterly broke,
also since as I write this we havent
completed the sale of our last house.
But were beyond blessed in all
other ways, and if actual money
soon doesnt matter, who cares?! Of
course if society doesnt collapse, we
have more hard work and saving to
do, to get back on our feet financially.
Well that about sums it up, after
about four decades of not taking action, Im living the dream instead of
just still dreaming. We walk right out
the back door to hunt, target shoot
or fish, or enjoy other outdoor time,
like taking a stroll on our own trails
through scenic woods and fields,
something we do almost every day.
I have to be one of the luckiest
guys in Michigan. If I dont deserve
to get to heaven one day, I really cant
complain. Im already there.n

On Wood, Gas & Pellet

As the journey to accomplish the dream home out in nature accelerated, I started to
also obsess about making the once-in-a-lifetime effort even more complete and satisfying by trying to use almost entirely my home states sources of materials and work, and
leave a limited, nature-friendly footprint. OK, like the property itself these goals also
werent entirely noble. I simply needed to save all the money I could on utilities since
the project was already breaking the bank.
We used Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) manufactured by Porter SIPs in Holland,
Michigan, for the walls and roof. Surrounded by my favorite part of the project - cedar
log siding and interior cedar walls from Rapid River Rustic, in the UP. town of Rapid
River, using Michigan cedar from nearby cedar swamps. Insulated Concrete Form
blocks were used for the basement, from Harbor Design Center in Harbor Springs,
though I think the blocks themselves are manufactured in Elkhart, Indiana.
Heating and cooling is from a high-tech ductless heat-pump system designed for
cold climates, though were using a woodstove all we can in winter. The open layout of
the loft-style house distributes woodstove heat well. The approach also removed the
need for propane. We wanted to be less dependent on conventional energy sources so
electricity is the only utility. We might add solar panels or windmill power eventually
to help generate electricity. The heat pump is very efficient so far in terms of electric
costs, but currently seems to struggle if we dont also use the woodstove when temps
hit the single digits and below, which luckily isnt often in our part of Michigan.
All other sources were from Michigan, at least in the sense of the retail material sources, and definitely all the hands-on work. The major construction aspects,
an unusual build for our area with the SIPs, ICFs and cedar logs, were from Straight
Arrow Construction in Battle Creek, and all the subcontractors were from the area,
handled by either Straight Arrow or me. I did a fair amount of finish work and some
other aspects myself to save money, screwing much of that up and creating headaches
for others.
Incidentally the pond turned out great too, with a bluegill and bass population
already thriving while also serving as a wildlife magnet and the pond work was from
Mid-Michigan Ponds in Bath.
Overall this project of a lifetime just turned out fantastic, thanks to everyone involved, all of them my fellow Michiganders. Most of those I got to know along the way
were fellow outdoors enthusiasts as well, and we were all excited about accomplishing
this outdoors paradise. I almost cant believe we pulled it off and we couldnt be happier
with our dream house, property and pond and plan to enjoy the rest of our days here
in the great state of Michigan.

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Goose Hunts
Youth Deer Hunts
Turkey Hunts Coyote Hunts
Whitetail Hunts


Dog Training...By Charlie Linblade



Q) I have a four month old Brittany Spaniel that I am working

with. He is very smart and loves to please but at times he will not listen. I am currently using a shock collar to get him to obey the commands and it usually works well. Lately he has taken to heeling or
just sitting down when I put it on him. The trainer that I am working
with says I should turn up the juice until he submits. What is your
opinion? Karl O. Grand Rapids
A) I would not keep turning the juice up if he heels or sits down
and refuses to move on. That is usually a sign that the dog does not
understand and is giving up. A sixteen week old pup is not ready for
advanced training and should be allowed to mature more before moving into complex situations. I would find a new trainer who understands dogs better and isn't so focused on punishment training.


Q) My vet and my wife are telling me my male Lab needs to be

neutered. They say it will calm him down and prevent him from
roaming when there is a female dog in heat in the neighborhood.
They also said it will stop him from peeing on stuff to mark his territory. When I was young we didn't neuter our dogs, why is there such
a push to do it now days? Glen N. Royal Oak
A) First off lets call it what it is, castration. Dogs are the only
animal where it is called neutering. I have heard that song and dance
before and don't buy it. I only neutered for cause. Either aggression
or sexual issues that cannot be resolved are the only valid reasons.
I believe everything else is your vet giving a sales pitch to your
wife. I have five fertile females and seven intact male dogs. There is
no fighting or aggression issues and my males do not run off when
neighboring dogs are in heat. This is more of the opinion of the
Humane Society than actual scientific facts. In fact if you look at the
science you will see the experts are advising that you wait until at
least eighteen months of age to allow for complete muscle development. The truth is they do not develop the same mentally either. If
you wanted a female you should have bought one instead of trying to
make your male into a female.
Q) I am training my own Lab to pheasant hunt. My wife wouldnt
let me send him out for four months of training like the breeder
suggested so Im trying to do it myself. My problem is trying to get
him to come back when we are out in the field. He does eventually
but sometimes it takes him ten minutes or so. I don't like the idea of
shock collars or any of the punishment based methods and heard you
used positive reinforcement methods. What do you suggest?
Richard C. Grosse Pointe
A) I agree with your wife. It doesn't take four months to get a Lab
under reasonable control when pheasant hunting. But I don't agree
with your assessment of electronic collars. And granted, when used
the wrong way they can be a punishment tool. But when used correctly they are a great training aide. You should book a session with
me. I can teach you a lot in an hour's time.
Q) I have a new English setter pup and I was looking for advice on
what I should be doing with her before she goes for field training.
She is sixteen weeks old now. Mike B. Trenton
A) At sixteen weeks you should be teaching her how to walk on
leash without dragging you. I use a slip lead and tug back while
saying "Close." The harder she tugs the more I'll stop and calm her
down. The "Close" command will come in handy later in the field. I
would work with getting her to come to you. Start with treats, then
move to praise as the reward. I would also be walking her off leash
in areas that were safe and gave enough room to catch her if she
takes off.
Q) I am new to Michigan and was introduced to grouse hunting this
past fall. I love the woods here in Michigan and want to get a dog
to hunt with. Do you have any recommendations as to which breed
would be best suited for grouse hunting Michigan?
Darrell M. Birmingham
A) Of course I do. That would be a wing shooters English setter!
Actually I'm just kidding you I don't think there is one breed that
would be considered best for grouse. I have seen excellent grouse
hunting dogs from over a dozen different flushing, retrieving and
pointing breeds. It really depends on the owner and what they are
looking for. The key is to decide what your favorite breed is and
select the best hunting stock you can find.n

Is your family prepared

for a home intruder?
By Tricia Auten

Editors Note: Tricia Autens column was incorrectly published in the March 2016 issue.
We apologize for the error and encourage readers to join Pretty Hunter and Williams Gun
Sight (in Davison) for a Ladies Self Defense Night, March 24, 6:30 call 248-770-7988 to
register. For more information; and
recently have given a lot of thought to how prepared I would be if
someone were to break into our home, moreover, how prepared my
kids would be if faced with that situation. This thought has come
and gone over the years and I have shoved it in the corner, not doing anything about it, concluding that the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim.
Just because one might live in an area where folks dont ever lock
their doors and the crime rate is low does not mean that it wont happen. As for the families that live out on a quiet piece of property, a
few acres, complete privacy, they also are not exempt from bad people
coming onto their land.
God forbid anything like that happen to anyone, but what if it did?
How prepared would you be?
Where do you start when it comes to talking to kids about preparedness against bad people? Perhaps we enlighten them that BAD
PEOPLE do exist and help them to not be nave when it comes to this.
In the world today, we tend to think we protect, when a lot of times we
shelter our children from the world and they may not know entirely
what is out there. Help them to understand what could happen if a bad
person were to try and invade your home.
Then talk about where would be the smartest place in your home to
go if someone broke in. Because the reality is most of us didnt figure
in a panic room in the blueprints! I was really impressed when I had
this conversation with my clan! The input from the kids was logical
and made good sense, as a family we confidently determined what
part of the house made the most sense to
retreat to if someone uninvited entered.
Next step is talking about defense. I
am going to try and summarize the best
I can after doing some research I now
realize this could be a five-part article
itself! There some great suggestions out
there from various sources, formulating
what weapon would be the best for you
and your family, but every family and
their house have several variables that
are different. So what may work for Joe
Schmoe down the way who swears by his
super heavy, tricked out AK may not work
for you!
A few of my favorites are a 9mm with
a larger capacity magazine, intruders usually have help, so I increase my chances
of stopping all of them and ensuring my
familys safety. Furthermore, a 9mm with
13 rounds vs. a 45cal with 7 bullets could
save your life.
Another favorite gun that makes a
lot of sense for women and children is a
simple and light 20 gauge. I am going to
speak for most all women when I say that
if you are face to face with an intruder
and your children are behind you is that
one arm is holding that gun and the other
is on the children. So ladies choose a gun
that you can manage with one hand.
No matter what weapon you determine is best for you and your familys
safety, get to know your weapon! Use it,
and learn how to correct a malfunction.
Just having a gun in your house does not
make you proficient with it.
I sincerely hope this provokes some
thought when it comes to the safety of
your family in your home and what precautions and defense you may choose to
ensure that safety. Watch for more on this
topic in articles to come!n

Woods-N-WaterNews Classified Section




Clean. Never used. As seen on TV.
Cost $1700. Sell for $695. 989-8322401. M-4-14-TFN
pillowtop mattress set. New. Sell all
for $275. 989-923-1278.
SIZE $199. 5 drawer log chest
$199. Good quality. Lowest prices in
Michigan. 989-839-4846. M-4-14TFN
LOG BUNK BEDS. $495. Amish
lodge furniture. Call Dan 989-8321866. M-4-14-TFN

TIMBER: Buying all types of timber, 5 acres or more, top price paid.
Cash in advance. Improve wildlife
habitat. Patco Forest Products, 989539-7588 after 6 p.m.


Party store on Black River in
Tower, MI. The only store in
town. Liquor, wine, Lotto, DNR
Licenses, live bait. Village Post
Office rents a room in the building. Located in the heart of
Pigeon River State Forest.
Excellent hunting and fishing in
area. Store has been in operation for 30 years on high traffic
M-68/33 Hwy. Over $500K
gross in 2015 asking $250K +
inventory. Owners are retiring.
989-733-2480. FS-2-3

on the Cheboygan River/Island
Waterway. Private Dockominium
community. Bathhouse, water, electric, dedicated parking. Easy access
to Lake Huron, Mullet Lake, Burt
Lake and beyond. Steps to downtown, shopping, restaurants. $2000.
Call or text 517-712-0448.

Subscribe Today!
(810) 724-0254

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Use one of these useful classified categories...
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RR = Resorts/Rent
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T = Taxidermy
TK = Trucks
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W = Wanted


POND SUPPLIES: Live gamefish for stocking. Large selection of
lake, pond and water garden supplies. Free catalog! Stoney Creek,
Inc., Grant MI, (800) 448-3873, F-4-7
TRIP. Want to go fishing?
Book early and save. One of
Ontario's best multiple fish
lakes, fish for Walleye, Northern, Small Mouth, Lake Trout,
Perch and other fish. Well
spaced out log & framed cabins, boats have electric start 15
hp Yamaha 4 stroke motors,
depth finders and swivel seats.
$399 U.S. funds if booked before March with a group of 4 or
more (2 people per boat) www. or
toll free 1-877-434-2440. F11-TFN

(Please print clearly. We are not responsible for unreadable orders.)

Make sure phone number is included in your ad!


(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)







(13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18)
































Enclosed is $for
words to runmonths.



black Bear Hunts Bergland Unit.
Call Shawn Montie at 906-3641678 or 906-842-3322. H-4-3
25 years experience guiding for deer
and bear. Baited stands in Amasa,
Baraga, and Bergland Units. Lodging
Available. Call Ray at 906-265-9420
or cell (906) 284-2216. Licensed and
Insured. H-3-6
BEAR HUNTS: Booking now for
Spring and Fall of 2016. Includes
comfortable cabin, boat and motor,
baited stands. Very experienced
guides. High success rate. 3 hours
from the Soo. References on request.
$960 U.S. 705-869-3272 H-10-12-15

provide four day hunts. Thousands of
acres. Farm stands. Lodging.
Nation's top big buck areas. $795.
270-213-0528. H-4-1
BEAR HUNTS. Newberry/
Gwinn B.M.U. 1st, 2nd, 3rd seasons. Seven day hunt/lodging/
bear. Year around lodge. Great
area for fishing, grouse hunting
and 4-wheeling. Convenience
store, 39 years of business.
State and Federally licensed.
Contact: Tom Losiewski, North
Country Hunting Adventures.
1-269-330-0480. Like us on
Facebook. H-4-5


Woods-N-Water News Classified Advertising



Quality club, camp and facilities (also
turkey, small game) West Branch Hale area. Tremendous value and
opportunity. Stag. $1375 per year. See: or phone
Dan 989-893-5819. H-3-2
Hunt Trophy Bucks on one of my
thousands of acres of large private
farms with stands. October
Muzzleload hunt and November Rifle
hunt in Kentucky. Early November
Muzzleload hunt and December Rifle
hunt in Tennessee. September and
October Bow Hunt. FREE
BROCHURE 270-498-3374.
HUNTING. Bergland Unit
now booking first and second
season. Guided hunting trips.
Jeff 231-740-5266 or Chris 231215-4100. H-4-2

Private, gated paradise on Big
Manistee River offers large, wooded
sites, full hook-ups, easy access to
Lake Michigan beaches. Long season. Gorgeous newly built sites!
Coho Bend - 231-723-7321 R/R-4-7
50 ACRES totally private lake in
Western Lake County near Branch
on 2000 acre family preserve. 3
bedroom cottage with boats, beach,
large dock, swim raft, swings, fire pit,
etc. Excellent fishing for bass, pike,
trout and panfish. Miles of streams
and hiking trails. Caretaker lives on
property 1 mile away. $950 week.
248-559-7744. R/R-4-2
COTTAGES Baldwin area
1,425 all sport lake frontage, 45
semi-rustic sites, four clean modern
cottages. www.lakecamp-cottages.
com 231-745-7268.

SW or South Central MI. Minimum of
80 acres and will pay up to $25/acre
for quality habitat. Father/son combo
wanting to establish long term relationship. Over 20+ years of successful leasing relationship experience.
269-312-8761. HL-2-4

$18,500. Build single ranch
later. Connected to 7 other
lakes = 18 miles of boating.
WATERFRONT lot/boat slip
Cell 313-570-9362. RE-4-2

61 ACRES, full-service cabin
sleeps 10, pond, creek, wooded,
secluded retreat, sheds and stands,
snowmobiling, Osceola County,
$159,000 989-365-3796, 616-2321734. RE-4-1
PARCEL Excellent hunting 1320 x
1320 paved road frontage Jasper
Townshp Midland County Section 13
possible land contract asking
$99,900 call 989-681-3312 or email RE-4-3
THAT IS TRULY TURNKEY! This 3 bedroom, 2 bath
ranch has been meticulously
cared for over the last 11 years
of ownership with many updates
made to the home. Back deck
overlooking 2 acres which
backs up to a blueberry field for
added privacy. 2.5 car garage
and a new 12'x16' shed. This
place is ready to go! Call John
Stanley at (989) 876-8171 for a
tour today!
only section -- shallow river) family
fun all year around cabin,12303 Cold
River Dr SE, Fife Lake, MI 49633) 2
bedrms, with a large Loft and 1 full
bath 1100 sqft (TURN KEY) many
updates; metal roof, boiler heat and a
wood stove, 25x50 pole barn, 50 feet
from river see add on craigslist for
pics-under log cabin-northern MI.
734-395-5421 RE-4-1
PROPERTY. 20 wooded acres,
nature trails, borders state land by
McCormick Lake (rainbows, browns,
smallies). Montmorency County.
2008 Sweetwater home, log siding,
hickory cabinets, central heat/air,
walk-out basement, outside wood
burner plus hunting cabin and
garage. Wildlife paradise (deer, turkey, grouse, bear, elk). ORC trails
nearby. $195,000. 989-858-1182.
40 ACRES. Wooded/brushy,
about 1/4 mile from Taquamenon
River. Surrounded on two sides by
miles of public land by Newberry.
Owner 231-215-3098. $45,000.
FRONT, Sits high, over-looking a
wildlife bog. 50% wooded 518 x
1332 Goodland Twp. Lapeer
County $64,000. Just Land Sales
586-419-6716. RE-4-1
CAMP. 2 Elevated blinds in place.
330 x 1324, 50% wooded. Lynn Twp.
St Clair County. $43,000. Just Land
Sales 586-419-6716. JustLandSales.
com RE-4-1

Classifieds Work!


Woods-N-WaterNews Classified Section




throwback to the past, this is a great
opportunity to own an operating
resort on the shores of Paradise
Lake just south of Mackinaw City.
Turnkey resort business comes with
professional website and large book
of repeat business and opportunity to
grow. Could make a fun family retreat
or operate as a business. #445607,
$394,900 Bill Winslow (231) 8385263 Coldwell Banker Schmidt
Realtors 420 Hoard St. Petoskey.
FARMLAND, with 2 Road Fronts
641 x 1181 with 192 on Vandyke
Evergreen Twp. Sanilac County.
$62,500. Just Land Sales. 586-4196716.
is leased for farming, the other
is deer country. Huge sanctuary, lots
of ambush funnels. 2640 x 221940% wooded Mussey Twp. St Clair
County. $419,000. Just Land Sales.
ACRES, excellent hunting, a creek.
& 2 Rd. Frontages 1320 x 1320
90% wooded. Burnside Twp., Lapeer
County. $102,000. Just Land Sales.
586-419-6716. RE-4-1
40 ACRES, 3 buildings, small
pond, 2 wells, cedar swamp, 70%
Wooded, Avery Twp., Montmorency
County, Atlanta, MI. $60,000. Just
586-419-6716 RE-4-1
SELLERS, It is time, to put your
Hunting Land, on the market. We are
here to help you. Just Land Sales.
36 ACRES. Near Torch Lake,
Traverse City, Charlevoix. Mostly
wooded. 2 bdrm like-new home.
Quiet. Wildlife. $145,000. 9012
Manley Rd. Alden MI (269) 7205264. RE-3-2
40 WOODED ACRES - surveyed and fenced with three elevated
blinds. Gladwin, MI. Asking $72,000
Call 734-854-6904 and leave a message. RE-2-3


$95,000. 20 acre marsh with fishpond great for deer and duck hunting. $39,000 in future CRP payments
over next 15 years to new owner.
Email or
call 989-868-4518.
ACRES between Hillman and
Atlanta. Michigan Elk capital.
Clearing with 35 ft. mobile camper.
Well water, electricity, propane gas,
secluded but close to roads and
conveniences. Great retreat for hunters or family $45,000. Open to offers.
Call Helen 248-210-6414. Randy
989-255-2169 Real Estate One.
HILLS AREA, Lenawee Co.
Mostly wooded with some mature
trees & scrub. A great spot to build,
hunt or invest. Only $43,900. Offers
desired. Call Diana at Faust Real
Estate, LLC 517-270-3646. F-539
PARCEL located in Northwestern
Lenawee County, Addison School
District. Close to several state highways. Two acres of woods with creek
running through corner. Surveyed!
$27,900. Call Diana at Faust Real
Estate, LLC 517-270-3646.
Farms, vacant land or recreational
parcels throughout Michigan. Call
Doug Beasley at Faust Real Estate,
LLC 517-260-2939. RE-4-1
Spectacular 41.87 rolling acres offering extremely desirable hilltop building site with 360 degree scenic
views. Consists of nearly 30 acres
open and rolling with the balance
wooded and exceptional hunting
cover along with a 16' stocked pond.
Natural gas available. Fabulous
horse/hobby farm potential. Asking
$165,000. Call Owner/Broker, R&J
Properties, Real Estate (989) 6609033. RE-4-1


FDSB - Parents hunted on woodcock,
grouse, pheasant, quail. Wormed &
vaccinated. Can be seen at: Cabela's
- Dundee March 18, 25, Apr. 1. Jays
- Clare March 19, 20, 26, 27 April 2-3.
Grayling Sportsman Club March 23,
30. Saginaw Gun Club March 24, 31.
Call before you travel. 810-280-8597.
Also have 2 Brittany pups. D-4-1
world record holder and Hall of
Famer David Grubb. Only trainer in
history to win all 5 gun dog championships. (did it twice) Dog training
book for sale and stud service. (248)
391-1446. D-7-TFN-15
CHESAPEAKES: Started dark
brown. 8 month old. Beautiful
female Chesapeake. Obedient, collar conditioned and
force fetched. Introduced
to upland hunting. $1200.
Call Tom, 810-650-4711.


ITS BEST! by Paul
Rheaume. Over 30 years
experience with pointing and
flushing breeds. All inclusive 4
week class that is customized
to meet your dog's needs.
Excellent for young dogs starting out, for experienced dogs
tuning up, or for dogs with
issues. $600. Find us on
Facebook or online
Rheaume's Kennel. (989) 8648606. D-3-7

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It is estimated that 10% of all the fishermen

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P o s t a g e

I n c l u d e d






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and females available. Excellent hunting dogs and superb
family pets. Close working dogs
with strong point and retrieve
instincts. Reasonably priced for
the sporting family. Money back
guarantee. Eulenhof Kennels,
Gladwin, MI.
989-426-4884 D-3-2

email: website:

Heres your
guide to


Pages 89-97


VERY RARE LAKE FRONT - On Hillview Lake, east of Big Rapids, 23 acres,
cabin and 1700+ feet of waterfront. Family, Corporate, Development potential. $449,000


great boating. Newly renovated. This is a Knock-Out Waterfront property. $169,900





YOUNGS LAKE - Delightful year round, 2-3 bedrooms, one bath. Great
view from both decks, 20x40 garage with work/shop area. $89,900


CORNER 20 ACRES - 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, home with finished work

shop in garage plus 48x44 pole barn, Quality construction. $249,000


DEER HUNTERS 40 ACRES - On paved road, wooded and tillable.

McDuffee Creek flows through, great place to build your cabin. $80,000



Jack Frizzell

715 Finns Bay Road

Echo Bay, Ontario CAN POS 1C0

Telephone: (705) 248-9663 FAX: (705) 248-1110

Email: Website:


155 Acres * Farmland & Hunting Property Gratiot Co.

Sale held at Ithaca Community Center, ITHACA, MICHIGAN. Located at 120 N. Maple Street. One block
west of traffic light. downtown Ithaca, then turn north back of Fire Hall, Gratiot County.


Section #19
Elba Twp.
Gratiot Co.

60 Acres Vacant Farmland
51 Tillable Acres
Small pocket of woods
Good mixture of soils
Plastic tile at 50 spacing
Good drain outlets
Not in PA-116
Farm NOT rented for 2016
Surveyed property

Section #19
Elba Twp.
Gratiot Co.

Section #24
Washington Twp.
Gratiot Co.

37.5 Acres vacant farmland
Approx. 25 tillable acres
Nice woodlot at back of farm
Good mixture of soils
Plastic tile at 50 spacing
Good drainage outlets
Not in PA-116
Not rented for 2016
Surveyed property

58 Acres hunting property

Big trees and cut over areas
Property surrounded by
Bear Creek & Maple River
on the property
Notorious Big Buck Country
Deeded Easement access
Surveyed property


60 ft long garage with a 14 ft tall truck bay, 40 ft deck
with an enclosed patio and mud room, a minute away
from RV trails. LC terms possible. $48,750

Call Jack Payne, Associate Real Estate Consultants



Directions to the Properties: East of Ashley on M-57 to McClelland Rd.

Turn south 1 mile to the properties.

on Tittabawassee River near Gladwin. On 35

Acres, Restaurant/Lounge, Motel Suites, Log
Cabins, River Cabins w/Jacuzzis

* Please see for all maps, aerials & information

Pauline Hanus Trust, Owner

Indoor Heated Pool w/Jacuzzi, Banquet

Hall, Equestrian Riding Arena. More acreage
available and possible Hunting Lodge.

CONTACT JAY 586-484-1120 OR ROBERT 586-246-6100







Hunting is
superb on
this land, at
least 1 deer
off it for the
last 25 years,
usually 3 or 4.

1320 ft X 3960
ft. Asking
$500,000. Call
Sharon @ 810441-6002 or





Sharon LaFrance
Im not #1, you are.

844 Van Dyke ALMONT


Hunting Fishing Waterfront Land

CARIBOU LAKE LOG CABINS - Private resort 80 acres waterfront, 3

properties, House, shop, 9 cabins, 10 trailer sites. 4800 ft. waterfrontage. $349,900. Cdn. = $251928. US funds*

PENNEFATHER UNORGANIZED TOWNSHIP - 560 Acres mixed hardwood, Hunt cabin, trails, hills, bear moose deer.
$149900. Cdn = $107928. US Funds*

SEARCHMONT, ONTARIO - 48.5 Acres recreation land on Achigan

River, private road in. Adjacent public lands fishing, hunting, trails,
skiing. $39,900. Cdn = $28728. US funds.*

LAKE SUPERIOR WATERFRONT LOT - 1 Acre, sheltered bay deep

water, Bunkie, Garage, entrance $129900. Cdn = $93528. US Funds*

LAKE LAUZON WATERFRONT - 1200 sq ft home, 155 ft on water,

immaculate updated with Walk out bsmt. Dock, deck, carport 1.6
hrs. From International Bridge. $259,900. Cdn = $187128 US funds.*
cottage, guest cottage and garage. Clean clear water, fishing, sailing, swimming , some sand at water. Ready for your family. Asking
$154900. Cdn = $111528 US Funds*

HARMONY BAY LAKE SUPERIOR - Entrance, septic, sheltered bay

$79900. Cdn = $57528.US Funds*
ST JOSEPH ISLAND - 40 Acre commercial corner plus hardwood lot
$99900. Cdn = $71928 US Funds*
ST JOSEPH ISLAND - Waterfront cottage/home 4 bdrms, fireplace,
sand beach, great fishing recreation area.
$169900. Cdn = $122328 US Funds*
*Exchange Rate Subject to Change*

189 EAST ST.

Sault Ste.

(705) 256-0680

Broker of record




Land and Lakes Real Estate Co.

"Serving the NorthCentral Upper Peninsula"

Phone: (906) 387-5100
Land And Lakes Real Estate Is Proud To Announce Our Exclusive Partnership With LANDLEADER
14584 LL Rd on Eva Lake, Wetmore, MI 49894. WH-235 / 1091724

SHINGLE LAKE COTTAGE - Clare County. $129,900

- 3 Bedroom/2 Bath on All Sports Lake #16002900
LAKE MONTCALM HOME - Montcalm County. $225,000
- 143 ft. Private Frontage 3 Bdrm/2 Bth #15054611
80 Wooded Acres Mecosta County. $149,900
- Located on a dead end road - very private #15042696

This 89+/- acres of woods and fields is surrounded by

thousands of acres of Hiawatha National Forest and, in
turn, surrounds crystal clear, spring-fed, 50+ acre Eva
Lake. Theres no other private owner here, and the few
hundred feet owned by the Forest Service border lowlands with no roads near. Its your own lake, for all
intents and purposes! Clear and clean, Eva supports a
healthy fish population with large perch and bass taken. Ducks, geese and other waterfowl enjoy the lake and provide great hunting opportunities. The acreage is largely high and dry, forested with
beech, fir, birch, pine, maples and cherry and provides for rewarding hunting for deer, ruffed grouse and bear.
Recreational trails for snowmobiling, four-wheeling, skiing, hiking run through the acres and join others to
provide hundreds of miles of trails leading throughout the Upper Peninsula. Underground electricity and
telephone are installed to a comfortable cabin on the shoreline with an inviting deck and firepit. Little of the
value of this parcel is in the 1973 mobile, however it is well insulated, well heated, and air conditioned and
being sold with most all furnishings. The 30 X 40 stick-built garage has clean open spaces, a 10 overhang
and a 10 X 38 recreation room with a hearty FS fireplace, Roads are plowed to within about mile of the
cabin, so that one could build a year round home or lodge with cabins on any of a number of lovely building
sites. This is, indeed, a UP recreational treasure! $480,000

3650N Smith Creek Truck Trail, Manistique, MI 49854. RC-155 / 1066967

55 Acres Recreational Land - Isabella County. $165,000

- Stocked Ponds (2) - Awesome Bldg Site #15046186
50 Acres near State Game Area - Clare County. $69,900
- Older Mobile w/electric & water #15037080

N3395 Raspberry Lane, Munising, MI 49862. RH-285 / 1088109

This raised ranch is remote and very private, sitting on 80 acres, but ABSOLUTELY NOT
rugged! Overbuilt &over-equipped, this property has power & telephone, air conditioning, security cameras, solar power with inverters to power the entire complex, a HeatMor wood boiler & propane furnace, a graveled drive & topsoil for lawns, a screened
porchall the luxuries! There are no close neighbors here, except for the wildlife. And
yet you are only 12 miles from Munising. This is a treasure for those who love their
privacy with security, woods and wildlife, peace and quiet. Price Reduced to $180,000

29 Wooded Acres - Montcalm County. $80,000

- Outstanding Hunting in Past. Electric/Water
Available #16005682
We participate in 2 Mid-Michigan Databases and can
assist you in the selling or buying of any property.
We will work for you!

Carole Porretta







$695,000 Brick Country Estate. First floor master

suite with turret sitting area & 6 bdrms & 6.5 baths.
Finished lower level. 44 acres with Morton horse barn,
paddocks, pool and pond.

$595,000 - INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY for a horse

farm, conference center or family estate with 3 residences on 23+ acres. 16 stall horse barn & paddocks.




$835,000 - Exceptional 5 acre parcel tucked in the

woods, partially paved drive to Vanderbilt Castle- $649,500 - Custom brick home with 25 acres bordering
inspired lodge, limestone in & out, English garden the Flint River. Horse barn with water, run-in and tack
courtyard & a huge value in reclaimed artifacts.
room. 3 large paddocks & outdoor riding area.



Metamora Rd.........$127,900
Metamora, 13+ Acres
Seven Ponds...........$29,900
Court, Dryden 3.5+ Acres
Bordman Road......$139,000
Almont, 11 Acres

Genesee Rd...........$269,000
Elba Twp, 43 Acres
Medford Hills...........$55,000
Metamora Steeplechase Beauty
E Sutton Road.......$598,000
Metamora, 90 Acres

This 2000 cedar log cabin sits on a slight hill overlooking 120 acres of good hunting with
jack, red & white pines on mounds surrounded by cedar, spruce & tamarack. There are
trails though the land with 3 permanent hunting blinds. Bear, grouse & deer (incldg 2
commemorative bucks) have been taken here. The Sturgeon Hole Creek runs through &
is rated as a trout stream by the MDNR. The cabin is open & bright & comfortable enough
for hunters' wives! It was carefully built & meticulously maintained. There are 2 propane
cook stoves, a large bunk-style bedroom on the main floor, & more sleeping area in the
loft. There's also a sauna, an outhouse & a root cellar. The appliances, generator, & all
the (really nice!) furnishings are included. There's no human noise here to irritate, just the
birds & other sounds of Nature! Price GREATLY Reduced to $ 139,000

N Maple Leaf Rd......$84,900

Elba, 8 + Acres
Peters Lane.............$48,500
Dryden, 3+ Acres
Casey Rd...............$179,900
Metamora, 23+ Acres

Metamora Golf and Country Club, Several lots available starting at $28,900

11541 W. Ramsdam Rd on Thunder Lake, Manistique, MI 49854. WH-236 / 1091747

This 2-BD cabin on 5+ acres of woods is on a year round plowed road and includes a 60' waterfront lot on Thunder Lake with
boathouse/shed within walking distance. Enjoy all the benefits of waterfront living without the taxes!! Enjoy all the recreation
sports: 4-wheeling (less than a mile from the famous Thunder Bowl); snowmobiling out the front door; fishing on Thunder Lake,
a 340 acres and n spring fed; hiking out your front door. The list goes on and on. After all the fun, whether quiet or loud, sit
down and enjoy a beautiful fire in the wood fireplace or go out on the large deck and have a barbeque. Priced at $96,900

- or -





12 Acre
Private Lake,
5,000 sq ft House



House, Barns,
Pond, 25 Ac.



Allegan County, 59+/- Acres. Good Trail Arenac County, 146 Acres Rifle River &
System, Excellent Deer & Turkey Hunting Saginaw Bay Access, Tri-Level House

Delta County, 39.6 Acres

1,000+ ft Frontage Lake Michigan

Iosco County, 52.51 Acres

Food Plots, Trail System, Elevated
Blinds, Pond & Shed

Isabella County, 156 acres

5,000 ft on Trout Stream, Good
Trails, 30 Ac Tillable

Jackson Co, 47 Acres,

2000 ft. Grand River Frontage,
2 bedroom Home, Pole Barn


Jackson County, 53.5+/- Acres 2,000 ft. Jackson County, 162 Acres CRP Program, 6 Elevated
Grand River Frontage, Trail System
Blinds, 115 Ac. Tillable, Pond, Big Buck Country

Lake Co, 75 Acres, Borders National

Forest, County Road Frontage

Lake Co, 5 Acres, 1,200 ft. Middle Branch Lake County, 330 Acres, Good Trail
Pere Marquette River, Rustic Cabin
System, Food Plots, Sm Creek

Mecosta Co 28 ac 1320
Chippewa River, Nice Cabin



Missaukee County, 77 Acres, Rough

Country, Big Bucks, Trout Stream

Missaukee County, 200 Acres,

Cabin, Pond, Trails & Blinds

Newaygo Co, 20 Acres

Log Home, Pond, Great Hunting,
Nice Woods

Osceola County, 80 Acres

Lots of Deer, Excellent Bedding
Cover, Great Hunting

Osceola Co, 94+/- Acres, 1,000 ft.

All Sports Goose Lake, Older Farm
House, Excellent Hunting

Otsego County, 160 Acres Private

15 Ac Lake, 6,000 sq. ft. House


Newaygo Co, 99 Acres,

Planted Pines, Great Cover,
County Road Frontage


Presque Isle County, 395 Acres $276,500

Presque Isle Co, 63+/- Ac
Carp Creek, Food Plots, Hunting Blinds or can be purchased in split, 195 Acres
$137,000 or 200 Acres $140,000

Schoolcraft County,
2282 Acres Fox River Frontage



Missaukee Co, 40 Acres, Good Missaukee County, 75 Acres Pond, Creek,

Guest Cabin & 2 Bedroom House
Trail System, Excellent Hunting





120 acre hunting parcel. Diverse property offers all types

160 acre hunting camp, QDM is practiced here with food of terrain with red oak, white oak, and red pine. Numerplots, ponds, Kunze Creek and lots of mature cedar. The ous areas for food plots. Deer, turkey, partridge and
other game are plentiful.
turnkey camp has 1 bedroom and 1 full bath.

Listed at $259,900.00

Listed at $195,000.00

GREENBUSH - REDUCED TO $44,900, Nice square 40 acre parcel joining Federal and State land. This area has
proven to hold quality bucks over the past years, QDM is practiced here. MLS#1799955
GREENBUSH - $59,900, 45 acres of hunting land off the beaten path. This rolling parcel is heavily wooded with hardwoods and evergreens. Call today. MLS#1799569
GREENBUSH - $79,900, 50 acres of prime hunting land situated just north of Oscoda. Gated entrance to this park-like
setting wildlife sanctuary! Many trails for easy access, several additional cleared areas for camping, food plots or building sites.
There could be potential value in standing timber as well. Power and natural gas available at the road. MLS#1809059
MIKADO - $89,900, 61 acres of prime hunting land. Joins State land and agricultural land. Trails thru-out the heavily
wooded parcel with hardwoods and Tag Alders, and openings for food plots. MLS#1806759
EAST TAWAS - $125,000, 200 Of Lake Huron frontage accompanies this 9.87 acre parcel in AuSable Dunes Estates. Sandy beach frontage, partially wooded, some wetlands. MLS#1789219
AU GRES - $149,000, 71 acres of hunting land surrounded by other camps. Areas of thick swamp with some ridges and
road frontage with power. Lots of deer and turkey in this location. MLS#1809806

This is what you have been waiting for! OVER 150 FT. OF
EVERYONE TO ENJOY!! There are 6 vacation cabins and 1
residence with this property ranging from 1 bedroom to 3
Bedroom. 3 of the units have water frontage.Oscoda is a vacation destination for many with Huron National Forest close
by so your guest can hike, bike,
ATV, and fish, not to mention
that Lake Huron is at your door step for swimming. The AuSable
river is down the road for canoeing. There is an annual canoe
marathon in July. For the last 15 to 20 years the same guest have
returned to the resort. The rental season is between May-Oct. No
pets or smoking were allowed in the units. There is WiFi access
and cable for each unit. All appliances, furniture, and linen are
staying. There is a main home that is currently used as one of the
rentals. If you are thinking of being your own boss, this property
would be a great place to start.

MLS #: 215119502 Total Sq. Feet: 3,480

Year Built: 1950 Price: $375,000




701 W. Bay Street, East Tawas, MI 48730

Your Total Real Estate Company.

Office (989)362-4400 Cell (989)370-2152



FROM $5500 TO $526,000.


Holly Caron

Cheryl Almstadt

1122 South Lapeer Road Suite D Lapeer, Michigan

3 Bdrm, 2.5 bth home/cottage. Unique Aframe

on private Lk, peaceful. Must see! Manistique.

2 Bdrms 2 Bth Escanaba River Retreat Custom

Home, garage, Cottage & 2 Acres. Cornell

2 Bdrm, 2 bth home. 252 Sturgeon River. 10

Acres. 30x40 Pole bldg. 3 Season Rm. St. Jacques.

$154,900 1083871

$209,000 1089107

$218,900 1089445

3 Bdrm, 2 bth Riverfront Lodge

40 Acres, secluded hunting and fishing.
Corp land surrounds. Watson.

4 Bdrm, 2 bth home. Escanaba River Front

home. New septic, updated electric. Cornell.

1 Bdrm, 1 bth camp. 20 Acres, well, septic,

electric new in 2012. Rock.

$149,900 1084088

$139,900 1086911

$63,900 1083817

1 Bdrm camp. 10 Acres. Metal roof. Vinyl siding.

Wood stove. Rapid River.

2 Bdrm, 1 bth log home. 2 Car log garage. 88 Acres

with State land nearby. Watson.

3 Bdrm, 1 bth home. 240 Acres. Built 2005.

1200 Sq. Ft., fireplace, gar, sauna, trails. Rock.

$29,900 1088477

$185,000 1089004

$399,000 1090655

2 Bdrm, 1 bth home or camp. 10 Acres, great country setting. 26x50 Pole bldg. All appliances. Arnold.

40 Acres and comfortable camp. Hardwood ridges

border Federal land. Co Rd access. Great hunting. Osier.

3 Bdrm, 1 bth home/camp. 40 Acres. Nice! Pole bldg

with power. 2 Car gar. Fireplace. 2 sides Federal. Ensign.

$104,900 1090757

$59,500 1090852

$139,900 1090258






A magical place with alluring spirit as the deer,
grouse and a variety of
small game are evident
at every turn within the
mature Cedar Forest.
A cove with east setting has had calm water and may lend itself to
direct boating access.

Grouse, deer, bear

& moose are for the
taking. Fully functional
well insulated cabin
has LP gas and generated electric. Easy drive
to Ishpeming, fishing
rivers, snow and ATV
trail systems.





Located in the
Big Island Wilderness Area
and near Klondike Lake in
the UP. Cabin
LP gas lights,
wood stove.

Rustic Lodge,
Bunk House,
pond, adjoins
National Forest & Lake 16,
tried & true
hunting, food
plots, tower





4 Bedrooms/4 Baths.
Gorgeous walk-around
high end interior finishes, pond with small
island, 30x64 Pole
car heated garage,
finished walkout lower

Fish for Brookies from

Creek that traverses
land. Good white-tail &
turkey hunting or hike
to PM River. Knotty pine
interior, fireplace, cedar closets. Basement
partially finished, 2050
building w/2nd floor,
workshop, wood burner.

$475,000 CASS COUNTY

$314,900 LAKE COUNTY



Preserved property with fly fisherman, natural environmentalist and

hunter in mind. Sitting at rivers
edge, this stately lodge boasts
massive stone fireplace, classic
upscale finishes & log restoration
all enhanced by a historic sporting




(877) 843-0910


Lovely Farm House, 3

bed/3 baths, Williams
Lake & Creek frontage.
Fantastic setting for
horses or gentlemans
farm. Large Red barn,
great pole building with
cement floors, office,
heated. Woods, Water
n Crops equal DEER!



4249 US 31
(231) 233-3575







Bringing people and places together since 1945






Fife Lake



Skidway Lake




Contact Your Nearest State Wide Real

Estate Office To Buy or Sell In Michigan
1100 W. Chisholm, 49707
989-356-2142 Fax: 989-356-2144

8383 Hwy. 451, 49743

844 Van Dyke Road
810-798-8591 Fax: 810-798-8079

14938 State Street, P.O. Box 98, 49746
989-742-4523 800-228-7856
Fax: 989-742-3931

308 E. 5th Street, 48617
989-386-3396 Fax: 989-386-3800

500 Shelden Ave., 49931
906-482-6955 800-676-6323
Fax: 906-482-7699

Main Street, P.O. Box 305, 49820
906-586-9606 Fax: 906-586-9607


2209 Ludington Street, 49829
906-786-1308 800-900-0777
Fax: 906-786-1388


127 State Street, P.O. Box 190, 49633
231-879-4471 Fax: 231-879-4362
430 S. US-23, 48740
989-724-5711 800-655-5735
Fax: 989-724-6833

1285 S. Michigan Ave., Howell, MI 48843
517-546-9060 800-531-4449
Fax: 517-546-9148
112 S. Carpenter Ave., Kingsford, 49802
10 N. State Highway M-149
Cooks, MI 49817
1460 Marinette Ave., 54143
715-735-9964 Fax: 715-732-1107
856 W. Washington, 49855
906-228-9312 Fax: 906-228-8069

3631 10th Street, 49858
Fax: 906-863-7935
102 West 8th St., P.O. Box 395, 48647
Fax: 989-826-2108
M-33 & M-68,
P.O. Box 478, 49765
Fax: 989-733-2427
335 South State St., 48750
Fax: 989-739-2280
W3776 US2 & 41, 49874
Fax: 906-497-5328
2228 Greenwood Rd.,
Prescott, 48756
Fax: 989-873-6914

Offices Serving Lower &

Upper Michigan




up North retreat with Stronach Creek running through the property. This
amazing home comes with 2 bedrooms and a full bath with a 40 x 54 pole
barn that has an additional 12 x 40 heated living space with a large bedroom
that currently sleeps 5, a kitchenette and a 3/4 bath. There is also a 12 x 40
heated space currently used as a wood shop. Between the two is a 30 x 40
garage with a 14' ceiling. The home has an over-sized kitchen with cherry
cabinets with one of a kind Michigan stone knobs, stainless steel appliances
and a built in breakfast nook that seats 8-10. The living room features a Jotul
wood stove surrounded by live edge bookcases and a stone hearth. The
master bedroom has a unique sliding barn door on the closet with shelving
built in. This is a must see! Seller is a licensed Real Estate Agent in the State
of Michigan. $169,900 (ELL)
is a well wooded 61 acre waterfront acreage with a 24 x 40 garage already
in place. The original home was lost in a fire so there is already electric, well
and septic in place. This property would be great as a home site or as a
hunting property with fishing on your frontage on North Lake. A tree stand
tower is already in place. This is a beautiful property with nearly 1000 of
North Lake shoreline. $129,000 (VID)
Get-a-way to this great location in Irons, just West of M-37, walking distance
to Little Manistee River, Federal land and ORV from your cabin to the trails!
This well-kept 1986 Skyline mobile home has 2 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, eat
in kitchen, living room all tastefully decorated for your up North getaway.
Features a woodstove in the living room, metal roof and covered porch. The
24x24 pole barn is insulated and has a woodstove for year around use with
a paved approach and parking and 2 sheds. Nicely wooded 7.9 acres, surveyed and offering lots of wildlife! Most furnishings stay making this ready
for you to come up and enjoy. $54,900 (KRO)
18 ACRES NORCONK ROAD ARCADIA This 18 acre parcel of land
is located on Norconk Road in Arcadia Township in Northern Manistee
County. Close to M-22, Lake Michigan, Arcadia Lake and Bear Lake. Ideal
location for your new home or if youve been looking for that property to build
a garage or pole barn on to store you toys this might just be for you. There
is about 10 acres of tillable land and 8 acres of maples and other hardwoods.
The drive is into the back of the property! There have been a few bucks
taken from this property also if youre a hunter! $69,900 (RUS)

Hunters Call for our Acreage Parcels

5963 W. 10-1/2 Mile Rd. Irons, Michigan
231-266-8288 877-88-NORTH

Whitetail Realty,
Lake City, MI

231-839-8142 or

Lake City MLS# 21115917 $23,900

10 acre recreation or building parcel
Private drive access, 12 x 14
Storage Shed

N. Missaukee MLS# 21118706 $24,900

10 Acre Heavily Wooded Parcel
Located close to State land & Trails
Good Hunting Area

Cadillac Area MLS# 21118888 $35,000

1.3 acres with Frontage on Round Lake
Room to build and room to play

N. Missaukee MLS# 21119336 $99,000

Cabin w/generator and heat
Wooded & Open 50 Acres
Good Hunting & Close to Trails

N Missaukee MLS# 21117365 $29,000

13+ Wooded & Rolling Acres
Electric already on Property
State Land & Trails Close By

North Missaukee MLS# 21115322 $104,000

80 wooded acres on blacktop road
Property adjoins state land on north side
Only mile to snowmobile trail

M-33/M-55 OFFICE
1953 S. M-33
West Branch, MI 48661



3160 North M-65

Hale, MI48739

10 miles north of I-75 exit 202

Local: 989-345-2662
Toll Free: 800-535-6520



2575 S. I-75 Business Loop,

West Branch, MI 48661

Gateway to Huron National Forest

Local: 989-728-2540
Toll Free: 800-495-2540

1 mile north of I-75 Exit 212

Local: 989-345-0315
Toll Free: 866-345-0315












Quaint 2-bdrm home, freshly painted, on

no motor lake, 8.8 acre lake with some appliances and furnishings, nice deck, great
views and storage shed.

3-bdrm full log home with wood floors,

open floor plan, beamed ceilings, garage, covered porch, on 1.7 ACRES
w/232 frontage on Silver Creek!

2-bdrm cabin on 172 acre lake, newer

roof, flooring and water heater, freshly
painted, family room, beautiful views,
rear deck and boat dock!!

Mostly furnished 2-bdrm home with

brick FP, formal and casual dining, large
garage, guest bunkhouse covered porch
and riverside deck with gorgeous views!

Spacious and well-maintained 4-bdrm home

on canal to Feeding Grounds Lake, with FP,
garage, shed, master suite, fantastic views
and on 3.93 ACRES!!
















171 of water frontage on all sports lake, great

subd, 3-bdrm home w/lots of windows, garage,
finished walkout basement, FP, and extensive
decking w/ fabulous views!

Spacious 4-bdrm on 3.88 ACRES, just

steps from fishing with family room, FP, AC,
hardwood floors, large garage, screened
porch, nice deck and beautiful views!

55 feet of frontage on 785 acre lake, 2-bdrm,

full basement, appliances, enclosed porch,
beautiful views, sandy frontage, great swimming & boating!

Over 13 ACRES with nice 2-bdrm home and

285 feet of frontage on Wallin Lake, gorgeous setting & views, garage & polebarn &
lakeside deck!!

1800 square foot, 3-bdrm home, full walkout basement, all sports Lake Ogemaw, patio and deck for
relaxing, wood stove, appliances and much more!!












330 ACRE


519 on 171 acre Henderson Lake, with

2-bdrm home, garage, deck, sunroom,
newer roof, partial basement, boat dock,
furnishings and 16+ ACRES!!

Beautiful 3-bdrm custom built chalet, on

all sports George Lake, move-in ready,
open floor plan, AC, lakeside deck, boat
dock, furnishings & guest cabin!!

3-bdrm ranch-style in great shape, garage,

master suite w/jet tub, wrap-around deck an
ACRE of property and pond, on channel to
all sports Elbow Lake!!

Nice 2-bdrm home, full basement, private

lake, open floor plan, fantastic views, perfect year round, garage, blacktop drive an
178 water frontage!!

Spacious 4-bdrm, beautiful views from every

room, full walkout basement, garage, blacktop drive, nice deck, covered patio, boat
dock & more!!














Immaculate 2-bdrm w/175 on N Dease

Lake and bonus 317 on canal for panoramic views, metal roof, polebarn,
garage, sandy beach, nice year round!

Nice 3-bdrm home, full basement, large

kitchen, custom oak paneling, 152 sandy frontage, all sports Lake Ogemaw,
deck, gorgeous views & dock!







68+ feet of frontage, all sports Lake Ogemaw, 3-bdrm, 4 ba, full walkout bsmt, garage, some furnishings, AC, FP, lakeside
patio, 2 docks and so much more!

Custom built 3-bdrm home w/exception

qualities, views inside and out, wood floors,
FP, master suite, 8.8 ACRES, beautiful views
and 1170 on Au Gres River!!

10+ BEAUTIFUL ACRES and 369 water frontage on Silver Lake, 4-bdrm, FP, skylights,
custom cabinets, family room, garage, 2 pole
barns, gorgeous views!














2-bdrm mobile with sunroom addition, wood stove,

appliances and furnishings, in need of TLC, with
access to very pleasant lake for fishing and swimming!!

Near access to all sports Henderson Lake,

on large lot, near beaches and state land for
huntin, some knotty pine, open floor plan,
newer well & nice getaway!!

Nice 3-bdrm on large lot updated over the

years like newer roof, siding and furnace,
and has FP, balcony, front deck and storage shed, affordable up north getaway!

Cute and cozy 2-bdrm cottage on OVER AN

ACRE, FP, knotty pine, newer furnace & well
pump, nice deck overlooking large pond and
you can walk to Elni Lake!!

4-bdrm, 3 ba home approx. 150 from

gorgeous Houghton Lake, FP, family
room, lots of other bonus rooms or more
bedrooms, fantastic up North getaway!










Lake access is just across the road, 2-bdrm

home or vacation getaway, eep lot, garage,
knotty pine interior, FP, move-in ready and
some furnishings included!

Spacious 1500 sq feet, in Gladwin area, needs some

TLC, 3-bdrm, newer septic field, garage and pole building, large porch for relaxing has nice views!










Deeded access with this cozy 2-bdrm,
on almost AN ACRE, large shed, movein ready, newer well & newer roof, some
furnishings, porch, deck & more!!

3-bdrm home Saltbox on full basement,

just across from lake, wood floors, large
rooms, some appliances and furnishings,
shed and great deck!!

Spacious 3-bdrm sits across from all sports

Loon Lake, with garage with finished upstairs for guests, storage shed, large workshop, deck, and fantastic area!!












Always Working Hard for You!





Own your own Marina! Located on a 600-acre Private All-Sports Lake.
2 Large Storage Buildings, 16 Boat Slips, Turn-key operation. 225 ft of
Lake Frontage. Avalon Pontoon Dealer. $650,000

One of a Kind! Secluded on a

Private All-Sports Lake. Hunting & Rec activities. Perfect for
Entertaining. 3 hole Golf Course.
1500 ft of Frontage. Addtl 1280
ft Beach House. Huge Pole Barn.

- OR Office:




31.5 ACRES




Over 500 feet on Muskegon River

Over 5,600 feet on Muskegon River



Combined 121.5 Acres for $329,800



156.66 ACRES




Amazing property and Hunting Camp, 4BR on

Pine River. Bear, Deer, lots of wildlife. Apple orchard.
Fish and canoe the river. $325,000


Newly Renovated, 41 tillable acres, 3 ponds, 65% Wooded. Great
Development & Commercial Possibilities. A Rare Gem! $599,900



80-100 DEER





2000 SF Ranch in Lost Lake Woods.

Membership Reqd. Hunting,
Beautiful Home, Guest House and Pole Barn. Golf Course, Archery, Rifle Range.

Licensed Deer Ranch in Davison. 6-car garage, pond, 5 blinds, 3 lg feeders,

Lg polebarn. 4BD, 3BA, walkout & up basement $849,000


11,000 ACRES







Great farming, income producing, Pheasant Preserve Possibilities, over 1/2

mile on Belle River, multiple Outbuildings, 2 Ponds. $1,350,000



4 Cabins and 2 hunting camps, 2 pole barns, Duck Marsh, Trout

pond, 05 Tractor w/equip., 3 ATVs, stocked toolshed, 16 heated
blinds/feeders/food plots, miles of trail systems on Wolf River and
Widner River. 5-mile private entrance. Hardwoods, pines and 150
acres of cedar swamp. Fantastic wildlife; Trophy Whitetail Deer,
Black Bear, Bobcat, Coyote, and Wild Turkeys abound.

Cozy log cabin with loft. Beach frontage. Secluded,
Great Hunting, Fishing, Boating.




Updated 2200 sq. ft. split level ranch, Wooded.
Creek. Private & Secluded. $249,900


Beautiful updated,
2,000+sq ft home. 70% Wooded.



Amazing setting, log home on
Chippewa River.




4,400 SQ. FT 6BD, 3.5BA LOG HOME, & Pool House. Great for entertaining
& Hunting. Deer Hunter & Nature Lovers Dream Property!



Rustic Log Home, Organic Farm,
11 tillable acres.


Corner Lot. Agriculture or

Great Building Site.


Great Building Site. Nicely

wooded. 1/2 Mile from Brandon
Schools. $99,800


Fantastic Development Opportunity.
30-2 Acre Lots approx. Currently Zoned
agriculture. $595,000



Prime Hunting & Nature Lovers Dream Property. 90% wooded, hardwoods,
pines & cedars. Nice hunting cabin built 2001. 2BD & 1BA. 5 Deer Blinds.








Great Development Opportunity. Several Outbuild- Deer Hunters Dream Property, Private, 2-streams.
ings. 80-90 Tillable Acres. $449,900 Large Elevation changes. $275,000

Beautiful views at Camp Langlois, 2 cabins, Main and Guest, garage, 2 pole barns,
12+ blinds, 5 miles of trails and Grass Airstrip! Amazing property, very private, rolling
with nice hardwoods, Caboose bunkhouse, 20 miles SE of Traverse City. $899,000

US 10


Great Development Opportunity near Sanford Lake. 10 miles

NW of Midland Twp. Great location, off of US 10 on M-30, by
McDonalds, Subway, Shell gas station. $1,150,000

Call Randy Minto Or Visit:









Queen Log Bed $19999

Queen Size Log Headboard



5 Drawer Chest Only



4 Drawer Chest


2 Drawer Night Stand





BUNK BEDS Solid Wood Complete with Mattresses $29999

Rocker Recliners


Rustic End Tables





starting at



Not Included



Finished Cedar Log Bed



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Service Department Indoor & Outdoor Storage

(810) 629-2291

Exit 84 on US-23





3241 Thompson Rd.

Fenton, MI 48430

Mon.-Fri. 9am - 6pm
Sat. 9am - 5pm
Closed Sunday's




w w w. f r e e w a y - s p o r t s . c o m

31516 Harper Avenue

St. Clair Shores, MI 48082

Phone (586) 296-2360

Fax (586) 264-8307

Mon. - Fri: 10am-7pm;
Sat: 10am-4pm; Closed Sunday

Available at:

Layaways Welcome