Bass fishing off to good start

It's free fishing weekend in Michigan.
It's free fishing weekend in Michigan.

BIG RAPIDS — The bass opener was off to a good start, the DNR reports, while water temperatures are still cold especially on the large inland lakes and the Great Lakes.

"They're going for (crappies) on the river and some are going for bass," a spokesman at Trigger Time Outfitters in Big Rapids said. "The bass are hot right now. The bluegills are getting active in the shallows."

Bluegills are on the beds at Hardy Pond, Tanner Havens, at Frank's Sporting Goods in Morley said. Anglers are catching bass and walleye in various area lakes.

In northwest Michigan, warmer weather has helped the inland lake fishing, the DNR said. The bass bite picked up, and many were on the beds. Bluegills and pumpkinseed have started to spawn, the DNR reported, while trout fishing is good and the hex hatch should be right around the corner.

The DNR reports at Onekama, those trolling in 80 to 100 feet were marking baitfish and getting Chinook salmon in the early morning. Green and blue spoons have been effective.

"We're picking up some salmon that's been fairly good," Larry Scharich, of Shipwatch Marina in Manistee, said. "It's mostly kings, but a few lake trout and a few cohos. They're getting a few walleye in the river, from what I have heard."

At Portage Lake, anglers were taking good catches of large and smallmouth bass and bluegills, the DNR. A few walleye and perch were also caught, the DNR added.

"They're catching a few of the summer-run steelhead, the skamania, by Tippy Dam," Rob Eckerson, of Pappy's Bait Shop in Wellston said. "There's a few, and I stress few, early-run kings in the Little Manistee. Bluegills are not quite on the beds yet. They're getting close. I believe bass are on the beds. We're starting to get some of the fly hatches for fly fishermen, so that's good news. There's walleye in Manistee Lake and Portage Lake.

Surface water temperatures at Manistee were still cold at 52 degrees. Boat anglers got a good number of Chinook on meat rigs and artificial baits. Steelhead and lake trout were also found while pier anglers caught Chinook and brown trout.

"There are brown trout up by the dam," Chelsea Pete, of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston said. "There's a few skamania around. It will probably be another month before they're really here. Fall streamers work best. For warm fishing, bass are starting to be on their beds."

Those trolling the shallows at Platte Bay caught lake trout, brown trout and the occasional lake herring on spoons, body baits and spin-glo’s in 10 to 30 feet.

Boat anglers at Frankfort trolling the top 30 feet in 60 to 80 feet caught Chinook salmon on spoons. Chinook were found by pier anglers using alewife, especially early morning was best.

Fishing has been decent around Lake Michigan in the Frankfort area

"There's good salmon fishing, finally," fishing expert Dave Rommell, of Frankfort, said.

Boat anglers at Ludington, had good Chinook salmon fishing 40 to 70 feet down in 120 to 200 feet. A good number of coho and steelhead were also caught but the lake trout bite was slow. Baitfish were in the harbor and outside the piers.

Chinook and coho salmon fishing were good 40 to 80 feet down in 90 to 150 feet, the DNR reported, between the dunes and Little Sable Point with green, blue and orange spoons.

Pentwater Lake has large and smallmouth bass caught in the channel and near Longbridge Road when jigging soft plastics. Those targeting panfish from Longbridge Road caught yellow perch and sunfish when floating red worms. Crappie were taken in six to 15 feet with minnows and a slip bobber.