Anglers trying to take advantage of openers

Anglers are hoping the fish will be hungry this week. (Star file photo)

Anglers are hoping the fish will be hungry this week. (Star file photo)

Editor's note: Governor Whitmer eased various regulations on Friday, allowing motorized boating. The following article was written prior to that announcement.

BIG RAPIDS -- Saturday marked the opening of walleye, trout and pike seasons, but it's hard to say how heavy the turnout will be considering the ongoing regulations from the state.

"I'm assuming it's going to be slower with the whole no motor boat thing," Tanner Havens of Frank's Sporting Goods said. "I'm assuming a lot of guys will still head out and fish from banks."

Angie Greenway, DNR conservation officer, said there's been some activity.

"Guys are out fishing and scouting and looking for places to fish for the trout opener and walleye opener," she said. "You can't use motor boats but we're seeing people being creative and using their motorboats. We're anticipating people to be out recreating and fishing and enjoying the opener, just in a different way."

Jeff Greene, of Rodney, reported not having too much success last week.

"I tried Hillview Lake on Thursday but it was too cold," Greene said. "I went back on Friday and cleaned 13. On Saturday I tried Haymarsh Lake but couldn't find any bluegills. Water temperature on both lakes was 44 to 46 degrees. I saw no other boats it was only me, buffleheads and bald eagles."

Bill Eising, of Evart, points out the Governor's ban on having persons too close together was getting enforced in various areas and anglers are paying heavy fines.

Kayaks and canoes are permissable.

"Only one person and you can't be within six feet of another kayak or canoe," Eising said. "Any place you go is fishable. The bite should be on because of the change in the weather. It's starting to warm up. They have it pretty much shut down because of the virus."

Larry Scharich of Shipwatch Marina, in Manistee agrees.

"There's not much fishing on right now," he said. "It's pretty slow weather wise. With the governor's limitations, there's not too much going on. There's been a little fishing off the piers, like at Manistee. There's some river fishing off the bank. There's not much boat fishing."

In Benzie County, "they're still getting fish in the river," Steve Forrester of Backcast Fly Shop in Frankfort said. "That's the Betsie and other places too. There's still some suckers."