Anglers facing challenges during fall fishing months

BIG RAPIDS — Windy conditions on the Great Lakes were recently preventing boat anglers from getting out, the DNR and local fishing experts are reporting.

The waters of Lake Michigan turned over with the strong winds, and fish were caught closer to shore in 40 to 80 feet, the DNR said, adding salmon runs are just getting started and will only get better as the temperatures drop.

Those trolling the shoreline in the early morning at Portage Lake and at the channel were getting coho on spoons.

Dredging at Manistee continues in the harbor so boat anglers should be cautious around the equipment. Some Chinook salmon were still being caught in 50 to 70 feet. Coho and lake trout have come into the same depths, the DNR said, adding that Chinook were caught in the channel.

“They’re still getting a few fish but it’s winding down,” Larry Scharich, of Shipwatch Marina in Manistee, said. “A lot of salmon are up in the rivers now. The weather isn’t the best. We’ve had a lot of good days weather wise, but in September, you start getting a lot of wind.”

Fishermen were doing well at Manistee Lake catching a decent number of 7-to-9 inch bluegills and pumpkinseeds on crawlers and leaf worms. Most salmon anglers are now fishing up in the river.

“We’re starting to see some good salmon every day,” Nick Homan of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston said. “The trout fishing is still pretty good.”

Chinook and coho salmon have reached Tippy Dam at the Big Manistee River in good numbers, but anglers are having a hard time getting them to hit, the DNR said, adding fishermen had slightly better success above the coffer dam on the Consumers Energy side with a mix of everything from spawn to crankbaits and spinners.

“People are trying on the pier and they may catch one fish,” Dewey Buchner, of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee said. “They’re fishing the river. As far as I know, they’re not biting in the lake, or the pier or big lake and from Tippy down, at least not like they should. It’s kind of one of those weird times.”

There also are reports that fishing between High Bridge and Bear Creek has been slow with the exception of a few Kings caught out of the mouth of Pine Creek.

At Frankfort, chinook are in full run mode, the DNR said, adding that Betsie Bay is producing good numbers of large fishing and pier anglers have caught coho on glow spoons throughout the day. Platte Bay is reporting good numbers of coho, when casting and jigging.

“They’re trolling and jigging on the inside harbor on the bay for king salmon,” Christine Murphy of the Frankfort Tackle Box said, “and also pier fishing for them and trolling on the outside. Different days, it’s different weather.

“At Crystal Lake, there’s a lot of perch, big rock bass, and they’re trolling for lake trout and there’s coho in there. The rivers are loaded. Last weekend, we got a 25-pound salmon (at Betsie River). The rivers are high and there’s a lot of deep holes. It’s loaded, they’re doing well for salmon. It’s great fishing no matter where you go.””

Fishermen at Betsie River were getting a good number of Chinook salmon downstream of the Homestead Dam with spawn, spoons and jigs and stick baits.

Surface temperature readings were about 63 degrees in the lake at Ludington, but, chinook and coho were still being located in 50 to 90 feet. Chinook were also being found in the channel and walleye off the piers at night.

Salmon fishing has been slow at Pentwater, but a few were caught 30 to 70 feet down in 80 to 165 feet, the DNR said, adding that pier anglers were getting some salmon and steelhead early morning or late evening when casting spoons or jigs.

Anglers have caught a few smallmouth bass and pike in the channel at Pentwater Lake, and chinook were starting to enter the river from Pentwater River.