Warmer weather should improve fishing

Warmer weather is expected to help anglers have more success. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

Warmer weather is expected to help anglers have more success. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

REED CITY - Cold weather has slowed fishing activity, the DNR said in its weekly report.

If it warms up by the weekend, bluegills should start moving around in the shallows especially in the northern regions of the state, the DNR said, adding the walleye bite should improve.

Water temperatures dropped with the cold weather. Water levels in the lakes and rivers are up due to last week's rain but fishing activity remains low due to the cold.

In Mecosta County, Tom Vernon from the Frank's Sporting Goods reported the bluegill crappie bite remains strong along with walleyes.

"Everything is looking good especially with this warm stuff coming on," he said.

In northwest Michigan, at Manistee, catch rates were hit-or-miss but a few lake trout were caught along with a couple kings.

Fish were anywhere from 30 to 120 feet along the shoreline and straight out from the harbor. Pier anglers had little luck, the DNR added.

"It's been real slow," Dewey Buchner, of Don's Sporting Goods in Manistee, said. "They're starting to get a few crappies on Manistee Lake and they're getting some nice pike."

Larry Scharich, of Shipwatch Marina, Manistee, said lake trout are being caught in Lake Michigan with an occasional salmon being spotted.

"On the inland lakes like Lake Manistee, they're getting a few bluegills," Scharich said

At Ludington, good numbers of lake trout were caught straight out, south towards the projects and north to Big Sable Point. The DNR said most were in 45 to 80 feet however 55 to 65 feet was the hot spot. A couple steelhead were also caught but pier fishing was slow.

"On the big lake, there's lots of lake trout," Eric Budreau, of Captain Chuck's in Ludington said. "The kings are pretty slow. There's a couple here or there. The water is still too cold. There's not too many kings. On Upper Hamlin, the crappies are starting to bite in 8 to 10 feet of water.

"On PM Lake, I'm not sure how the perch fishing is. The pike fishing is phenomenal right now. The bass fishing is starting to pick up. The bluegills should be on the beds now. Everything is starting to get into the swing of things because we're starting to get warm weather."

Pere Marquette River was producing some small trout, the DNR said.

Fishing Tip: Taking great catch-and-release photos

Courtesy of Michigan DNR

Are you an avid catch-and-release angler?

Do you like to take photos of the fish you catch, prior to returning them to the water?

Do you know the safest way to take these photos so you ensure the fish can live to be caught another day?

1. Wet your hands before you handle the fish - that way you won't remove any of the protective mucus (aka slime) the fish has coating their body.

2. Remember a fish can not breathe out of water, so they will become uncomfortable rather quickly. Keep the fish in the water until your camera is ready to take the shot.

3. Take the photo with the fish close to the water, that way if it squirms out of your hands it will land in the water - not on a hard surface.

4. While holding a fish do not pinch or squeeze it and do not stick your fingers in its gills.

5. Be mindful of the different kinds of fish that have teeth and/or spines that could stick you.

If you're headed out fishing, please do your part to keep yourself and others safe by following COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines. Go fishing only if you're feeling well.

Practice proper social distancing (at least 6 feet away from people who don't live in your household) and keep a face covering handy for when social distancing cannot be maintained. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer.

All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.