BIG RAPIDS —It recently was the walleye and pike opener for the Lower Peninsula inland waters.

It was the DNR statewide trout opener on all Type 1 and Type 2 streams as well as all Type A and Type D Designated Trout Lakes.

Anglers can check the DNR website for further information on type streams.

In Mecosta County, “it’s been kind of slow this week with the rain we’ve had recently,” Tanner Havens, of Frank’s Sporting Goods, in Morley, said. “For a few days, we didn’t have much going on in the store here. But it should be a pretty good weekend. It sounds like they should be all over the river as usual for walleye and pike. Streams for the trout will be open as well this weekend. It sounds like the crappies are still hitting really good in the shallower waters. Perch are still hitting. They’re getting some of those. Below Croton, I’ve heard, has been jampacked with walleyes this whole week. They should be getting a few more of those.”

The jury has been out on bluegills.

“I went out Saturday (April 20) and the warmest temperature I could find in my favorite lake was 50 degrees,” Jeff Greene, of Rodney, said. “Neither me nor the grandkids got a bite. Usually the water needs to be close to 60 degrees for those bluegills to start to move into the shallower water. It was a few days too early on Saturday to do any good on the bluegills.”

Activity is picking up in Osceola County, Zach Nicklas, of Buck Country Bait store in LeRoy said.

“We’re getting busy with everybody coming in for trout season,” he said. “It opens Saturday at midnight and we’ve been busy. The numbers of fish we’re seeing out of the river, like for steelhead, has been phenomenal. We expecting a good turnout.”

The DNR reports at Manistee the fish cleaning station is now open and all but one dock is in. Surface water temperatures were about 38 degrees, the DNR said, and those trolling caught brown trout and lake trout with spoons and body baits in six to 12 feet.

“The big Manistee is at its peak for steelhead,” Rob Eckerson of Pappy’s Bait Shop, in Wellston said. “Water temps are 48 and 49. They’re starting to catch some perch out of Manistee Lake.”

Small numbers of brown trout and lake trout were caught by pier anglers using spawn. A few perch were also caught off the pier, the DNR reported, and smelt anglers found a few fish off the piers and near the creek mouths.

“There’s a lot of lake trout in 30 to 50 feet of water,” Bud Fitzgerald of Tangled Tackle Co., said. “There’s a few brown trout being caught in that same depth. It’s a bit of an oddity we haven’t had in years, but they’re dipping smelt. We haven’t had that in 20 years. That’s pretty big news. They’re still getting plenty of trout at Tippy Dam. There’s lots of steelhead.”

Steelhead fishing at the Manistee River was a little more difficult due to high water levels, but a few fish were caught. Anglers expect the levels will be down somewhat by the trout opener this weekend.

“It’s pretty busy right now,” Kristen Loeffler, of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee, said. “Off the piers, they’re catching smelt, steelhead, browns and lake trout, plus some perch, from what they’re saying. There’s quite a few boats out there and quire a few in Manistee Lake. There’s some guys going up to Portage.”

The fish cleaning station at Ludington remains closed and there is still only one dock in. Windy conditions have made fishing complicated. Brown trout and lake trout were hitting spoons and body baits, the DNR said, adding the lake trout were caught south of the port in 45 to 50 feet. A few brown trout were caught on spawn.

“Fishing is good,” Christine Murphy, of the Frankfort Tackle Box, said. “They’re catching browns at Betsie Bay. Platte Bay is loaded with walleye. Lower Herring Lake and Crystal Lake are getting perch. At Crystal, they’re also fishing Beulah Beach for rainbow.”

Fishing Tip: Want to find fish? Use sonar!

Courtesy of the Michigan DNR

Avid anglers are constantly looking for tips and tricks to have more successful fishing trips. Many turn to sonar technology to achieve this goal.

Although a bit of an investment (units start at $100 and go up), sonar products offer a variety of benefits on the water. Most units can provide anglers with readings on temperature, vegetation and structure in the water, type of bottom below you, fish in the area, depth, current speed of the vessel, GPS navigation, and waypoints for future trips. Some even allow you the opportunity to purchase nautical charts.