Area fishermen hoping weather stays warm

BALDWIN — It’s no surprise, but the DNR points out another week of snow, cold temperatures and windy conditions has once again hampered fishing for boat and shore anglers.

Fishing remains tricky because of elevated water levels on many of the rivers. It needs to warm up, the DNR adds, and stay that way so the lakes will open up. 

“With this warmup, the crappies are going to start biting,” Craig Walters, of The Eyes, Have It in LeRoy, said. “They’ll be moving into the coves and canals. But it’s going to take a warmup. After that, the morels are going to be popping. I’m ready for that

“There are a few guys going down to the Muskegon fishing the river trying to catch some crappies by Big Rapids and that area.”

“They’re doing really good on steelhead on the White and Muskegon rivers,” Jason Donley, of Trigger Time Outfitters in Big Rapids, said. “Everything else is pretty slow. Walleye, pike and bass are closed.”

“There’s a lot of water in that (Muskegon) river and that’s what everybody is suddenly talking about,” Rich Morey, of Big Rapids, said. “There’s too much water coming through there yet. The weather hasn’t been conducive. People are fishing the Haymarsh and Hillview lake from shore. Then the weather turned cold. I just hope the water goes down. There’s a lot of water moving through Big Rapids right now.”

At Manistee, water temperatures were about 43 degrees and fishermen have picked up the occasional steelhead around the piers, the DNR said, adding at Manistee Lake, the perch numbers have dropped, but anglers were still picking up fish near Penny Park.

“We’re still fishing for steelhead,” Rob Eckerson, of Pappy’s in Wellston, said. “That’s about all we have going. The ice is gone from the lakes and stuff. They haven’t warmed up to really interest people. I guess there’s been a little perch fishing in Manistee Lake and Portage Lake and the other lakes situation has been slow. Steelhead fishing down to the dam has been reasonably good, despite the high dirty water, which is receding and clearing up. Water temperature is right around 42. You have to be in the mid-40s for spawning activity to be full blown. We’re easing into that.”

Water levels were still on the high side at the Manistee River, the DNR said, and running 42 to 44 degrees. A good number of steelhead are moving up near Tippy Dam with pink being a favorite color.

“Things are getting a little bit better this week,” Amy Barkman, of DLoop Outfitters, in Wellston said. “The water levels have come down pretty well. Temperature is holding steady. The Little Manistee, there’s no fish above the wier yet. It is clear. We’re getting steelies.”

The lower end of the river has been slow because of the high and muddy water, the DNR said, adding those looking for suckers have done well on crawlers near Bear Creek.

“They’re doing good in the river for browns and steelhead, and rainbow in Bear Creek,” Dewey Buchner, of Don’s Sports Goods, said. “In Manistee Lake, they’re catching perch and crappies. They are catching some steelhead in the Little Manistee between 6 and 9 Mile.”

Onekama has had little if any fishing activity. The same applies for Portage Lake. But the boat launches are usable and the docks are in right now.

The bay was ice free at Ludington, the DNR said, adding the docks are in but few anglers were out,  but fishermen are getting steelhead and brown trout off the pier.

Pier anglers are targeting steelhead and brown trout, the DNR reports, plus steelhead were being located in the channel.

At Frankfort, the ice is gone and the boat ramps are clear, the DNR reports, adding the docks were not in yet and a couple steelhead were caught off the north pier when using spawn.

“It’s been pretty slow, I haven’t heard much recently,” Dane Bovee, of Backcast Fly Shop in Benzonia, said. “The water should be on its way down. They’re catching anything from dropback fish to fish that are still tight, not even ready to drop their spawn yet. They’re biting anywhere from the dam all the way down to the bay.”