Outdoors: More ducks due in part to the weather
By Dale Bowman Post-Tribune correspondent October 17, 2013 11:00PM
Waterfowl seasons open Saturday in Indiana's north zone and incoming Canada geese would be a welcome sight. | Dale Bowman-Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 22, 2013 10:38AM
Well, the weather is just ducky — some might simply call it miserable — in time for waterfowl seasons to open Saturday in Indiana’s north zone.
It does appear there might be more ducks around than for some recent openers.
Staff at Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area reported some 1,500 ducks, including lots of teal and “a bunch of shovelers” to go with the usual resident wood ducks. The youth hunt there last weekend had 106 ducks reported, including teal, a few shovelers and woodies.
Nick Echterling at LaSalle FWA reported “a lot of wood ducks, a few teal and some geese.” But the water is low (and no real relief in sight), so some blinds will be hard to get to.
Most sites have this weekend as reservation days, but there will still be standby draws. LaSalle will hold its at 4:30 a.m. That is pretty standard.
At Kingsbury FWA, staff reported the marsh had good water. Most of what site staff is seeing is wood ducks. The youth hunt last weekend produced nine ducks and no geese.
An important reminder that all state sites now have a limit of 25 shells for waterfowlers. Also remember at Willow Slough, you must bring your own boat and there are no blinds.
Big smallmouth: Chicago-area angler John Gazda caught and released one of the largest smallmouth bass — 23 inches and 6 pounds, 2 ounces — on southern Lake Michigan on Saturday while fishing Indiana waters with Capt. Ralph Steiger. It was caught on a Steiger Ice Poor Boy Erie Darter Jr.
“Very proud, didn’t think this fish existed,” Steiger posted. “Time to catch her mama!”
He said he had seen the fish three days running.
Fishing notes: Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert reported that there were still some fresher kings entering the streams. He reported good fishing this week for a variety of species, even “a few fresh winter strain steelhead entering the stream and (I) expect that to continue into December.” Overall, he added, it’s been a strong fall for coho coming in.
Inland fishing, especially with the weather change, is shifting toward the usual focus on crappie.
Hunter ed: A few spots remain for the hunter’s education course on Saturday at the Hammond Cabela’s. And some spots remain on Nov. 9 for the course at the Michigan City Izaak Walton League. All registration is online at indianahuntereducation.com.
Hunting notes: With the weather change, Echterling noted, “It will help with the deer. They will start moving with the cooler weather.” Up until now, bowhunting for deer has been slow. The rut is only a week or two away from getting serious. . . . Dove season is closed. The second dove season opens Nov. 8. ... Woodcock season opened Tuesday and runs through Nov. 28.
Deer donation: With deer harvest picking up in coming weeks, it is a good time to remember GiveIN Game Program. For more information and to register, go to in.gov/dnr/fishwild/7240.htm .
Wolf Lake wild: The Illinois side of Wolf Lake will be loaded with outdoor pursuits this weekend. Waterfowl hunting in Illinois’ north zone opens Saturday, so there will be waterfowlers. And this year, the Illinois DNR stocked fall trout in Wolf Lake. That season also opens Saturday. Those 16 and older need a fishing license and trout stamp.
Wild note: Another sign of the changing times. Staff at Kingsbury were excited about watching both an adult and immature bald eagle.
Law man: Danny East, a veteran of the Indiana State Police, has been selected as the new director of the DNR’s Division of Law Enforcement.
Advanced walleye: Pine Lake received a shot of 4,018 walleye advanced fingerlings (average of 7.5 inches) on Oct. 8. They were reared by inmates at Terre Haute’s Federal Correctional Complex.