Warm weather having an impact on fishing

BIG RAPIDS — The Department of Natural Resources reports heavy rain and strong winds over the last few weeks have made many of the inland lakes and rivers high and muddy.

The DNR said those anglersrs may have to change their techniques, bait and lures to have more success.

Changing weather conditions are not making it easy for fishermen, the DNR added.

Recent days were fun for avid angler Jeff Greene of Rodney.

“I went out to Clear Lake and I got eight crappies  and I kept 12 bluegills,” he said. “I had a pretty good day. (July 23) I went out to Rogers Pond and really had fun. I got four smallmouth, four crappies, a white sucker, a rock bass, none of which I kept. But I did keep 14 bluegills, real nice ones. I had fun at Rogers Pond, too.” 

Warm, hot weather also has had an impact.

“They’re catching some nice crappies on Sunrise Lake,” Craig Walter of The Eyes Have It in LeRoy said. “Bass are starting to bite a little better on Rose. This warm weather is. keeping them out in deep water. They’re doing some trout fishing still. There were a couple of nice walleye caught at Rose.”

Brandon Jurries of Trigger Time Outfitters indicated the recent hot weather has slowed down activity.

“Some people are doing good bass fishing,” Jurries said. “The fish are going where it’s cooler. I’ve heard they’re catching walleyes on crawlers in the Muskegon River. They’re getting bluegills in the Muskegon. Other than that, it’s pretty slow right now. I’ve been seeing reports on Facebook that they’re getting steelhead and salmon out of on the lake.”

In northwest Michigan, inland lakes in the area are producing a mixed bag of panfish, pike and walleye.

“They’ve been doing real good on lake trout fishing,” Terry Riley of Riley’s Tackle & Gun Shop in Manistee said. “They’re catching some walleyes in Manistee Lake and the Big Manistee River also. Salmon fishing is picking up somewhat but it isn’t very good.”

The DNR says that in Manistee, boat anglers are catching a mix of Chinook, lake trout and steelhead, adding that at the Manistee River, a fair number of salmon are making their way into the Little Manistee and the Big Manistee is producing some steelhead. 

“Right now, things are a little slow,” Gary Melzer of Schmidt Outfitters said. “Not much is going on.”

“They’re catching perch in Portage,” Dewey Buchner of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee said. “They’re getting steelhead 10 to 12 miles out using meat rigs and small spoons. Smallmouth are hitting good. The walleye are hitting good at night. The pike are hitting good. You’re getting skamania and lake trout off the pier.”

At Onekama, boat anglers trolling 40 to 80 feet down in 120 to 150 feet were catching Chinook in the early morning and after dusk. Spoons and flies were working, the DNR said, adding that  lake trout can be located around the “Barrel” and were caught with cowbells bouncing the bottom. 

“We’ve got some skamania at the (Tippy) Dam and there’s something going at the dam and they were letting out water all (Friday),” Gordon Park of Andy’s Tackle Box in Brethren said. “The turbines have been on. Smallmouth bass at the dam on Manistee River and skamania, early morning, they’re catching them. They’re a month late but we have a good number of them.

“We’re waiting on the salmon.”

Portage Lake was the location of another Mayfly hatch so bass anglers were having a rough time catching fish. Water temperatures were going up so most anglers were fishing 14 to 22 feet down, the DNR said, adding that warmer weather has improved conditions. 

Frankfort is producing Chinook salmon 40 to 110 feet down in 175 to 250 feet by trolling blue spoons and meat rigs, the DNR said, adding that brown trout are still in the harbor.

“There’s a nice mixed bag of fish right now, with kings, steelhead and occasionally a brown,” Brian Murphy of the Frankfort Tackle Box said. “They’re fishing in 120 to 160 feet of water, straight out a little bit south of the Point Betsie. It’s fairly consistent. Meat rigs are doing real well, plus standard sized spoons.”

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell are being good to bass fishermen who are using crawlers, spinners, crank baits and top water baits in shady areas.

Crappie are hitting in the shallows, the DNR said, adding that pike have been caught but many are undersized.  


The following fishing tip is courtesy of the Michigan DNR and Michigan Outdoor News.

“In the thick of summer it can be hard to encourage muskellunge into taking your lure or bait. Already a wary predator, this “fish of 10,000 casts” is very particular and often retreats to deeper water during this time of year. But there is a technique you can implement that will, on occasion, produce outstanding catch results.

“The idea is to use a large rod, at least eight feet in length, with quite a bit of line and to cast as far as you possibly can.

“Use the length of the cast to engage in an aggressive retrieve that gives your lure/bait bursts of energy and then slowing the speed every 10 feet or so.

“Be patient as you use this technique for an extended period of time, and be encouraged if you obtain several “follows” as a result (those who avidly seek out muskellunge will know what that means).”