Fishing Reports

Hello again!

It’s been a long winter and a unique spring (that's the nicest thing I can think of to say about this spring up until about a week ago). The good news is that the recent period of nice weather has inspired a fair amount of activity in the fishing world. Our part of Lake Michigan is still trying to shake off the effects of the cold and wet spring but there are fish in the area and with the weather cooperating nicely it’s worth the effort to go out. We were finally able to get our first try this past Saturday in order to make sure everything was ready for the start of the charter season. We broke the pier heads at a bright and early 8 am and after some less than stellar reports from the shallows, we opted to go deep. I ran to 150 f.o.w. and set lines. Water temps were in the 42 – 43 degree range when I slowed down but by the time we crossed into 175 feet the surface had dropped to 40.8 and pretty much stayed there all the way out to 215 feet. When we reached 190 we ran into a line of cattails and debris and just as we were getting through it our center rod set at 140’ with a white Paddle and Pickled Sunshine fly popped. It was, or still is as my eldest child blew the first fish of the season, a nice lake trout that made it to within 50’ of the boat before saying goodbye. We continued out to 205 and I spun back to the cattails where we hit 3 more quick ones, a coho on a high diver set 90’ back with an Orange Killer Stinger spoon, a lake trout on a Stinger Jawbreaker set on a 5 color lead core and what was either another coho or small steelhead on a 4 color with an Alfonz Jr. (Yech’s Pat’s Bait). Two more passes in and out of the debris brought another trout on the 140’ paddle rig, a miss 45’ down on a Stinger Jager Bomb and the prize of the day, a 21 lb, 37” king on a 450’ copper dragging a Magnum Fuzzy Bear Modified Carmel Dolphin. Rich Wilson will love to read this as he’s been getting after me for not filling out my yearlong contest entry form yet. Either way we’d just get knocked off by one of the Richert’s or Sally Wilson. More good news is that when we cleaned these fish, each one had a belly full of bait from 2 - 6” long. It wasn’t fast and furious by any stretch but for 3 hours of fishing it wasn’t bad either. Reports from other boats were mixed with action slow inside of 100’ and similar to our results in the 130 – 150’ range where there was some warmer water. Fish were taken from the surface to the bottom with no real patterns emerging.

For those of you that prefer to fish closer to home, the bayous are starting to heat up quickly. My son and a friend spent a couple hours with wax worms Sunday and came home with a nice mess of blue gills and a couple crappie. There was a fair amount of sorting to be done but the action was hot and they ran out of bait. A tear drop tipped with a wax worm hanging about 8” down from a float (fancy word for “bobber”) in 2 – 3’ feet of water was the ticket. For those interested in chasing bass during the catch and release season, it’s time to get on the water. Wacky worm rigs and popping a floating Rapala on the surface are both great ways to get a big ol’ bucket mouth interested in a battle.

Not to be overlooked, the cats are biting too. Chunks of last night’s dinner, baitfish or any other item that you can place on a hook should work right now. The fish are aggressively taking any and all offerings while we work on our boats at the dock. Several of the cats were pushing the 10 lb mark and put up quite a battle in the strong current.


HOT TIP – As I’m finishing this report my phone rang. The fish have started to arrive in much better numbers in the last two days. Kings and coho’s have been hitting steady in the 70 to 150’ range with most fish taken on bright colored baits in the top 50’. I’ll be out there Wednesday morning and will try to have another first hand report ready for the weekend. Remember, it’s MOTHER’S DAY weekend so be careful before planning a trip this Sunday!


Thank you,

Matt Whitney

Whitney Charters


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