EVART — Josh Johnson is extremely busy coaching his Evart baseball team right now.

But the Evart coach doesn’t shy away from talking about one of his favorite hobbies: fishing

“I usually do some steelhead fishing over spring break,” Johnson said. “I don’t get much of an opportunity (other weeks). I’m looking forward to it.”

Johnston said he likes fishing the Muskegon River near Croton Dam.

“I like to fish the Manistee, too,” he said. “It’s slow right now. I’m thinking I’ll hit it right this week, if we get some rain.”

The Department of Natural Resources reported last week that continued cold weather was putting the steelhead runs behind schedule.

Conditions were expected to keep improving this week. The ice fish season has basically ended.

The DNR reports that for northwest Michigan, ice fishing is no longer recommended. Steelhead fishing remains slow, but will pick up with more rain and warmer temperatures.

“With this rain coming in, we’ve got people catching suckers in the river at Rainbow Bend and the White Fence,” Dewey Buchner of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee said. “You have steelhead all the way up to Tippy Dam now. Manistee Lake is full of browns and steelheads and they’re getting perch. The pier fishing is excellent for browns and steelheads, the same for shore fishing.”

Pier anglers are catching a few brown trout on spawn at Manistee Lake, the DNR said, adding at the Manistee River, water levels were back up below Tippy Dam. The bite was slow, the DNR suggested, due to cold water temperatures. The DNR is expecting the bite to increase with warmer weather and rain in the extended forecast.

“It’s starting to warm up finally,” Nick Homan of Schmidt Outfitters  in Wellston said. “We’re getting some rain. The water levels are raising. Water temperatures are up to 40 right now. We’re starting to see new fish moving in. It’s looking good.”

The DNR reported at Ludington, boats trolling the harbor and along the shoreline were getting steelhead and brown trout. Pier anglers were netting a couple brown trout on spawn.

At the Pere Marquette River, water levels are running low the DNR said, adding the steelhead bite slowed with the colder weather.

WALLEYE SEASON

Many fishermen are eagerly waiting for the walleye season on Lower Peninsula inland waters to open on April 25.

The 2014 Michigan Outdoor News provides a list of inland lakes and rivers and streams ideal for early season walleye fishing. They included the rivers of: Tittabawassee, St. Joseph, Grand, Muskegon, Big Manistee, Black, Boardman, Cass, Flint and Raisin.

Popular lakes include Black, Cadillac, Mitchell, Houghton, Lake Charlevoix, Portage, Hamlin, Hardy Pond, Holloway Reservoir, Crystal and Lake Macatawa.