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If you're not a hunter, pull on an extra layer of clothes, grab your favorite fishing gear and head onto the water.

It may be hunting season, but the fishing is pretty darn good right now.

Of course, the St. Joseph River trout and salmon run is getting the most attention, but panfish, muskie and bass are starting to prowl on inland waters.

There are some early signs that this year’s St. Joseph River fall steelhead run could be a good one.

The “official” numbers, according to underwater video tapings at the South Bend fish ladder, show nearly 1,700 steelhead have wiggled over the ladder through Sept. 9. The most recent count registered 73 making the move from Sept. 2-9, a period when water temperatures were warmer than they are right now.

Recent rains, coupled by a drop in day and night temperatures, should only make it better. Don’t be surprised if a good number of steelhead are piling into the river right now.

We own it!

The Michigan DNR has closed on the purchase of the 2.2. acres on Eagle Lake Road near Edwardsburg north of the channel between Eagle and Juno lakes slated for a new public access development.

Project Manager Paul Yauk said Thursday that he has requested access crews begin stabilizing the site by building a fence along the north side of the property, cutting the vegetation to ground level and establishing signage.

“It’s now public land and we plan to maintain it as requested by the Ontwa zoning board,” Yauk said.

I’ve been saying for years that Michiana has become the spawning grounds for very good bass fishermen and recent angler accomplishments have validated that again.

For example, North Liberty, Ind. angler Andy Buss started his pro career with the Bassmaster circuit by finishing 23rd at Lake Champlain, N.Y. recently, earning him $2,967.

The event was a Northern Open, the “Triple A” league of Bassmaster events.

Plans for a new public access on Michigan’s Eagle Lake in Cass County are moving forward despite a lawsuit filed by the Eagle Lake Improvement Association against the DNR and Ontwa Township.

A court hearing is planned for Monday morning at 10 a.m. in Cass County Circuit Court. Judge Susan Dobrich will preside.

The lake association opposes development of a DNR boating access site on Eagle Lake Road despite support the project received from the township and public last winter.