By Jack Spaulding
Indiana Conservation Officers and the Griffith Police Department are investigating after partial skeletal remains were discovered by a waterfowl hunter near the area of Cline Avenue and River Drive.
At 7 a.m. on Oct. 22, the hunter discovered what appeared to be bone protruding from a piece of clothing in a marsh area while searching for a downed duck. A 911 call was immediately made, and Indiana Conservation Officers as well as officers from the Griffith Police Department and Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.
The remains were confirmed to be human and were recovered by Indiana Conservation Officers and members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team. The identity of the remains was unknown at press time, and the investigation was ongoing.
Other assisting agencies include Lake County 911 Center, Coroner’s Office and the Griffith Fire Department.
November good for Lake Michigan anglers
For anglers willing to brave cold temperatures and brisk wind, Lake Michigan provides abundant fishing action in November and early December. Native lake trout move nearshore to begin spawning starting in late October. They target rock rip rap along the shore and along breakwaters at Portage, East Chicago and Michigan City. The fish are accessible from boats and from shore, and even the lower reaches of Burns Ditch and Trail Creek using jigging blade baits, spoons or tubes. Casting large spinners or spoons and slowly working back near the bottom of the lake can be a productive way to catch them. Trolling can also be an effective technique, using spoons or dodger/fly combinations near the lake’s bottom.
Late fall and early winter is also the time when native Lake Whitefish move near shore to use some of the same rocky habitat areas to lay eggs or spawn. Whitefish provide an excellent pier fishing opportunity out of Michigan City and Portage Lakefront Park. Single eggs, or small pieces of night crawler fished on the bottom are the most successful technique to catch these fish. Known as one of the finest tasting fish from Lake Michigan, Lake Whitefish can be prepared many ways, including baking, frying, grilling or even the classic Wisconsin fish boiling.
Among other opportunities, this time of year provides excellent stream and harbor fishing experiences for migrating steelhead trout. These tackle busters enter the tributaries to Lake Michigan and are accessible throughout the stream reaches on the Little Calumet River, Trail Creek, Salt Creek and the St. Joseph River in South Bend/Mishawaka. Spinners, egg sacs, night crawlers and shrimp under a float are great baits to use. Look for deep holes where the fish will overwinter until spawning in March and April the next year.
Tri-County FWA’s new accessible hunting blind
Through a recent partnership with the Michiana Chapter of Delta Waterfowl, Tri-County Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA) has installed an accessible hunting blind for hunters with mobility issues. After Michiana Chapter members approached Tri-County FWA staff to discuss the idea, the partnership worked to find a suitable location, secure materials and design the blind.
The blind features a 60-inch-wide sidewalk connecting the blind to the paved parking lot, as well as a van-accessible parking spot. The entrance to the blind is 60 inches wide, and the interior dimensions of the blind (shooting window height, door handle, etc.) are wheelchair accessible. All slopes are less than a 5 percent grade, and there are no obstructions.
Since its completion on Oct. 7, the blind has been used during Youth/Veterans Waterfowl weekend for hunters with mobility issues. You can find the blind near the Shock Lake boat ramp on the west side of Tri-County FWA, off State Road 13.
Report gray foxes
Seen any foxes lately? Indiana’s gray fox research with the Wildlife Ecology Institute and Luther College is entering its last year of data collection, and DNR wants to hear from you. Report any observations online at https://www.in.gov/dnr/fish-and-wildlife/wildlife-resources/animals/gray-fox/ and go to the tab “Learn How You Can Help.” This is especially important if you spot a roadkill as researchers will collect them to sample.
Although foxes can be hard to tell apart, remember gray foxes have reddish brown legs and ears, and red foxes have black legs and ears. If you’re a trapper or hunter, you can also help the project by providing gray fox samples. Submit reports and learn more at Wildlife Ecology’s website.
Firewood permits at Summit Lake SP
The public is invited to cut up and remove certain downed trees at Summit Lake State Park for firewood. Trees eligible for firewood have fallen as a result of natural causes or have been dropped by property staff. The trees are along roadsides or in public areas such as campsites and picnic areas.
Permit sales and cutting will run through Feb. 15. The cost of one pickup-truck load is $10. All proceeds will be used for resource management and restoration efforts, including replacement of trees in campgrounds and other public areas.
A firewood permit must be obtained for each load at Summit Lake’s office from 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Permits are not available on observed state holidays. Firewood cut at Summit Lake is for personal use only and cannot be sold.
Firewood may be cut up to 30 feet from roadsides in designated areas; however, vehicles are not allowed off roads. The use of tractors, UTVs and ATVs is prohibited. Wood may be cut and removed from 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 765-766-5873. Summit Lake State Park (on.IN.gov/summitlake) is at 5993 N. Messick Road, New Castle.
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Spaulding’s books, “The Best of Spaulding Outdoors,” and his latest, “The Coon Hunter And The Kid,” are available from Amazon.com in paperback or as a Kindle download.