It is not yet officially summer, but the application season for Ohio's controlled deer and waterfowl hunts this fall is under way.
Hunters have until July 31 to submit permit applications for random drawings, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife. These special hunts are held on selected public areas to provide additional, prime hunting opportunities.
Submitting applications online at wildohio.com is a money-saver at $3 per hunt. Mail-in applications are $5 per hunt. All application fees are nonrefundable.
Paper applications can be obtained by dialing 1-800-WILDLIFE. Those hunters selected will be chosen at random and notified by U.S. mail in September.
Special deer hunts are slated for the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (Lucas County), NASA/Plumbrook Station (Erie County), Ravenna Training & Logistics Site (Portage County), and Mosquito Creek (Trumbull County), Killdeer Plains (Wyandot County), and Old Woman Creek (Erie County) state wildlife areas.
Waterfowl hunts will be conducted at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (Lucas County), and Magee Marsh (Ottawa County), Mosquito Creek (Trumbull County), and Mercer (Mercer County) wildlife areas.
Other details about hunt dates and locations, including opportunities dedicated to youth, women, and mobility-impaired hunters, can be found at the online site.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment has announced a new 72-hour Michigan fishing license available to residents and nonresidents alike.
Previously anglers could only choose between a one-day license and a season license. The 72-hour license costs $21 (or $9 for resident seniors) and is valid for all species. For more information about fishing in Michigan visit online at michigan.gov/fishing.
Also, the MDNRE has set tomorrow and Sunday as a Free Fishing Weekend, meaning that residents and nonresidents alike can fish without a fishing license in Michigan. All other fishing regulations apply.
A list of Free Fishing Weekend activities across the state is available online at michigan.gov/freefishing.
On western Lake Erie - The better walleye fishing in the basin has been northwest of West Sister Island, around Niagara Reef, and also east of Kelleys Island, according to the state wildlife division.
Casters are using mayfly rigs or drifting bottom-bouncers with worm harnesses. Trollers are catching fish on spoons and Dipsy or Jet Divers, worm harnesses with in-line weights, or with crankbaits.
The better perch reports have come from Marblehead, Kelleys Island, and Rattlesnake Island. Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.
In related news, the eighth annual catfish tournament at Mary Jane Thurston State Park last Saturday produced the following winners:
Channel catfish - Third place: Joshua Walter, 8.05 pounds; second place, Noah Smith, 8.14 pounds; first place, Noah Smith, 9.82 pounds.
Flathead catfish - Third place, Gerald Ludwig, 14.2 pounds; second place, Noah Smith, 16.46 pounds; first place, John Wagner, 18.9 pounds.
Also, the annual Kid's Big Fish Contest age 16 and under is set for 10 a.m. to noon tomorrow at Mary Jane Thurston. Meet in the west end parking lot by the dam. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.
Adults can fish with children but need to show valid Ohio fishing license. A small amount of tackle is available to borrow, so bring some if possible.
On Sunday, a canoe paddle is offered from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Van Buren Lake and the Rocky Ford Creek by canoe. A suggested donation of $10 per canoe goes to the Friends of Van Buren State Park. Register by tomorrow by calling naturalist Natalie Miller at 419-348-7679, or e-mail Natalie.Miller@dnr.state.oh.us.
Contact Steve Pollick at: