Fishing activity continues to improve

REED CITY — Warmer weather is making area fishing more active.

The DNR is reporting the fish bite is improving as the waters warm up and anglers are having success for panfish, bass, pike, catfish, bullhead, carp and freshwater drum. More boats are heading out on the Great Lakes and the DNR reports lake trout fishing has been productive. Salmon and steelhead also are being caught.

“We have some pretty good drake insect hatches going on right now,” Joe Neumann, from the Pere Marquette River Lodge in Baldwin, said. “The fishing is getting really good at night. I’ve had a dry-fly on the last three weeks. It’s one of the best dry-fly seasons we’ve had in quite awhile. Right now you can expect the gray drake.

“When the sun goes down, we’re seeing mouse flies and those are bringing up some good trout in the evening. With the water level, it’s quite wadable and fairly clear. That’s important for people to know. We haven’t haven’t had much rain so those water levels are expected to stay normal for the foreseeable future. Opportunities are really pretty good.”

“We’re still catching fish like bass and bluegills, some of them are just starting,” Craig Walters, of The Eyes Have It In Leroy, said. “The weather has gotten them confused. It needs to get warmer again.”

The north pier is still closed in Manistee, but baitfish are still in the harbor and anglers were getting some steelhead, brown trout and chinook in the early morning and walleye at night, the DNR said, adding those trolling caught lake trout, steelhead and chinook in 100 to 300 feet.

“This week, I have not heard of anything good other than a few panfish in Manistee Lake,” Terry Riley, of Riley’s Tackle & Gun Shop in Manistee, said. “The big lake, for the most part, it’s been windy every day so no one can fish. The water is so cold, but it will shape up pretty quick.”

Northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass have been caught in Manistee Lake, the DNR said, adding at the Big Manistee River, some summer run steelhead have been caught on crawlers in the early morning at Tippy Dam.

”Bluegills are on the beds at Manistee Lake,” Dewey Buchner, of Don’s Sporting Goods, said. “Walleye are slow. Pike are still doing. On the piers, they are catching some skamania, a few browns and a few walleyes, but it’s slow. The river has some walleyes, some pike, but it’s been slow everywhere. They’re getting some smallmouth, largemouth bass in the lake on the beds.”

In that same area, a few legal size brown trout were caught but mostly undersized.

Fly fishermen also have been very active, the DNR said, and are catching trout between High Bridge and Tippy Dam, plus a few suckers.

“There’s nothing on the river,” Gordon Park, of Andy’s Tackle Box in Brethren, said. “We’re in transition. We’ve got suckers at the dam and that’s about it. We’re waiting on the bass and summer run steelhead.”

A few Chinook have been caught off the “Shelf” at Frankfort in 180 to 300 feet of water, the DNR said, adding boats are heading straight out and to the north. Anglers are finding lake trout off a rock pile straight out from the mouth of the Platte River in East Platte Bay.

“We have great lake trout fishing,” Amanda Rommell, of Big Bob’s Outfitters in Frankfort, said. “It’s been really darn good. The king salmon are showing up. We’re seeing a few, with a nice size to them. We had an offshore break of the steelhead action early in the week, which was pretty darn good. The walleye on Herring Lake have really picked up. Up to the north at Bass and Otter lakes, they’re doing good on bluegills.”

Portage Lake is producing panfish in the shallows along the east side.

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell has provided solid bass fishing, especially largemouth bass, although a few smallmouth were also found. Cooler temperatures have slowed the catch rates, but they’re expected to rebound by the weekend.

A few walleye and bullhead were caught in the canal between the two lakes, the DNR said.

At Ludington, some baitfish are moving into the channel and Pere Marquette Lake while boaters are getting lake trout, steelhead and Chinook in 100 to 300 feet.

Anglers at Pentwater had success in 180 feet or deeper water going after chinook and steelhead.