Anglers having some success with bass, bluegills

BIG RAPIDS -- Anglers are targeting bass and bluegill with limited success, the DNR reports.

The warm weather forced fish to deeper water and decreased their feeding activity. Using live bait in the morning and evening has produced fish. Bluegill and crappie were caught in 12 feet or more, the DNR reports.

In Mecosta County, "fishing is good," Tom Vernon, of Frank's Sporting Goods said. "Everything is deep right now because of the temperatures. Walleyes in Hardy Pond, you're looking anywhere from 28 to 35 feet of water. Bluegills are basically the same but they're suspended along with crappies."

"It's not too bad," Greg Clark, of Schafer's Sporting Goods in Weidman said. "You have to fish pretty deep now. It's bluegills and crappies mostly. Walleye fishing is kind of hit and miss. Chippewa Lake has been pretty good and the Martiny Chain has been pretty good too."

In northwest Michigan, the Platte River is producing a few smallmouth bass, the DNR said, adding the trick is to wade upstream and cast down near the weed beds.

The number of Chinook taken at Frankfort was on the low side; however, the ones caught were 25 pounds or more.

A good majority were located 50 to 90 feet down in 120 to 200 feet. Lake trout numbers remain steady, the DNR added.

Warm weather at Portage Lake continues to raise water temperatures, and the recent rain created yet another mayfly hatch. Anglers working the drop-offs in 16 to 24 feet picked up a few bluegill, perch and bass.

A few salmon were caught 40 to 70 feet down in 120 to 150 feet along the shelf and slightly north in deeper water with spoons and meat rigs in Lake Michigan at Manistee, the DNR said.

Lake trout were straight out and near the bottom in 100 to 130 feet. Those on the stub pier caught rock bass with crawlers, the DNR said

"A few guys are getting a few but nothing crazy, not yet," Kelly Scharich, of Shipwatch Marina, Manistee, said.

A couple steelhead were caught on spawn, beads or a jig and wax worms near Suicide Bend on the Manistee River. Brown trout were caught on spinners or crank baits, the DNR added. Bass and pike have been located throughout the river.

"It's going pretty good," Rob Eckerson, of Pappy's Bait Shop in Wellston said. "They're catching summer steelhead at Tippy Dam. I would say it's a little better since we've gotten the rain. They're catching a salmon or two as well at Tippy Dam. The Little Manistee has had a few king salmon trickling in and that kind of activates the brown trout and moves them around in the process."

Fishing was slow at Ludington, the DNR said, and windy conditions made it hard for boat anglers. A couple salmon, lake trout and steelhead were caught straight out in 110 to 150 feet.

"Fishing has been on the slow side for kings," Scott Keegstra of Captain Chuck's in Ludington said. "Lake trout fishing remains strong. Kings that are showing up have decent size to them, 25 to 28-pound kings. Inland lake fishing has been real good. Hamlin Lake has produced a lot of walleye and pike. Bluegill fishing is fair. Crappie fishing has been good."

Fishing Tip: The basics of using downriggersCourtesy of the Michigan DNR

Are you familiar with using downriggers? This tool, which places a lure at the desired depth, is ideal when fishing the Great Lakes as it allows for controlled-depth fishing and targeting species suspended in the water column.

Three things to keep in mind if you're considering using a downrigger:

• Manual vs. electric

Making a choice between manual and electric depends on how much you want to spend, how often you fish and how big your boat is. Manual downriggers are less expensive than electric but require more work on the part of the angler.

• Cannonballs

This is the weight lowered by the downrigger that is attached to your lure. These weights usually range from 4 to 14 pounds, so make your selection based on how deep you intend to fish (the deeper you go, the more weight you need).

• Leads

This is the amount of line between your cannonball and your lure. It also determines how your lure acts in the water. The deeper you fish, the shorter the lead needs to be.