FISHING REPORT: Cold weather slows fishing

BIG RAPIDS — The DNR reports the return of colder air and even some snow this week will no doubt slow catch rates again.

Suckers are running in most warm-water rivers in the Lower Peninsula right now, the DNR said.

In Mecosta County, Dustin Hammer of Frank’s Sporting Foods, in Morley, said anglers were getting some perch around the Davis Bridge, and Hardy Pond areas.

“They’re getting some steelhead around Croton,” Hammer said. “Obviously it’s a little slower than usual, but they’re definitely catching them. They’re catching some suckers on the river. It’s been hit and miss for bluegills and crappies. They’re definitely getting perch at Davis, that’s the big thing.”

“They’ve been fishing steady for steelhead on the rivers,” Warren Elka, of Triggertime Outfitters, Big Rapids, said. “There’s some panfish action going. It’s mostly been steelhead on the river.”

At Frankfort, a large sheet of ice around the pier was making access difficult. The Elberta Pier was ice free, the DNR said while adding water temperatures were still cool at 36 degrees. Steelhead were hitting, and anglers trolling in shallow waters caught brown trout on rapalas, the DNR added.

“Steelhead fishing is a little slower but they are still getting them,” Steve Forrester, of the Backcast Fly Shop, in Benzonia, said. “I’m sure it will pick up again. I think the weather put a damper on it.”

The DNR said at Onekama, the north pier is accessible the south pier is under construction. Portage Lake, the DNR said, was 70 percent ice covered and had large sheets of moving ice. There’s plenty of ice on the east end and the city launch was not accessible, the DNR reported. The DNR launch on the northwest end off M-22 is open but the docks were not in.

“There’s still plenty of steelhead in the Big Manistee River and the Little Manistee,” Bud Fitzgerald of Tangled Tackle Co., of Manistee said. “They were getting some perch at Little Manistee Lake. There were a few perch at Portage Lake. I don’t know if that’s still going on. That was last week. Browns have a been a little slow in production on the big lake. They are picking up a few coho and a few lake trout on the big water.”

Surface water temperature at Manistee was about 38 degrees, the DNR saidm adding there is still a lot of ice on the piers but enough has receded to get around. Pier anglers are getting steelhead and brown trout with spawn. Those trolling spoons and body baits caught a couple steelhead, brown trout and small coho in six to 12 feet, the DNR said.

“Steelhead fishing in the Big Manistee is approaching its peak,” Rob Eckerson, of Pappy’s Bait Shop, in Wellston said. “Temps are 42 and climbing. The Little Manistee, I understand, they have taken some eggs. That process has begun. The lakes are ice free and people are looking for perch. I haven’t heard of a lot of success yet, because of the wind.”

The steelhead bite slowed with the colder weather at the Manistee River, but the DNR suggests anglers try slow drifting over the deeper holes in the lower river.

“Nothing has changed from last week,” Chelsea Pete, of D-Loop Outfitters, in Wellston said. “The water is a touch high because of the rain we had. They’re still quite fishable.”

The ramp at Ludington has one dock in, but the fish cleaning station is still closed. Ice on the pier has limited access and anglers need to use caution, the DNR said. Brown trout were caught on spawn. Those trolling the shoreline with spoons and body baits caught brown trout in six to 12 feet.

Pere Marquette Lake had good yellow perch fishing and most were using minnows or wax worms.

 

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