From the vault Part 2: Great Lakes 4-H fact sheets

MSU Extension has been publishing bulletins to educate the people of Michigan for decades. Join in as we take a look back at 4-H club information from 1986 entitled “Great Lakes 4-H Fact Sheets.”

This is the second in a series of articles looking at old Michigan State University (MSU) Extension publications.  MSU Extension has been publishing bulletins to educate the people of Michigan for decades.  Some of these bulletins become outdated, but some of these materials are still relevant.  In addition, these materials can often have information that is easier to understand that the barrage of information found on the internet.  It can also be interesting to learn how things have changed over time. Today we are going to explore the series of fact sheets from 1986 about fish, entitled the “Club Bulletin Great Lakes 4-H Fact Sheets.”

The fact sheets are usually just one page, so they are easy to take on a fishing trip.  I suggest taking the set and putting them in page protectors in a 3-ring binder so they can be easily used.

When working with young anglers, boredom can sometimes overtake them before they get their first bite.  Having these guides to look through can make the time go quicker.

1368 Brook Trout

1369 Brown Trout

1371 Coho Salmon

1372 Grayling

1373 Lake Trout

1374 Lake Whitefish

1375 Rainbow Smelt

1376 Rainbow Trout

1378 Carp

1379 Rock Bass

1380 Channel Catfish

1382 Largemouth Bass

1383 Muskellunge

1384 Northern Pike

1386 Smallmouth Bass

1388 Walleye

1389 Yellow Perch

Each profile starts with a physical description of the fish.  Here are some questions you can ask about the fish pictures:

  1. What do you think is the purpose of the different fins?
  2. How does the color & markings of the fish help it survive?
  3. Michigan Sea Grant has  a ‘Fins, Tails, Scales’ lesson and supporting poster – a great resource in exploring fish shapes, fins, and features . 
  4. Wisconsin Sea Grant has an amazing fish ID website, based solely on ‘puzzling together’ different fish features .

The next section discusses the life history of the fish.  Here are some questions to ask your young anglers:

  1. Based on what you read, where do you think we would be most likely to find this fish right now? Would it change based on the time of day? What about the time of year?
  2. What might this fish eat? If you catch and clean the fish, opening up the stomach during the cleaning can verify your guesses.
  3. Where would this fish’s food be in the lake?
  4. Where do you think this fish might lay its eggs?

You can explore more from Michigan Sea Grant at their fish species profile page.

The last section is about catching the fish. Here are some follow-up questions to ask youth:

  1. If you get a bite, how would you know if you got this fish?
  2. Should we change our tackle to catch this fish?
  3. Is there any kind of tackle that would not catch this fish?

You should check out the Michigan DNR Fishing Guide to explore all the different species, ways to catch them, and rules about seasons, size, and bag limits. 

Other articles in this series include: From the Vault Part 1: Wildlife Conservation for 4-H Clubs.

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