Weather conditions impact fishing

BIG RAPIDS -- Poor weather conditions are keeping anglers off the water. Parts of the Upper Peninsula, including Marquette, saw snow this week, with some getting a couple inches or more, the DNR said.

In Mecosta County, “we have a few guys going out (at the Muskegon River),” Billie Milligan of Paris Archery said.

“They’re getting walleye down below Rogers,” Josh Thorpe, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley said. “Bluegills are starting to hit again. They’re fishing down by Davis Bridge.”

In Northwest Michigan at Frankfort, anglers trolling the shoreline were able to make it out this week, but catch rates were low. Pier and shore anglers are reporting good steelhead catches if the weather permits. Several young coho were also reported, the DNR said.

The Betsie River: Still had some salmon, but the run is winding down, the DNR said, adding at Onekama, Shore anglers have picked up a couple steelhead but had to stay close to the north pier on certain days.

Portage Lake had a few anglers who were out trying for perch this week when using worms and wigglers. No big ones to report, the DNR said, adding bluegills and rock bass were also caught.

“They’re getting some panfish on the small lakes,” Larry Scharich of Shipwatch Marina in Manistee said. “They’re getting a few trout, mostly steelhead out in Lake Michigan.

When boat anglers could get out, fishing was slow along the coast. Pier and shore fishing picked up, with a decent number of steelhead caught on the 5th Avenue pier and along the surf to the north.

“They’re getting steelhead on the shore, on the pier and some in the river,” Dewey Buchner of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee said.

A few small coho, a couple lake trout and a couple whitefish were also netted on spawns and spoons, the DNR said.

“The salmon are still coming into Tippy Dam,” Rob Eckerson of Pappy’s Bait Shop in Wellston said. “It’s past the peak; steelhead are charging in behind them as well. Everything else has been kind of slow.”

There’s more steelhead in the lower Manistee River.

“The steelhead have really picked up in the river,” Bud Fitzgerald of Tangled Tackle Co., of Manistee said. “They’re getting some nice fish. On calmer days, they’re getting some boats out, anyhere from 19 to 40 feet of water for lake trout and steelhead. Beach fishing has also been successful. Perch bites have been slow. It should start happening on Portage

Bad weather has made fishing tough at Ludington, the DNR said. Those out surfcasting had little luck. Anglers at the state park said fishing was slow. slow fishing, with only a coho or two landed.

Pere Marquette River, the DNR said, had a good push of Chinook salmon on the South Branch in northern Oceana, southern Mason and western Newaygo County.

Fishing Tip: Fall Great Lakes pier fishing for smallmouth

Courtesy of the Michigan DNR

Fall is a great time to target smallmouth bass with Great Lakes pier fishing, a tactic underutilized by many anglers. As the lakes and rivers cool, minnows will congregate around the piers. Large, educated river smallmouth migrating downstream in the fall often will drop their guard when gorging on minnows at the river mouth, allowing some very nice fish to be taken on minnows that otherwise would be very slow to bite.

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.

Poor weather conditions are keeping anglers off the water. Parts of the Upper Peninsula, including Marquette, saw snow this week, with some getting a couple inches or more.

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