FISHING REPORT: Fishing is slow when temperature rises

BIG RAPIDS — Extremely hot temperatures this week and warming water temperatures are slowing the bite, especially in the afternoon, the DNR reports, adding as the water warms, fish become sluggish especially on the shallower inland lakes and anglers are advised to try fishing deeper water.

Early morning or later in the evening is usually best, the DNR advises.

In Mecosta County, “a lot of guys have been buying crawlers from me this week,” Tanner Havens, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley, said. “They’re heading out to the river and trolling for walleyes. They’ve been using worms for panfish. The guys over the weekend, I don’t know how much fishing they’ll do with this extreme heat.”

In Osceola County, “there’s a few people making it out here and there,” Brad Cox of Buck County Bait & Tackle, adding Rose and other area lakes are good for “getting panfish and stuff right now.”

In northwest Michigan, at Frankfort, the number of Chinook salmon caught was down due to water temperatures. But the DNR added some 20-plus pounders were found in the early morning and evening on spoons and meat rigs in the top 100 feet of waters 150 to 250 feet deep. Lake trout were being caught from Six Mile Hole to the shallow water out in front of the piers. Spin-glo’s on the bottom were working best.

“They are catching fish,” Bryce Robison of the Frankfort Tackle Box said. “The storm on (Friday morning) scattered everything. Hopefully it will reset by this evening.”

Those trolling in front of the golf course at Onekama and through the “Barrel” caught a couple Chinook salmon in the early morning. The DNR said good numbers of lake trout were caught throughout the day.

“With this heat, not too much is going on,” Dewey Buchner at Don’s Sporting Goods, in Manistee said. “You can get some bluegills and some pike and bass. The salmon have slowed right down.”

Bass anglers at Portage Lake, the DNR said, are starting to see better numbers now that the mayfly hatch is done with most fishing around docks and along the drop-offs. Panfish numbers improved in 16 to 18 feet with worms.

“Things are pretty slow right now,” Chelsea Pete, of Dloop Outfitters, Wellston, said. “The water temperatures in the river are really high. That puts a strain on our trout. The best fishing is going to be in the evening time. Other than that, it’s pretty slow right now.”

The DNR added, at Manistee, surface temperature readings were about 65 degrees and salmon fishing was slow with only a couple taken along with steelhead 30 to 90 feet down in 90 to 150 feet.

“There’s still some of the mayflies hatching,” Rob Eckerson, of Pappy’s Bait Shop in Wellston, said. “The terrestrials, the grasshoppers and ants are coming out. Big river temperatures are reaching 72. We haven’t drawn the migratory fish. There’s a fishable number of kings in the little Manistee. Your regular fly fishermen are fishing for the resident browns. Inland, it’s kind of the dog days of summer. Everything is pretty much done spawning. It’s now down into the deep weed bed water fishing. The DNR reports lake trout fishing is still good along the bottom. Anglers were getting some steelhead.”

Overall fishing was slow at Hamlin Lake the DNR reported. Those targeting bluegill, perch and crappie were only having limited success. Bass fishing was fair. Walleye fishing on the south end was slow. Water temperatures were up to 79 degrees which is having a negative impact

The better fishing seemed to be near the Ludington Pump Storage facility and south at Ludington. Lake trout fishing remains hot for those anglers bouncing the bottom in 80 to 120 feet. Salmon fishing was slow and the occasional steelhead was caught. Pier fishing remains slow.

Fishing Tip: A simple method for summer lake fishing

Sometimes we want to go fishing and enjoy getting out on the water, but just don’t want to expend a lot of energy – especially if it’s too hot to work hard at it. Here’s a laid-back way to cover water and find fish you might otherwise miss, without needing complicated gear or a fancy boat. All you need is basic fishing tackle and watercraft. Even a rented rowboat, paddle boat or canoe can work.

Rig your rod with light line (four to eight-pound test), tie a small hook on the end of the line (No. 4 or smaller), and add a split shot or two about a foot above the hook. Favorite baits for this method include half a nightcrawler or a baby crawler, leeches or even some of the heavily scented artificial leeches or small plastic worms. Hook the bait in the center of one end so it doesn’t spin when you gently pull it through the water.

Position your boat so the prevailing breeze will carry it along a drop-off or across any area with water depths of at least 12 to 20 feet. Let out enough line, or adjust the amount of weight on the line, so your bait will stay about 12 to 20-foot-deep no matter how deep the water is. Then set your rod down against the side of the boat, relax and watch the tip of the rod for a bite. Drop the rod tip when you see a bite and count to three before reeling in and setting the hook with a firm pull. Not too hard.

Many fish such as bass, walleye, yellow perch, crappie and larger bluegill will move into deeper water and suspend at their preferred cooler temperature during the hot summer months. Slowly drifting a larger, natural bait at these deeper depths will often get you more than you bargained for.

— Source: Michigan DNR

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