I’m often asked, “How can I find good places to hunt and fish?”
There is no simple answer due to each person’s interests and resources. That’s why it’s important to network within groups that share similar interests.
Well, there’s no better place to do that than within an outdoors organization, for which there are many throughout this area.
Some are species-specific, others are simply conservation-minded, yet all attract members who like to fish, hunt or both.
What’s equally important is that they all contribute in some way to making Michiana a better place to enjoy the outdoors.
A few weeks ago we asked area clubs to email us details about their organizations. Here’s a list of those that responded. If yours isn’t mentioned, it’s because information wasn’t provided:
Argos Izaak Walton league: The conservation club has 17 acres of constructed fishing ponds, structures and buildings developed as a fish hatchery and meeting hall for various organizations, including the Argos Elementary School Fishing Club. The club meets monthly at its clubhouse and dues are $48 each or $74 for families. Contact Chad Overmyer at 574-892-9229 or visit www.argosikes.org.
Bremen Conservation Club: The group funds three wildlife rehabilitators and provides lighting at Lake of the Woods public launch and conducts water quality testing programs on the lake. It hosts an Ice Fishing Derby at Lake of the Woods and shares proceeds with Bremen Boys and Girls Club. Meetings are monthly and dues are $25. Contact Lowell Michaels, 574-546-5802.
Chain-O-Lakes Conservation Club: The South Bend club has participated in pheasant rearing, forestry, fish stocking and environmental clean-up projects. It offers a clubhouse for special functions, a swimming beach, boat launch parking and 50 wooded acres. Meetings are held monthly and dues are $30. Each member is required to donate six hours of work toward club projects. Call 574-232-9063 or visit www.chain-o-lakes.com.
Elkhart County Chapter Pheasants Forever: The chapter focuses on habitat projects and youth hunting education events and hunter education programs. Currently two $500 youth scholarships are awarded each year. Monthly meetings are held at the Goshen Public Library. Dues are $35. Contact Bob Rhodes, 574-596-7873.
MARCO Bassmasters: The bass club conducts eight club tournaments a year that are held on lakes within an hour and half from Plymouth. It’s open to non-boaters and boaters, promotes bass fishing skills through fellowship and exchange of ideas and techniques. It also promotes public awareness of bass fishing as a major sport, adherence to conservation codes and enforcement of fishing regulations. It conducts an open team tournament series with 100 percent payback. The club meets monthly at Collins and Company Realtors (Plymouth). Dues are $65. Contact Mike Goins, 574-298-0208 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michiana Walleye Association: Dedicated to establishing a walleye fishery in the St. Joseph River, the club has its own grounds to include clubhouse and private pond. The club conducts fund-raisers to purchase 6- to 8-inch walleyes for the river and annually awards scholarships to high school seniors. Monthly meetings are held at the club and are open to the public. Dues are $25/person and $40/family. Contact Rick Nichols, 219-712-1369, or visit www.michianawalleye.org
Northern Indiana Quail Unlimited: The 25-year-old organization was formed to promote and improve upland game bird habitat by assisting landowners with food plot establishment and management. The group introduces youths to hunting and awards six scholarships to college students annually. It meets monthly at the downtown Bremen Fire Department. Contact Ed Cenkush, 574-291-2102.
PNA Fishermen’s Club: One of Indiana’s oldest fishing clubs, the South Bend group is an all-species fishing club dedicated to freshwater fishing. Membership is limited to 40 active members and 15 retirees. The club conducts local contests 12 Sundays per season and has stocked walleyes in area waters for the past 15 years. Monthly meetings are held at the PNA #83 Club. Contact Ted Wasielewski at email@example.com.
Simonton Lake Sportsmen Club: The Elkhart Club was founded in 1983 and rents its facility for special events. It has worked with the DNR and the Simonton Lake Homeowners Association to construct fish structures and monitor water quality and lake plant life. It has purchased and stocked 1,000 walleye fingerlings into the lake, conducted youth fishing contests, monthly club tournaments, and turkey shoots. Meetings are held monthly and dues are $25. Contact: 574-266-0153.
Z.B. Falcons Conservation Club: The South Bend club was established to save and defend natural resources to include soil and minerals, forests, water and wildlife. Prospective members must belong to the Polish Falcons of America. Club facilities include a clubhouse on 200 acres of protected forest and wildlife preserve where fishing, shooting, camping and hiking can be enjoyed by members and area scout groups. Meetings are monthly and dues are $20. Contact Leon Bogucki, 219-778-4941.
Catch a big steelhead during the Michigan City Summer Festival and there’s a good chance of winning a gift card from Cabela’s.
“Skamania Mania,” the annual free fishing contest hosted by the Northwest Steelheaders, runs June 30-July 1 during which 12 Cabela’s Gift Cards will be awarded for the biggest steelhead brought to the scales during the two-day event.
You don’t have to pre-register and anyone can participate. Any steelhead caught from Lake Michigan or its tributaries is eligible. All you need to do is take the fish to the Steelheaders’ tent on the south side of the Michigan City Harbor between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the event.
Prizes include $200 gift cards for first place down to $25 for 12th. The 13th place fish earns the angler a $225 rod and reel combo.
Fishing times are 12:01 a.m., June 30 through 4 p.m., July 1.
Visit www.nwisteelheaders.org, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
High school champs
Greg Zellers of Winamac and Brody McWilliams of Greenwood, Ind. won the Indiana High School Fishing Championship on Patoka Lake recently.
The winners had a combined weight of 20 pounds, 11 ounces caught on Poor Boys Jigs while fishing with boat captain Terry McWilliams.
The event was sponsored by the Indiana Bass Federation. The Hoosier prep champs advance to the FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing Conference Championship where they will have a chance to earn a berth in the High School Fishing National Championship in 2013. The winners of that event receive $5,000 collegiate scholarships.
I’m often asked, “How can I find good places to hunt and fish?”
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