As we head toward the middle of January, ice fishing is becoming more widespread however caution still needs to be used. Anglers are targeting crappie, bluegills, bass, pike, and walleye.

I’ve never put a lot of thought into fishing pliers until recently when I was out with Brandon Stanton and we needed them. When I handed him the Rapala pliers he had in the boat, he launched into praise for the tool.

GRAND RAPIDS — We waited until 9 a.m. to meet up as the temperature was in the teens overnight and it would have been pointless to start much earlier.

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Sleigh rides continue this winter at a variety of locations. Dress for the weather and visit Ranch Rudolf in Traverse City, Fantail Farm in Benzonia, Antler Ridge Farms in Williamsburg, Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville and Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire. Prices vary. Each location accepts …

I’ve done columns in past winters on taking guided raft trips down the Sturgeon and Jordan rivers. Winter float trips offer a different look at northern Michigan, offering solitude and quiet beauty along area rivers shrouded in snow.

A collection of columns from Record-Eagle Outdoors Columnist Mike Terrell:

Ice fishing has taken off in the northern sections of the state. Those getting out on inland lakes to the north are getting bluegills and pike. The southern half of the Lower Peninsula had no safe ice yet.

A buddy showed me a product the other day that’s designed for waterfowlers, but might have numerous other applications — a caller glove.

The Grass River Shiver is scheduled from Jan. 9-10 at Grass River Natural Area. Run or walk a 5K or 10K snowshoe through woodsy and wetland trails. Participants may complete their race anytime Saturday or Sunday and submit their results to the GRNA website by midnight Jan. 10. Entry is $25 i…


TRAVERSE CITY — Northwest Michigan’s Conservation Resource Alliance’s Wild Roots program began in 2019 with a bold goal — to plant 100,000 native seedlings in five years. The initiative now launches year three with 32,000 in the ground and 68,000 to go.

Submit your best photo of the week to and we’ll post it online and pick our favorites to run in our reader shot roundup in the GO: Great Outdoors section that runs on Thursdays.

I like to carry a simple knife sharpener with me in my backpack so I can put an edge on a blade when needed — like immediately after field dressing a deer — and when I found mine missing from my pack, I went directly to the nearest big box store to get one. I bought a Smith combination knife…

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The annual Frozen Rabbit 5K run/walk is scheduled Jan. 1. Start times are staggered to follow social distancing guidelines. Meet at the Norte Wheelhouse at the Civic Center. Adults may register for $10 and kids under 12 for free. Entry proceeds support local youth programs. Learn more at elg…

Last week I drove over to Hartwick Pines State Park for a winter hike on the Au Sable River Trail, which isn’t as popular as the Visitor Center (VC) trail system. There were quite a few cars in the VC parking area and only one at Au Sable River trailhead.

Submit your best photo of the week to and we’ll post it online and pick our favorites to run in our reader shot roundup in the GO: Great Outdoors section that runs on Thursdays.

Every now and again I rediscover a bait that I used to use, but got away from. The most recent? Red Eye spoons. It was one of my favorite lures when I was a kid; I used it for bass and pike, but I generally got away from spoons and didn’t use Red Eyes again for years.

NILES — Remember pike? Guys my age will remember when they were a top target of recreational anglers. These days, not so much.

Otsego Resort invites the public to participate in winter activities, including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and tubing. Equipment rentals and skiing lessons may be available. COVID-19 protocols include requiring face masks inside all buildings, frequent sanit…


FRANKFORT — Time weighed heavy on retiree Carol Navarro after COVID restrictions hit — until she found inspiration in Benzie Conservation District’s virtual environmental book club.

Due to the upcoming holidays, this will be the final report for 2020. The report will not be updated again until the week of Jan. 4, 2021. Very cold temperatures have kept most anglers from open water fishing. Most are now waiting for ice fishing season to get started.

If you hunt big game out west — or even in some places around here — a range finder is a valuable tool. Can you really tell the difference between, say, 300 yards and 400 yards? Your bullet will drop significantly at ranges like that.

BAY CITY — We had two walleyes — nice ones, 4- and 5-pounders — in the live well within a few minutes, but the third tangled up a couple of lines and by the time we got it straightened out, Brandon Stanton said we might as well pull lines and run back to where we started and go through them again.

I have a hard time sitting still. Always have. In first grade, my teacher once tied me to my chair because I wouldn’t stay at my desk. Pacing in the back of the class calmed my brain and helped me learn. 38 years later, I’m still pacing. I’m still learning.

TART Trails and Top of Michigan Trails Council work to connect Charlevoix to Traverse City through the non-motorized Nakwema Trailway. The public is invited to discuss the segment from Charlevoix to Fisherman's Island State Park at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 17 via Zoom. Share comments until Jan. 11 at …

TRAVERSE CITY — Volunteers for the North American Vasa Festival of Races were informed by email that the 2021 races have been canceled because of high COVID-19 cases in the community and state.

Submit your best photo of the week to and we’ll post it online and pick our favorites to run in our reader shot roundup in the GO: Great Outdoors section that runs on Thursdays.

It’s the time of year when a little warmth is welcome while enjoying the outdoors, and small propane heaters can make the difference between comfort and, well, let’s just say discomfort. Portable propane heaters can make a lot of difference in the goose blind, an ice fishing shanty or even a…

ST. CLAIR SHORES — There’s an old saw about angling — never leave fish to find fish — that sounds sensible enough, but for some reason, fishermen seem to forget it all the time. I saw the wisdom in that aphorism again for about the millionth time on Lake St. Clair recently while fishing with…

Boyne Mountain Resort is open for the snow sports season. Winter activities include fat tire biking, ice skating, snowshoeing, skiing, horseback riding and more. Sno-Go biking blends biking and skiing. Face coverings are required in the base area, lift lines, on chairlifts and indoors. Lift …

Ice fishing has started on the inland lakes in the Upper Peninsula though extreme caution needs to be used. Some of the inland lakes in the northern section of the Lower Peninsula had skim ice but no safe ice. Now is the time to get that ice fishing gear ready to go.

You’ve heard it for months, and you’ll only hear it more often as we ease through the holidays and into a hopeful new year. 2020 has been tough, and though we have a lot to be thankful for, we have a lot to want back into our lives, too.

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