Snowmobile Trekking

snowmobile2Did you know that Michigan has over 6,500 miles of snowmobile trails?  There are many places where you can ride.  I’ve been snowmobiling all my life.  When I was young I would be strapped to my dad and I would fall asleep riding down the trails.  There are specific things that you need to snowmobile.  Snowmobiling is like one big community of people of all ages having the same love of this winter sport.

First, there are many places where you can ride snowmobiles.  You can ride in state parks, public trails or if you’re lucky, your own land.  To be able to ride on public land you must buy a trail permit for each snowmobile that you ride.  Each year they cost $48.00 each and help pay for trail maintenance.  A part of trail maintenance is grooming.  Grooming is where they smooth the trails to make for an easier and safer ride.  One mile of trail costs $5.11 to groom.  Grooming is also paid for by other organizations.

Next, there is some very important equipment that you need for snowmobiling.  First, the most important one is the snowmobile.  There are four main brands that you can get:  Skidoo, Arctic Cat, Yamaha and Polaris.  Then, you need to get a helmet.  There are many different brands and colors.  Just make sure it is DOT certified.  Make sure you wear something that will keep you warm.  It is also important that you have a trail map and it is also a good idea to have space blankets and other emergency supplies when out on the trails.smowmobile1

Lastly, snowmobiling is one big community.  There are different snowmobile clubs that you can be a part of, or you can go riding with friends from school or your neighborhood.  If you walk into any restaurant by a snowmobile trail I bet that there will be snowmobilers in there talking about the riding conditions and sharing their stories.  Also, there is always someone who likes to ride, like you.  If you want to go on a slow, relaxing ride, you can find someone else who wants to do that.  If you want to race like the pros, you can do that too.  I can’t wait to take my three year old nephew on his first snowmobile ride.

So, there are many places to ride.  There is equipment you need to do it safely.  Lastly, snowmobiling is a community of like-minded people of all ages.  Hope sometine I will meet you on the trail!

Chris Neuvirth, YCC member – Commerce Township

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The Unexpected Hunt

dam fishingOver thanksgiving break there was a turn of events. Every year my family goes up to Alpena, MI to celebrate thanksgiving and deer hunt, which gets us outdoors and it’s great. This year we did the same thing, but the hunting this year wasn’t going too well for me, so I did the next best thing and went fishing. I fished this spot once before and didn’t have any success, but I figured I should try it again. Why not right? There had been a lot of rain lately there and the river was running very high. The chutes on the dam were open as well making it very fast. The Thunder Bay river feeds into Lake Huron and the Steelhead, Brown Trout Atlantic Salmon, Whitefish, and much more move in to the river and swim up to the dam. This is an accessible area and doesn’t require getting into the water to catch fish, but I was fly fishing, so I did because it was much easier. I used an 8wt fly rod with a sink tip line, 12lb test leader and tied a big black streamer on.

dam fishing 3Within the first five minutes I hooked up and it felt like I snagged bottom, but it wasn’t. This fish took off screaming downstream and out into the fast water, bending my rod down to the handle. This fish wouldn’t give up and I was able to catch a glimpse of him as he came to the surface. It turned out to be a Steelhead. That was the only look I got at him before he came off. This was disappointing, but on the next few casts I hooked up again. It wasn’t as strong as the last one, but this one put up a fight. I was able to get this one in and it was an Atlantic Salmon. Throughout the next 4 hours I was there I caught 14 Atlantic Salmon. Swinging a streamer is a very effective way to cover a lot of water and it proved itself here. I thought this was so cool because I have never caught one before and it was on a streamer that I tied myself. This was one of those experiences that will keep me coming back forever.

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Zach Barrette, YCC member – Shelby Township

Woods: Not just trees

Winter woodsLeaves crunching beneath your feet, birds chirping in the trees, the crisp, earthy air stroking your cheek. There is so much more to discover in these places of wonder, no matter what the season. If you take a little walk, you’ll discover a relaxing place to unwind and get away.

Winter is amazingly beautiful when it snows. The inch of pure white snow resting on the dark grey branches of the bare trees is an awe inspiring sight. Of course, that means there are igloos to build, snow angels to make, and snowball fights to be had. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are great ways to get outside and explore when there’s a blanket of snow covering the trails. Don’t forget to tap your sugar maple trees for maple sap to boil down into some delicious Michigan maple syrup,

When the earth wakes up from its winter hibernation, you can’t miss the sounds of the Spring Peeper frogs and robins that have finally reappeared. One of the best things about big morelSpring is looking for the the most delicious, elusive, wild mushroom: Morels.

In Summer when the sun is out from six to nine, some great uses of the long day are building lean-to forts out of the fallen branches, fishing small creeks for the creek chub and the occasional trout, and harvesting the wild black raspberries that grow in thorny thickets just about everywhere.

In fall when the days get colder and shorter, the best activities include hunting for that prize buck you’ve been stalking on your trail cams, wild apple picking, and just seeing and being a part of the beauty of the fall color change from greens to a breathtaking array of yellows, golds, oranges, reds, browns, and the occasional dark purple.

So next time you’re sitting in your house bored out of your mind, remember that there is a great big world awaiting you in the woods, not just trees.

Cooper Evans, YCC Member – Grand Ledge

Nature’s Mural

Byrnes_2Thousands of people have toured our beautiful state, however most people travel from place to place in car or a truck but there’s a more exciting way to travel. Michigan has over 3,800 miles of off road vehicle (ORV) trails, 73% of them being through state forest. Personally my favorite time to use these trails is in the fall , why? Because it’s the most colorful time.  All of the leaves are changing colors and falling on the ground while riders drive on the trails when they look back instead of kicking up dust and dirt there’s an array of colors.

Byrnes_1The ORV trails are open to everyone that has an ORV and an ATV safety certificate. While you’re enjoying the colorful trees, wildlife, and amazing scenery, don’t forget to keep in mind the unspoken trail etiquette and safety. First, be alert and slow down throughout your ride, especially turning sharp edges, there are other people on the trails as well and you must be on the lookout for them. Secondly, when you come past other people hold up your left hand with the number of people behind you and they will do the same, this lets you know how many people to look for and be cautious of. And finally, have fun and enjoy your ride!

To ride along go to this YouTube video link: https://youtu.be/17nYgPp8uEc

Reanna Byrnes, YCC Member – Laingsburg

Sunrise over the Decoys

sunrise over decoysOne of my favorite things to do in the fall is wake up early in the morning and go watch the sunrise over the duck decoys.  During the fall there is always something to do outdoors.  You can look at the fall colors, bowhunt for deer, fish for salmon and many other fish species, trap, and hunt waterfowl.  My personal favorite though is duck hunting.  It is my favorite because there is something unique about getting up before dawn and watching the sun come up.

 Also there is sometimes meteor showers that we see on the way out which are a spectacular sight.  It is also a a great family activity because my family and I can talk and joke around in the blind unlike deer hunting where you have to be utterly silent.  The ducks are also one of my favorite foods to eat.  It is also comforting to know that the meat you are eating was completely grown in the wild and doesn’t have any chemicals in it like some store bought food.  Overall the fall in my opinion is one of the best times of the year for outdoor activities.  Whether you like to hunt, fish, hike or camp the fall is a beautiful time to participate in outdoor activity.

Ben Spieles, YCC Member – McMillan

 

 

Mentors and Friends

Stream pike Fishing has been an important part of my life.  Like a lot of anglers, however, I’ve had some help along the way. For example, there’s the owner of a local bait shop here in Lansing, Anna Werner, who has been my friend for years and given me all kinds of good information about where and how to fish.  Then there’s my barber, Gary Ridenour, who has showed me the ins and outs of steelhead fishing.  Finally, there’s my dad;   he doesn’t enjoy fishing as much as I do, but he is always happy to take me to the far corners of Michigan so I can fish.

So what does all this mean if you are a teenage angler?  It means you can already pass on some of your fishing knowledge to younger kids and other people in your community.  I have been able to help out with the kids’ fishing program at the Oden State Fish Hatchery Visitors Center, and I have volunteered with a group that helps kids with developmental disabilities spend time with a rod and reel.  But there’s more you can do, too.  If I see a young angler along the Looking Glass, where I live in Clinton County, I offer to show them the good fishing spots, and if I see something they can do to improve their experience, I help them as best I can.

If you are at school, listen to the kids who say they’d like to go fishing.  And, you know what?  We can learn more, too.  Always seek new mentors.  If you’re fishing in a new area, check with the local anglers.  Some (okay, not everyone) might be happy to share information.  I’ve made some friends at good fishing spots all over Michigan, and we share information about what is biting and what kinds of presentations are working.

The people you meet and the friends that you make are one of the best

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parts of fishing.  I’ve met doctors out fishing, as well as people who need to catch their dinner.  I’ve met rugged anglers in remote areas Up North and savvy anglers along rivers in cities, and we’re all different, and that’s okay.  But fishing brings us together, and it reminds me we have a lot more in common than we think.  For a teenager, or anyone for that matter, that’s a good message to remember.

Joe Perry – YCC member, DeWitt, MI

The Time Is Finally Here!

For many outdoors people, the Fall is the most favorable time of the year. The trees are changing colors, the night sky shares it’s beautiful starry nights, and what most look forward to, the openning of hunting seasons. These are what truly make Autumn a

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nature lovers dream. Along with this, the Fall season has a hidden gem — arguably the best fishing of the year. Some of the most notable are salmon and stealhead fishing in streams, cool water bass fishing on the lake, or triggering a vicious top water strike from pike. Fall fishing can serve as favorable family time or silence for self reflection. It is important to bring young, ambitious kids into the outdoors during the fall. Not only for fall pikethe fact of “getting fresh air”, but to also absorb the knowledge that Mother nature has to offer us.  Besides, what could be better than canoeing down whispering streams on a sunny Michigan afternoon of fishing?

 

 

 

Graham Smith – YCC member, Lyons, MI