A sign of the autumn fishing times is the after-dark shoreline casting of crankbaits for walleye, which are hot on the tails of baitfish moving inshore in search of warmer water.
“It's an evening bite, so it's hit or miss,” said John Jokinen at Jann's Netcraft, who added that this night-fishing season is just getting under way. The shop is receiving initial reports of walleye catches from Luna Pier and at Sterling State Park outside Monroe.
“When baitfish start moving in to those lighted [pier] areas, the walleye follow,” Jokinen said. Rattlin' Rogues and Jointed Bombers have been working well, but most crankbaits that run to five feet deep should be OK, he said.
White-bodied baits with a red head have been favorites, along with silver/blue and silver/black, as has fire tiger. But try using what you have on hand.
Troller Ross Robertson of Toledo also reports very good walleye activity by day, pulling crankbaits.
He took a manufacturer's representative on a productive trip one day last week.
“We managed more than two dozen between six and nine pounds in an hour and a half,” he said. “We had three triples and one quad with four rods out.”
At the same time, yellow perch-catching has been excellent, when the wind has allowed anglers to get out.
'Tis the season.
• Michigan's regular duck and goose-hunting season begins Saturday, in the South Zone, which covers southeast Michigan, and the forecast for the opener is generally good.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment reminds waterfowl hunters of the opportunities that exist at the seven managed waterfowl areas throughout southern Michigan, including Harsens Island Unit of the St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area and the Pointe Mouillee State Game Area in Rockwood.
These areas offer unique hunting experiences in locations that are historically known for large concentrations of waterfowl. Hunting is by permit only and permits are issued by drawings held at area check stations.
Cover conditions range from good to excellent, with area managers all reporting good numbers of ducks using the areas. Hunters can check out weekly managed area waterfowl counts on the MDNRE Web site, michigan.gov/dnre.
Reservations are required to hunt opening weekend at Harsens Island. Refer to the Michigan Waterfowl Hunting Digest for more information.
The duck season dates for southern Michigan are Oct. 9 to Dec. 5, and Jan. 1-2, 2011. Daily bag limits are similar to last year. Hunters may take six ducks daily with no more than four mallards (only one hen), three wood ducks, two redheads, two scaup, two pintails, one black duck, and one canvasback. Hunters may take an additional five mergansers — no more than two hooded mergansers. Possession limit is two days' daily bag limit.
In Ohio waterfowl news, access to the wildlife area road and all trails at Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area in Ottawa County, from the area's Sportsmen's Migratory Bird Center parking lot to the Magee Marsh beach area and boardwalk will be closed from sunset Oct. 11through noon on Nov. 13, and Nov. 20 through Dec. 3. The closure is done to accommodate waterfowl hunting season.
In addition, the wildlife area road and trails will be closed during the controlled youth deer hunts scheduled on Nov. 20 and 21. The remaining Saturdays and Sundays during this time period hunters, anglers, and wildlife viewers will be permitted access to the beach area and wildlife trails on Saturdays from noon until sunset and on Sundays from sunrise to sunset.
• The student members of the Ohio Young Birders Club [OYBC] will take a “stand” against habitat loss with a Big Sit fund-raiser on Sunday at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, 14000 West State Route 2, Oak Harbor.
The event, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., aims to count all the species of birds identified from seats within a 17-foot-diameter circle. Proceeds of the Big Sit will benefit both the OYBC and the Middle Bass Island East Point Preserve restoration project of the Lake Erie Islands Chapter of the Black Swamp Conservancy, a land trust based in Perrysburg.
The Ohio Young Birders Club is a statewide group for young people, ages 12 to 18, who have an interest in birds and in nature. It is part of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, a research and education organization based in Oak Harbor.
For other details and event donations, call BSBO at 419-898-4070, or visit online at ohioyoungbirders.org.
• The annual fall campout at Mary Jane Thurston State Park, State Rt. 65 west of Grand Rapids, is set for Saturday.
A scarecrow-building contest is on the agenda, plus pumpkin painting from 1:30 to 3 p.m., a floating doughnut contest at 3:30 p.m., chili at 4 p.m., and scarecrow judging at 6 p.m.
A program on owls of Ohio is set for 7 p.m.
Basic supplies for the scarecrow contest will be available at the park's amphitheater starting Friday at 6 p.m. For questions, call naturalist Natalie Miller at 419-348-7679.
For questions about campsite prices and reservations, contact the park office at 419-832-7662.
A related event is the 13th annual Hobo Stew, Saturday at Van Buren State Park, East Camp, off State Rt. 613 east of I-75, north of Findlay.
Daylong seasonal events are planned 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with stew served at 4:30 p.m.
Call Barb Oberhaus for details, 419-457-6935. For campsite information call Mary Jane Thurston park.
• The Wild Ones botanical club is hosting its annual fall plant exchange, offering free native plants on Saturday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at The Original Subshop, 402 Broadway.
For details e-mail Stephanie Saba at email@example.com or call 419-261-7000 or 419-243-4857.
Contact Steve Pollick at:firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6068.