Friday, February 23, 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018 Michigan DNR Weekly Fishing Report

Thursday, February 22, 2018
Weekly Fishing Report

Read below or call: 1-855-777-0908
Southeast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportSouthwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportNortheast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportNorthwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportUpper Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportSouthwest 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

Very few updates have come in this week as few anglers were out. Rain and warm temperatures have many rivers at or above flood stage. Moving ice may also cause additional flooding. Anglers should avoid the rivers until water levels recede. Many inland lakes will no longer be safe.

Rivers are running high and the inland lake ice is deteriorating rapidly so few anglers have been out.
Lake St. Clair: Ice conditions were deteriorating quickly and warm runoff from rains this week will melt shoreline ice which will make accessing the ice difficult to impossible. The lake is experiencing heavy river flows, increased current, open spearing holes which will only increase in size, and fog. The safest decision is to stay off the ice.
  • For a more accurate report on Lake St. Clair I suggest reaching out to the people at Sportsmen's Direct  as their weekly LSC fishing report is usually far more in depth.  Phone: (586-741-6052)
Saginaw Bay: It is recommended that no one venture out onto the ice because of flooding, rising water levels and quickly deteriorating ice conditions. The rain, warmer temperatures and snow melt are creating dangerous conditions. Those looking to go ice fishing should head to the northern part of the Lower Peninsula or the Upper Peninsula.

  • For a more accurate report on Saginaw Bay I suggest taking a look at the weekly Saginaw Bay Fishing Report given to you by

Nearby Bait Shops Include: 
Franks Great Outdoors (989) 697-5341
GW's Fishing Lures (989) 684-6431
The Party Dock (989) 684-2150
West Marine (898) 667-2100
Michigan Sportsman Bait & Tackle (989) 893-6550
Live Bait (989) 992-7770
Saginaw River: It is recommended that no one venture out onto the ice on this and other rivers in the area because of flooding and rising water levels. Conditions are not safe

With the high waters, flooding and warm weather I just reaching out to the local bait shops in southeast Michigan to verify what your best options are.  Below are links to bait shop listings organized by county:

Inland lakes in the area have taken a hit after the rain and warm temperatures. Shoreline ice has deteriorated making it difficult to get out to any remaining ice which may not be safe. The rivers are running high and fast. Anglers might want to think about getting the spring and summer gear ready to go.
St. Joseph River: Had extremely high water levels and no one was fishing. It could be a week or so before the water recedes to fishable levels. Look for steelhead up near the dams once it does.
Kalamazoo River: Had high water levels.
Kalamazoo County Bait Shops: Click Here!
Grand River at Grand Rapids: High water levels and a strong current will make fishing very difficult.
For better

  • For a more accurate report on the Grand River at Grand Rapids I suggest reaching out to the people at Al & Bob's SportsPhone: (616-281-0777)

Grand River at Lansing: Anglers caught carp, catfish and a few pike before the rain but now the river is extremely high with a strong current and not fishable.

  • For a more accurate report on the Grand River at Lansing I suggest reaching out to the          people at Grand River Bait & TacklePhone: (517-482-4461) 

  • Muskegon Lake: Anglers are encouraged to stay off the ice. All the spillways at the dam are open sending fast dirty water down into the lake. Shoreline ice is deteriorating with 4 feet or more of open water to cross over. Even if anglers can get out in the morning, they may not be able to get back to shore.
    Muskegon River: Had ice jams resulting in rapidly rising water near Rogers Dam and near Croton.

    • For a more accurate report on the Muskegon Lake & the Muskegon River I suggest reaching out to the people at Snug Harbor OutfittersPhone: (231-719-0759) 

    Anglers should still use caution especially after the rain and warm temperatures. The return of colder weather should help to shore the ice back up.
    Black Lake: Still had ice but some major pressure cracks were starting to open up including one in front of Zolner Road. Fishing was slow but a few walleye were caught on minnows at dusk. Some perch ranging 8 to 12 inches were caught along the weeds in 10 to 15 feet. Anglers were using spikes, wigglers and minnows with the best luck on minnows. Pike up to 29 inches were caught however most were 20 to 22 inches.
    Burt Lake: Still had some shanties out on the ice. Most anglers are targeting walleye and perch.
    Mullett Lake: Still had ice fishing and plenty of shanties out.
    Higgins Lake: Ice anglers should stay away from the creek mouths due to deteriorating ice conditions from runoff. Anglers are still heading out. Those targeting perch were getting a good number but sorting through a lot of small ones. Lake trout were found just off the bottom in 80 to 110 feet. Good pike action continues. Rainbow trout were taken in shallow waters near Big Creek and the Conference Center. Smelt were hitting in the evening but catch rates were spotty. Be sure to bring ice cleats for easier travel.

    Nearby Bait & Tackle Shops: 
    Higgins Lake Sport & Tackle: (989) 821-9517 
    Sports Barn: (989) 821-9511
    Houghton Lake:  Anglers are still fishing however extreme caution needs to be used when traveling across the ice. All the fishing and spearing holes have opened up and are much bigger now. Caution needs to be used near the rivers and creeks, near the pressure crack that runs across the East Bay and another one off Long Point near the entrance to the North Bay. Anglers caught crappie, bluegills, walleye, pike and perch on minnows. If the bite slows, try switching to wax worms. The better bite was early morning and again about 4pm. Be sure to bring ice cleats for easier travel across the ice.

    Nearby Bait & Tackle Shops:
    Rifle River: Was under a flood warning. High water levels and a strong current are not ideal fishing conditions.

    Ice fishing continues in this part of the state.
    Lake Charlevoix: Still had ice. Cisco fishing was hit-or-miss but anglers managed to catch a few if they were patient. Most were taken in 100 feet.
    Portage Lake: Continues to produce lake herring. The perch bite was still hit-or-miss. Many were still targeting the waters along the shallow sandbar off North Point and to the west of it.
    Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Ice anglers should avoid the areas where there is flowing water as these deteriorate first. Colder temperatures should help shore the ice back up.
    Big Manistee River: Had reports of steelhead being caught.
    Pere Marquette River: Also had reports of steelhead being caught after the rain and warmer temperatures.

    Nearby Bait & Tackle Shops:
    Don's Sporting Goods: (231) 723-5028
    Tangled Tackle Co.(231) 887-4242
    Pappy's Bait & Tackle: (231) 848-4142
    Andy's Tackle Box: (231) 477-5737

    Keweenaw Bay: Fishing was slower. The smelt bite was fair after dark out from the Baraga marina. The whitefish action was slower than normal. Lake trout fishing was fair off of the Whirl-I-Gig. There were very few coho and brown trout caught but no kings or steelhead.
    Little Bay De Noc: Ice remains throughout most of the Bay. Saunders Point is dangerous and should be avoided because of the warm water discharge and open water in the area. Overall fishing was slow but anglers are marking good numbers of fish throughout. Spotty walleye catches were reported throughout but the better catches were in the southern waters. Fair catch rates for those jigging rapalas in and around 30 feet just south of the Escanaba River and in 23 to 30 feet in the Stonington area. Bigger fish were caught along the break and 25 to 40 feet down off Portage Point. Many were using tip-ups in the upper Bay but those jigging did better. Perch anglers reported slow but steady catches. Some large perch were caught in the northern Bay. Fair catches were reported from the First Reef to the Third Reef with wigglers on the bottom. A lot of undersize walleye mixed with some keepers and several respectable catches of perch and pike were taken up near the Day's River in 14 to 24 feet. Good to excellent pike spearing was reported in 8 to 10 feet just off Butler Island.
    Munising: Catch rates for whitefish dropped slightly. Anglers are mainly fishing with a single egg or wax worm. The coho action was fair to good for those jigging spoons or a Swedish pimple. Catch rates were fair for smelt. Night anglers targeting burbot reported slow catch rates. Many were fishing Trout Bay and Sand Point.
    Cedarville and Hessel: Fishing pressure picked up around the Les Cheneaux Islands but the number of Anglers still need to be cautious of areas with a strong current and or moving ice.
    fish caught was down. Some days have been better than others. Perch ranging 8 to 12 inches were caught on minnows, spikes and wigglers in 8 to 12 feet. Bigger fish were seen but none were caught. Anglers reported seeing smelt and splake. Pike fishing picked up with most fish ranging 22 to 30 inches. 

    Enjoy your catch! Eat safe fish! Learn about eating safe, local and healthful fish from our Great Lakes State at:

    Monday, February 19, 2018

    Match The Hatch: Wooly Bugger Jig

    The wooly bugger jig is a lure I started tying because I couldnt think of a way to fish wooly buggers on a spinning rod for schooly striped bass. When I lived in Connecticut I found that so many people were throwing deceivers and clousers for stripers as a result I wanted to throw something different to see if I'd increase my bites.  So I started throwing large wooly buggers in the same color patterns as we were using on the clousers. That got me to thinking, "How the heck can I use this pattern with a spinning rod and reel?" Well that brought me to the idea of tying wooly buggers on jigs (apparently I wasn't the first person to have this idea).  The wooly bugger jig was a perfect solution since I could cast with no problems and fish pretty much anywhere in the water column depending on the weight of the jig.

    Fishing for stripers with bugger jigs opened my eyes to the possibilities of what I could be doing with it. So from there it became one of my go to baits for smallmuoth and rock bass.  Eventually it became one of my go to steelhead jigs as well when a guy walked up to me one day and suggested me tying it in smaller sizes and in pink for steelhead. That suggestion gave me a new and great pattern for huron river steelhead.

    What makes the wooly bugger jig a lure that I keep in my jig box is the fact that it gives me a couple of options in use. The first being that it works great jigging it along the bottom imitating a
    multitude of forage species.  However it works just as well with an attached single spinner blade from a beetle spin and fish it high in the water column for schooling fish like white bass and schooling smallmouth.  In areas where there are high round gobie populations I tie bugger jigs in an olive and black color pattern and slow roll them along the bottom with a beetle spin blade.  This pattern nets me quite a few smallmouth feeding along the bottom on gobies.

    The beetlespin blade also comes in handy when I'm fishing with wooly bugger jigs for white bass on the Detroit River.  In the case of white bass fishing I tie my bugger jigs in white, chartreuse or with a white body and chartreuse hackle wrap.  Simply by finding where the white bass are in the water column and buzzing the wooly bugger jig just above them you'll limit out in no time.

    For panfish I just downsize the size of my wooly bugger jigs anywhere between 1\8 oz and 1\32 oz and fish them below a slip bobber.  In some cases when i know crappie and bluegill are huddling under docs I'll shoot docks with bugger jigs as well with great success.

    For steelhead I tie bugger jigs in black, pinks and purples.  Probably the most successful patterns are pink on pink, purple on black and purple on pink in sizes ranging from 1\8 oz to 1\32 oz.  I'm not really sure why these colors are so successful but I don't hit the water without these patterns in my jig box.  When fishing for steelhead I tend to cast upstream and either dead drift the buggers back or jig them back depending on what the fish want.  In addition to those to methods I'll drift wooly bugger jigs through the wholes below a clear casting bubble which often will get me a few bites.

    Jig Heads: You can pick pretty much any jig head you want when tying wooly bugger jigs.  However i stick to only two types. I either used a plain collared ball head jig or an uncollared ball head jig. If you're tying for production or smaller sizes than 1\8 oz then the uncollared jigs will work best and give you the symmetrical and consistent wooly bugger jigs.

    Body: Chenille is gonna be what you use for your body portion of the jig. It is the chenille that is
    gonna give you the most color options and body options.  Don't be afraid to use the most outrages patterns of chenille for you bugger bodies as the fish may want something different that day.
    Tail: The bugger jig tails are simply marabou and you match the marabou as best as you can to draw in any color differences between your body and hackle ribbing.

    Rib: Your rib is gonna be hackle in whatever size that matches the size of your jig.   If you decided to use something other than hackle keep in mind that different materials behave differently in the water.  For example where hackle pulsates quite a bit with jigging motion schlappen tends to lay down as its a softer feather.

    Flashabou is optional depending on if you want your jig to have any flash or not. I personally don't use much of it but it does make a huge difference in some cases.

    How To Tie The Wooly Bugger Jig:

    Thursday, February 15, 2018

    Thursday, February 15, 2018 Michigan DNR Fishing Report

    Southeast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportSouthwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportNortheast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportNorthwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportUpper Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportSouthwest 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

    Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
    The inland lakes still had ice however there is a lot snow on top that will most likely turn slushy and make travel difficult.
    Lake Erie: Those targeting panfish in the canals and marinas had success.
    If you're looking for bait of fishing gear of any kind for Lake Erie fishing there are few places close by:

    • If you're planning on fishing any of the canals near Lake Erie Metro Park or Point Mouillee State Game Area you can get all of your bait & tackle needs met at  Bottom Line Bait & Tackle
    • If you're planning on fishing out of Sterling State Park or the Brest Bay area you can pick up tackle from the nice people at Jeff's Bait & Tackle
    Huron River: The steelhead bite slowed but should pick back up with the warmer weather.
    If you're looking for bait of fishing gear of any kind for Huron River fishing there are few places close by:

    • 7.6 Miles North of Huroc Park there is a Dicks Sporting Goods
    • 7.6 Miles North of Huroc Park there is also a Meijer which carries fishing tackle and some live bait
    • 7.6 Miles North of Huroc Park there is also a Petsmart which carries crawlers, wax worms, mealworms and red wigglers
    • 5.3 Miles south east of Huroc Park the people at Bottom Line Bait & Tackle can help with any bait and tackle you need whether you're chasing bass, steelhead or walleye. 
    Lake St. Clair: Heavy snow has covered pressure cracks and has made traveling on the ice more difficult because of the slush. Many anglers had a hard time getting around on quads. Anglers have reported seeing a lot of inactive fish.

    • For a more accurate report on Lake St. Clair I suggest reaching out to the people at Sportsmen's Direct  as their weekly LSC fishing report is usually far more in depth.  Phone: (586-741-6052)
    Saginaw Bay: For those heading out, ice conditions have not improved much and new snowfall has covered areas of thin ice and soft spots making them harder to see and judge. Anglers need to be extremely cautious. A good rule of thumb is; if nobody is fishing in a particular area, there may be a good reason for it and maybe you shouldn't go there either! Many walleye anglers were going miles offshore but some have taken limit catches 1 to ½ miles out from Pinconning south to Linwood in 10 feet. The biggest share of activity was off Linwood in 17 to 20 feet. Catch rates were hit-or-miss with some getting limits while others did not do as well. Perch anglers were getting fish in 6 ½ to 7 feet off the end of Linwood Road. Quite a few anglers fishing 7 to 8 miles off the Bay City State Park were getting walleye. Anglers did well around Spoils Island off the mouth if the Saginaw River. The fish were suspended at 18 feet in 30 feet over the shipping channel and were hitting on smaller jigs and lures. On the south end of the bay, walleye anglers were going 7 miles out from Finn Road to fish in 20 feet however anyone that goes out from Finn Road needs to watch out for thin ice created by the Hot Pond discharge. Perch fishing finally picked up off Vanderbilt Park near Quanicassee in 8 feet but so many people descended on that area that apparently the fish left. Fishing should be better during the week when there's less pressure. Sunset Bay Marina had a lot of activity with walleye anglers fishing along the Bar which is about a mile west of the deepest part of the Slot. Ice conditions off Thomas Road are not good and anglers should avoid the area. Perch fishing was slow from Sebewaing to Bay Port. Not many anglers were out and the deep snow made the ice hard to judge. There was open water off the Sebewaing VFW and off Rose Island. > In Wildfowl Bay, some did really well on perch but most caught very few. The key seemed to be spending enough time on the ice and either sitting tight and letting the fish come to you or moving around a lot and finding some active fish. At Caseville, ice anglers hugging the south side of the pier caught a few lake trout and walleye. They also reported seeing whitefish but were not catching many. Port Austin had little activity with only a couple ice shanties out.

    Nearby Bait Shops Include: 
    Franks Great Outdoors (989) 697-5341
    GW's Fishing Lures (989) 684-6431
    The Party Dock (989) 684-2150
    West Marine (898) 667-2100
    Michigan Sportsman Bait & Tackle (989) 893-6550
    Live Bait (989)992-7770
    Saginaw River: Fishing along the lower river was pretty good with lots of anglers around the U.S.S Edson and at the river mouth getting good numbers of walleye, but the snowstorms on Friday and Sunday stopped everything as anglers reported marking lots of fish but they would not bite. Good depths were 17 and 23 feet downstream of the Independence Bridge near the Edson, and in the channel in 28 feet at the mouth. Anglers are cautioned to be extra careful where they are walking; as an angler went through in a large fishing hole that was cut and abandoned without being marked near the Edson. There's been so much activity at some locations, the ice looks like Swiss cheese. At the upstream end of the river, there wasn't much activity off Wickes Park but the turn basin by Ojibway Island had a few anglers and many were scattered all the way from First Street to Bay City, but success was spotty and small fish dominated the catch. Watch for bad ice conditions around both sides of the Zilwaukee Bridge and around Crow Island.

    Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
    The inland lakes have ice and now slush because of all the snow. The bite was good in the evening just before dark for bluegill and crappie using wax worms and tear drops. The pike action was good for those using tip-ups or spearing.
    St. Joseph River: Froze up during the cold spell but warmer temperatures this week should help to open it up. Anglers have caught steelhead during the warm ups.
    Kalamazoo River: Froze up but should open back up as well. Look for steelhead and walleye up near the Allegan Dam.
    Kalamazoo County Biat Shops: Click Here!
    Grand River at Grand Rapids: Look for increased steelhead action with the warmer weather. Steelhead and walleye anglers can usually be found below the 6th Street Dam. Look for steelhead in the Rogue River as well.
    Lake Lansing: The bite was slow but some bluegills and crappie were caught on wax worms. The better fishing was just off the bottom in about 10 feet in the early morning.
    Jackson County: Those fishing the inland lakes reported fair to good panfish action.
    Muskrat Lake: In Clinton County was producing some bluegills in 10 to 12 feet.
    Gratiot County: Had reports that the ice in this area of the state was not safe.
    Crystal Lake: In Montcalm County was producing bluegills and crappie. Those spearing have taken some pike.
    Muskegon Lake: Perch anglers are getting fish near the black buoy and to the west of it in 30 to 45 feet. Fish were also caught out from the sand docks in 42 to 44 feet. While many were heading out further, those fishing about 50 yards offshore were taking a good number of fish. They are sorting out the small ones but those putting in the time have taken some limit catches of good size fish. Pike anglers were still taking a fair to good number of fish off Heritage Landing.
    Muskegon River: Water levels were up some with the snow melt. Those seeking steelhead have caught some nice fish on flies and streamers.

    Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
    Black Lake: Fishing slowed but some walleye were caught on minnows in 18 feet in the morning or at dusk. Many of the walleye were around 21 inches but some were undersize. Some 10 to 12 inch perch were caught on wigglers, spikes and minnows in 10 feet. A few 24 to 36 inch pike were speared or caught on tip-ups with large minnows. There were no reports of any musky caught.
    Burt Lake: The better fishing for walleye and perch was in the morning or evening.
    Mullett Lake: Fishing activity slowed but anglers were still getting some perch and a few walleye. A couple large pike were speared.
    Higgins Lake: Ice fishing continues but anglers should still use caution near the inlets. The lake had 5 to 7 inches of snow on top. Pike spearing continues with some nice fish taken in 15 to 20 feet. The lake trout bite slowed. Perch anglers are getting some but were also doing a lot of sorting to get some keepers. Most of the action has been around the Main Island, Sunken Island and on the south end. Smelt anglers were still getting fish mainly at night in 40 to 60 feet.

    Nearby Bait & Tackle Shops: 
    Higgins Lake Sport & Tackle: (989) 821-9517 
    Sports Barn: (989) 821-9511

    Houghton Lake: Anglers are still advised to stay clear of the large pressure crack in the East Bay which runs from the canal on the west side of the East Bay and shoots northeast. Anglers can fish inside the East Bay but do not try to cross over into the main body of the lake. There is also a pressure crack at the entrance to the North Bay so use caution. Walleye anglers are seeing fish but the bite was slow. Orange and glow jigs tipped with a wax worm seemed to work best.

    Nearby Bait & Tackle Shops:
    Lymans On the Lake Resort: (989) 422-3231
    H&H Fireworks, Guns & Sporting Goods: (989) 366-0126

    Tawas: Ice fishing was kind of spotty off Jerry's Marina and out near Tawas Point. A few perch were caught near the reef. Walleye and pike fishing were slow but a decent number of pike were speared.
    Au Gres: Walleye and pike were caught on the northeast side of the breakwall. Off Booth Road near the tip of Pointe Au Gres, some walleye and lake trout were taken in 8 to 9 feet. Down in Wigwam Bay, anglers going out off the end of Hale Road caught walleye and perch to the south or southwest towards the mouth of the Pine River in 8 to 10 feet. The perch were running 7 to 10 inches with a few up to 12 inches. Be sure to watch for the active pressure crack out there!

    Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
    Thumb Lake: In Charlevoix County was producing some perch. Anglers were catching splake but many were small.
    Portage Lake: Lake herring fishing remains strong over the deeper water. Perch fishing was hit-or-miss. Most anglers were concentrated along the shallow sandbar off North Point and to the west.
    Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Ice anglers are getting a few walleye. Panfish including crappie and perch have been caught on both lakes including the coves on Mitchell.
    Manistee Lake: In Manistee County had a lot of anglers fishing out from Penny Park. Rumor has it they caught some nice pike on tip-ups or when spearing. Perch and crappie were also caught.
    Big Manistee River: Steelhead fishing should pick up with the warmer weather especially up around Tippy Dam. The river was frozen in the lower end.
    Pere Marquette River: Should also have some good steelhead action.

    Nearby Bait & Tackle Shops:
    Don's Sporting Goods: (231) 723-5028
    Tangled Tackle Co.(231) 887-4242
    Pappy's Bait & Tackle: (231) 848-4142
    Andy's Tackle Box: (231) 477-5737

    Upper Peninsula Fishing Report
    Keweenaw Bay: Smelt fishing was good at the head of the bay as well as out from the Baraga Marina after dark. The lake herring action was fair in 40 to 60 feet. Lake trout fishing was good out from the Whirl-I-Gig.
    Little Bay De Noc: Catch rates slowed considerably and as a result angler participation was low. Walleye anglers reported very few catches even though they were marking fish. Anglers were as far south as the Ford River but no reports came in. Most of the walleye fishing was near the Escanaba River and south to Portage Point when jigging rapalas in 25 to 40 feet. Mixed catches of walleye and perch were reported off the Second and Third Reefs when using rapalas tipped with minnows or wigglers in 30 feet. Overall perch catches were down but some nice jumbo fish were caught. Many small perch were reported around Butler Island. Walleye were caught at the mouth of the Day's River but most were undersize. A few large northern pike were caught in the same area when using tip-ups with sucker minnows in 18 feet.
    Munising: The ice was holding within the Bay. It is not recommended that anyone try to cross the channel especially from Sand Point due to unsafe ice and strong currents in the area. Ice anglers did fair to good for coho and whitefish and fair to good smelt action was reported off Sand Point. Coho were averaging 14 to 16 inches and whitefish up to 18 inches. Coho anglers were using jigging spoons such as Swedish Pimples and the smelt anglers were using Hali jigs. The splake action was slow and the majority of fish caught were undersize. Those burbot fishing at night have done well with fish up to 28 inches caught on cut bait or smelt.
    Grand Marais: The harbor had fishable ice and anglers did well for Menominee. There is ice just beyond the bay but it was not safe at this time.
    Cedarville and Hessel: Fishing was slow around the Les Cheneaux Islands once again. A few perch were taken on minnows, wigglers, wax worms and mousies in 15 feet. Many were around 9 inches with a few up to 12. Anglers are seeing smelt and splake but no fish were harvested.

    Thursday, February 8, 2018

    Bait Profile: Clouser Minnow

    The clouser minnow is one of the most famous flies in the world.  Famous, not for its flash but because it simply catches fish. In fact Lefty Kreh has caught 86 species of fish on the clouser minnow and I'm making it a personal mission to catch and pass his species count.

    The clouser minnow was created by Bob Clouser for Susquehanna River smallmouth bass.  I believe that from the first time he used it the clouser minnow has been a hit with bass and fly fishermen alike.  From personal experience I can to say it is the most productive smallmouth bass pattern I've ever used. In fact I've caught quite a few species on clouser including: bluegill, crappie, carp, largemouth and smallmouth bass, white bass and striped bass.

    What makes the clouser minnow so effective?  The steamlined body and jigging action of the clouser minnow is what makes predator fish fall for the bait.  The bucktail of the body is just stiff enough to give the bait subtle lifelike action just like a minnow or shiner. And the dumb bell eyes cause the fly to have the jigging or darting action that mimics fleeing bait fish so well.  It's a combination of these to features that make any wary predator fish take a bite.

    Clouser Fishing Quick Tips: 

    • Make sure you're using a heavy enough rod to handle casting clousers.  Since they are heavier flies due to the dumb bell eyes, using a lighter weight rod will not be able to load properly to cast the fly. 
    • Keep your rod tip low when retrieving clouser minnows.
    • Clouser require an active strip, so accelerate and pause the stripping of fly line to give the clouser that fleeing action. What makes clousers so effective is that they never stop moving. 
    • When fishing with clousers at night use darker colors like purple and black.
    • When tying clousers for striped bass fishing tie your clousers with sparse bucktail.  
    • Fishing in shallow rocky streams or creeks use clousers in a brown and orange pattern to imitate crayfish. 

    Match The Hatch: Clousers are by far the most simple fly that matches a large variety of forage species. Why? Because they match all small bait fish with no problems.  All you have to do is match up your bucktail colors to the forage species you're imitating.

    What are the materials used to tie the Clouser Minnow:

    Hooks: I personally use the Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp Billy Pate Saltwater Fly Hook L067S in sizes #6 to 2/0.  However pretty much any streamer hook will work for clousers I just prefer the saltwater hooks as they are what I've always tied them on. But any similar hook will work.

    Thread: Danville Flat Wax 6/0 or 140 denier

    Body Fur: Bucktail, craft fur, flashabou & squirrel tail for extra small clousers

    Eyes: Bead chain eyes or Dumbbell eyes

    Under Body: Flashabou

    Thanks for reading and tight lines everyone!


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