Thursday, April 7, 2016

WeeklyMichigan DNR Fishing Report: April 7, 2016

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Weekly Fishing Report

April 7, 2016
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fishing mapSouthwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportSoutheast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportNortheast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportNorthwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportUpper Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportUpper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report
Another week of snow, cold temperatures and windy conditions has once again hampered fishing for boat and shore anglers.  Elevated water levels on many of the rivers will make fishing difficult.     

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Detroit River:  Walleye fishing has been hit-or-miss.  Those jigging in the lower and mid-sections caught fish depending on wind direction and run-off.  

Oakland County:  Cass and Union Lake have seen minimal fishing effort because of the cold weather.  Those casting blade baits, and lipless crank baits in deeper water were catching some bass.  Catch rates for crappie and other panfish were slow.    

Lake St. Clair:  Once again, there is not much to report.  Skim ice was forming in the canals and the docks were iced over with the cold nights.  The lake continues to be muddy from all the wind and run-off.  

Clinton River:  Had some reports of a couple steelhead being caught.  

Lexington:  Had a few boats going out and they caught a couple coho in 17 to 20 feet.  The water along the outside of the Thumb was very muddy.  One boat went out to 80 feet looking for cleaner water but did not find any.  

Saginaw Bay:  All the rain, snow and ice shut fishing down area-wide.  The bay has been very turbid.  All of the area rivers are terribly high, if not actually over flood stage, and very muddy.  There was little to no activity at Eagle Bay Marina, near the Pine River and Palmer Road.  Reports have come in that post-spawn walleye are starting to be caught off the river mouths, but finding clean water will be a problem.  A few perch were caught from the cut at Finn Road but shut right down after the rain.  Mud Creek was spotty for perch.  Sebewaing and Caseville had almost no fishing activity.  

Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph:  Fishing pressure is very low due to the very poor weather.   

St. Joseph River:  Is high and muddy after all the rain.  

South Haven:  Had very low fishing pressure.  There seems to be a few brown trout around.  Spawn or skein fished on the bottom should work.  

Holland:  Pier anglers were out targeting steelhead and brown trout.      

Grand Haven:  Pier and boat anglers reported slow action for steelhead and brown trout.  Nearshore water clarity is poor due to recent rains. 

Grand River at Grand Rapids:  Was producing a good number of steelhead however high water levels will make fishing more difficult.  

Grand River at Lansing:   Few anglers have been out because of the cold weather.  Those making an attempt did manage to catch the occasional steelhead.  A couple suckers were caught on crawlers, leaf worms or red worms.   

Rogue River:  Was still producing a good number of steelhead in the lower river.    

Muskegon:  Pier anglers caught steelhead and brown trout on spawn.  


Muskegon River:  Water levels are high and muddy.  Steelhead were there but the bite slowed with the cold spell.   

Whitehall:  Pier anglers caught some steelhead and the occasional brown trout.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Mackinaw City:  The docks are not in and fishing activity on Lake Huron was between light and nonexistent. 

Cheboygan:  The docks are blocking the launch near the marina but the dock is in at the city launch on the river.  Fishing pressure on Lake Huron is light but those fishing the Cheboygan River caught steelhead on spawn and butter worms.   

Ocqueoc River:  Had a good number of steelhead but the bite slowed with the colder weather.   

Rogers City:  The docks are in but no facilities are open yet. The weather remains cold and snowy.  When temperatures warm up casting from the wall is possible. Look for steelhead, lake trout or Atlantic salmon.  Bright colored spoons will probably be more affective as the water is still turbid.

Presque Isle:  Had no docks in at the ramp and none of the facilities were open yet.  


Alpena:  The ice was off the Alpena Boat Harbor and the docks are in at the ramp on the river which means good access to the bay for boat anglers.  With lake trout season open and walleyes returning to Thunder Bay after spawning, fishing should pick up quickly when water temperatures warm up.  Another option for accessing Thunder Bay is the small-boat ramp at the Devil River in Ossineke.  The ramp gives access to the southern end of Thunder Bay and its excellent walleye fishery.  

Thunder Bay River:  Still had some steelhead hitting on spawn.  

Au Sable River:  Water levels were high and muddy.  The better fishing was up near the dam where the water was a little cleaner.  

Tawas:  Only one lake trout and one walleye were caught off the pier by those still-fishing with grey shiners.  Boat anglers reported the water as stirred up and very dirty.  Only one walleye was caught.    

Tawas River:  A few suckers were taken however the average was one sucker per hour of fishing. 

Au Gres:  Boat anglers are catching walleye off Point Lookout.  Most of the fish were large, spawned out females so it sounds like the post-spawn phase is starting.    

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Most of the inland lakes were still ice covered.  There is too much to launch a boat but yet not enough to call it safe ice.  It needs to warm up and stay that way so the lakes will open up.  

Harbor Springs:  The dock was not in at the boat launch.  There were no pier anglers as the area received heavy snow once again.  

Petoskey:  The dock is not in at the boat launch.  Ice is not a problem in Little Traverse Bay this year but skim ice was still forming in the marina especially at night. Angling effort was concentrated at the mouth of the river down to the beach, and on the breakwall.  Anglers caught steelhead on spawn bags and wax worms.  Early morning seems best.  The Bear River is very high right now.  There is not much effort at the dam or downstream because of the fast water.  

Traverse City:  Blowing snow and cold windy days have kept most boats off both the East and the West Bay. Those trout fishing had success on the pier off Sunset Park on the West Bay and below the dam in Elk Rapids on the East Bay.  

Boardman River:  Anglers targeting steelhead had success between the Union Street Dam and the mouth.  

Frankfort:  The ice is gone and the boat ramps are clear but the docks were not in yet.  A couple steelhead were caught off the north pier when using spawn. 

Onekama:  Had no fishing activity.  The pier and boat launch were ice free and the city has their dock in.  

Portage Lake:  Had no anglers.  Both boat launches are clear of ice and the city has their dock in.   

Manistee:  Water temperatures were about 43 degrees.  Anglers have picked up the occasional steelhead around the piers. 

Manistee Lake:  The perch numbers have dropped but anglers were still picking up fish near Penny Park.  

Big Manistee River:  Water levels were still on the high side and running 42 to 44 degrees.  Steelhead are moving with a good number of fish up near Tippy Dam.  Pink has been a hot color.  The lower end of the river has been slow because of the high and muddy water.  Those looking for suckers have done well when using crawlers near Bear Creek.  

Ludington:  The bay was ice free.  The docks are in but few anglers were out.   

Pentwater:  Pier anglers are targeting steelhead and brown trout as weather permits. 

Pentwater Lake:  Steelhead were being caught in the channel.

Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay:  Steady snowfall, high winds and cold temperatures have produced a lot of frozen slush in the bay.  Angler participation has been down for a few days.  Before the return of winter, fishing was good for some and not so good for others.  Those using mini planer boards with body baits like shad raps or plain rapalas did well 15 to 25 feet down in 20 to 70 feet near Sand Point.  Orange was the hot color.  Those fishing between the Baraga Marina and the L’Anse Marina have only picked up the occasional coho.  No chinook have been seen or reported.  Steelhead were caught in the Falls River but the action was hit-or-miss.  Those fishing off the Rock Dock in L’Anse have picked up steelhead and coho while the Sand Point anglers have only picked up a couple coho.   

Menominee River:  The upper river from the Hattie Street Dam down to Stephenson Island was still producing a good number of walleye along with the occasional brown trout and steelhead.  Suckers were up near the dam.  Water levels were high and muddy.   

Little Bay De Noc:  Conditions improved however because of the cold nights, some ice was still hanging on near Kipling.  The Ford River and the Gladstone launch are the only ones up and running.  The Escanaba Yacht Harbor was still partially iced over. A boat could be launched at the Rapid River but the dock is not in and the asphalt has buckled.  The gate has been opened at the North Shore launch but no docks were in.  Steelhead anglers reported catches in the Whitefish, Tacoosh, Day’s and Ford Rivers. A few boats have gone after brown trout just south of the Ford River but no reports came in.  

Big Bay De Noc:  The only usable launch is at Ogontz.  The area was ice free and the dock is never removed.  It is still early but there could be some preseason bass opportunities.  Garden Bay was still iced over.  

Marquette:  Had slow fishing.  Some were still targeting coho near the “bubblers: when using both artificial lures and cut bait.  Those trolling spoons had no luck.  Some steelhead were caught in the Carp River and the Chocolay River but cold weather has slowed the bite.  

Au Train:  Had no reports and no anglers as the dock is not in at the launch.  With the return of winter weather, it is unknown when it might be put in.  The Rock River had a few anglers but no fish were caught.  

Munising:  The bay is ice free except for skim ice in the morning and some ice floes throughout the bay.  The city public launch is open with one dock in.  Prior to the cold front, anglers were mainly trolling but catch rates for coho were slow and no steelhead were reported.  Those fishing off the Anna River dock and boat anglers near the mouth did catch some splake, menominee or whitefish.   

Grand Marais:  Before the cold snap, boat anglers did well trolling for coho in the harbor, along the breakwall and near the mouth of the Sucker River when the wind permits.  A couple steelhead were caught.  Some were pier fishing.  There was no ice on the first section of the pier but there was still a large wall of ice near the lighthouse and on the rocks.  Anglers were targeting coho and lake whitefish with a single egg or when casting spoons.  There was very little activity at the Sucker River. The Two Hearted River was producing some steelhead.  The river mouth is good for coho on good weather days or when there is a south wind.


Cedarville and Hessel:  The Cedarville boat launch was still iced in.  At Hessel, anglers were splake fishing outside the pier but catch rates were spotty.  Most were using a combination of natural baits including smelt, spawn, minnows and crawlers under a bobber.  

St. Ignace:  The docks are not in at the launch so there has been little to no fishing activity.  There are some steelhead being caught in the rivers, but the cold weather slowed the bite.  No smelt to report, water temperatures are too coldl  In St. Martin Bay, the new launch at the mouth of the Pine River is blocked by several large trees. 

Black River:  In Mackinac County was producing some steelhead.  Catch rates were slow but anglers were taking a few on spawn. 

Fishing Tip: It's time to fish for smelt

With the weird spring weather we’ve been having, anglers may want to take advantage of the different smelt fishing opportunities available throughout the state.
Smelt season is approaching and anglers can currently take this species with hook-and-line, by spearing, or with various netting gear. There is a two-gallon daily possession limit on smelt. Smelt netting regulations can be found on page 23, Table 5 of the 2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide and bow and spearing fishing regulations can be found on page 16, Table 3.

Want tips on some specific locations you may want to target during this activity? We’ve just posted an updated document that highlights counties, water bodies, abundance and fishing opportunity for both dipping and hook-and-line smelt fishing. Check it out online!

The Weekly Fishing Report is intended to give anglers an idea of what is going on around the state. Updates come from DNR Fisheries seasonal and field staff, and DNR Conservation Officers. With more than 11,000 inland lakes, the Great Lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams, not all locations can be listed. However, it is safe to say if a species is being caught in some waters in the area, they are likely being caught in all waters in that section of the state that have that species.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My First Mystery Tackle Box Has Arrived

This week I've been off work for minor surgery, which isn't exactly my idea of a vacation.  However, having my wife at home to take care of me is making my week far better than what it would be if I had to recover alone.  To make my week even better, my fist Mystery Tackle Box came in the mail yesterday. For those who don't know what Mystery Tackle Box is, it's a subscription based product where you get a box every month with random fishing tackle at your doorstep for only $15.00 a month.

Here's a quick run down of what came in the April 20016 Mystery Tackle Box.

Lewis and Wright Bass Fishing: Lew's Beaver Tail
Color: Shadow (over 200 colors to choose from)
Retail Price: $6.00 (10 Pack)

Rage Tail: Rage craw
Color: Blue Craw (24 colors to choose from)
Retail Price: $5.99 (7 Pack)

Wahoo Fishing: Weedless Jig
Comes in 6 colors
Retail Price: $3.99 Each

Arbogast: Hula Popper
Comes in 16+ colors
(16 colors are listed on the arbogast site but far more can be found by searching)
Retail Price: $6.99

Reaction Strike: XRM Spy Bait
Comes in 8 colors
(this purple shad color is not listed on the reaction strike website)
Retail Price: $9.99

I'm trying to figure out if I want to do a monthly Mystery Tackle Box Slam or not in the future.  For those who don't know what an MTB Slam is, it's simply where you fish with only the baits supplied in that months MTB box challenging yourself to catch fish on each product.

I look foward to next months Mystery Tackle Box and I'll definitely be sharing with with you all.
Tight Lines People!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Product Review: Shakespeare Outcast Fishing Rod

Company Description:
Shakespeare rods are perfect for anglers looking for a reliable product without breaking the bank.  Outcast rods are perfect for a variety of species and anglers.

The Shakespeare Outcast spinning rod is best described as an entry level spinning rod.  At six feet six inches long,  medium power and slow action, it's a pretty good rod for both crankbait and bank fishing.

I bought the Shakespear Outcast rod to see  how the $15 rod would fair with others.  I found it fairly heavy in comparison to some of my higher end fishing rods.  I didn't necessarily see the weight as a draw back because I assumed with the weight would come durability, so I decided to put the Outcast through the paces.        

The first time I fished with the rod, I fished for trout.  Paired with a Quantum reel, I bottom fished with powerbait landing a number of trout with the largest being just over 7lbs.  The slow action and sensitivity of the rod worked great for this kind of fishing as it allowed me to detect some of the lighter bites. For largemouth bass I paired the rod with crankbaits (lipless and lipped) and spinnerbaits.  It performed very well. For silver bass, I threw only lipless crankbaits with the Outcast.
With the combination of lipless cranks and the Outcast I caught hundreds of white bass and a couple fresh water drum over 10lbs with no problem.  I was surprised by the way the Outcast held up against Carp. If you've ever targeted carp or caught one by mistake, you know that a big carp can destroy your gear.  However, the outcast took this challenge like a champ.  I caught several carp over 15lbs on this rod with no problems. I also caught carp after drag screaming carp on the Outcast without it creaking or cracking in anyway.

Overall, the Shakespeare Outcast is a great budget rod for the beginning angler. It's also good back up rod for those times when you don't want to risk abusing a more expensive rod.  However, I don't recommend pairing the outback with bottom presentations like Texas rigs, as the slower action and medium power don't help in getting your baits free of structure.

I give the Outcast 3 out of 5 stars. It's a budget rod made of budget materials. For all around use though, it's great and a great buy. I recommend it for kids, begginners and the budget conscious angler.

Pros: Inexpensive and durable
Cons: Heavy and made of inexpensive materials

Length:  6'6" Spinning Rod
Rod Power: Medium
Number of Pieces: 2
Rod Blank Material: Tubular Fiberglass
Rod Handle Material: EVA Foam
Guides: 5 Stainless Steel Guides with Ceramic Inserts
Line Rating: 6lb - 12lb test
Lure Rating: 1/8oz - 1/2 oz

Price: 14.99

Here is a little footage of the Outcasts in use catching bass on lipless crankbaits.


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