FISHING REPORT: Fish cleaning station open, but south pier still closed

MANISTEE — The DNR reports in northwest Michigan, higher water levels made trout and steelhead fishing a little more difficult. There are still plenty of steelhead around, but things are expected to wind down soon with the warmer temperatures.

Surface temperature readings were about 45 degrees, the DNR added, at Manistee.

“The fishing is fair,” Larry Scharich of Shipwatch Marina in Manistee said. “Out in the big lake we’re getting some browns and lake trout and some king salmon are starting to show up. There’s some perch and bluegills at Manistee Lake.”

The fish cleaning station is open and the south pier is still closed until further notice. Walleye fishing slowed, the DNR said, while adding some were caught off the piers and in the channel while jigging wax worms at night. Perch were found off the north pier with minnows and wigglers, and those trolling caught lake trout, brown trout and coho in 30 to 50 feet with spoons, rapalas and spin-glo’s.

“There’s still quite a few steelhead around,” Chelsea Pete of Dloop Outfitters in Wellston said. “Trout fishing is starting to pick up. Water levels are good. And look for bass and pike fishing to ramp up.”

Anglers trolling north from Onekama to Arcadia were working the shoreline with body baits and getting walleye, brown trout and lake trout, the DNR said. Pier anglers used spawn and cast body baits to get walleye and brown trout.

“We have steelhead fishing continuing in the Big Manistee and Little Manistee,” Rob Eckerson of Pappy’s Bait Shop in Wellston said. “Water temperatures are around 56 degrees, so that’s pretty much still going on. Hopefully the water will start dropping here a little bit. It’s on the high side. That’s what makes the fish run in the spring so that’s good. The inland lakes have been slow because the weather has been so cold. There’s rumors of a few perch out in Lake Michigan off of the piers. Other than that,we’re slow to progress.”

The inner south channel at Portage Lake produced strong walleye activity in the evenings, the DNR said. The fish were hitting on jigs, body baits, leeches and crawler rigs when trolling. Largemouth bass are being caught on the shoreline.

A few brown trout were caught in shallow waters by those trolling body baits in Arcadia, the DNR said. At Arcadia Lake, there were good numbers of large and smallmouth bass being caught by those casting crank baits and plastics. The DNR added there were good numbers of pike being caught by those trolling or casting body baits. A light number of panfish were caught in shallow waters at Arcadia Lake.

At Frankfort, water temperatures were climbing to the upper 40’s to low 50’s and anglers were getting coho, brown trout and lake trout.

“So far, we’re getting a mixed bag of lake trout and steelhead, and we’re starting to see a few coho and a few brown trout,” Jason Ruterbusch of the Frankfort Tackle Box said. “Most of the guys are fishing not too far from the beach in 40 to 60 feet of water and finding fish in the top 20 feet. They’re using a mix of body baits, smaller spoons and cowbells and spinning glos.

“In the bay, they’re still finding a few steelhead and I’ve heard of a couple of browns that have been caught off the piers.”

Lake Missaukee is producing crappie and bluegills, the DNR said, adding at lakes Cadillac and Mitchell, fishing was starting to heat up with some solid catches of walleye and northern pike taken from both lakes.

Surface temperatures were up to 46 degrees at Ludington, while pier fishing was slow with only a couple steelhead and brown trout caught on spawn. Lake trout fishing was improving, the DNR, said, with many boat anglers taking limit catches on spin-glo’s in 35 to 55 feet. Chinook, coho and brown trout were also caught on spoons and rapalas. A majority of the Chinook salmon were over 10 pounds.

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