Cold weather slows down fishing

Is it time to start getting the boats back out?

BIG RAPIDS — The DNR reports fewer anglers were out because of the cold temperatures.

Because of the cold temperatures and strong winds, shore anglers are expected to see ice in the cut and canals since temperatures are dropping below freezing at night.

Warmer temperatures are expected this week and this should improve the bite, the DNR said

“They are catching a lot of steelhead below Croton,” Dustin Hammer, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley, said. “They’re catching quite a few perch by Davis Bridge. They’re catching some suckers too. It’s been pretty slow down this way.

“It has to warm up and we need warm rain,” Greg Clark, of Schafer’s Bait and Sporting Goods in Weidman, said adding favorable spots for open water fishing will be, “Cold water Lake for walleyes and pike, plus Stevenson Lake, Littlefield and Chippewa Lake.

Walleye fishing closed March 15 on the Saginaw River and ice opens on April 28.

“Everybody is steelhead fishing,” Jeff Throop of Jays Sporting Center in Clare said. “The lakes are open. Walleye is shut down for another month.”

“There’s not a whole lot right now,” Woody Raymond of Sanford Sport Shop, said. “The river here is closed to all fishing right now. They’re getting perch at the bay.”

The DNR also posted these comments on Saginaw Bay and the river:

Saginaw Bay: “Perch fishing is still not underway in the cuts and rivers around the bay as it is still early and the water in the bay is still cold with lots of floating ice. Perch were caught inside the basin at Eagle Bay Marina at the end of Sagatoo Road but anglers should bring a spud. Floating ice continues to hamper those trolling. Boat anglers were getting perch and walleye around Spoils Island and around the range light just lake-ward of the river mouth. A few 6 to 8 inch perch were caught in the channel at Finn Road but most of the rivers and cuts may be iced over in the early mornings. The Thomas Cut and Allen Cut had a lot of fishing pressure but most of the fish caught were small.

“Fishing in the Sebewaing River and marina was slow with just a few perch and the odd crappie caught. The perch at Mud Creek were small. At Caseville, perch fishing was slow in the marinas and those casting hardware or still-fishing with minnows caught a few lake trout or the odd brown trout, steelhead, whitefish or burbot. No reports yet on the sucker runs but they should start soon.”

Saginaw River: “Anglers are reminded that the river is considered inland water and walleye season along the entire river closed on March 15th and does not re-open until Saturday, April 28th. Boat anglers fishing for perch in the lower river did well with 8 to 10 inch fish taken on perch rigs and minnows. Shore anglers near the cement plant in Essexville caught a few. Be sure to check the Exceptions to General Regulations by County in the Fishing Guide for seasonal gear restrictions for the river and its tributaries.”

The DNR reports in northwest Lower Peninsula, fishing conditions are not good since the rivers are low, clear and cold which makes it difficult for anglers to go after steelhead.

The inland lakes still had some ice but the thickness is variable and anyone out needs to be very careful.

At Manistee, fishermen were finding some coho and brown trout when trolling in shallow water along the beach.

““Everyone is everywhere right now,” Kristen Loeffler of Don’s Sporting Goods, in Manistee, said. “They’re fishing off the pier for brown trout. They’re going in Manistee Lake here, but I haven’t heard what they’re catching. I think it’s perch. Guys are going to the Manistee River for steelhead. A couple of guys are going to Crystal Lake for lake trout. Some are going to Bear Creek. I’ve heard of a couple going to rainbow bend. Some are going to Cadillac. I hear they still have some ice.”

Pier anglers were getting some steelhead and brown trout. Fishermen at the Big Manistee River were trying to get a few trout but have faced challenges.

“It’s mostly the river for steelhead,” Rob Eckerson of Pappy’s Bait Shop in Wellston said. “The Big Manistee finally got up to 40 for a water temp on Thursday (March 23). That’s when the spawning starts to kick into gear. We need some rain. It looks like it’s in the forecast for next week.”

Those fishing the lower river were having success and it’s expected catch rates will improve in the new few weeks.

“It’s still just the steelhead,” Nick Homan of Dloop Outfitters in Wellston, said. “We can use some water. The water is getting low and clear.”

The DNR reports at Ludington, some fishermen and trolling or pier fishing and getting steelhead and brown trout. They were trolling 10 to 20 feet along the beach.

At the Pere Marquette River, water temperatures in the 30s have slowed fishing. A warm up next week should help to get the bite going again. Anglers were usinFishing Michigan’s piers & breakwalls spawn, wax worms, and beads, the DNR said.

“Winter is holding on until the bitter end,” fishing expert Dave Rommell of Frankfort said. “A few people are fishing Crystal Lake through the ice. They claim there’s eight inches, but I gave up two weeks ago. I don’t want to mess with that. Steelhead fishing has been pretty slow.”

 

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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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