Area fishermen facing various challenges

BIG RAPIDS — The warm weeks of July will be presenting various challenges to fishermen.

“The bluegills have been slow,” said George Tharp of Ed’s Sports Shop in Baldwin. “They never really bedded like they’re supposed to. I don’t know if they bedded deep or what happened to them. Bass fishing has been really good. They’ve been getting some nice bass in Wolf Lake, a lot of big ones. Pike fishing has been OK. Lakes have that have perch in them have done all right.

“Crappie fishing has been good. Trout fishing on the dry fly has been a little slow The best thing for trout lately has been crawlers and


The prevailing hot weather is “bad’ for fishing, “except for bass,” Tharp said. “We have a few reports of a few early salmon in the Little Manistee but nothing here yet.”

The deer population survived the winter just fine, Tharp indicated. There also seems to be a favorable population of bear and coyotes in the area.

Fishing has been going well up in Osceola County.

“Bass are biting on Rose Lake,” said Craig Walters of The Eyes Have It. “I heard of a nice 12-inch perch getting caught today. Fishing’s going real good.”

Jay Drilling of Lake County said he fished with his granddaughter at Paradise Lake last Thursday. She struck it rich with bluegills.

“She loves to fish, I let her sit on the dock and let her fish,” Drilling said. “There’s always little fish around those docks, plain old fish. I don’t fish myself until the fall.”

Depending on the type of fishing and the places where anglers are working, there have been mixed results.

“I went out once (last week) to Jehnsen lake in the evening,” said Jeff Greene of Rodney. “I fished in probably seven to eight feet of water and caught 12 really nice bluegills and pumpkin seeds.”

But Greene isn’t expecting the fishing to improve considering the time of year.

“The best fishing is over, until the fall,” he said. “Until the fall. You have to work harder for them.”

Bass fishermen in the area continue to thrive at various tournaments.

Randy Bleeker of Big Rapids fishes in tournaments every weekend.

“I fish with Marv Bowman and we fish three tournament trails the west side of the state,” Bleeker said. “We usually go at Muskegon, Spring Lake, Whitehall and Cadillac, Mitchell...where we’re going to (Saturday). There’s a couple of clubs running around here. There’s tournaments on Chippewa and Martiny.”

Bass “are always biting,” Bleeker said. “Somebody always finds them in the tournament. Normally half the group finds them and half the group struggles. Somebody comes in with a bag of fish.”