Fishing activity remains slow

BALDWIN — The DNR reports windy conditions on the Great Lakes are making it difficult to get out. Salmon fishing is pretty much done and the steelhead are moving into the rivers while inland lakes are producing perch, walleye and pike.

“The fishing has been slow,” Vic Havens, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley said. “The guys who go out there do well. But it’s slower in the shop here. They’re chasing that elusive buck out there in the rut. The guys are hunting harder now.”

In Lake County, “the salmon are pretty much out of the river pretty good now,” Tyler Clugston of Baldwin said. “The steelhead are starting to get a run going. I won’t fish for any of them until February.”

Surface water temperatures at Manistee were still about 56 degrees while boat and shore activity were slow, the DNR said, adding steelhead were netted by pier and shore anglers in the early morning. The fish cleaning station and the restrooms are closed for the season, the DNR said.

Fishing activity continues to decline, the DNR reported. There were a small number of steelhead staging up near the mouth of the Little Manistee River, but fishermen were still struggling to find success.

“The salmon run continues,” Rob Eckerson, of Pappy’s Bait Shop in Wellston, said. “I would say we’re slightly past our peak. The water temps are a little bit iffy. We have a ways to go with that. Steelhead are pretty much on their tails and doing good. People are out fishng the surf and Manistee, wind permitting, there’s been steelhead out there available as well.”

A good number of steelhead were moving up into the river and were being caught from Rainbow Bent all the way up to Tippy Dam on the Big Manistee River, the DNR said.

“There’s a few small steelhead and a few small browns,” Gordon Park of Andy’s Tackle Box in Brethren, said. “There’s still some salmon at the dam. It’s transition time. We’re getting over to winter steelhead. They’re starting to catch a few. No big numbers yet. I’d say another week to two weeks.”

“Perch are still in Portage Lake and Manistee Lake,” Eckerson said. “Not too many bluegill guys are out there, but there are a few fishing the dropoffs. That’s been productive. It’s not as appealing in the snow.”

Spawn, beads and flies were all effective when drifting through the holes, the DNR reported, adding the Chinook are near the end of their run and anglers are seeing a lot of coho up near Tippy Dam. Some lake trout and even pink salmon have been caught.

“It’s slowed down on the beach for shore fishermen,” Dewey Buchner, at Don’s Sporting Goods, said. “The river is still seeing good numbers of steelhead. They’re still getting jumbo perch on Portage. The bluegills and pike are biting on Manistee Lake, too. It’s a great time to be pike fishing at Manistee Lake.”

The DNR reports that at Frankfort, shore and pier anglers at both Frankfort and Elberta were getting some steelhead by using spawn. Pier anglers netted fish on both the inside and the outside of the walls with several reports of fish 10 pounds or more. Perch were still biting on the west end in 10 to 16 feet but most are small.

“They’ve been getting a few steelhead,” Desyre Shelton, of the Backcast Fly Shop in Benzonia, said. “A  guy went down (at the Betsie River) the other day and said he wound up getting six salmon. They were starting to get pretty dark.”

Surface water temperatures were at 54 degrees at Ludington and boat anglers have caught steelhead in 40 to 70 feet while pier fishing was slow.

The Pere Marquette River is producing some steelhead on spawn and beads, the DNR said.