Area fishing activity remains slow

Anglers will be focusing more on deer hunting this week. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS —Some fishing activity is taking place although the focus is on the firearm deer season, which starts on Thursday.

The DNR said steelhead runs continue and anglers should find fish from now until freeze up. It’s a good time of year, the DNR said, to target pike, muskie, walleye and perch as the bite increases as the water temperatures drop.

“They’ve been doing pretty good on perch,” Tanner Havens, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley said. “The main thing is definitely perch now. Walleye has slowed down. I did hear of some people down by Croton getting some chrome steelhead.”

“We haven’t head of anything, everyone is out fishing,” a spokesman at Triggertime Outfitters said.

In northwest Michigan, anglers were still getting a few coho at the Platte River when casting small spoons, spinners or crank baits, the DNR said.

Pier and shore anglers at Frankfort were getting some steelhead and the odd coho with spawn on the bottom or when casting small spoons, the DNR said.

“It’s been really quiet this week,” Christine Murphy, at Frankfort Tackle Box, said. “Steelhead off the pier who knows what this weather will do to it?”

Pier anglers at Manistee caught steelhead and whitefish.

“They are catching steelhead on the beach and coho,” Bud Fitzgerald, at Tangled Tackle Co., said. “They were catching perch on Portage but I don’t know if that’s still going on.”

Boat anglers drifting along the lower Manistee River caught a few fish in the deeper holes, the DNR said, adding those fishing up near Tippy Dam are getting steelhead on spawn, flies and beads.

“We’ve got snow,” Dewey Buchner, at Don’s Sporting Good’s in Manistee said. “They’re getting some steelies and a few cohos and browns off the pier and on the shore. They’ve been getting perch and Portage and some nice bluegills pike and perch here. But who knows now with the winter weather here?”

Pier and shore anglers at Ludington continue to catch some steelhead along with the occasional coho on real and artificial spawn bags.

“Brown trout and steelheads are in good numbers from Tippy Dam to High Bridge in good numbers,” Gordon Park, of Andy’s Tackle Box in Brethren, said. “They’re doing good the last three days. Spawn bags, wax worms and beads are doing good. People are doing good.”

In eastern Michigan, “we’re still waiting on ice, nothing special yet,” Cody Ison, of Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare said. “The steelhead are running up in the Manistee and the Betsie River. There’s some walleye in Saginaw. As soon as ice gets here, it’s a whole different story.’”

“Down at the dam there’s a few walleyes,” a spokesman at Sanford Sport Shop said. “We’re not selling much bait but a guy was in here Sunday and said he caught walleye at the dam.”

The DNR provided the following statements on area fishing waters:

Saginaw Bay: “Had no boat anglers due to the wind and rough conditions. No word on yellow perch in the cuts yet however anglers should start fishing for them as they will be in anytime now.”

Saginaw River: “Is starting to see quite a bit of walleye activity on the lower river from the Veterans’ Bridge downstream to the mouth. A good number of boats were out along with a fair number of shore anglers. DNR staff have reported a fair number of tag returns which suggests the walleyes are there.”

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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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