Monday, April 30, 2012

Walking stick-great addition for the wading arsenal

   GRAYLING-Turns out, despite colder then usual temperatures, we actually had a nice hendrickson hatch on the Manistee Friday.
   Several in our group caught and released trout on both dry flies and the go to bug, the muddler minnow. Saturday dawned quite cold, but warmed nicely throughout the day.
   Jim Rickard of Traverse City fame asked it anyone wanted to go with him to fish the North Branch. Thinking he was talking the AuSable I put my hand up. I've had hardly no experience on that part of the river.
   Turns out he meant the north branch of the Manistee. To go on an outing with Rickard is an adventure. Usually one becomes Rickarized-kind of initiated into fishing on a trip that always provide memories and conversation for later dates.
   Let's just say I sleep sound Saturday night. Oh, for that walking stick, read Wednesday's blog and I'll talk about along with the second rules according to Rickard.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Weather uncooperative for trout opener

   GRAYLING-Believe it or not but it was snowing with mixed rain on the way north to Grayling, yesterday, Thursday.
   Temperatures were in the low 40's to high 30's with strong winds blowing all afternoon. The AuSable and Manistee Rivers had waves on them. Water temperatures in either system was a cold 35-degrees.
   With time to kill before my campmates arrived I drove to nearby Frederic and spent the afternoon with fly tier and river guide Sam Surre.
   "We've already had a good hennie (Hendrickson) hatch, Surre said looking over the top of his glasses from his position at a new version of the fly tying bench he and pal Larry Blan had designed.
   Hendrickson's are the hatch anglers look forward to around the opener. A large bug-size 14-they are easy to tie on a fly line and easy to see floating on the water.
   "I don't know what this cold weather will do later on for fishing," Surre remarked. He was referring to the different insect hatches that normally occur in some sort of sequence. Would cold weather followed by unreasonable warm weather then a return to cold push things right into the hex hatch-the large Michigan mayfly- or perhaps begin the cycle all over again.
   Friday morning during breakfast at Bob Ward's cabin along the Manistee River, the six of us already in camp sipped coffee in a cabin heated with a wood stove while outside temperatures were barely over 30-degrees.
   Ice had formed on the underside of lawn chairs left outdoors. Such is the variances of a northern opener. Some years it's warm enough to wade wet. Then the very next year, it's snow, sleet and high winds.
   Welcome to early trout fishing in Michigan.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DNR to conduct statewide creel surveys-angler experience

   DNR creel clerks will be asking anglers questions relating to their fishing experience such as how long they fished, what species they were targeting, and how many fish were taken or released.
    "The point of the whole program is to characterize how many fish are harvested, how many hours anglers spend fishing, and what fish they're targeting," said DNR fisheries biologist Tracy Kolb. "We use this information to manage fisheries across the state."
    Kolb said it usually only takes a few minutes to answer the creel clerks’ questions and that the DNR appreciates anglers' cooperation.
    Anglers interested in seeing the results from surveys of Great Lakes in previous years can find them online

Monday, April 23, 2012

Trout opener near

   Although the numbers aren't similar between the number of deer hunters and fly fishermen heading north for their respective openers, there is still a migration of sorts that will head that direction for this Saturday's opener.
   Whether you take half a day off work on Friday or decided to leave early Saturday morning, notwithstanding the weather, there will be a population influx in Grayling and surrounding environs.
   Should you find yourself north this weekend here are some ideas to consider that provide a little diversion from the usual opening day.
   The first would be the practically all day barbecue at the Old AuSable Fly Shop and the yearly annual opener party.
   With the shop stocked as full of new merchandise as the grills are with wonderful food, this outing is always well attended.
   Later Saturday evening, the Grayling library across from the hospital, hosts several of the area's top fly tiers and guides for a purely demonstration experience.
   Some of the guides will speak about trout fishing, giving some area history to go along with it. And the  library has a wonderful collection of rare books about fly fishing, area characters and some of the history that went into making this a special place.
   Those not in the stream Saturday may want to drive to Lovells and the Lovells Township Historical Society's annual trout opener celebration.
   Fly tiers, artists and rod builders gather to show off their work and talk fly fishing. A leaky waders 1K run are part of the festivities.
   Be sure and wander into the museum on the grounds of the historical society. There are more exhibits and treasures to discover in the recently remodeled building.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pets need annual medical check-ups

   Spring, when thoughts turn to being outdoors, also remind pet owners of the necessity of having vaccines up to date and heart worm tests done.
   The cure or treatment for heart worm is extremely hard on dogs, physically. In some cases, it can't be done due to an animals age or physical condition.
    Oakland County Parks and Recreation Dog Parks will host  a series of low-cost, drop-in vaccination clinics for dogs at two locations.
            Clinics will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Orion Oaks Dog Park in Lake Orion on April 28 and Lyon Oaks Dog Park in Wixom on May 5. Rabies vaccines and Oakland County Dog Licenses will be available at each clinic. 
   Costs are $7.50/rabies vaccine; $7.50/dog license for neutered/spayed dogs; and $15/dog license for un-neutered/spayed dogs. Cash, check and MasterCard/Visa accepted.
    Visitors may use the dog park following their vaccinations; a valid daily or annual vehicle pass is required for entry. Annual permits may be purchased at online or in-person at many locations throughout Oakland County.
     Lyon Oaks Dog Park features a 13-acre fenced enclosure with small dog area, benches, shelter and picnic tables, water fountain and field training area.
      Orion Oaks Dog Park offers a 24-acre fenced enclosure with small dog area, including two trails, picnic shelter, drinking water, field area, new parking lot; and access to Lake Sixteen for dog swimming. 
            For questions about the vaccination clinics, call 248-391-4100. Find dog park information at and find Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wild turkey season opener April 23

   The Department of Natural Resources encourages hunters to participate in the upcoming spring wild turkey season, which runs April 23 through May 31. Michigan's current turkey population is estimated at over 200,000 birds, and turkey hunters here are fortunate to have one of the longest turkey seasons nationwide. 
  Michigan residents can purchase a spring turkey license for $15, while seniors can purchase a spring turkey license for $6. To purchase a license, go to or visit any license agent.
    Hunt No. 234 is a great choice for hunters who want maximum flexibility. This hunt includes all areas of the state open to spring turkey hunting except the public lands of southern Michigan, and extends from May 7-31.
   Many limited-quota licenses are also available for many parts of the state, including private-land hunting in Unit ZZ (Hunt No. 301) in southern Michigan.
   For a list of available limited-quota licenses, go to will be sold until quotas are met.
    A new state law allows youth hunters nine years old and younger to participate in the spring turkey season through the Mentored Youth Hunting Program. The Mentored Youth Hunting license is $7.50 and entitles the youth hunter to hunt turkey during the spring and fall seasons in any open hunt period or location, on either private or public land.
    The Mentored Youth Hunting license provides a tag for small game, deer (two tags, any deer), furbearer and fish (all species) during the appropriate season. Please go to for mentor requirements and additional information.
  Information about turkey hunting can be found at

Monday, April 16, 2012

No-Mo tourney, good way to experience kayak fishing

   Fishing from kayaks is appealing to more people. It's the ease of getting into the water even without a ramp, puts you closer-right at water level-with the action, and is cheaper than buying an expensive power boat.
   One way to get a feel and try it out is to do it by participating in a paddle outing such as the one's put on by Riverside Kayak Connection (RKC). Call RKC at (734) 285-2925 for more information.
   You could venture out and try fishing on your own. But an even better way is by registering for the No-Mo kayak fishing tournament, May 6.
   This is a great opportunity to share kayak fishing with other like-minded anglers, see how they do things and learn more about the sport all the while helping a great chary, Make-A-Wish foundation.
   Call RKC for registration info or visit for more information.
   See you on the water!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Northern rivers in great shape for tout opener

   If the weather holds, things, including trout, should be looking up for the trout opener, the last Saturday in April.
   Rivers are said to be running clear and fish are responsive. So far bugs of choose have been BWO's, Hendickson's and some stones.
   With some rain like that expected this weekend, fishing should get even better. Once waters temperatures warm a bit, fish should be on the prowl for dry flies.
   Closer to home, temperatures are generally warmer than those around Frederic or Grayling, the areas the AuSable and Manistee systems run through.
   That means dry fly fishing should be well on the way be opening day. It may not be too early to get the poppers or small spiders out and try the action for gills on some of the inland lakes.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

House cleaning-include bird feeders too

   Just like your house, bird feeders need a spring cleaning too. The DNR says regularly cleaning and disinfecting feeders is as important as filling them and prevents salmonellosis, a bacterial disease that kills many small birds.
   Salmonellosis occurs when food sources become contaminated with fecal matter. Since 1970, when this bacterial disease was first diagnosed in Michigan, die-offs around bird feeders have become more common and have been witnessed in many bird species throughout the world.
  Observable signs of sick birds can include sudden death to a gradual decline of health over one to three days, accompanied by huddling of the birds, fluffed-up feathers, unsteadiness and shivering.
   “We have received several calls from people who are finding dead goldfinches,” said Brian Piccolo, a DNR wildlife biologist based in Roscommon. “The best thing you can do is remove and clean your bird feeder.”
 Learn more about salmonellosis and other wildlife diseases typically found in Michigan at the DNR website,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Nest building, mating, and babies-all part of spring

   The animal and bird world is busy gearing up for the next few months. Bids are about their daily mission of finding nest building materials, as well as a good location for this year's home.
   During this time, they have to keep up on eating as well as finding a suitable mate. Soon, those females will be warming a nest that holds eggs. Dad usually stays nearby to help ward off predators, bring food to the young once they hatch, and in some cases, even help tending the nest.
   In the woods and fields, you could be surprised by finding some of the ground nests or even a new fawn left seemingly alone while it's mother hovers nearby, and out of sight.
   The plan this time of year is to leave wildlife alone. Don't bring young birds home that you think have fallen from the nest. The same is true with any other animal. Leave them where you find them.
   There's a good chance the parents have a way to get them back into the nest when the time is right. After all, they may be out and about as a part of their upbringing.
  Get out now on these nice days and enjoy spring.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Some campground fees reduced

   The DNR will reduce campground fees in state forest campgrounds to $13 per night or a reduction of $2. That's good news especially with the high gas prices we've all been experiencing.
 Campgrounds identified as equestrian state forest campgrounds, those associated with ORV trails, and the semi-modern Houghton Lake state forest campground will charge a $17 per site, per night rate (a reduction of $3).

   Rates for group camps -- identified either as a canoe camp, trail camp, or group camp -- will remain at a fee of $6 per person, per night, while cabins remain at the $65 per night fee.
Approximately 270 campsites at a variety of state forest campgrounds spread over 11 counties can be reserved through the state’s on-line reservation system. For more information, visit
“The goal is to create a quality atmosphere for a rustic camping experience in state forest campgrounds at an appropriate fee,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation chief. “Also new this year will be the requirement to purchase a Recreation Passport to access all state forest campgrounds, in addition to Michigan state parks, recreation areas, and state-administered boating access fee sites.”

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April-That magical month

   I think of April as a magical month. It's the time of year to buy a current fishing license, knock the dust of tackle, and sort out the fly fishing gear for the soon-to-be-here annual statewide trout opener the last Saturday of the month.
   With the fine, unseasonable warm weather we've been experiencing, many anglers no doubt have opened the season a little early on their favorite flies only, catch and release streams that are open to that type of fishing year round.
   Plans are being made for opener celebrations. Whether that takes the form of opening the family cabin for the year or wetting a line on that magical Saturday, you can bet there will be nearly as many stories told and retold as there are in deer camp.
   But remember, first things first. Get that new fishing license in your wallet before you do too much else.

Monday, April 2, 2012

DU Chapter to hold fundraiser

   The North Oakland Chapter of DU (Michigan top 100 chapter) is having their Annual DU Banquet at Deer Lake Athletic Club in Clarkston on May 2, 2012.
 This is the North Oakland Chapters 30th Anniversary Banquet and the 75th Anniversary of DU Nationally. There will be a large variety of firearms, limited edition wildlife artworks, hunts and prize packages available at the Banquet.  Tickets are $80.00 or a table of 10 for $675.00.
 Contact Chairman Chuck Myers at 248 909-6502 to reserve tickets or for any further information you may need.  

The North Oakland Chapter of DU (Michigan top 100 chapter) is having their Annual DU Banquet at Deer Lake Athletic Club in Clarkston on May 2, 2012.
 This is the North Oakland Chapters 30th Anniversary Banquet. We have a huge variety of firearms, limited edition wildlife artworks, hunts and prize packages available at the Banquet.  Tickets are $80.00 or a table of 10 for $675.00.
 Contact Chairman Chuck Myers at 248 909-6502 to reserve tickets or for any further information you may need.