It's prime time for perch and some chinook news most anglers never thought they'd hear, but first a free fishing derby just for kids.
The Michigan City Fish & Game Club's annual Kid's Fishing Contest is set for 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the club property at 107 Chapala Pkwy., just off Michigan Blvd. and east of Johnson Rd.
The event is open to the public and free for youngsters age 14 and under. Youth must be accompanied by an adult. Prizes will be awarded for the top three fish in bluegill, crappie, bass and catfish categories. Door prizes and food will also be available, again, at no charge.
For details call (219) 879-9741.
Hot and steamy weather, like earlier this week, often triggers the best perch fishing of the summer. Unfortunately, there aren't as many perch (nor anglers) as there used to be.
Still, limits (15 per license in Indiana) have been caught in the past 10 days, although there is a lot more missing than hitting going on. Anglers may waylay 30 or 45 one day, then can't find them the next. Or they catch nothing but dinks for hours before drifting into a load of eight-inch or better perch.
Some spots I've heard limits from, which I don't mind mentioning since there really aren't any perch crowds anymore, are 36 feet of water off the rock pile (1 mile west of the lighthouse), 30 feet between Mount Baldy and Black Ditch, 41 feet 100 yards east of the breakwall, 30 feet near the water intake dredge, in the 20- to 24-foot trough off Long Beach and the close-to-shore,10- to 14-foot trough near the Michigan line.
Again, the perch have rarely been good in the same area one day to the next. But they are out there, albeit nothing like it used to be.
No more chinook to be stocked in Indiana.
That's the gist of a release issued by the DNR this week and what Lake Michigan biologist Brian Briedert forewarned this spring.
In an effort to save alewives, a Lake Michigan committee agreed to slash chinook stocking among the four states, leaving Indiana with a quota of 45,000 fingerlings. Indiana had stocked 200,000 chinook since 2013 with extremely meager returns. The suspension of chinook stocking will be for at least three years.
While shore anglers will certainly see the last remnants of a fishery disappear, open lake trolling may hardly be affected as 70 percent of the chinook caught by boaters have been naturally produced (non-hatchery fish) with the balance heavily Wisconsin and Michigan-stocked fish.
On the plus side, Indiana will use the vacated hatchery space to raise more Skamania, which provide a decent return for Indiana anglers.
A public meeting to discuss chinook cuts, and the Lake Michigan ecosystem, is set for 7 p.m. on Aug. 10 at 121 Skwiat Legion Ave., Michigan City.
The complete chinook release can be viewed at www.dnr.IN.gov.
The public access site at the Michigan City harbor (immediately west of DNR office) reopened this week after repairs to sinkholes in the concrete.
Bonus antlerless deer quotas have been set 2016. Porter County will increase from four to eight. La Porte County will remain at four. See www.deer.dnr.IN.gov for a complete map.
Deer Reduction Zones, with the extended Sept. 15 to Jan. 31 season, have not been released yet.
Applications for State Park deer cull hunts, including Indiana Dunes, are available at www.dnr.IN.gov as are application for all reserved hunts such as dove and pheasnt on state properties.
A Hoosier Coho Club's weigh-best-five, winner-take-all contest is set for Sunday. The annual Powder Puff Derby, where only the ladies may reel in fish, is set for July 23. The club's $3,030.30 bounty for the first 30-pound or larger lake trout caught by a club member or aboard a boat paying a $100 fee for the season is also still on. See www.hoosiercohoclub.org for details on any of the contests.
A 30.4-pound brown trout is the $22,000 grand prize leading fish as of Wednesday in the July 9 to 17 lakewide Salmon-A-Rama contest. More than 20 chinook salmon weighing over 23 pounds, including a second-place 28-pounder, have been weighed. Michigan City boats are popping up on the leaderboards for lake trout and rainbow trout. See current leaders in all divisions at www.salmonarama.com.