Area fishing remains difficult for anglers
BIG RAPIDS - The DNR reports windy conditions continue to hamper fishing efforts and very few have been out. Areas in the Upper Peninsula saw their first snow showers last weekend. Higher water levels and wave action have kept anglers off the piers due to dangerous conditions. Boat anglers have not been out on the inland lakes, the DNR said.
In Osceola County, "it's been pretty slow, not many guys are out with all the rain and wind," Brad Cox, of Big Country Bait and Tackle in LeRoy said. "I know there's a few guys still chasing salmon. But inland lakes is slow right now."
In Mecosta County, "they've still been catching a bunch of perch and walleye out on the river," Tanner Havens, of Frank's Sporting Goods in Morley, said. "I know there's a tournament going into this weekend on the river, out at Hardy Pond, for walleye. There's 15 to 20 guys who will be on that. They've been catching quite a few lately. They're all using minnows nows. They've gotten away from the crawlers. They're using minnows for perch and walleye, and wigglers for the perch as well."
At Frankfort, pier and shore anglers using fresh spawn were getting some steelhead throughout the day and Betsie River was producing a fair number of coho, the DNR said.
"They have been catching steelhead at Lake Michigan at the surf, using spawn bags mostly," Christine Murphy, of the Frankfort Tackle Box said. "For Beulah Beach on Crystal Lake, they're catching rainbows and cohos, again on spawn bags. The perch on the west end of Crystal Lake aren't jumbo yet. Nobody has been out on boats because of the weather. I don't know what's going on at Platte Bay because of the weather. There's coho in Platte River and a few steelhead caught in the Betsie that I know of."
At Portage Lake, perch anglers found some keepers in 14 to 22 feet when using worms in several different areas of the lake.
"Right now, people are going off the piers," Kristen Loeffler, of Don's Sporting Goods in Manistee, said. "Sometimes they go to the river, but the river has been high right now. They said they're catching coho off the piers here. The guys who come in say they're catching quite a few. Some of the guys said they're heading up to Portage and Bear Lake for perch."
At Mansitee, the DNR said surface water temperatures were about 54 degrees. Windy conditions made it difficult but when anglers can get out, small coho were taken with spawn off the pier and when surfcasting from the beach.
"There's steelhead on the (Big Manistee) river, mostly on beads," Bob Lancaster of Tangled Tackle Co., in Manistee said. "Big lake fishing is slow because of the weather. When people can get out there they are getting some fish on the shelf. I've heard no word of perch on Portage Lake but that should be coming."
Anglers were catching Chinook and steelhead at the Manistee River, the DNR said, and it continued to produce some salmon though the fish are dark.
"Salmon is slightly past the peak," Rob Eckerson of Pappy's Bait Shop, in Wellston said. "The Big Manistee is still full of fish as far as the salmon are concerned. The steelhead are charging right behind them. The Little Manistee is finishing up the wier process. The wind is blowing and it's limited people on the inland lakes. It's made the river the best opportunity."
Anglers were starting to catch steelhead on spawn or beads in the lower river, the DNR added.
Surface temperatures were about 62 degrees at Ludington, the DNR said. Coho were located by anglers at Ludington State Park.
Water levels at the Pere Marquette River were still high but receding, the DNR said. The salmon run could peak this week. Large fish have been reported but most were turning dark, the DNR said, advising anglers to look for steelhead which follow the salmon and usually hit on spawn or beads.
Fishing Tip: Finding steelhead in the thick of fall
Courtesy of the Michigan DNR
Although many folks have hunting on the brain, there are some anglers who are enjoying a few more trips to the streams right now to find steelhead. Those having success are probably following a few basic tips:
Target lesser known streams that may have been stocked by us in the past few years.
Don't fish on the weekends - when everyone else is - rather, focus on mid-week if you can.
Tough out the weather, some of the best fishing occurs when the weather is the worst.
Focus on going in the early morning or at night.