Fishermen continue to exercise patience

BIG RAPIDS — Fishermen are waiting for the spring season to come, although they realize it’s going to take some time. Meanwhile, anglers are trying to get whatever they can manage.

In Osceola County, Brad Cox at The Eyes Have It in LeRoy indicated he had many customers early last week. Perch and bluegills are the main target in various area lakes. Ice surfaces are still very thick and surfaces are expected to be safe several more days, depending on weather temperatures.

Cox said he couldn’t remember a winter when the ice has been this thick in late March. But conditions, Cox indicated, have improved somewhat for anglers with less snow being on the ice.

“We have some customers heading to the river (Pere Marquette and Manistee) steelhead fishing,” he said.

In Mecosta County, Jason Donley at Triggertime Outfitters in Big Rapids indicated various activity continues, especially for steelhead.

Muskegon River is doing well, while the Pere Marquette and Manistee rivers are “doing good numbers of steelhead,” Donley indicated.

“Perch are starting to run on the river, nothing too major yet,” he said. “With this warm rain, they should start moving.”

But ice surfaces will be around for several days at least.

“Everything still is pretty slow right now,” said Vic Havens of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley. “There’s a few guys out, but it’s not hardly worth reporting.”

Bluegills and a few perch have been taken at Croton, “but nothing of significant size,” Havens added.

Jeff Greene of Rodney is among the area’s most avid ice fishermen who has been trying to work around the harsh winter. He went out Tuesday to Hungerford Lake. He caught a bass that he had to release.

“I could not catch any bluegills,” he said. “I like to fish the shallow water. it was about six feet deep so I could see the bottom. I could see the fish. I was inside my shanty. They would come up to my bait, look at it and swim around the other side and look at it again. I could not coax those buggers to bite.”