Anglers happy to be able to use motors

Anglers are hoping this will be a big week of fishing. (Herald Review file photo)

Anglers are hoping this will be a big week of fishing. (Herald Review file photo)

BIG RAPIDS -- Motorized boats are back and so is fishing, it would appear.

"Walleyes are still going good and panfish are really starting to take off," Tom Vernon of Frank's Sporting Goods in Morley, said. "It's the same with trout fishing. It's been real good. We've got this high water, but now it's on its way down. By the weekend, it should be going good again."

Fishermen can now use motorized boats, which Vernon acknowledged has increased fishing turnouts.

"Unfortunately, our governor hurt us with the decision to do that," Vernon said. "Not just the fishermen in the state but also for us (in sporting goods). I run a charter fishing service and I'm still shut down because of it."

"As far as fishing goes, they're starting to get down there for walleyes and pike and trout right now," Warren Elka, of Triggertime Outfitters in Big Rapids, said. "Last weekend was the opener."

Elka said he anticipated the reinstatement of the use of motor boats should be helping anglers.

Bill Eising of Evart indicated activity remains slow in the area.

"I haven't talked to anybody who's been out with all the rain we've been getting," Eising said. "They'll be going out and people will start fishing again. They had closed all the launches and everything, It will be awhile with all the rain we've got. The water levels have gone beserk. When all the lilacs start blooming, then all the male bluegills will come into the beds and start making beds for the females and they'll come in. For Michigan, when the lilacs bloom, the gills are coming onto the beds. Guys will start doing a lot of fishing."

In Manistee County, "they're still getting a few steelhead in the river," Bud Fitzgerald of Tangled Tackle. Co. in Manistee said. "They're getting a few walleye and perch on Portage Lake. They're catching brown trout out on the big lake and lake trout in about 30 feet of water."

When motor boating was shut down, "it really bit into a lot of people's craw, it really affected them," Fitzgerald said. "But now that it's open back up, they're all happy."

In Benzonia County, "they're still getting a steelhead or two here or there on the Platte and the Betsie," Steve Forrester, of Backcast Flyshop in Benzonia, said. "You have to hit the day right. There's suckers in the Betsie. Guys are getting back out with motors again. They've been out perch fishing, walleye fishing, pike fishing, but I'm not sure how they're doing."

Larry Scharich, of Shipwatch Marina in Manistee, has been seeing some activity.

"They're catching some perch in Lake Manistee and Portage Lake," Scharich said. "Out in Lake Michigan, they've been doing good on lake trout and they're starting to be a few pink salmon showing up, too."