The early seasons have come and gone for geese and quail. Dove and squirrel are still on. I saw, and heard the early goose season taking place and was surprised by the lack of hunter numbers. The weather was cooler than the past few years and I expected more hunters. You couldn’t help but notice the change in flying patterns for the geese. Next up for hunting will be the long archery deer season; more on that later.

This time of year in this area makes me think of perch. It doesn’t matter where you fish, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clare, the Detroit River, Clear Lake, Bird Lake or Findlay Reservoir. This time of year is about perch for me.

Some folks like bluegill to eat, others like walleye, but for me, deep fried perch fillets are the bets. If you can get out, this is the time for that species.

For others, this time of year is about salmon, King, Coho, or pink, all are doing their thing right now. For pink salmon, you may have to go to the St. Mary’s River or a little later, Lake Superior tributaries. But Coho are running up the Grand River in Grand Rapids Michigan. Kings are showing up at Tippy Dam on the Manistee and the Kalamazoo River at Allegan also.

Boat angers and pier anglers are also getting in on the action. Spoons and spinners are catching fish on the piers of West Michigan. This is the time of year that non-boat owners can catch a salmon or two from the piers.

Something I learned from years of fishing the Muskegon River from Croton Dame to Newaygo is that when the salmon are spawning, I fish trout right below the spawning salmon nests. I have taken my best catches of brown, rainbow and even early steelhead below spawning salmon. They are gorging themselves on salmon eggs. By the way, if you run a crankbait through the salmon’s spawning nest, be prepared. They are fiercely protective and will grab almost anything that comes near their nest.

Finally, the ODNR has released information both on perch and walleye numbers for the 2017 spawning success and numbers are right at normal for both species for the last 20 years. This amounts to five years of good hatches in a row for both species, insuring a good population of both for years to come.

The U.S. Wildlife Service says that ducks are above average overall with scaup and pintails down still and others are well above average; credit a good wet spring, with water in many breeding ponds for this success.

‘Til next time . . .

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