A few lakes Are Froze

frozen lake



A few lakes are froze but warm weather this weekend will open them back up. After wednesday things should get cold again and let the freezen begin. Picture above is Mitchell which froze wednesday night.

Not a lot to report as most fisherman are waiting for ice, but a few might be out this weekend with temps in the 50’s. A few fishing perch on Crystal, Big Glen, Lake Leelanau and Big Platte Lake.

Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Betsie River: Is producing the occasional steelhead.

Manistee: Pier anglers are catching fish in the early morning or late evening.

Manistee River: Still has some steelhead being caught, but water levels are still low and clear. The fish are holding in the deeper holes and near the log jams.

Ludington: Pier and surf anglers are catching a few fish.

Pere Marquette River: Has a fair to good number of steelhead and some brown trout. Water levels continue to be low and clear so the fish are spooked easily. Most anglers are fly fishing.

Long Lake: Walleye fishing has been good with small golden being the preferred bait.

East and West Grand Traverse Bay: A couple fisherman out catching a few perch and whitefish.

Around Cadillac: A few getting out catching pike, walleye and perch but the lakes froze but with warm temps this weekend they will be open again


Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Alpena: Boat anglers are still taking whitefish in Thunder Bay. Better spots to fish are the shallows off Partridge Point or the reefs. Try a small hook with a wax worm or single egg.

Thunder Bay River: Continues to produce whitefish up near the 9th Street Dam. Best time to fish is dusk or dawn. The occasional steelhead was caught.

Oscoda: Is producing whitefish for pier anglers.

Au Sable River: Water levels are very low and clear. Any fish out in the open will spook easily. If you can see them, they can see you! Catch rates were slow but fish could be found in the deeper holes and under logs.

Tawas: Anglers fishing off the state dock are targeting whitefish and perch.

Upper Peninsula Fishing Report

Little Bay de Noc: Angler participation was very low with the much colder temperatures. Ice is starting to form in the shallows only. Those fishing at night were still getting walleye throughout the bay however the better catches came off the Second and Third Reefs. Most are trolling stick baits in 10 to 30 feet of water. No reports on perch fishing this week.

Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Lake Erie: Those shore fishing at the Metro Park Marina have caught bluegills however catch rates were not consistent. Most are using a teardrop with a wax worm. A few perch have also been caught.

Huron River: Water levels are low however anglers are still catching a few walleye, steelhead and even some crappie.

Detroit River: Anglers caught perch at the Cross Dike and the Hole-in-the-Wall. Walleye have been caught in the Trenton Channel by those hand-lining with rapalas or long-lining with shad raps or husky jerks. A few perch were taken in the canals however the bite is usually better by the middle of December.

Lake St. Clair: Perch fishing picked up now that the lake has cleared up. The fish have moved into shallower water and good reports were coming from waters 9 feet deep. Not much on muskie, but the die-hards will no doubt be out chasing the big ones right up until the last day of the season which is December 15th.

St. Clair River: A few anglers fishing off the boardwalk in Port Huron had limited success.

Saginaw Bay: Walleye have been caught off Linwood and north towards Pinconning as well as outside Spoils Island. Most are fishing in 12 to 15 feet of water.

Kawkawlin River: Was producing some perch.

Saginaw River: Rumor has it, small walleye and some perch have been caught near the Independence Bridge.

Quanicassee River: Is producing some perch.

Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

St. Joseph: Still has whitefish for pier anglers. Try a Swedish pimple or teardrop with a single egg or wax worm. Pier anglers caught steelhead on spawn, spinners, spoons, plugs or crawlers.

St. Joseph River: Steelhead were caught between Benton Harbor and Niles. Rain will help move fish up from the lower river.

Kalamazoo River: Had fair to good steelhead action near the Allegan Dam. Fish were hitting on spoons, spinners and spawn.

Grand Haven: Pier anglers continue to catch whitefish and the occasional steelhead.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Had reports of fresh steelhead moving up into the river. Water levels continue to be low and clear. Boat anglers are back trolling with Hot-n-Tots or bouncing a jig with spawn. Those fishing off the wall or the Fulton Street Bridge caught the occasional walleye.

Grand River at Lansing: Is producing some steelhead and walleye at the Moore’s Park Dam. Walleye and smallmouth bass have been caught in Grand Ledge below Fitzgerald Park.

Looking Glass River: Pike are still active as they continue on their feeding frenzy.

Muskegon: Night anglers are catching whitefish off the piers.

Muskegon River: Steelhead were caught with the colder temperatures however catch rates were spotty. Many are fly fishing. A couple large pike were also caught as this is their time to feed.

Ice Fishing Tips and Techniques


Putting your bait or lure at the depth the fish are—and then not moving it much—are the keys to catching fish through the ice. And using some simple devices that will help you know when you have a fish on the end of your line is a big help too.

Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says fish become lethargic when they’re under the ice.

“Fish will often stay at a certain water depth all winter long,” Cushing says. “Also, they aren’t as willing to move fast to catch their food.

“Keep those two things in mind,” he says, “and you should find plenty of fish on the end of your line this winter.”

Vertical to Horizontal. The style of one’s ice jig is just as important as its color. Most anglers are accustomed to using a tear-dropped shaped jig that hangs vertically in the water, such as Jammin’ Jigs Beetle or Teardrop jig. When fish stop biting vertical jigs, switch to a jig that hangs horizontally such as a Jammin’ Jig Bobber Fry. I have found that crappies and perch generally bite better on a horizontal jig. To observe a wide selection of both horizontal and vertical ice jigs on the internet, check out www.jamminjigs.com.

Line Twist. Most anglers only move their jig in an up and down jigging motion. Fish become accustomed to this presentation and stop reacting to it. For a change of pace, try holding the line between your index finger and thumb. Next roll or twist the line between your fingers. This will cause the jig to spin in the water while remaining at the same depth. Also try moving the jig around the perimeter of the hole without imparting any up and down motion on the jig. Fish respond especially well to this technique in shallow water.

Bounce the Bottom. An excellent way to add a few more jumbo perch to the bucket is to allow the jig to bounce off the bottom of the lake. Perch feed predominantly within a few inches of the bottom. By allowing the jig to bounce off the bottom, the small cloud of bottom debris and sound created by this action will attract fish from a distance. This trick also works for bluegills. At certain times, it is even more productive to allow the jig to hit the bottom and then lie at rest on the bottom. To use this approach, a spring bobber is helpful. The jig should just barely rest on the bottom of the lake, with enough of the jig’s weight on the spring bobber to hold it half way down. When a fish takes the bait, it will typically rise with the jig and cause the spring bobber to go up.

Change Sizes. When action slows, instead of changing colors, try changing the size of one’s jig. This tip works both ways – switching from a smaller to a larger jig and from a larger to a smaller jig. One of my favorite ice fishing jigs is a red and chartreuse size 10 Teardrop by Jammin’ Jigs. After catching as many fish as I can on this jig, I will switch from the size 10 Teardrop to the size 6 Teardrop which is nearly twice as big but in the exact same color. This often results in catching a few bigger bluegills. As a final matter, I will switch to the ultra small size 12, Teardrop jig and will catch a few more fish that would not take the other two sizes.

PowerPro. For deep water panfish, do not use ultra light monofilament line. Two pound test or lighter monofilament line has so much stretch that it is difficult to detect light bites or to set the hook in depths greater than 20 feet deep. The key to catching more fish in deep water is to use a super line. The most effective of these lines for ice fishing is PowerPro line. PowerPro makes a line with the diameter of one pound test monofilament but with the strength of eight pound test. In addition, PowerPro line has nearly no stretch and is extremely abrasion resistant. This lack of stretch means one can feel more bites and hook more fish in deep water.

Ice Fishing checklist:

Minimum to take if you are just ‘tagging along’ :

  • Fishing rods-Large guides, sensitive tip, with some backbone. Cost should be about $15-$20 per rod
  • Reels- Micro-spinning reel-$15-$20 per reel
  • Line- 4-8 lb test ice line
  • Bobber stops with beads
  • split-shot
  • Foam ice fishing bobbers-get the ‘Ice Buster’ brand!
  • Fingernail clipper to cut line
  • Ice scoop/ladle/dipper-for removing slush
  • Jigs and spoons and hooks…etc.
  • bait-wax worms, fatheads, crappie minnows etc…
  • 5 gallon bucket to sit on
  • Hand warmers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Fishing License
  • Proper Identification

Necessary ice fishing equipment if going alone:

  • Ice auger
  • Sled for auger or vehicle if the ice is thick enough.
  • Bait bucket
  • Small shovel-collapsable if possible
  • Ice picks-could be a lifesaver!
  • A compass
  • Mouth spreader
  • Hook sharpener

Preferred ice fishing equipment:

  • Vexilar
  • Ice Shelter
  • Propane heater
  • Spud bar (for checking ice thickness)
  • Tip-ups-preferably the freeze-free type
  • Leaders for tip-ups
  • Quickstrike rigs for tip-ups
  • Bait for tip-ups-suckers, blues, greys and golden
  • Cell-phone
  • Ice cleats
  • Small flashlight. (I prefer one that you wear)
  • Lantern
  • Matches or Lighter (for propane heater)

Luxury ice fishing Equipment:

  • Aqua-view or underwater camera
  • Strike sensors for tip-ups

Optional odds and ends:

  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Hand Towel
  • gaff- to remove large fish
  • Sunglasses

If you take kids:

  • Extra gloves
  • Tissues (those noses run all the time!)
  • Lot’s of snacks
  • A small sled to entertain them

Thanksgiving Fishing Report

Happy Thanksgiving


Very few fishing so reports are far and few. Hey anglers, too warm to hunt? Then grab your fishing gear and take advantage of some late fall and early winter action. Low, clear water in pretty much all the rivers is making steelhead fishing a bit more difficult, but the fish are there. Concentrate on the deeper holes and the lower stretches until we get some rain. Pier and surf anglers are getting steelhead and whitefish. Those fishing the inland lakes have caught bluegill and perch on wigglers.

Many of the perch lakes have had good perch bites but very few fishing, what people are fishing minnows and wigglers are there preferred bait. Steelhead fishing has been good but nothing like last Nov. when the rivers has lots of fishing following the salmon. Smallmouth bass fishing has been awesome with most using minnows as they are on a feeding frenzy before winter.

Certified Shiners(greys and blues) will be available in mid December as they are in quarantine for testing which takes 30 days and cost $1000.00 a pond.

Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

If fishing the inland lakes in the region for bluegill, perch, crappie, walleye, pike, and bass, anglers will want to try a variety of lures and baits such as spinners, rapalas, minnows, wigglers, crawlers, leaf worms, wax worms or leeches.

Boardman River: Is producing steelhead between the lake and Sabin Dam however the better fishing seems to downstream because of the low water levels.

Betsie River: Is producing steelhead. Try flies, spoons or spawn. A couple fish were taken on crawlers.

Manistee: Pier and surf anglers are catching a few fish.

Manistee River: Low, clear water is hampering steelhead fishing. Needless to say, the better fishing will be in the deeper holes or in the lower river. Try drifting or floating spawn or flies.

Ludington: Pier and surf anglers are catching a few fish. Early morning or late evening are best especially with the warmer temperatures.

Pere Marquette River: Has steelhead however low water levels continue to challenge anglers. Try back bouncing or drifting spawn and flies across the deeper holes. Some are using bright colored spoons or yarn.

Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Alpena: Has a good number of whitefish on the reefs in Thunder Bay. Two of the better spots to target are Partridge Point and the Grass Island Reef in the early morning or late evening.

Thunder Bay River: Has good whitefish action up near the 9th Street Dam at dawn and dusk. Steelhead anglers are urged to check their catch for the missing adipose fin. Many of these fish have a small coded-wire tag, which is implanted in the head of the fish however it is invisible to the naked eye. These fish are part of a study to help the DNR improve steelhead fishing.

Oscoda: Is producing whitefish for pier anglers.

Au Sable River: Is producing whitefish right along with the occasional steelhead or brown trout. Try floating spawn and wax worms or casting flies. Whitefish in the lower river were caught on wax worms or a single egg.

Higgins Lake: Anglers are reminded that this is the time of year to find whitefish in the shallows as they prepare to spawn or perch around the Sunken Island.

Tawas: Is producing whitefish off the state dock. Try a Swedish pimple with a single egg or wax worm just off the bottom in the early morning or late evening.

Au Gres River: The better steelhead fishing has been in the deeper holes and down near the mouth. Those fishing the East Branch have caught fish in the lower end of Whitney Drain and near the Singing Bridge. Some are surfcasting.

Upper Peninsula Fishing Report

Little Bay de Noc: Walleye catches slowed with the warmer weather. Those fishing at night did best when trolling stick baits in 10 to 23 feet of water along the reefs near Kipling. Catch rates were fair to good between Gladstone and the “Black Bottom” when trolling stick baits in 14 to 30 feet of water. Northern pike action was fair to good for those trolling large crank baits or spinners in the channel at the Escanaba Yacht Harbor. Perch reports were fair at best for those using crawlers or minnows in 8 to 14 feet of water around Butler Island.

Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Lake Erie: Walleye were caught by those trolling or drifting reef runners and husky jerks off Sterling State Park. Most were fishing 12 feet down in 20 feet of water. Good bluegill action at the Metro Park Marina. Try minnows or wax worms.

Huron River: Anglers have caught steelhead however most are still waiting for that big push of fish which could come by the weekend if it rains. For now, try the deeper holes between Huroc Park and I-75 when trolling flat fish in bright colors or floating jigs with wax worms.

Detroit River: Continues to produce perch for those using minnows or wax worms around the islands.

Lexington: Anglers have caught steelhead and brown trout on body baits, crawlers or minnows.

Harbor Beach: Still has one dock in at the boat launch.

Saginaw River: Walleye fishing slowed with the warmer weather. Look for better action by the weekend with rain and much cooler temperatures.

Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

St. Joseph: Is producing some whitefish for pier anglers. Try a wax worm or a single egg. Those casting small spoons, spinners or plugs caught steelhead.

St. Joseph River: Still has decent steelhead fishing from Benton Harbor up to Niles. There appears to be some steelhead in the lower river that have not moved up yet.

South Haven: Steelhead anglers are getting a few fish off the pier in the early morning or late evening. Try spoons, spinners or shrimp and spawn under a bobber.

Kalamazoo River: Anglers continue to catch steelhead below the Allegan Dam. Boat anglers were casting spinners and plugs or back bouncing with spawn. Shore anglers continue to use spawn, yarn or small spinners.

Grand Haven: A few whitefish are being caught off the pier at night. Anglers are using a single egg or wax worm on the bottom or jigging small spoons.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Water levels are still low so boat anglers looking to fish up past I-96 need to use extreme caution. Anglers will find decent steelhead fishing all the up to the Lansing area but rain would certainly help. Try bouncing spawn or back trolling with Hot-n-Tots. Those casting spinners have also caught fish. A few walleye were caught.

Grand River at Lansing: Is producing some steelhead at the Moore’s Park Dam, Portland Dam and the Webber Dam. Most are using spinners, crawlers or flies. For walleye, try below the North Lansing Dam, Moore’s Park Dam and the Smithville Dam near Eaton Rapids. The fish were hitting on leaf worms, leeches or spawn. Pike were caught on minnows at Moore’s Park. Good smallmouth bass action near the dam at Muir. Try minnows, crawlers or leeches.

Looking Glass River: Continues to produce pike for those fishing off Babcock’s Landing or wading upstream. Try orange and chartreuse spinners or minnows.

Muskegon: Night anglers are catching whitefish off the piers. Most are jigging small spoons or putting a single egg or wax worm on the bottom.

Muskegon River: Water levels are very low so steelhead fishing has become hit-or-miss. The better fishing may be downstream or in the deeper holes when floating spawn. Those fly fishing have done well with streamers.

Second Annual Hand Crafted Musky Lure Building World Championship

The Milwaukee Musky Expo in cooperation with Outdoors First Media and The National Professional Anglers Association is pleased to announce the Second Annual Hand Crafted Musky Lure Building World Championship that will be part of the 2013 Milwaukee Musky expo, February 15-17, 2013. The competition will highlight hand-crafted, hand painted original lures made by talented lure artisans from all over the world. There has been growing interest regarding custom lures in angling circles as well as internet forums, especially the unbelievable paint jobs which are worthy of being placed in art studios. The 2012 competition had over 20 original lures and raised over $1300 which was donated to help promote musky fishing education in association with the National Professional Anglers Association. These lures are created by the most talented craftsmen in the world, and not only do they have to craft a lure with enticing action they have to paint them to attract a musky, and appeal to the discriminating eye of today’s musky fisherman.

The lures will again be displayed at the Outdoors First Media Booth at the show where visitors can look at the lures up close and vote for their favorite one. Some changes will be made to accommodate additional lure styles and lure crafters, which will in-turn, raise more money for musky education. The competition will consist of 6 categories including: topwater, crankbait, glide/jerkbait, blade bait, soft plastic and repaint, along with an overall best of show winner. The competition will also consist of 2 divisions within each category including masters, and amateur for a total of thirteen winners, and each winner will receive a plaque and $50. Patrons entering the show will be given a judging form in which they can vote for their favorite lure. A panel of professional judges will also critique the lures and a combined patron and professional vote will decide the winners. New this year as well, the one of a kind lures will be tested in the musky tank which will show interested fishermen the designated action of each lure. A silent auction will also be set up this year and will allow more people to bid on the lures which will benefit musky fishing education in cooperation with the National Professional Anglers Association. Entrants interested in being part of the competition can obtain an entry form from the Milwaukee Expo website.

See below.

Southern Michigan hunters dispute ownership of 14-point deer

PERRY, MI — A massive 14-point deer took top honors at the Mid Michigan Buck Pole on Thursday, but it’s also caused a feud between two hunters who each say they brought the big beast down.

Ron Gruesbeck, 62, of Perry, won his local buck pole with the trophy deer, which he says he took down with a kill shot to the lungs in the woods on his property along Colby Road. But Cody Knauff says otherwise.

Knauff, 20, of Leslie, said his father, Tyrone, was the one who put the bullet through the buck’s lung. He said his dad and 15-year-old sister were on their property adjacent to Gruesbeck’s Thursday on opening day when his dad took the shot some 85 yards away.

Knauff said the deer was mortally wounded and took off toward Gruesbeck’s property. His dad, 42, of Pleasant Lake, called Gruesbeck and asked for permission to track the buck on his land. Gruesback initially was reluctant but ultimately agreed, Knauff said.

As his father and sister approached, they heard a single gunshot. Knauff said they found the buck dead at the feet of Gruesbeck and his two grandchildren.

Knauff said the only bullet wound to the buck was the one his father was responsible for. He said Gruesbeck fired a shot into the ground. His father was readying to take the massive deer when Gruesbeck said the beast belonged to him, then told Knauff’s father to leave his property before he called police, according to Knauff.

Ron Gruesbeck poses with the deer that won him the Mid Michigan Buck Pole. Another hunter disputes Gruesbeck’s ownership of the kill.
Courtesy WLNS
Gruesbeck said that is not what happened.

“I can show you where (Tyrone Knauff) hit the deer,” he said. “He hit it in the upper leg. It ran over onto my place and I shot it right through the lungs and killed it.

“The one who makes the killing shot gets the deer. The shot that he hit it with wouldn’t have bothered it.”

Knauff alleges Gruesbeck is lying, taking credit for something he didn’t do. It’s a bad thing to do to another hunter and another person, he said.

“It’s really crushing,” Knauff said. “My dad has passed up bucks for at least six or seven years to let them mature. The one chance he has, he does everything he should as a respectful hunter. He’s pretty much left out to dry. It’s just ruined for him.

“(Gruesbeck) is on TV, holding up my dad’s deer. To know that this guy gave my dad permission to come track it and then told him in front of my own sister and his grandchildren to get off his property and that he’s taking the deer, it’s crushing.

“That’s my dad’s deer that he won that buck pole with, that’s my dad’s mount that’ll be in his house, that’s my dad’s food that’ll be on his table. That’s messed up.”

Gruesbeck maintains the deer belongs to him and he’s willing to prove it.

“We tracked it. There was one drop of blood every 20 yards where (Tyrone Knauff) hit it,” Gruesbeck said. “Where I shot it, it was like blood was poured out of a five-gallon pail.

“I have the deer at my house. I’ve shown a lot of people and will show anyone.”

Regardless of the disputed ownership, both sides can agree the buck is a magnificent trophy.

“It’s immaculate,” Knauff said. “This is the largest deer we’ve ever seen as far as body and the antlers go. All around, this buck was so big that my dad wouldn’t have been able to move it.”

Gruesbeck has brought in more than 50 deer in his lifetime, and there’s no question where this one ranks.

“It’s my biggest deer,” he said.

Knauff said he has reached out to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources on the incident but has not heard back. He said he isn’t optimistic.

“This seriously is a heartbreaking story,” Knauff said. “That’s something right there that could ruin hunting for a guy.”

Huge Pike has been internet sensation for years

This monster pike has been a internet sensation for many years and got the name pikespam as it has been a state record everywhere.

I’m a little late to the party but though I would share the photos. The following photos, which have been making the rounds on the internet for the past years are incredible. They supposedly involve a guy who landed a 56-inch northern pike (55 pounds) — a fish that he landed after it attacked an already hooked 36-inch pike that he was reeling it in.

The headlines read “This is a new record Northern Pike in Michigan” .. It was caught on Big Bass Lake. For those of you who don’t know where Big Bass Lake is, it’s in Iosco County Michigan. It has been the state record of many states and provinces in Canada but it was not caught in North America

One unsubstantiated report has the fish being taken on the Winnipeg River by Seven Sisters, Manitoba.


This pike was caught on the 6th of March 2006 by Dutch fisherman Ewout Blom in a pretty big lake in the south of Holland, I know the name of the lake from where quite a number of 40 plus pikes were caught and released but promised not to mention the name to avoid too heavy fishing pressure.

“This pike had a length of 127 cm and a weight of 19,5 kilo and was caught trolling with a Rapala Super Shad Rap in perch colour and I have about 10 original digital pictures of this fish.

“For the metric-impaired (such as yours truly), 127cm and 19.4 kilos works out to right around 50 inches, and just barely shy of 43 pounds.”

DNR, local law enforcement help nab sturgeon poacher in St. Clair County

A cooperative effort between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Clay Township Police Department has resulted in the citation of Wadhah Noori Jabro, of Sterling Heights, for taking sturgeon during the closed season in St. Clair County.

DNR conservation officers Todd Szyska and Kris Kiel were on patrol, looking for illegal shining activity in Macomb County, when they received a call from the DNR Report All Poaching (RAP) line attendant that an anonymous citizen had reported the illegal activity. The citizen supplied a description of the suspect’s vehicle and license plate number.

The DNR conservation officers, who were 40 minutes away from the scene, called the Clay Township Police for assistance. Clay Township officers located the suspect and held him for the conservation officers.

The officers found Mr. Jabro in possession of a 61-inch sturgeon. He was fishing without a proper license, without a mandatory sturgeon tag and was taking a sturgeon during the closed season (an offense punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, restitution of $1,500 and a loss of fishing license for three years).

Mr. Jabro was arraigned yesterday, Nov. 13, in the 72nd District Court in Marine City. The magistrate reviewed the misdemeanor charges and determined the case was sufficient to be heard by a district court judge. The pretrial hearing is set for Nov. 28.

“Based on the tackle he was using, the suspect was obviously fishing for sturgeon,” said Szyska. “We wouldn’t have had this case at all if it weren’t for the RAP line and an alert citizen who called it in. And we really appreciate the Clay Township Police Department’s help, which made this case possible.”

Sturgeon are relatively rare Great Lakes denizens.

“The lake sturgeon population in the St. Clair system is a unique and valuable resource,” said DNR fisheries biologist Mike Thomas. “Fishing regulations have been designed to protect that resource. Poaching is a direct threat to the viability of the sturgeon population.”

Anglers, in possession of an all-species fishing license, are allowed to harvest one sturgeon per year, which must be tagged immediately. Sturgeon season on the St. Clair River closes Sept. 30.

Anyone who witnesses illegal hunting, trapping or fishing is encouraged to call the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) line at 800-292-7800.

Dave Richey awarded Jade of Chiefs Award

dave jade
Jim Low (right) presents the Jade of Chiefs Award. A humbling acceptance speech.
photos c. Tom Ulrich ©2012


CHENA HOT SPRINGS, ALASKA — OK, it’s true confession time. I have a mistress, and have had for 44 years. There, I feel better getting that off my chest.

She’s not some cute woman 25 years my junior. My wife knows about her, all of our  friends know this little secret, and they know I’ll do whatever she asks of me if it is possible. It’s been this way for more than four decades, and I’m actually proud of my actions.

Whoa! What’s up with this? Richey is publicly confessing to having a mistress. Well, yes, I am doing so and freely admit it.

All of this is just my reason for being what and who I am.

My mistress is an organization. Her nickname is OWAA, which stands for the Outdoor Writers Association of America. We began as just friends back in 1968 when I was much slimmer, had blond hair, and was more tidy than now.

I’d began writing outdoor magazine articles in 1967, and seemed to have a way with words. Magazines bought the first six pieces I wrote, and two went to Sports Afield. I figured this was so easy I should have started writing in high school.

The good times lasted as long as those first six stories, and then I smashed headfirst into the brick wall of magazine rejection slips. My first six stories were something of a tease, and despite the rejections, I felt head over heels in love.

Writing was all I could think about, and even though I had some natural talent, I had to learn how to write saleable copy. That took more time than I earlier believed was possible, and after several years, my reputation began to build. Magazines began to come to me, and sales increased.

My first three-year term on the Board of Directors as a great experience.

With increased sales, my reputation began to grow, and as time went on, I ran for the OWAA Board of Directors. I wasn’t nominated, but 20 people thought enough of me to sign a petition and in time I became a Board member. After three years, I got an Outstanding Board member award and was kissed goodbye.

I then ran for the Board again after a year off, and yet again had to gain 20 signatures to get on the ballot. Again I was elected a board member, and again three years passed, and then I said goodbye for another two years, and was re-elected as a Board member the third time, somethng that has happened only twice in OWAA history.

I served on my mistress’ Board of Directors for a total of nine years, ran for 3rd vice-president several times, but was never elected. It seemed my mistress had other plans for me, and over many years I served on many ad hoc and standing committees. If memory serves me right, I served on nearly 50 different committees over four decades.

Somewhere along the way, I was rocked to my sox by being awarded the J. Hammond Brown Award, for many years of continuous service to my mistress. With the Ham Brown comes a lifetime membership. She and other Board members thought enough of me to give me this award.

I was deeply honored, and nine years later she blessed me with the Excellence in Craft Award, which meant a great to me because I came to feel my mistress was again paying tribute to my work. Sometime shortly after, an article was written about me in OWAA’s Outdoors Unlimited newsletter, and it called me a Legendary Writer. Now, my friends, that’s some pretty heady stuff.

Other honors had a deep and meaningful effect on me.

After another nine years of service to my mistress, and after a long flight to Fairbanks, Alaska earlier this month, the angels smiled again. This time, dressed in jeans, baseball cap, jacket and scruffy beard, I hobbled up the podium steps while leaning on my stick, and was presented yet another prestigious OWAA award – the Jade Of Chiefs Award by Jim Low, a past recipient of the award and a past president.

If I’m correct, I am the 44th recipient of this award since it’s inception in 1958. It is not awarded every year, and in my wildest dreams, I’d come to believe that this award wasn’t to be. It isn’t given by OWAA, but given by other living OWAA recipients to honor a person by affirmation of OWAA adherence to, and support of, the principles of conservation. It is the highest conservation award among outdoor writer’s groups.

It puts me in with some pretty heady and influential past and present writers. Past recipients include such worthies as

  • Arthur Carhart
  • Henry P. Davis
  • Nash Buckingham
  • Roger Latham
  • Homer Circle
  • John Madson
  • George Laycock
  • Karl Maslowski
  • Ed Zern
  • George Harrison
  • George Reiger
  • Ted Williams (not the baseball star)
  • Joel Vance
  • Erwin Bauer
  • Leonard Lee Rue III
  • Charlie Elliott
  • Grits Gresham
  • Michael Furtman
  • Tony Dean
  • Greg Patterson
  • Rich Patterson
  • Chris Madson
  • Jim Low

and many others that I have known over the years.

These members had a terrific impact on how I approached conservation issues.

This award was granted for a wealth of conservation stories I had written for The Detroit News, and during my freelance career. A 13-part series on profit poaching in Michigan brought this problem to the forefront. Other stories including an 18-part series about the need for increased study on state black bear numbers, and more positive studies on this animal. I covered Indian Treaty Rights and negotiations from both sides, fought hard for a dove season that lasted only one year, and many other resource management stories.

My 44-year affair with my mistress, and 36 years with my lovely wife Kay, has brought me many highs in my lifetime. It hasn’t all been fun, and that’s one of the things about life we must accept, but I consider my life and career to be the best thing that has ever happened to me.

My long-term friendship with these and many other writers have been a joy to my life. I’ve mentored many beginning writers over the years in hopes they carry the literary torch for conservation in the future, and it’s all been a great and wonderful time.

My life as an outdoor writer has become the model for my professional career. Honestly, I must admit to being one of the luckiest and most humbled men men in the world. And I also admit that my wife, and my mistress, are greatly responsible to me being what I am today.

May God bless and smile kindly on all present, and all who have blessed me with their friendship. Your obedient servant. — David J. Richey

Catch Dave @ http://daverichey.com

Michigan Fishing Report 11/15/12 Opening of Michigan Firearm Season

Most people are in the woods this week so little to report about but steelhead fishing has been good this week. Perch have been biting along with big smallmouth as they get ready for winter.

It is that time of year when fishing reports are harder to come by as most anglers turn their attention to deer hunting. Those heading out for the firearm season are reminded that late fall and early winter offer prime fishing on the inland lakes for hungry walleye, pike and bass. It is also a good time to catch big perch, bluegill and crappie. The main river systems offer steelhead, brown trout and even walleye. Pier and shore anglers can catch steelhead and whitefish.

Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Elk River: Is producing coho and steelhead. Try floating spawn and skein or casting small spoons and spinners.

Boardman River: Has steelhead all the way up to the Sabin Dam however the better catch rates were downstream because of the low water levels. Rain is needed to bring more fish in.

Betsie River: Is producing steelhead. Those fishing up near the Homestead Dam caught fish on spawn, spinners or small spoons. Some were fly fishing.

Manistee: Pier and surf anglers are catching steelhead.

Manistee River: Anglers are catching some steelhead however the lack of rain has led to low water levels which makes fishing more difficult. Find the deeper holes.

Ludington: Steelhead were caught in the surf and off the piers in the early morning or late evening.

Pere Marquette River: Low water levels continue to challenge steelhead anglers. Fish are being caught in the deeper holes. Most are drifting spawn or flies.

Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Alpena: As is the case when firearm deer season is starting, the whitefish are also beginning to hit in earnest. There are lots of whitefish on the reefs in Thunder Bay. The better spots to fish may be the Grass Island Reef and Partridge Point. Pier anglers are also catching fish.

Thunder Bay River: Has lots of whitefish being caught at dawn and dusk up near the 9th Street Dam. Fish were also caught down near the mouth.

Oscoda: Pier anglers are targeting steelhead and whitefish. Chinook salmon were still trickling in and are in good shape. Try small spoons, body baits and spinners off the pier. Walleye were also caught on crawlers or body baits.

Au Sable River: Schools of whitefish are moving up into the river. The best catches were off the breakwalls and at the mouth however they can also be found several miles upstream. Steelhead are also in with good numbers of fish caught from Oscoda to the Foote Dam. Early morning and late afternoon were best however fish were caught throughout the day. Most of them are chrome colored but you might get the occasional dark fish. All seem healthy and good size. Chinook salmon can still be found. They were hitting on spawn or wax worms. Walleye are starting to make their way into the river.

Tawas: The whitefish catch from the breakwall will peak this week and next.

Upper Peninsula Fishing Report

Marquette: Anglers are picking up whitefish and trout off the breakwall in the Lower Harbor. Most are using eggs.

Fall’s River: Is producing steelhead for those casting spoons and spinners or drifting crawlers and spawn bags.

Little Bay de Noc: Perch fishing was fair. Off Kipling, anglers fished crawlers in 8 to 25 feet of water but most of the fish were small. Those fishing Gladstone Beach, the mouth of the Escanaba River and the Escanaba Yacht Harbor had the same results. Walleye catches were down except for those night fishing. They did well when trolling stick baits in 10 to 28 feet of water along the reefs near Kipling or 12 to 25 feet near the Black Bottom. Some nice walleye were caught near the Escanaba Lighthouse when jigging minnows in 20 to 35 feet of water. Northern pike have been very active and were caught by those trolling for walleye.

Tawas River: Has a fair to good number of steelhead being caught between the mouth and the park. Most are floating spawn or wax worms.

Au Gres River: Continues to produce chrome colored steelhead closer to the mouth. Fish were still being caught in the lower end of Whitney Drain and near the Singing Bridge. Try floating or casting spawn, small spoons or plugs.

Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Lake Erie: Calm weather and no winds have led to an increase in walleye angling. Most fish were caught in Brest Bay. Look for bluegill and crappie off the Metro Park Marina.

Huron River: Anglers are catching steelhead however low water levels continue to effect catch rates. Anglers may be able to use a drift boat or a flat bottom boat. A large number of shad could be seen at Flat Rock.

Detroit River: Those hand-lining or trolling have caught a couple walleye in the lower Trenton Channel. For bigger perch try 8 to 12 feet of water around the southern end of Grosse Ile, Sugar Island or Celeron Island.

Lake St. Clair: Is producing some perch near the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, the Delphine Channel. Some did well in Canadian waters.

Saginaw River: Walleye are being caught near Bay City as well as up near the Tittabawassee and the Shiawassee River. Try jigs and Swedish Pimples with minnows, wax worms or even a single egg.

Tittabawassee River: Is also producing some walleye.

Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

St. Joseph: Is producing some whitefish for pier anglers. Try a wax worm or a single egg. Those casting small spoons, spinners or plugs caught steelhead.

St. Joseph River: Fishing has slowed because of the low and clear water conditions. Walleye fishing has picked up at Berrien Springs. A few lake trout were caught.

South Haven: Pier anglers caught steelhead or brown trout in the early morning or late evening. Most are floating spawn or wax worms. Whitefish are showing up.

Kalamazoo River: Boat and shore anglers have caught steelhead below the Allegan Dam. Boats are casting spinners and plugs. Shore anglers are using spawn, yarn or spinners. The occasional catfish or walleye were also caught.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Water levels are low so boat anglers looking to fish up past I-96 need to use extreme caution. Steelhead are still being caught and fresh fish are moving in. Anglers are back bouncing spawn, back trolling with Hot-n-Tots or casting spinners. Good steelhead action off the Fulton Street Bridge for those back bouncing spawn or using Hot-n-Tots. Walleye were caught on bucktail jigs, shiners and twister tails off the east wall or jigs and wax worms near the Post Office. Bluegill and crappie were caught at Riverside Park and Millennium Park.

Grand River at Lansing: Steelhead have arrived. Anglers have caught a few fish over by the Moore’s Park Dam. A few walleye have also been caught. Northern pike anglers have done well below the North Lansing Dam, near Portland and Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge.

Muskegon River: Has steelhead but the low water levels are not helping. Anglers are floating spawn or wax worms under a bobber, casting spoons or plugs and fly fishing.

Northern Pike Winter’s awesome fish

If you are tired of finicky panfish or walleye with lockjaw and the slow bite that the area has been experiencing throughout this unstable portion of the winter, turn to an old favorite to heat up the action on the ice.

One of the most exciting fish to catch in our area is the northern pike. The pike, for many anglers, has gone from a childhood trophy to a secondary fish. However, winter is the time of the water wolf, there’s no better time to rediscover tip-up angling for northerns.
Pike are readily available in many lakes throughout Michigan thanks to a increased size limit two fish a day.

Furthermore, when other fish shut down during the fickle winter weather, the pike seem to always be on the prowl. The sight of a blaze orange tip-up flag tripped by a northern is a challenge welcomed by all ice anglers.

A nice pike ready to be pickled
Getting started

It doesn’t take much to get in on the action for pike in winter. A $30 stop at the fishing section of any local sporting-goods store for tip-ups, some line, leaders and trebles will have you all set for tip-up fishing. I prefer to use a single treble hook attached via 12-inch leader to 25-to-40 pound test nylon line on my tip-ups. Others may prefer heavier line or longer leaders depending on clarity of the lake being fished. If you’re fishing catch and release, try a variety of quick-strike rigs to lessen impact on the fish.

Set ‘em up…

The legal number of lines that can be used in Michigan is three. This provides tip-up anglers with a chance for some hole-dashing action.

By setting two tip-ups in high-percentage areas such as channel edge flats, or along last summer’s weedline, anglers can capitalize on known pike cruising strips. By drilling holes in other areas nearby, an angler can jig spoons or baited hooks for pike and hop around while still keeping an eye on the flags. Once you have located an area where pike are likely to be, drill several holes in the ice at different depths. This will improve your chances of finding fish. Also , while most northern pike will fit through a six inch hole, an eight or even ten inch hole will make it easier to get the fish out of the water. This is particularly true if you happen the hook a really large northern pike, which can reach a length of almost three feet.

There are a variety of tipups available on the market today

There are several brands of tip-ups, but the one I recommend and use primarily is the classic Polar Tip-Up. Its simple design and bright color make it a shoe-in for inclusion in any angler’s arsenal. Its flag-holding notch also prevents the wind from tripping the flag and sending out a false alarm.
Other options, like a variety of hole covering thermal tip-ups and the new Jig-Up, which mechanically moves your offering up and down, are available. Take a look at several different models and see what is best for your angling style.

…Knock ‘em down!

You may be dozens of yards away, in the truck, on shore, or in the icehouse when a flag trips on the tip-up. Don’t worry about missing the fish. Pike, by nature, tend to grab bait and run with it before turning it and swallowing it. As you approach the tip-up you can see the spool turning the flag trip mechanism as the pike runs. Watch for the spin to slow or even stop. A good idea once the flag pops up, is to count to twenty and then grab hold of the line. If you can see the line angling off under the ice, there’s a good chance the fish is on. Feel for tension and prepare for battle.

Pike prefer soft non-spiny rayed fish. Suckers, golden, large greys, and smelt are all good choices. Some folks use super big bait, suckers 12″ or larger are not uncommon. However, I think it’s a waste of money. In general, I don’t use anything over 7″. That is large enough to keep perch from bothering it, but small enough to keep it from setting off your traps. The bait fish is lowered into the water and kept 1 to 2 feet above the weed bed.

Pike do not have very good night vision and are usually taken during daylight hours. Unlike other fish during winter, pike are particularly active during morning and evening hours, especially on days that are overcast.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/118933-ice-fishing-tips-northern-pike/#ixzz2BskkM400

So when the walleye won’t bite, and the perch are a pain, try some tip-ups on the pike filled waters…of our outdoors.