Fishing Reports

Hello anglers,

It was an interesting weekend, and first half of the week to be sure, while fishing on Lake Michigan. Success ranged from fantastic to frustrating. Friday Night and Saturday morning were good in the 200 foot plus water depths but by Saturday evening the fish had moved into the 150 -180 foot range. Sunday morning was very good for us in the 140 - 170 foot range but by Tuesday evening the best fishing was back out in the 180 - 230 ft area. The currents have been pushing large areas of cooler water and bait all over the place and at a rather exhausting pace. Huge slicks are very common right now. Another variable has been the presence of the spiny water flea. You remember the things that stick like glue to your line? They're everywhere the warmer water is right now and while we found decent fishing in areas thick with fleas, you had to clear all of you rigger and diver lines about every 20 minutes to keep up with the little buggers. Watch your diver lines and when it seems like the dive angle is almost non-existent, clean them off. There seems to be a pretty decent population of trout in the 80 - 140' range that can be depended on for a little action while fishing near bottom. Our best deep bait is the Trash Can Luhr Jensen dodger with a yellow and red dot Spin'n'glo but other favorites like the Dreamweaver White and Double Slick Glo with an Oceana fly have been good producers too. As most of our other fish have come in the 60 - 90 ft down range, the Blue Dolphin, Green Dolphin, NBK and Mixed Veggie colors have been very good producers. Higher up on shorter coppers and longer lead cores the Jager Bomb has had the same effect on fish that it has on some fisherman, it causes moments of poor judgment. The most important variable in success seems to be the presence of the slicks with bait fish present. If you find one, don't stray too far away even if nothing happens for a while. If you're fishing the evenings I'd suggest being on an east course of some sort starting from no less than 200 feet by 8:30. The last hour has been special this week.

The lack of good current in spite of all the rain probably indicates that the walleye will be more active further up stream than in our area and it hurts to say that as it directly impacts the quality of my lunches. The large bluegill are off there beds in local bayous but good numbers of fair gills can still be found over beds in 3 - 5 feet of water. Bass of all sizes seemed to be everywhere Monday morning as my sons and I were searching for gills on Stearns. Using a fly rod was a requirement on our trip so I can't say how the overall success rate for gill fisherman was but I'm sure a little deeper water and patience would have been keys to success for traditional tackle anglers.

And now a word from the authors brain. If you hate opinions stay with the fishing report and ignore this, it's a one time deal as I'm likely just preaching to the choir anyway. This is my personal opinion and not to be considered the opinion of the Steelheaders. With a holiday weekend to review, I'd like to offer a few words of advice to all boaters. No. 1 - Check your running lights. Not only do you need to make sure they work but make sure a cooler or flag doesn't completely hide your stern light. I counted no less than a dozen boats, including one kayak at less than 20 feet away, with no visible lights this weekend and my nerves are shot. At the very least have a flash light handy and use it if another boat is approaching and doesn't appear to see you. Drifting in front of a channel with a bunch of lights behind you makes you nearly invisible to boats coming in from the open water so please move to the north or south of channels to view sunsets.  No. 2 - Consider moored boats when deciding the true meaning of "Slow no Wake' (if it's safe and you can stay in control of your boat, slow way down by busy launch ramps). After watching an approximately 36' Sea Ray with no name from Coral Gables marina in Saugatuck, details obtained from the wife of the captain as they were calling us "losers" for complaining about their wake as they chased another boat at about 12 knots past our slip, assume that if you see neighboring boats with their outriggers hitting together on account of your wake that you should slow down as you may be traveling a bit too fast. The upside is that in this instance the owner of the boat invited all of us to travel to Saugatuck and run as they did past their marina. We won't for way too many reasons but at least they believed in themselves (I've been wrong many times, just ask my wife, but not admitting it when it's obvious is irritating to me). Keep in mind too that every boat, due to size and hull design, has a different "no wake" speed and "slow" isn't the same speed for every boat because of this fact. No. 3 - Having young children wear life jackets is a good idea, putting kids on the bow near the edge and traveling fast (no name Sea Ray strikes again) is not. That was a dad thought, not a captain thing. No. 4 - At night it's against the rules to ride around with your docking lights on. They literally blind other captains in front of you and hide your actual running lights. In crowded situations like July 4th and Coast Guard festival gatherings, you can really cause problems for other boaters on dark nights. Check to see that your flood lights mounted for low light fishing situations are aimed at your deck and not at boats behind you for the same reason. No. 5 - Driving a boat is much like driving a car. Stay to the right of the imaginary center line and if you're traveling slower than the rest of the boats stay as far to the right as possible. If you're being passed just relax, maintain your course and speed and enjoy your ride. No. 6 - Above all, waving and smiling is a wonderful thing, don't under estimate the power of this simple gesture. Use common sense and treat others as you'd like to be treated.  

Good luck and enjoy yourself everybody.

Matt Whitney


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