Trout season starts Saturday
MANISTEE — The Department of Natural Resources reports boat anglers are getting out and trolling for trout and salmon when the weather allows it.
Trout season opener is Saturday.
"It's been pretty slow this week," Craig Walters, of The Eyes Have It bait shop in LeRoy, said. "Pike and walleye seasons open and the rivers for trout. That's when it will be starting up again."
Various rivers are still running high, fast and muddy, the DNR said, and anglers need to be extremely careful. Boat anglers have been fishing the smaller inland lakes because windy conditions have made it challenging to fish the larger ones. Catch and immediate release bass fishing has started to pick up.
"They've been getting some (crappies) about 11 to 15 feet it sounds," Tanner Havens, of Frank's Sporting Goods in Morley, said. "They're getting some (blue)gills. it sounds like the steelhead has been slowing down."
Casting off the north breakwall at Onekama was slow for anglers but will improve with the warmer temperatures, the DNR said. Surface water temperature was 46 degrees.
"The steelhead have slowed down from the pier," Dewey Buchner of Don's Sporting Goods in Manistee, said. "They're getting perch on the pier and out in Manistee Lake. They're getting some steelheads and browns at Tippy."
Bass anglers at Portage Lake were casting in the shallows and around docks and catching fish in the afternoon. Perch are still biting but anglers are searching for them and sifting through the small ones, the DNR said
"We've had a lot of rain this week," Amy Barkman of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston, said. "On Thursday, the Manistee had like a chocolate milk color with a foot of clarity. Friday, it decreased significantly, 52 degrees,with three foot of clarity, so it's much improved overnight. All this rain has brought in a big push of spring fish. Water levels are still high."
At Manistee, surface temperatures reached 44 degrees, the DNR reported. The restrooms will open the first week in May. A good number of perch were caught from the north pier when using minnows in the morning hours. A couple steelhead and brown trout were taken on spawn. Those trolling the shoreline caught steelhead, brown trout and lake trout.
"Steelhead fishing pretty much hasn't changed at the Big Manistee or Little Manistee," Rob Eckerson, of Pappy's Bait Shop in Wellston said. The wier is gone from the Little Manistee so Mother Nature is in control. It's been a good year at the little Manistee with 2,250 fish for the season total. That's reassuring.
"They're still getting some perch at Manistee Lake and Portage Lake. The rest of the inland lakes haven't done much from what I'm aware of."
The Manistee River continues to have good steelhead fishing although by next weekend, it should start winding down, the DNR reports.
Surface water temperatures were about 44 degrees at Ludington, the DNR said. The restrooms are still closed. Those trolling the shoreline continue to catch coho, lake trout and brown trout. Pier anglers caught very few steelhead and brown trout.
There Pere Marquette River in Baldwin still had good steelhead fishing. Anglers have about a week or so before the fishery slows down.
Boats trolling in five to 20 feet have caught brown trout, the occasional chinook or lake trout. Pier anglers caught brown with spawn near the bottom.
Platte Bay has had light fishing pressure. But a few anglers were fishing near the mouth of the river and having little success. There are steelhead in the lower Platte River and anglers are picking up a few, the DNR, while noting water levels at the mouth are currently shallow and boats over 16 feet will most likely not be able to get in and out.
Those trolling along the piers and shoreline at Frankfort caught brown trout on black and silver body baits. Pier anglers caught steelhead and browns on spawn or body baits.
"The suckers have moved in so basically the steelhead run is just about done up here," Dane Bovee of the Benzie Backcast Fly Shop in Benzonia said. "Theyre getting a few perch but I haven't heard any spectacular reports."