Fishermen continue to face challenges
BIG RAPIDS - The DNR reports all the big waters were stirred up after the rain and strong winds, making fishing a little more difficult.
The DNR says the inland lakes were producing bass, pike, panfish and walleye, and added this month is a good time to head out on the inland lakes with less pressure due to hunting season.
In Osceola County, anglers are still having success in various spots, Brad Cox of Buck Country Bait & Tackle in LeRoy, said. "They're going for panfish, bluegills and stuff like that," he said. "It's pretty good fishing right now with the temperatures cooling back down. Any local lake around here (is doing well)."
In Mecosta County, "They've been fishing perch on the river along with the walleyes," Tanner Havens of Frank's Sporting Goods in Morley said. "It seems like they're still catching pretty good numbers. I've had guys saying they're doing good with wax worms for bluegills as well. I've heard the salmon at Croton have been in heavy lately and they're catching a lot. It seems like everything is biting now that the river has calmed down from the high waters last week."
The DNR said Crystal Lake in Benzie County was producing coho and steelhead in the early morning hours for boat anglers trolling spoons and shore anglers using spawn. The DNR added there is still Chi-nook salmon up near the Homestead Dam, though the number of fish continues to drop.
"We're starting to get some good steelhead in the river, mainly on beads," Bud Fitzgerald of Tangle Tackle Co., in Manistee said. " There are some steelhead moving in off the beach. Bluegills on Portage and Manistee Lakes are doing well on wax worms and artificials. Portage Lake, they're in shallows but in Manistee Lake they're in about 20 feet to water."
Surface temperature readings were about 61 degrees at Manistee, the DNR said, adding the fish cleaning station is now closed for the season. Pier anglers were getting small coho 10-to-15 inches with spawn, and those targeting steelhead were surfcasting or fishing from the piers.
"There's still kings in the river," Chelsea Pete of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston, said. "We're starting to see more steelhead, mostly behind the spawning salmon."
Anglers were catching Chinook and steelhead at the Manistee River, the DNR said, adding Chinook could be found throughout the system with lots of fish spawning in the upper river. The run is expected to peak this week. Anglers should try spawn, yarn or flies, the DNR said, adding fishermen were start-ing to catch steelhead on spawn or beads in the lower river.
"Flow is actually on the low side at the Big Manistee," Rob Eckerson, of Pappy's Bait Shop in Wellston said. "Steelhead are also coming. The Betsie is a little bit late. Panfishing for perch and bluegills have been good at Portage, Manistee and Arcadia Lakes."
Surface temperatures were about 62 degrees at Ludington, the DNR said. Coho were starting to show up at Ludington State Park.
"It's pretty slow right now," Larry Scharich of Shipwatch Marina in Manistee said. "In Lake Michigan, a couple of boats have gone out and gotten a few fish but not too."
"They're getting salmon in the river," Dewey Buchner of Don's Sporting Goods in Manistee said. "They're starting to get some steelhead and browns. They're getting nice panfish and pike out of Manis-tee Lake."
Water levels at the Pere Marquette River were still high but receding, the DNR said. The salmon run could peak this week. Salmon have been caught in the Big South Branch as well. A good number of large fish have been reported but most were turning dark, the DNR said, suggesting anglers look for steelhead which follow the salmon and usually hit on spawn or beads.
Fishing Tip: How to catch muskellunge when others
Courtesy of the Michigan DNR
For many anglers muskellunge can be quite elusive but having a few tips in your back pocket can make your trips more successful.
The first thing to consider is the type of lure you might use. Many experts recommend using a jerkbait-style lure to trigger vertical follows.
The next item to consider is where you might look for muskellunge.
Always be looking for cover, in-cluding weed patches or downed trees - these are prime spots for them to linger.
Lastly, don't be afraid to focus your fishing time to late afternoon/early evening. These hours can pro-duce some quality opportunities.