Dry weather affects waterfowl hunting, fishing holes alike
By Dale Bowman Post-Tribune correspondent October 11, 2012 11:36PM
Updated: October 11, 2012 11:49PM
Low water will be a prime factor for the youth waterfowl hunt (15 and younger) in the north zone this weekend; and most likely for opening of the regular waterfowl seasons in the north on Oct. 20.
“There’s not much [in ducks], though a lot of wood ducks; and 60 to 70 geese probably are using the property,’’ said Ken Bisacchi, property manager at LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area. “I checked quite a few blind spots [on Wednesday] to see if they had enough water and saw a total of four ducks. A lot of our bayous are dry. We are hunting Baker Unit and Black Oak Bayou mainly, everything else is dry.’’
“We have 100 to 200 ducks — woodies and a few mallards,’’ Kingsbury FWA property manager Ron Lorman said. “It is going to be tough. There are a lot of weeds in the marsh.’’
It’s been so dry that flooding marshes is nearly impossible.
The count at Willow Slough FWA was being done Thursday, but the usual ducks — wood ducks and teal — were around.
Willow Slough will draw for its 25 spots at 5 a.m. LaSalle will hold draws at 5 a.m. and noon for its 15 spots. Kingsbury will hold a draw for its seven spots at 4:30 a.m. and again at 11 a.m.
The daily bag is the same as regular season: six ducks, including no more than four mallards (of which no more than two can be hens), four scaup, three wood ducks, two pintails, two redheads, one canvasback, one black duck, and one mottled duck.
LAKE MICHIGAN AND TRIBS: The rain Tuesday night was apparently enough to activate Chinook on Trail Creek.
Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said they passed 150 kings and 60 coho past the sea lamprey barrier on Wednesday. He said the kings had an average weight in the teens with the biggest topping 20 pounds. Some fresh steelhead are also coming in.
“The next month should provide some exiting fishing action for all species,’’ Breidert said.
Capt. Rich Sleziak of Slez’s Bait in Lake Station reported that oddly enough there seems to be more fresh steelhead than Chinook coming in. He said No. 3 spinners, skein and spawn sacs are working best on the streams. With the low water, he said, they need to start at one hole and walk to new ones.
“Guys getting out and chasing them are catching fish, it’s just the regular spots are not hot and heavy,’’ Sleziak said.
Casters are catching some sporadic Chinook along the shoreline at places like the Hole-in-the-Wall.
Breidert said Chinook, coho, steelhead and brown trout were all noticed up the St. Joseph River. Everything is a little behind with low flows.
HUNTING NOTES: Bowhunting for deer is about average at most public sites. .... There’s been 22 rabbits shot so far at LaSalle; Kingsbury has had decent rabbit hunting, too.
INLAND FISHING: Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond reported some walleye and crappie biting better in the corn channel at Wolf Lake. ... Crappie are starting in many places. Sleziak said they are doing decent at Deep River. ... Boat fishing is closed at Willow Slough.
WILD THINGS: On Tuesday, the count of sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski FWA was 6,424. The peak is a good month or more away, but enough are here to watch.
QUOTE: “They have a machete in one hand and a pole in the other.’’ — Sleziak on how guys are coping with finding holes with enough on the streams to fish salmon and steelhead.