Fishing faces challenge of hot summer months

BIG RAPIDS — The warm weeks of July will be presenting various challenges to fishermen.

“People are coming in and say fishing at Sunrise, and Center...they seem to be getting some bass and perch,” said Lynn Shively of The Eyes Have It shop in Leroy. “They’re using leeches, wax worms, senkos and nightcrawlers.”

Area experts in Mecosta County, including VIc Havens of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley, indicate there has been decent fishing in various lakes for bluegills and bass.

“It’s been slow for walleyes,” said Jake Johnston of Trigger Time Outfitters, Big Rapids. “Bluegills and perch are hitting good on the river. I haven’t heard too much on the lakes. They’re still catching bass.”

Fishing is continue to thrive in Lake County.

“The bluegills have been slow,” said George Tharp of Ed’s Sports Shop in Baldwin. “They never really bedded like they’re supposed to. I don’t know if they bedded deep or what happened to them. Bass fishing has been really good. They’ve been getting some nice bass in Wolf Lake, a lot of big ones. Pike fishing has been OK. Lakes that have perch in them have done all right.

“Crappie fishing has been good. Trout fishing on the dry fly has been a little slow The best thing for trout lately has been crawlers and goldspinners.”

The prevailing hot weather is “bad’ for fishing, “except for bass,” Tharp said. “We have a few reports of a few early salmon in the Little Manistee but nothing here yet.”

July should be an interesting month for fishing along the Pere Marquette River.

“Starting with the morning, nymphing has been very productive,” said Jake Kopec of the Pere Marquette River Lodge. “If its overcast, low light conditions, streamer fishing has been very productive.

“Around noon, you’ll see some bugs hatch. In the evening, you have your graydrakes...night fishing has been really hot lately. We’re getting a lot of bites. The hexes has been hatching. Mousing has been very productive, fishing with a mouse.”When it’s a nice overcast day, streamer fishing is where it’s at, Kopec indicated. “But if it’s been hot and sunny like it is, fishing with dry flies has gone well.”

Jake McMillon of Baldwin Bait & Tackle said the river has had a pick up with bites on grasshoppers. “They’re taking decent numbers of fish,” he said. “Gray drakes and hex are still going. It’s weather depending on them. Not every night is a real great night for them. During the day, your classics, like stimulators are still producing.”

Nymphs are also working during the day.

“They‘re still working on the trout,” McMillon said. “In the lakes, your bluegills are out deep. Due to the high skies the bites haven’t been heavy but it’s still there. Bass fishing has still been good. Business has picked up the last couple of weeks.”


The DNR provides the following tip on the use of crankbaits also known as plugs. This information was adapted from Michigan Outdoor News.

Body Shape

Fat-bodied crankbaits that are shorter will displace more water and create more vibration. Many anglers prefer this type of crankbait when fishing in dark water or at night.

Thin-profile crankbaits glide through the water with minimal resistance. This option is great when fishing clear water and targeting species that are sight feeders.


Crankbaits with less buoyancy are better suited for water with minimal cover and clean bottoms while those with more buoyancy are better for fishing around cover.

Crankbaits can be a great lure option when targeting walleyes, bass or muskellunge (among other species).