Fishing remains favorable in various areas

BIG RAPIDS — Fishermen are reminded by the DNR that the last day to fish on all Type 1 and Type 2 rivers and streams has passed.

Type 3 and Type 4 waters are open all year. The season to take lake trout and splake from the northern waters of Lake Michigan (north of Arcadia) also closed on Sept. 30.

Locally, “walleye and smallmouth fishing is picking up at the Hardy Pond,” Vic Havens of Frank’s Sporting Goods, said. “Guys are getting bluegills too. They’re doing pretty well out there.”

“There’s just a little bit” of fishing taking place, Craig Walters of The Eyes Have it Bait Shop in LeRoy said. “They’re going on Rose and catching a few perch. It’s been pretty quiet.”

Jeff Greene, of Rodney, said he’s had two recent trips of bluegill fishing.

“I went out Sept. 29 to Jensen Lake and found some really nice bluegills and sunfish,” Greene said. “I did well. I went out (Oct. 3) to the same spot and I got a total of two fish. It was good one week and poor the next week with the same lake with the same bait.”

The DNR reports that at Portage Lake, the perch and bluegill bite really turned on over the last week. Anglers were seeing good numbers and good sizes in 16 to 20 feet in front of the city boat launch while the bigger perch were hitting on minnows, worms and wax worms.

Surface water temperatures were about 60 degrees at Manistee, but fishing has slowed. Boat anglers were still taking some Chinook, coho and the occasional steelhead in 100 to 150 feet, the DNR said.  A small number of Chinook and coho have been caught off the pier.

“On the piers they’re getting a few,” Dewey Buchner of Don’s Sporting Goods. “Browns and steelheads are now starting to come in. I don’t know if the run’s done or we still have another run to go. There are fish in the river, Platte, Betsie and Manistee. It’s not great numbers, but there are fish there.”

Manistee Lake was challenging anglers, who were getting Chinook and coho to hit on the lake.

“Salmon fishing has still been strong and we’re starting to find steelhead every day,” Dave Barkman, of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston, said. “The trout fishing is starting to get good also. A reminder that designated trout things like the Pine River closed on Friday.”

Fish are being caught, but not many. Jigging between the channel and the Big Manistee River proved more successful than other areas on the lake.

“Bluegills are doing good, and pike at Manistee Lake,” Buchner said. “I’ve heard of a few perch, nice ones, not big numbers but nice perch being caught on Portage.”

Big Manistee River was producing Chinook and coho, which were hitting consistently in the upper section from Bear Creek to Tippy Dam. Natural baits like spawn were attracting more fish than artificial baits, but catch rates were better in the morning hours and dropping off after sunrise. A few fish were caught between Bear Creek to Manistee Lake by anglers putting in a lot of time.

“We’re solidly into salmon season,” Rob Eckerson, of Pappy’s Bait Shop in Wellston said. “The problem is that the water is still on the warm side. We’re low 60s. We should be in the low 50s. We’re not approaching the peak as we should be, looking at the calendar. Fishing is good to fair if you’re at the right spot.”

Platte River had a good push of fish into the lower river, the DNR reported, adding that additional fish were still coming in with the cooler weather and the wind is supposed to switch from west to north which should enhance activity.

At Frankfort, anglers heading north to Platte Bay are finding coho and the occasional Chinook but the activity was slow. Those trolling, jigging, and casting in the harbor were seeing a few fish but not many.

“The perch bite is pretty good up here, Crystal Lake and Portage Lake are reporting good perch catches.” Dave Rommell of Big Bob’s Outfitters in Frankfort said. “Bow season starts (Saturday) so everyone is kind of gearing up for that right now. In the big lake, we’re starting to get some steelhead. The king salmon run is about over “ 

Angler activity has slowed in Ludington, the DNR said, adding that boat fishermen were still finding a light number of salmon and steelhead in 100 to 150 feet. No word has been provided on pier fishing.