Fishing starts to pick up

Anglers are eager to do some fishing.

BIG RAPIDS — Fishing is finally picking up, the DNR reported.

The warm rain is expected to help get things going. Fishermen should find trout in the rivers but the DNR does advise the trout opener to the north was slow because of colder air and water temperatures.

Bluegills and crappie are being located in the inland lakes and warm weather is improving walleye, bass and pike fishing.

“The specs (crappies) are doing well in the shallows,” Tanner Havens of Frank’s Sporting Goods.

“The bluegills are making their way up to the shallows. I heard of some people doing good and some people doing all right. Everyone on the river is doing well.”

“It’s starting to pick up a little bit,” Greg Clark of Schafer’s Bait and Sporting Goods in Weidman, said. “Bluegill fishing is pretty good every place right now. They’re starting to come in and spawn. Crappies fishing is pretty good.”

In northwest Michigan, surface temperature readings are slowly climbing at Manistee and were about 41 degrees. Lake trout and brown trout were still being caught in 9 to 15 feet along the shoreline. Perch and a few whitefish were starting to show up off the north pier.

“They’re picking up walleye and perch between the pierheads,” Bud Fitzgerald of Tangle Tackle Co., in Manistee, said. “In jigging for walleye, they’re using plastic and jigs. For perch they’re using minnows and wigglers. Portage Lake has turned on to few nice walleye here in the last week.

“We’re starting to hear of some nice catches of brook trout and brown trout in some of the streams. Guys have turned in some nice pictures of largemouth bass.”

Walleye are being caught in the channel. The south pier, the fish cleaning station and the restrooms were still closed.

Dave Barkman as DLoop Outfitters in Wellston, reports steelhead were being located by sportsmen below Tippy Dam.

“Pine River is still dirty because of recent rains,” he said.

The DNR said the Big Manistee River was still providing steelhead with spawn, spinners, crank baits, flies and beads as good bait.

The DNR reports at Arcadia some brown trout were caught in shallow waters when trolling body baits behind planer boards.

At Arcadia Lake, good numbers of smallmouth bass and northern pike are being caught along with some brown trout and rainbow trout by those trolling or casting body baits. Pier anglers are getting brown trout on body baits and walleye on spoons.

Water temperatures were still cool at Portage Lake and perch fishing was slow.

The trout-walleye opener was very cold at lakes Cadillac and Mitchell and more anglers came in the evening. A few walleye were caught in both lakes.

Water temperatures were in the mid 40’s and the fish are becoming more active at Frankfort, the DNR said. Those fishing inside and outside the piers were finding walleye, pike, lake trout and steelhead.

Surface temperature readings were about 42 degrees at Ludington. Brown trout and lake trout are being caught in shallow waters 9 to 15 feet deep. Small numbers of brown trout are being caught off the piers. The fish cleaning station and the restrooms are now open.

Pere Marquette River has a good number of steelhead as well, the DNR said. Warmer temperatures along with the warm rain should produce some very good catches along the river and its tributaries.

Boats trolling in 50 to 70 feet at Pentwater caught lake trout on spin-n-glo’s fished near the bottom. Pier anglers caught steelhead and brown trout on spawn bags fished near the bottom.

In eastern Michigan, fishing is also improving.

“It’s picking up. Things are going good,” Mike Horswill, of Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare, said. “There’s a lot of better catches of crappies. Panfish are starting to light up too. There was also good trout fishing to be had last week after the recent rains. The local trout streams were very good the middle of the week last week. As the weather warms up, the fishing should continue to improve.”

“I’ve heard of some walleyes at (Sanford) lake,” Jennifer Palmer of Sanford Sport Shop said. “At the dam they’re catching a few walleyes. I’ve heard of some crappies being caught.”

The DNR issued the following statement regarding Saginaw and Thumb-area fishing:

Harbor Beach: “Those trolling body baits with planer boards in shallow waters 15 to 30 feet deep caught a good number of coho along with some lake trout, walleye, steelhead and brown trout. The fish are definitely out there, and calmer weather will allow more anglers to get out.”

Saginaw Bay: “Walleye fishing off Linwood was centered around the Black Hole and 1 to 2 miles northeast of Spoils Island when boats could get out there. Body baits off planer boards was the ticket, although some boats were vertical jigging near Spoils Island. On the east side of the bay from Quanicassee to Bay Port, walleye anglers were fishing all over the bay but no one had great success as most boats came in with only 2 or 3 fish. Spring perch fishing is pretty much over. Walleye anglers are also catching and releasing a few smallmouth bass. A few pike were caught in the Sebewaing River. Up at Caseville, pier anglers managed to catch some walleye, one coho and some smallmouth bass. Near Port Austin, those fishing the Pinnebog River caught suckers, pike, and smallmouth bass. A couple walleye were taken at the mouth of Bird Creek.”

Saginaw River: “Boat anglers vertical jigging in the lower river were taking some walleye. Shore anglers at Smith Park caught mainly white bass, freshwater drum, catfish and a couple pike. Smallmouth bass were caught and released in the marinas.”

 

 

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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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