Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Idle Mid-Summer Thoughts


You know it’s summer when the croaking sound of flying sandhill cranes waken you at daybreak. These big birds are noisy, and I know one woman who is deathly frightened of them, but why is anyone’s guess.

As soon as a sandhiil crane sees a human, they lift off the ground in ungainly flight, croaking like a bull frog with a sore throat. I’ve never been able to get within 100 yards before they fly off.

*My first thought was: they are legal game birds in some states. Why not in Michigan, but I imagine that answering that question would also answer the question of why people are so dead-set against hunting mourning doves.

*I wonder why people get so worked up about fishing for Chinook salmon at depths of 100 feet or more. It’s just plain hard work to fish them when the warm water piles onshore, drives the thermocline deep, and the alewives and salmon head down with the cooler water. The answer, I suppose, is that everyone would rather fish them in shallow water but in really hot weather, if people really want to fish for salmon, they must go deep to do it.

*One thought going through my mind is that more and more black bears are being seen within 30 miles of Traverse City, and more than one or two have been reported north of South Airport Road and northwest of Traverse City in Leelanau County. Benzie County has its fair share of bruins, and Kalkaska County has always had bears. The Cadillac area has a large number of bruins. I like the idea of bears near Traverse City although I suspect my acceptance is not universally agreed to by many residents. A bear was seen within six blocks of Munson Hospital two or three weeks ago.

*A friend just west of Grawn tells me about a big bear that seems to be traveling through a fairly small area. It’s a big animal at 350-400 pounds if the stories can be believed, but it’s living in close proximity to a bunch of people. Folks see the bear crossing the roads, but it seems well behaved and isn’t raiding bird feeders or garbage cans. A number of bruins are being seen near Mayfield and Kingsley as well. That’s cool!

*More and more people are using trail timers. I’ve got a Bushnell model, and it is producing photos of does, fawns and the occasional small buck. This is every bit as exciting as actually watching them from a tree stand, but it shows what time they come to feed. I’m going to expand my use of the trail timer, and check out some other locations. One guy I knows has photographed several big bucks, numerous small ones, and a bear or two as well. They can tell people what game is moving near their home.

*Granted, the weather is hot but anglers are advised to start watching for Chinook salmon to move into the Betsie, Little Manistee, Manistee, Muskegon and Pere Marquette rivers in mid-August, and although the water is warm, there are times when some fast early fishing can be had although salmon in warm water do not hit well.

Normally, the best river fishing comes in September and early October, but don’t discount the possibility of mid-summer salmon, especially if the weather turns cool with cool rains. We’ve certainly had plenty of rain lately. These silver rockets are a hoot to catch, and they do bust up tackle.

*Several inland lakes near Traverse City have been producing good bass catches. Every year about now there are some wonderful smallmouth bass catches made on Intermediate Lake. The whole Elk Lake Chain of lakes offers some wonderful bass fishing for anglers willing to pound the water for these game fish. Who knows, perhaps you will be like the man two or three weeks ago that caught a limit of four-pound smallmouth bass from that lake. Such a happening is guaranteed to spruce up a fishing day.

*It hasn’t happened yet, but each year during the dog days of August, some anglers troll Crystal Lake for jumbo lake trout. Not every fish is a trophy, but every laker caught here offers exception eating when compared to Lake Michigan lakers. Some of the fishing is done in 90 to 120 feet of water, and anglers work hard for what they catch, but lake trout to 25 pounds are caught each summer.

*My last thought of an idle nature was when the walleyes would start moving into Manistee Lake. It usually occurs in mid-August, and when these fish go on the midnight prowl, it can offer exciting evening action.

Trolling takes fish, and so does casting from an anchored boat. Wiggling lures work well, and this is the epitome of hit-or-miss fishing. Hit it just right, and you may catch the largest walleye of your life, and if you hit it wrong, such idle thoughts may be discarded in the future.

Posted by Dave Richey on 08/11 at 04:59 PM
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