More portraits on Michigan in Pictures.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources page on Northern Pike says that they spawn in early spring and are found in the Great Lakes and connecting waters of the Lower Peninsula year-round and that:
Pike are popular quarry of ice fishermen. Though they are primarily pursued with tip ups, baited with live minnows or suckers, they can be taken with rod and reel, either jigging or fishing with bait. Pike are a prime target of spear fishermen as well, who often use decoys or suspend suckers below their shanties to lure pike within range in relatively shallow water.
Pike typically spawn in the weedy backwater marshes; low water levels on the Great Lakes in recent years have probably hampered their reproductive success. Still, the shallow weedy bays of the Great Lakes and connecting waters, such as Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, the Portage Lake system of Lake Superior and the bays of Lakes Michigan and Huron, remain productive pike waters. winter pike fishing
Inland, the drowned river mouths along the Lake Michigan shoreline – such as Muskegon Lake, Portage Lake and Manistee Lake – are all noted pike waters. Some of the larger inland lakes and reservoirs, such as Michigamme and Houghton, have significant pike populations, though they can be found in many lakes and virtually all the larger rivers in the state.
The term “contre-jour” is French for “against the daylight”, a photographic technique in which the camera is pointing directly toward a source of light. In Shooting into the light: mastering the contre-jour technique, Jeremy Walker writes:
One of the first pieces of advice I was given was: ‘Don’t shoot into the light – always have the sun over your left shoulder.’ At the time I was young and naïve, and it seemed like good advice – but it wasn’t. In landscape photography you will often be looking for cross lighting to bring out the texture and character of the countryside. This is fine, but I would also advise trying your hand at contre-jour technique, or to put it more simply, shooting into the light. This technique creates a striking backlight behind your subject and will help to emphasise lines, shapes and silhouettes.
Read on for a bunch of tips and tricks.
The Michigan DNR’s page on Bright and Glory Lakes near Grayling includes maps. They say that both lakes have floating piers & boat launches for fishing – species include largemouth bass, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, sucker, sunfish, yellow perch:
These lakes are called Kettle Lakes as they are shaped like tea kettles. They are roundish and deep in the center (more than 40 feet). The lake bottom is marl, so wading and swimming are prohibited as people would sink in the marl.
Here’s more about Kettle Lakes from MSU’s Geology department:
Kettles are depressions left behind after partially-buried ice blocks melt. Many are filled with water, and are then called “kettle lakes”. Most lakes in Michigan could be described as kettle lakes, and the term “kettle lake” describes the way the lake basin was formed. Kettle lake basins were formed as the glaciers receded. While this was happening, a block of ice broke off the glacier, and just sat there. As the glacier continued to melt, the debris from the glacier (soil, rocks, stones, gravel, etc.) filled in around the block of ice. When the block of ice finally melted, all the debris surrounding it fell into the hole, creating the kettle type basin, which when filled with water, became a lake as we know it.
Many of our small, deep lakes in Michigan are kettle lakes. Some have since been infilled with vegetation and plant matter, to form bogs. Even some of our larger, deep lakes, like Higgins Lake and Walled Lake, are kettles.
The Michigan DNR’s Northern Pike page has this to say about this apex predator of the Great Lakes and Michigan’s inland lakes:
As predators, northern pike can have significant impact on their prey species. As with muskies, pike lurk in the cover of vegetation in the lake’s clear, shallow, warm waters near shore, although they retreat somewhat deeper in midsummer. Pike consume large numbers of smaller fish – about 90 percent of their diet – but seem willing to supplement their diet with any living creature their huge jaws can surround, including frogs, crayfish, waterfowl, rodents, and other small mammals. Their preferred food size is approximately one third to one half the size of the pike itself.
Great Lakes pike spawn in the shallows in April or May, right after the ice leaves, and before muskies reproduce. As a result of their eating habits, young pike grow rapidly in both length and weight. Females become sexually mature at age three or four years, and males at two to three years. Beyond sexual maturity, pike continue to gain weight, although more slowly. Great Lakes pike have an average life span of 10 to 12 years.
Pike eggs and new hatchlings (which stay inactive, attached to vegetation for their first few days of life) fall prey in large numbers to larger pike, perch, minnows, waterfowl, water mammals, and even some insects. Larger pike have two primary enemies – lampreys, and man. Spawning adult northern pike, exposing themselves recklessly in the shallows, are vulnerable to bears, dogs, and other large carnivores.
Northern pike flesh excels in flavor, thus making them a doubly rewarding game fish. Since their skin has heavy pigmentation and an unappetizing mucous coating, most people skin them or scale them carefully.
This photo was one of Isle Royale National Park’s “Wildlife Wonders of the Week.” They noted that a five pound female pike will lay about 60,000 eggs. Two weeks later fertilized eggs hatch, hungry for microscopic morsels. Once to the fingerling stage, food scarcity may force them to eat their own siblings for nourishment.
More Michigan fish on Michigan in Pictures.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is partnering with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians to bring back the Arctic grayling. Grayling were native to Michigan but are long vanished from our waters. Slate blue in color with a sail-like dorsal fin, they are of the salmon family and efforts will begin in the Manistee River watershed.
Regarding the grayling, the Old Au Sable Fly shop says in part:
According to William J. Mantague, “One spring the Grayling were running up the Hersey. We noted they had some difficulty passing an obstruction in the stream, so we placed a canoe crosswise at that point and caught over seven hundred one afternoon.”
The Grayling were eaten. They were packed in ice, loaded onto railway cars, and shipped by the thousands of tons per year to the larger metropolitan areas. In some instances, they were tossed on the banks and buried in mounds.
At the same time, the lumbermen came and cut down centuries-old growth of virgin white pine. The land leading to the rivers was stripped as well, slashed and burned, and the logs floated downstream to the large mills and cities during the spring run-off. The rivers were cleared of logs and debris, places were the Grayling flourished. Shallow riffles were trenched out and deepened, and dams were built so that the flow of the river could be better controlled. Vegetation on the banks of the rivers was cleared as well, and the river slowly filled with sand. The sand filled the deepest pools and covered the Grayling’s spawning beds. By 1885, the Grayling had disappeared from the AuSable River. And in a period of ten to twenty years, a land unrivaled for its fishing and beauty, became a barren wasteland of stumps and empty pools.
More fish & fishing on Michigan in Pictures!
Traverse City based AP Environmental Writer John Flesher is (for my money) one of the best reporting on Great Lakes issues. His latest piece Effort to keep Asian carp from Great Lakes appears stymied begins:
When scientists discovered six years ago that aggressive Asian carp had made their way up the Mississippi River’s tributaries toward the Chicago area, the Obama administration and alarmed state officials pledged swift action to head off an invasion they feared could devastate fishing and boating on the vital Great Lakes.
Since then, federal agencies have spent more than $300 million on stopgap measures, including placing electric barriers on one likely route, a shipping canal that leads to Lake Michigan. But as the carp get closer_some are within 80 miles of the lake— the quest for a surefire deterrent seems to be coming up empty.
An advisory panel that has debated solutions for several years is scheduled to hold what may be its final meeting Thursday, with no sign of a consensus plan, several members said in interviews.
Even if talks continue, chances are growing that the carp will arrive before anything conclusive is done to stop them. At their recent pace, the first young carp could reach Lake Michigan within two years, although a number of obstacles could slow them considerably.
“It’s one of the things that keep me up at night,” said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat whose state borders four of the five Great Lakes. “Asian carp could devastate our Great Lakes and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on them.”
…Environmental groups and the region’s fishing and boating industries, which generate $23 billion annually on the lakes, are most worried about two varieties of Asian carp: bighead and silver, which weigh dozens of pounds and gorge on the same tiny plant and animal life that feeds the lakes’ other fish. Scientists are still measuring their impact in rivers, but under worst-case scenarios, the large carp could leave popular sport fish to go hungry and suffer population drop-offs. Asian carp are edible but bony, and most Great Lakes fish connoisseurs regard them as a poor substitute for the walleye and whitefish.
Additionally, silver carp are notorious for springing from the water when startled, sometimes ramming boaters with bone-cracking force — a hazard that some fear could damage the Great Lakes’ tourism industry.
Read on for much more, and be sure to follow John on Twitter for more of the story. And please, make it clear to every elected official you interact with how important the health of the Great Lakes is to Michigan!
More about the threat of Asian carp on Michigan in Pictures.