‘Salmon madness has begun’

BIG RAPIDS — The recent warm weather is expected to have an impact on fishing.

The DNR reports the sunny warmer weather has slowed salmon fishing in the rivers and won’t change until there’s more rain and wind. Panfish, bass and pike action is picking up on inland lakes.

“Salmon madness has begun,” Rob Eckerson of Pappy’s Bait Shop in Wellston said. “They’re catching kings and cohos at Tippy Dam. I would rate the action as just beginning or at least fair. They’re getting perch at Portage Lake and Manistee Lake. They’re getting walleye in the backwaters at Tippy Dam, Manistee Lake and Portage Lake.

In Lake County, the salmon season has arrived.

Ed’s Sports Shop, of Baldwin reports that salmon fishing “is as good as it gets,” and trout fishing “is OK.”

Baldwin Bait & Tackle has reported salmon is in the river system, mostly in the deep holes.

“They’re starting to spawn, too,” store employee Jay Frank said. “We’re at the peak right now. It’s about two to three weeks for people to come in to enjoy it. The river is getting busy. They come from all over the country and sometimes all over the world.”

Despite the warm weather, “the salmon are here to spawn irregardless,” Frank said.

At Onekama, “the barrel” is still producing lake trout near the bottom with spin-glos, the DNR said. Anglers were getting some young chinook and coho, but the action was slow

Catch rates are getting better at Portage Lake with some good sized bass taken. It’s been slow on perch catches but anglers were finding them, using worms in 12 to 18 feet. Coho were reported on the west end but the fish weren’t very active.

At Manistee, fishing slowed but a few boats have managed to catch a couple of Chinook, coho and steelhead in the harbor and around the piers. Others are having luck in 300 to 500 feet. Pier fishing was slow but a few trout and salmon were taken by those casting spoons. Manistee Lake has salmon.

“We’ve been fishing both king and salmon in the Manistee River,” Dave Barkman, of DLoop Outfitters, in Weidman said. “We’re looking for the arrival of some fall run steelhead here shortly. The Pine River has been good for trout fishing.”

Fishermen are starting to see fish in the lower river and some coho are up at Tippy Dam, the DNR said.

“It’s pretty much salmon fishing in the river right now,” Dewey Buchner of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee, said. “Platte, Betsie and Manistee are doing well. They’re using spawn and thundersticks. They’re getting a few on the pier.”

Fishermen at the Platte River are reporting a large number of coho in the lower river and a good number of fish above the lower weir at times. Most fishermen are doing well with spawn, skein and flies

The DNR reports that at Frankfort, cooler water blew in and surface temperatures were in the lower to mid 40s in the harbor and off the piers. Chinook are still moving into the bay and a few were caught by those trolling around the piers.

Christine Murphy, of Frankfort, reported king salmon are still going through the Betsie River. Salmon runs are expected to be heaviest on Sept. 20-25. She added big perch are starting to come into Crystal Lake.

In other areas, salmon have been found, but getting them to bite hasn’t been easy, Murphy added.

At Platte Bay, anglers trolling east and went off the bays caught a few salmon and lake trout when trolling, jigging or casting as deep as 80 feet down or off the mouth of the river. There’s large pushes of salmon in the river. Fishermen are reporting a larger number of coho in the lower river and a good total of fish below the lower weir. Spawn, skein and flies are doing well for anglers.

The DNR reports at the Pere Marquette River, some salmon are being found in Lake and Mason counties with a few fish trickling upstream. Fishermen are waiting for a large push of fish.

Warmer weather is making fishing more challenging.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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