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Duck hunting has been spotty at best

Updated: November 27, 2012 11:09AM



At least some water arrived in time for the first week of hunting for ducks and geese in Indiana’s north zone.

Even so, opening weekend was so-so.

Staff at Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area reported about 150 ducks taken opening weekend, “then it went downhill.’’

It was mostly wood ducks and teal.

“We need new birds already,’’ staff said.

At LaSalle FWA, property manager Ken Bisacchi said hunters bagged 68 ducks (51 wood ducks, 12 green-winged teal, four blue-winged teal, one mallard) and three geese on opening day.

“That is down a third,’’ he said. “And a lot of that is contributed to from the north side where a lot of wood ducks are usually shot.’’

The good news is that more water came in the past few days.

“We have good water on the south side and the river has come up and the bayous that fill from the river are filling up,’’ he said. “Everything we manage has real good water.’’

Mallards are being seen, but harvest of them has been low.

Hunting note: Bisacchi said woodcocks are coming through. There has even been a couple limits shot at LaSalle.

Lakers at the port: Lake trout are in at the reef off the Port of Indiana. Earlier in the week, both jiggers and trollers were catching fish. Then came Wednesday when only a couple boats out of the pack boated a laker. One of those who were successful said the key is trying to stay on top of the reef. We should have a couple weeks at least of this top fishery. Thursday was difficult with the winds.

Lake Michigan and tribs: Lakers on the reef is the big thing. Chinook have slowed as they are turning dark and/or spawning. There are still decent numbers of coho and some steelhead in the streams. DNR staff reported 89,360 steelhead were stocked in Trail (44,795) and the East Branch (44,565). As of Tuesday, DNR staff had moved 1,189 cohos, 497 kings, 55 steelhead and 33 browns upstream from the Trail Creek Sea Lamprey Barrier.

Inland fishing: Wednesday was one of those fall days to savor and people did it fishing. “ I was busy from the time I opened the door until I closed, just regular fishing,’’ said Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station. By regular fishing, he meant a variety. Many were trying for crappie in the evening and morning, bluegill during the day on local lakes. Crappie will likely be the top bite this weekend. Others were out trying for perch on Lake Michigan, but that bite is not going yet. ... Ed McCain at Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond is hoping for perch. “Mik-Lurch’s Trick or Treat bag is filled with perch,’’ McCain said hopefully. “Cold snap should do it.’’

Cranes: On Tuesday, 8,280 cranes were counted at Jasper-Pulaski FWA, but staff said “counting conditions were not optimal, likely more cranes present.’’ ... There will be plenty of cranes for the Medaryville Lions Club’s annual Crane Cruise (crane-cruise.com) on Saturday.

Wild viewing: “Everglades of the North: The Story of the Grand Kankakee Marsh,’’ will have its broadcast debut on Nov. 5 on WYIN (Merrillville) and be shown on Nov. 8 on WNIT (South Bend).

Geocaching: The geocaching policy for DNR properties has been revised to open more properties to to geocaching, but also puts in restrictions to protect sensitive natural areas. Explanation is at geocaching.dnr.IN.gov.



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