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By Louie Stout

Tradition Continues with Giant Aug. 11 Youth Derby

When it comes to fishing events, there is not a longer standing tradition in Michiana than the St. Joe Valley Bassmasters annual youth derby at Potato Creek.

On August 11, the club will hold its 42nd annual event at Worster Lake in the state park.

It’s free to all kids ages 4 to 14 who register.

Think about that – 42 years of giving thousands of youngsters a chance to fish and providing great prizes for everyone.

It’s the oldest running youth fishing event in Indiana, if not the Midwest, and the St. Joe club was one of the state’s first bass clubs to form.

By Louie Stout

Access Column Stimulates Comments About Juno Eagle Problems

Last week’s column mention about parking issues at the Juno access site stimulated comments from readers.

That column noted that a local angler suspected that lake residents were using the access as a parking lot for their residential guests. The trailer parking area was full of vehicles without trailers.

Well, that fired a few of you up enough to write and bring other factors into the discussion. Public access remains a hot button, especially north of the state line at Eagle and Juno lakes, two of the area’s most popular fishing lakes.

Here’s a little background:

A few years ago, the Michigan DNR spent some $180,000 at Juno “renovating” the access that not only eliminated some parking spots but narrowed the lot, making it difficult for boaters to negotiate. Spaces are confined and the lot offers very little turning radius. Because of that, vehicles and trailers have been damaged. It was poorly designed, obviously by someone who has never launched a boat or used a public access.

By Louie Stout

Have you ever arrived at a DNR launch ramp early in the morning only to find the trailer parking slots filled with passenger cars?

We got a report from an angler who encountered that problem at Juno Lake’s public access early last Saturday morning.

Except for one vehicle and boat trailer in the lot, all but one of the other spaces was filled with passenger cars.

It happens often on small public access sites and chances are several of those cars belong to local residents or their visitors. Some access sites offer a few spots for cars without trailers, but the main parking area is designated for vehicle/trailer parking.

Well, it’s against the law to park there unless you are using the public launch for boating and violators can be ticketed. If you encounter a problem at a Southwest Michigan DNR ramp, call the DNR’s District 7 Law Enforcement Office at 269-685-6851. Or, if you have direct contact with a local officer, contact him.

Or, you can go to and click on the “locate a conservation officer” on that page.

You also might want to take cell phone photos of the license plates of vehicles not accompanied by boat trailers and share them with the DNR later.

By Louie Stout

Spring Turkey Harvest Continues to Drop

Last spring’s turkey hunting season produced another drop in harvest numbers around the state.

According to Indiana DNR turkey biologist Steve Backs (South Bend native), the statewide harvest was down 13 percent from 2017 and fell in 65 of the 92 Indiana counties. In northern Indiana, Steuben and Marshall counties ranked among the top 10 in harvest numbers.

Backs said all regions had proportional decreases ranging from 6 percent in northern counties to 25 percent in south central counties.

In Michiana, St. Joseph County hunters killed 190 gobblers, a 2 percent increase.