Bluegills and crappies 'have been easy to catch'

Rodney area angler having all sorts of success

Fishing for panfish has been outstanding locally, the experts are saying.

Fishing for panfish has been outstanding locally, the experts are saying.

File photo

BIG RAPIDS – Looking for an easy catch of fish? Try bluegills and crappies.

“Bluegills and crappies have been easy to catch for the last two weeks,” avid fisherman Jeff Greene, of Rodney said. “Worms and gulp minnows or the one-inch long baits have been successful. Gulp minnows tend to produce fewer small fish.

“At Hillview Lake the fish have been located 4 to 6 feet under the surface all over the deeper parts of the lake. At Chippewa Lake, I have fished a little deeper in 8 to 12 foot depth of water.”

In northwest Michigan, the DNR reports catches were hit or miss but a few Chinook and coho were caught at Big Sable Point in 80 to 180 feet of water when fishing 50 to 80 feet down and straight out and south off the project in 100 to 150 feet of water when fishing 60 to 80 down.

Spoons were working best. The piers remained slow.

In Manistee, a few salmon and lake trout were caught along the shelf both north and south of town, and south towards Big Sable Point in 120 to 200 feet of water for those fishing 40 to 90 down.

“We’re fishing for summer run steelhead at Tippy Dam,” Rob Eckerson, of Pappy’s Bait Shop in Wellston said. “It’s been slow to materialize but it’s gaining momentum. The Little Manistee has a fishable number of king salmon in it as well. We could use more water flow for both rivers. But we have some fishing coming.

“Mayfly hatch is coming to an end for the fly fishermen. So they’re fishing terrestrials, grasshoppers and things of that nature. Bluegills are off the deep drop-offs.”

“Anglers trolling the shelf at Frankfort in 120 to 150 feet of water and setting lines from 50 to 80 down were picking up a few good-sized Chinook with most being landed on flies and meat rigs,” the DNR said. Lake trout were in the same areas or bouncing the bottom with cowbells in Platte Bay.

“They’re getting some salmon,” Dewey Buchner, of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee, said. “They’re getting some nice panfish and bass and pike out in Manistee Lake, but it’s been so windy.”

Chinook numbers were down as the alewives were still schooled in good numbers. Anglers, the DNR said, were reporting lake trout in the barrel up high and off the bottom.

Perch were reported at Portage Lake off the south Stub Pier in 18 to 22 feet of water and the fish were hitting on minnows. The water was warming up and bass anglers were working the drops with some luck, the DNR said.

Fishing Tip: Taking great catch-and-release photos

Courtesy of the Michigan DNR

Are you an avid catch-and-release angler? Do you like to take photos of the fish you catch, prior to returning them to the water? Do you know the safest way to take these photos so you ensure the fish can live to be caught another day?

Here are some steps you can follow:

Wet your hands before you handle the fish; that way you won’t remove any of the protective mucus (or slime) that coats the fish’s body.

Remember fish can’t breathe out of water, so they will become uncomfortable rather quickly. Keep the fish in the water until your camera is ready to take the shot.

Take the photo with the fish fairly close to the water, so if it squirms out of your hands it will land in the water and not on a hard surface.

While holding the fish, don’t pinch or squeeze it and don’t stick your fingers in its gills.

Be mindful of the different kinds of fish that have teeth and/or spines that could stick you.