Fishing Reports

Hello again and Happy Easter!

This weekend was dry and warm enough to help me get back outside after being sent into hibernation by the snow early last week that followed my warm vacation. Here is what I found out.

Big lake fishing out of Grand Haven has been slow for pretty much everything but perch and even they haven't been easy to catch. Very few fish were taken from the piers and shallows in the area over the last few days. There are some browns and a few steelhead around but it's been slow. The only trolling I heard of last week was from another charter that fished during Mondays snow "event" and they never had a touch. The best fishing is still well to the south of us in the St. Joe area and as the revised forecast shows highs in the 50's and only sporadic South winds, that probably won't change much for another week or two. As for the perch, my son fished several times and while they caught 30 - 70 fish per trip allowing for a good meal, a lot of effort was required to locate and coax the fish into cooperating. Wigglers were the best bait on the last couple of trips. Another big lake option is to chase walleyes. Last week this sport was quite productive for a number of people suffering from spring induced insomnia as the bite was hot from 11 pm  to 1 am off the piers at Muskegon and Whitehall. Casting countdown Rapalas and Thundersticks is typically the method of choice but I'm afraid I don't have specific baits for you.

Bayou fishing for bluegills is close to getting pretty good and while my sons and I enjoyed a successful trip mid day Saturday on Sterns Bayou, it wasn't easy. What did work was setting up in areas near drop offs in about 7 ft. of water and casting to 4 to 8 feet of water. We were fishing #10 tear drops with wax worms about 4 ft below a bobber. The bites were very light and difficult to detect in the wind. The best set up involved a long thin stick bobber that would lay flat on the surface until a fish bit causing the top of the bobber to raise slightly. 2 lb test fluorocarbon out fished regular 2 lb mono leader almost 2:1 and out of 64 keepers only 2 bluegills were caught on a rig with 6 lb mono. All rods were rigged with the same teardrops and fished at the same depths. The fish were moving a lot and we frequently had 10 minute periods of great action followed by 20 - 30 minutes of very little activity. We also caught a nice crappie and a largemouth during our trip and about 1/3 of the gills were in the 8" range.

I received mixed reports from the rivers to the North of us. The Muskegon River was productive for fisherman working the gravel beds downstream from the dam but fishing was tough for those dealing with the high water in the lower portions of the river. By several reports the White has seen it's best fishing for Steelhead and both the number of fish and fisherman in that river have gone down substantially over the last week. For those trying to avoid the crowds that may make a good choice as the reduced pressure should make the remaining fish a little less jumpy. The Manistee is producing well in the upper stretches similar to the Muskegon. Find the gravel beds and go to work with some fresh spawn or favorite fly patterns and you should meet with some success. 

Good luck and have fun fishing this week,

Matt Whitney 




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