Inland lakes remain solid spot for fishing

BIG RAPIDS — It’s a slow time of year for fishing, but the DNR reports that besides the rivers, the inland lakes are a good place to fish this time of year.

Otherwise, it’s been quiet.

“I haven’t been doing any fishing,” active angler Jeff Greene of Rodney, said. “I can’t give you any report. I’m a bluegill guy and I put my boat away about a month ago. I’m waiting for ice.”

Greene recalls not getting safe ice until around Dec. 20 last year.

A spokesman at Schafer’s Bait and Sporting Goods in Weidman said it’s been slow in his area.

“There’s not many fishermen,” Greg Clark said. “They’re gearing up for hunting.”

In the northwestern Lower Peninsula, the DNR reports that salmon are on the downslide in all area rivers and most of the remaining Chinook are dark and deteriorating. Walleye fishing should be good on the inland lakes with the lower water temperatures. Anglers will want to try casting or trolling body baits in the shallows during low-light periods.

Fishermen who are out at Manistee have caught steelhead, and are advised by the DNR to try orange spoons. Pier anglers have caught fish on spawn and those surfcasting caught fish on small spoons or spawn.

Manistee Lake was producing coho and steelhead near the mouth of the Little Manistee River, the DNR said, adding anglers were bouncing jigs and spinners off the bottom in the deeper areas.

“The steelhead are picking up,” Chelsea Pete at DLoop Outfitters said. “There’s good brown trout numbers lately.”

 At the Big Manistee River, some fresh coho were caught while steelhead numbers were impressive especially for boat anglers fishing from High Bridge down. Beads, flies and crank baits were effective in the early morning.

“The rivers are both real good so far,” Dewey Buchner, of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee, said. “They’re getting perch on Portage and good pike fishing on Manistee Lake.”

Spawn was not doing as well as artificial baits but anglers are getting fish when drifting smaller sacs on the bottom, the DNR said. A few more lake trout were caught up near Tippy Dam by those drifting beads.

Fresh coho has been caught in the Manistee River.

Larry Scharich of Shipwatch Marina in Manistee indicated there is some lake action going on, but at this time of year, activity continues to slow down, somewhat.

Those surfcasting at Ludington have caught steelhead on small spoons or spawn at the Manisee River. Pier anglers also located fish by floating spawn. Boat anglers were few but those able to get out did find some fish in 100 to 125 feet with most fishing the top 50 feet, the DNR said.

At Frankfort, steelhead have been caught by those trolling and surfasting, and by pier anglers.

“They’re catchign steelhead off the pier,” Christine Murphy of the Frankfort Takcle Box said. “Crystal Lake is still producing perch.”

The Pere Marquette River continues to produce some steelhead and the DNR suggests anglers try spawn and beads.