Friday, April 15, 2011

Ice Out Complete-DNR Docks NOT Back In The Water Yet 2011

Backus Lake Spring 2011

In case you saw my blog report earlier, the DNR has NOT put the docks in the lake yet. It would seem someone may have illegally slid the dock into the lake. Probably so they could put their boat in the water. With the winds whipping around at +25mph and whitecaps on the lake, it wouldn't be a good day to be on the lake. Weather reports are calling for bad weather all weekend.

With the water almost high enough to cover them. The water is usually high this time of year due the run off from the ice and snow. This works fine for me since my boat trailer rides a bit high. Sometimes I have to back up to the end of the dock to drop my boat in or get it back out, always afraid I might go off the end of the ramp. I'll be venturing out soon but I wanted to get this note out to you, this being Friday, in case you have plans to come to Houghton Lake this weekend.

On another note the fishing at Reedsburg dam and dead Stream Flooding has been lousy. I believe due to the run off and the river being fast. I've been using nightcrawlers and artificial baits. Though I haven't tried minnows.  Also the area by the dam is flooded on the river side of the dam so fishing from shore is limited.

Reminder: The new Passport system for Michigan State Parks also includes the DNR boat launches. So for $10 it's quite a deal (less than the cost of two day passes). Just check the box for the Passport when renewing your vehicle tabs. A "P" will be on the tabs and passport will be on your paper registration. Each vehicle must have it's own Passport. I have Passport on both my F 150 and my Explorer and I still paid less than I would have for either the annual-parks OR boat launch sticker for one vehicle. If we want this system to stay in place we have to use it. Tell your family, friends and neighbors. It's only $10, less than a movie ticket, for a years worth of access. But only if it is successful. Over 20 state campgrounds are set to be closed again this year due to lack of funds (you still have to pay for a campsite). So tell everyone you know about the DNR Passport. Let's save our state park system.

Thanks for stopping by,

Ken S

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Michigan DNR Closing State Campgrounds-Is Reedsburg on the Chopping Block?

 The state campground at Reedsburg may be closing. According to a Detroit newspaper I recently read, 23 state forest campgrounds across the U.P. and northern Michigan, may be closing as early as May 19, in a cost cutting move by the new director.

There's no list of the campgrounds being considered but one of the criteria seems to be whether there's somewhere else to camp nearby. We have three state campgrounds plus several privately owned campgrounds within 15 miles of each other and all of them are well used each summer. I don't believe any of our state campgrounds here in the Houghton lake area will be closed but once we start down this road, where does it end?

The second largest industry in Michigan is tourism (after the auto industry). With gas prices set to reach over $4 a gallon this summer. Families will be looking for an inexpensive way to spend their summer vacations probably closer to home to save on the cost of travel. Thus the Michigan campgrounds are a very attractive option. Over the decades the younger generations have lost interest in the outdoors. But with the "Go Green" movement, some interest in the outdoors has been rekindled.

I love the outdoors. I always have. There was a time when I stopped going to the state parks. Now I visit often. I make it no secret that I enjoy going to Reedsburg Dam and the Dead Stream Flooding for some fishing. It has become almost a daily sojourn for me.

Recently we lost the Michigan State Fair. The oldest fair of it's kind in the US. It ran for over 140 years straight. Even through the Great Depression years. Last year, in a cost cutting move, it was cancelled. A 140 year tradition gone. Let's not let our campgrounds disappear to save a few dollars. Take a camping trip this summer. Let the DNR and our governor know, we still want our campgrounds.

Thanks for listening,

Ken S

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Houghton Lake Ice-Out is Underway

A Pair of Ducks at Dead Stream Flooding
photo by
K. Stephenson
Although winter hit us with one last shot in the form of 8 inches of snow about a week and a half ago. Warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine since then have the ice on the run. Houghton Lake and surrounding area lakes and waterways have all begun to at least show water, with some moving waterways almost completely ice free. Ice out on Houghton Lake could occur as soon as the third week in April. The DNR puts the docks in around the beginning of May.

Dead Stream Flooding Next to Reedsburg Dam
photo by
K. Stephenson

The above photo was taken the last day of March and the ice has receded even further since then.

Backus Lake is still mostly covered with ice but is showing signs of melting such as a 3 inch wide crack near the boat launch. The road back to Backus Lake is heavily rutted from the winter ice fishermen. And with the frost coming out of the ground the road is very muddy and slick. Use caution or just wait until May before venturing out to Backus Lake.

Now that we're in the transition period between ice fishing and open water fishing, this is a great time to think about cleaning and oiling your favorite reel. Maybe replacing the frayed or stretched line with some new line. One maybe two seasons can cause the line to lose it's strength. There's nothing like getting the big one on the hook only to have the line break when you get him next to the boat.

Speaking of hooks you should sharpen or replace any dull hooks. Heck, why not just empty the tackle box and get rid of the junk. You know the pieces of fishing line, the bent jigheads, broken bobbers, lures that are missing hooks. How about the wrappers from the crappie rigs, the sinkers, the beef jerky and sandwiches? You know what I'm talking about. Put the boat battery on the charger. Nothing can ruin the day like a dead battery. You don't even get away from the dock. Not to mention it's embarrassing (believe me I know).

Get organized before the season starts and your fishing adventure will be much more fun and relaxing.

Think safety and have a great summer of fishing.

Ken S.