Fishing opener of ice and floods


Seven year old Peter Maddox caught his first steelhead while
fishing the Manistee with his Dad. Both will cherish the memories
of his 28″, 7 pounder.

This will not be a great opener as many rivers are over there banks and muddy water streaming though. Also many lakes north of M-55 still have ice and docks in the access sites are still on shore. Please check as most lakes are still froze in Northern Michigan hopefully the ice might be gone by saturday

Steelhead fishing has been great with the high water as many have been limiting out this week.

Anglers and others interested in fisheries management in Michigan are invited to join the Department of Natural Resources at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30 for “DNR Live: Fish” ? a one-hour online forum designed to answer questions from the public about the state’s fisheries, fishing seasons and regulations. The one-hour video event will stream live on the DNR’s Facebook page at A Facebook account is not required to access the page and watch the live stream event. For more information, visit

This coming Saturday, April 27th marks the opening day of trout season on the Type 1 and Type 2 streams as well as the walleye, northern pike and muskellunge opener on the Lower Peninsula inland waters. The “Catch and Immediate Release” bass season for all the Lower Peninsula waters including the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River and the Detroit River will also open this coming Saturday. The openers may be a little slower because of ice in the upper regions or flooding in the central and lower regions. For the trout opener, try the small feeder streams at the top of the watersheds as they are more likely to be fishable than the bigger rivers.


The Manistee River may be high, fast and cold but the fish are enjoying it. Conditions are not be normal. As a bonus, the accidental catches of walleye will be legal after the 27th.

re you ready? The trout, walleye and pike seasons open for the Lower Peninsula, April 27th. We’re just waiting for open water fishing.
Lake Cadillac should be open as the remaining ice melts from the rain and warmer temperatures. It always opens first.

Fishing Lake Mitchell may be a problem. It’s still ice covered! The shorelines open more every day and the ice turns darker. It will open soon. If fishing Lake Mitchell is in your plans for the opener, call us at 231-775-5412 for current conditions. At this time we are unable to put any of our docks or rental boats out.

Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Traverse City: Catch rates for cisco were very good in the southwest portion of the West Bay. Try jigging spoons in 40 to 80 feet of water. A few lake trout were caught as well. Pier fishing was slow with a few lake trout taken on spawn bags.

Elk River: Steelhead fishing was steady. Try spawn bags or drifting a dark colored jig tipped with wax worms.

Boardman River: Steelhead fishing was slow even though water levels have come down a little. A few fish were caught on spawn bags and jigs tipped with wax worms.

Big Glen Lake: Is ice free but no anglers were out.

Platte Bay: Fishing has picked up as steelhead are now moving into the river. Those surfcasting with spawn have caught a few fish.

Frankfort: Catch rates slowed however a few brown trout and steelhead were caught by those using spawn off both piers. Those trolling for brown trout reported some strikes but landed only a few.

Betsie River: Those fishing up at the Homestead Dam are catching steelhead.

Onekama: The dock has been put in at the park downtown. Water levels were good at the launch site and in the channel leading to Lake Michigan.

Portage Lake: The dock is in and anglers are testing the waters for perch. A good number of fish were hitting on wigglers however the fish were small.

Manistee: Pier fishing was slow for steelhead and brown trout. Boat anglers caught a few browns when trolling around the piers. Try orange or chartreuse body baits.

Manistee River: Steelhead are being caught even though the river is high and muddy. Those fishing at Tippy Dam have caught fish.

Lake Cadillac: Has pretty much opened up.

Lake Mitchell: Still had ice.

Ludington: Had slow brown trout fishing off the piers but those trolling orange spoons or body baits did manage to catch a few.

Pentwater: Anglers have caught steelhead and brown trout from the channel. The strong current has prevented pier fishing. Some boat anglers caught brown trout when trolling spoons along the second sand bar. Chinook salmon were found out from the Silver Lake Sand Dunes in 60 feet of water.

Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Rogers City: The docks are in at the boat launches but everything else will be closed until early May. Water temperatures were still in the upper 30’s. Anglers should be casting off the breakwall anytime now that the ice and snow is gone. Try bright colored spoons like orange, chartreuse, yellow, silver or gold. Atlantic salmon and brown trout should start showing up soon.

Ocqueoc River: Recent rain brought the water levels up a good four to five inches. Anglers did well between the lamprey weir and the mouth when drifting spawn bags under a bobber or using small artificial jigs. Water clarity was a bit stained but not bad. The next couple weeks should be good for steelhead fishing.

Rockport: The docks were not in and gate for the old pier parking lot was locked.

Thunder Bay River: Steelhead are being caught below the 9th Street Dam even with the stronger current. Most are using beads, spawn or flies. The docks are in at the marina boat launch.

Harrisville: Fishing has improved around the harbor as good numbers of steelhead have been caught on spoons, spawn or body baits. Walleye are moving in and out of the harbor. Catch rates were best with body baits in the early morning or evening.

Au Sable River: Is high and fast. The strong current actually turned the dock at the Rea Road launch site. Even with the high water levels, shore anglers reported good fishing. Upstream, they are using spawn, flies and wax worms. Down at the mouth, try spawn, spoons or body baits off the end of the pier. There were reports of a couple walleye taken off the end of the pier late at night.

Tawas: Is producing a few walleye for those trolling crank baits off the mouth of the Tawas River and back in the bay off Jerry’s Marina. Nothing going on inside the harbor, it is just too muddy.

Au Gres: A lot of boats have been going out on the bay and looking for clean water. A good number of walleye have been caught in 15 to 20 feet of water around Point Lookout and White Stone Point when trolling body baits or jigging with jig heads tipped with minnows or smelt. Some limit catches were reported.

Upper Peninsula Fishing Report

Trout streams were flowing high and fast. Access will be difficult on most lakes and streams as snow pack is quite deep in places. The trout opener will be slow but look for good fishing in the weeks following as the ice melts and the trout move into the shallows to feed.

Keweenaw Bay: The Ice has broken up almost straight out from Carla’s Restaurant and the ice is gone from Keweenaw Bay Park. Shoreline ice in many places has started to erode. Some fishing out from the L’Anse Marina have gone in up to their knee’s after stepping into old holes that were eroding from underneath. Anglers have caught a few chinook, coho, rainbow trout or lake herring off the L’Anse Marina and up near Perch Corner. The smelt bite between Baraga and Bucks Marina slowed.

Falls River: Has rainbow trout but the bite was slow.

Marquette: Pack ice is still present along the shorelines between the Carp River and the Chocolay River. There are large areas of floating ice along M-28 about a half mile off shore. The Upper Harbor is ice free and ready for launching. The Lower Harbor could be ice free by the end of the week. The breakwalls were still dangerous due to ice cover. Catch rates for coho were not good however a couple steelhead were caught by those using spawn, crawlers, spinners or small plastic worms.

Chocolay River: Has steelhead although the big push has not yet occurred. Many are fishing here because most of the snow is gone.

Menominee: The bay is ice free however the marina was still iced in.

Menominee River: Walleye were caught upstream of Boom Island when jigging minnows. The shoreline between Stephenson Island and the dam was busy with shore anglers and those wading while casting rapalas. The Cat Walk and fishing platforms at the Hattie Street Dam were also busy with walleye anglers. Try casting different colored rapalas, jigging with zip lures or jig heads with and without minnows. Those looking for brown trout had no luck.

Cedar River: Is ice free. One boat trolling off the mouth had some difficulty with floating ice. They were targeting brown trout but had no strikes. Stoney Point was still iced in.

Little Bay De Noc: Even though much of the bay was still iced over conditions are deteriorating on a daily basis. All the rivers are open and flowing high and fast. Steelhead anglers have started but water temperatures were still cold. The Ford River launch is open but the dock is not in and the current is quite strong.

Big Bay De Noc: Is in the same condition as Little Bay. All the rivers are open but running high and fast. Perch anglers are hoping the ice will be gone as we move closer to spring fishing. At Fairport, the launches are ice free and open.

Au Train: The bay is still iced but movement of the ice is causing pressure cracks. Two feet of snow remains in the parking lot at the Brownstone launch. Some were fishing near the mouth of the river but no fish were caught.

Munising: Had very low fishing pressure as ice conditions have changed dramatically over the last week. Ice is present but no longer safe in the west channel. Sand Point had ice but there is open water along the length of the shoreline. While many areas still had packed snow and ice anglers need to be cautious of potentially large pressure cracks hidden under the snowfall. The best access to the ice is near the mouth of the Anna River but use caution around any open water. Catch rates for coho and splake were poor. A couple whitefish were caught in shallow waters near the Anna River. Access to Trout Bay has been cut-off due to shoreline conditions.

Sucker River: Has steelhead moving in. Deep snow will make it difficult for shore anglers navigating along the river.

Two Hearted River: Steelhead were starting to move in. Water temperatures are still cold so anglers are still waiting for that big push of fish. Access is very difficult right now unless you fish near the High Bridge. The snow was still two to three feet deep in places along the watershed.

Albany Creek: The access is still snowed in but those hiking down to the lake have caught some steelhead. They are wading near rocks and casting spawn or spinners.

Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers continue to target perch in Hessel Bay but the better fishing was in Musky Bay. Try minnows, wigglers and wax worms.

Carp River: A few anglers have caught steelhead on spawn. Look for the beginning of the smelt run now that the mouth of the river is ice free.

Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Lake Erie: Attention walleye anglers: The daily limit for walleye in Michigan waters from May 1, 2013 through April 30, 2014 will remain six (6) fish. Though water clarity and catch rates were poor, anglers were marking good numbers of fish in 12 to 16 feet of water from Brest Bay to Turtle Island. The majority of boats are jigging hair jigs or blade baits. The fish cleaning station is now open at Sterling State Park.

Detroit River: Word has it walleye fishing has been very good when it is not too windy. Catch rates should continue as it dries up and the water clears up.

Lake St. Clair: Was not hit as hard with rain and flooding but the water is still dirty. Not much activity to report right now but anglers should be out this coming Saturday as the catch and immediate release bass season opens.

Lexington: Anglers were catching a nice mix of coho, chinook and steelhead straight out and north of the harbor in 15 to 30 feet of water. Find the clean water and you will catch fish.

Port Sanilac: Coho were caught on body baits in 22 feet of water north of the harbor.

Harbor Beach: Is producing the occasional coho or brown trout for those casting Cleo’s off the breakwall. Not much in the way of boat activity yet.

Grindstone City: The water is too shallow, no fishing activity.

Saginaw Bay: Those trolling husky jerks off Linwood caught a fair to good number of walleye in 16 to 18 feet of water. The trick is to find clean water. Walleye were caught east of Spoils Island. The east side of the bay from Quanicassee to Port Austin had nothing to report. The post spawn walleyes have just undergone a two week stretch of high water and strong currents. Under these conditions, the fish can be urged to move back down toward Saginaw Bay.

Saginaw River: While water levels have crested in most of the central Michigan rivers, flooding remains widespread and the prognosis for the upcoming walleye opener is guarded at best. There is no telling what shape the launch ramps will be in, but expect a lot of mud and woody debris. Those living close to inland lakes with walleye might want to try fishing those lakes as an alternative to the rivers.

Tittabawassee River: Had high water levels and a strong current. The river could be back within its banks by the weekend if it does not rain.

Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

St. Joseph: Boat anglers will need to find clean water when trout fishing. Pier fishing was slow with all the muddy water.

St. Joseph River: Water levels were extremely high and turbid and there is a large amount of debris in the river. Boat anglers will need to use caution. The docks at the DNR launch in Benton Harbor and the city launch in St. Joe were underwater.

South Haven: Fishing was very slow this week. Few boats were out.

Black River: Had high water levels. Boat anglers need to use caution because of floating debris in the river.

Holland: Boat anglers reported stained water all the way out to waters 40 to 50 feet deep and as far south as Saugatuck. Boats trolling beyond the stained water have caught a few salmon and trout 30 to 40 feet down. Try orange and gold spoons or body baits. No perch to report. Pier anglers did not have much luck.

Grand Haven: Dirty water and debris from the rivers and lakes has made fishing difficult for boat and pier anglers. Those using spawn have caught the occasional steelhead, brown trout or whitefish. No perch to report. The docks were not in at the launch on Harbor Island.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Flood warnings all the way up to Ionia continue. Until the water levels come down, anglers may want to target the small feeder streams for the trout opener.

Grand River at Lansing: No reports this week. Anglers are gearing up for the walleye and trout opener.

Maple River: Was still at flood stage. Shore anglers need to use caution.

Muskegon River: Water levels were still high and muddy. Those trout fishing will want to use large flies in bright colors.

Whitehall: Pier anglers using spawn have caught more brown trout than steelhead. Boat anglers were fishing for walleye just beyond the pier.

Michigan Fishing Report 4/11/13


Ice fishing is done and steelhead are running the rivers, but we need warm weather. The ice is good north of Gaylord and still lots od snow so we need a warm up to get the ice out for opener the last saturday in April. Houghton Lake the canals are not open yet so no gills or crappie, but south of US 10 the lakes have opened up finally

Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Traverse City: A few boats have been out jigging for lake trout and cicso. Catch rates were fair in 100 to 150 feet of water. Those surfcasting have caught a couple steelhead on spawn bags.

Elk River: Is producing the occasional steelhead. Try spawn bags or small jigs tipped with wax worms.

Boardman River: Is producing the occasional steelhead and brown trout. Steelhead fishing is slow but steady with spawn bags or a jig tipped with a minnow. Some were caught on flies.

Platte Bay: Steelhead are starting to show up. Try surfcasting with spawn bags.

Frankfort: Those fishing before the elbow on both piers caught steelhead in the morning. Orange spawn bags with chartreuse floaters seem to work best however the hits were light. A couple brown trout were caught off the south pier when using body baits.

Betsie River: Should have good steelhead fishing by the weekend.

Onekama: Pier anglers caught a couple steelhead or brown trout when using spawn or casting spoons and body baits.

Portage Lake: The Ice is nearly gone but watch for flow ice. The boat launches have open water but no docks.

Manistee: Boat anglers caught steelhead and brown trout on orange body baits. Catch rates for pier anglers were hit-or-miss. They are using orange or chartreuse spawn bags.

Manistee River: Has steelhead however it appears the run will be more drawn out this year as we wait for a good spring push. Water temperatures were not getting out of the 30’s so fish the deeper holes.

Lake Cadillac: Still has ice however the shoreline is deteriorating. Rain this week will most likely put an end to the ice fishing season.

Ludington: Pier anglers caught steelhead on spawn bags. Boat anglers caught steelhead and a few brown trout when trolling around the piers with small body baits.

Pere Marquette River: Successful anglers were fishing the deeper holes. While some have started spawning, this week could bring a good push of fresh fish.

Pentwater: Pier anglers caught steelhead especially off the South Pier. Those fishing in the channel and off the Long Bridge also caught fish.

Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Rogers City: The ice is just about gone however some big sheets were still blocking the launch ramp. Anglers were casting off the wall but no fish were caught.

Ocqueoc River: Had lots of angler activity but few fish were caught. Anglers were drifting spawn and yarn flies. We need warm weather and rain to kick the steelhead run into high gear.

Rockport: No docks were in yet as there is still a little bit of ice at the launch site. The gate is locked for the parking area in front of the old dock.

Alpena: Has ice in the marina. Boat anglers can launch from the river.

Thunder Bay River: Is producing the occasional steelhead below the Ninth Street Dam. Try spawn, wax worms, flies or rubber eggs.

Au Sable River: Steelhead were caught from the mouth to the dam. Skid piers at the mouth were still on shore so unloading and loading will be difficult. Access sites upstream are open with ample parking. Spawn, flies and wax worms are best for those drifting and those casting are using small spoons, body baits or spinners. Most of the fish caught seem to be fresh and the signs are good for a long consistent run.

Higgins Lake: Has no one fishing. The shoreline ice is deteriorating rapidly. Anglers are now waiting for open water fishing.

Tawas: Pier anglers casting along the outside of the harbor have caught lake trout, steelhead, brown trout and the occasional whitefish. Those wading off the mouth of the river caught a few walleye on rapalas. Ice inside the harbor is finally breaking up.

Au Gres: A couple boats trolling off the mouth of the river caught a few walleye.

Au Gres River: Had very good steelhead fishing near the Singing Bridge and about a half mile upstream. Most are drifting fresh spawn. Steelhead can be found as far up as M-55. Surfcasting at the Singing Bridge was not as good as the river fishing.

Rifle River: Steelhead have been caught from Selkirk Road downstream to Greenwood Road. Many were float fishing in canoes or wading near access points. The sucker run is finally underway at Omer for both hook and line anglers and those with dip nets.

Pine River: Near Standish had excellent perch fishing with limit catches of fish ranging 7 to 10 inches for those that put in the time. Anglers were fishing upstream from the boat ramp. The launch was not usable due to an ice jam.

Upper Peninsula Fishing Report

Keweenaw Bay: The Ice at Big Reef, Mud Banks, Newton’s Reef and Farmers Reef is all busted up and is floating pack ice now. Do not attempt to head out to these locations or you will be swimming. Lake trout fishing was spotty. Anglers are still getting out from Pequaming, Whirl-I-Gig Road and Old Mission and fishing in 100 to 265 feet of water. Coho and lake herring is slow but anglers are reporting big schools of herring. Salmon are being caught on tip-ups with live minnows out from the Falls River in L’Anse.

Falls River:Is producing rainbow trout as water levels are on the rise.

Marquette: Anglers reported fair catch rates for coho and steelhead off the Carp River and the “Bubblers”. They are using crawlers, spawn or small crank baits. Ice between the Chocolay River and Shot Point is slowly deteriorating. There is a slight increase in runoff at the Carp River and Dead River and the bank is still ice and snow covered. The Upper Harbor is free of snow but the Lower Harbor is still iced in. Some were trying for coho and splake off the coal docks but no fish were taken.

Menominee: The bay was still frozen.

Menominee River: Is starting to break up just downstream from Boom Landing and upstream to the first Dam at Hattie Street. Anglers can launch without a dock at Boom Landing and Stephenson Island. Anglers caught a few walleye, brown trout, steelhead, and whitefish near the Hattie Street Dam. They are casting different colored rapalas with or without a piece of live bait. Overcast days, late afternoon or early morning seem to be the best time to fish.

Little Bay De Noc: Remains iced over but no anglers were fishing south of the “Narrows”. Snow and rain have weakened the ice along the edges so taking vehicles out on the ice is no longer safe. Fishing has turned to perch especially near Kipling where catch rates were good in 30 to 45 feet of water with wigglers, minnows and spikes. Smaller fish were caught in shallow waters. Rivers in the area were still iced over except for the mouth of the Ford River and the Escanaba River which had open water up to the First Dam for shore anglers.

Big Bay De Noc: Had few anglers. Garden Bay had ice but no anglers. Fairport had partial ice cover but no activity. Most rivers are iced over with the exception of some areas on the Ogontz River.

Au Train: Had light ice fishing activity with the bay still iced in. A few anglers were jigging for coho off the Brownstone Launch but no fish were caught. The launch still has almost two feet of snow. While there is still ice, watch the pressure cracks.

Au Train River: Is open at the mouth. Those jigging for coho had no luck.

Munising: Still had ice between Christmas and Sand Point. Those walking were still heading out to fish. Use caution near the mouth of the Anna River as strong currents were taking out some of the surrounding ice. Shoreline ice is starting to open up. Catch rates were slow. A few whitefish were caught in shallow waters by those jigging a single egg or wax worm. A few small perch were caught near Sand Point. Smelt action was fair at Sand Point. Try jigging about halfway down with a wax worm. Trout Bay had no fishable ice. Small boats were starting to fish for coho.

Grand Marias: The bay and boat launch are iced in. The pier and parking areas were buried in snow. There is open water between the pier and breakwall.

Cedarville and Hessel: Still have ice however anglers need to use caution and pay close attention to the weather. Hessel Bay is producing some nice perch in the middle and along the east end in 5 to 10 feet of water. Perch were also caught along the west end of Musky Bay in 6 to 8 feet of water.

Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Lake Erie: A few docks have been put in at Bolles Harbor and Sterling State Park. Anglers are targeting walleye in 12 to 18 feet of water in Brest Bay when trolling body baits a few feet off the bottom. Those jigging around Turtle Island are picking up a few but overall fishing was slow.

Detroit River: Walleye fishing picked up in the Trenton Channel and the mid-river.

Lake St. Clair: Had very little fishing activity. The docks are in at the DNR launches but low water levels have created some launching issues especially for larger boats at the Selfridge, Fairhaven and Clinton River Cut-off sites.

St. Clair River: Shore anglers at Port Huron have caught steelhead and brown trout. A few walleye were caught in the lower river near Algonac.

Lexington: Pier anglers caught steelhead, brown trout, and a few coho when casting small spoons or live minnows. Only small perch were caught off the dock. Boat anglers caught trout and salmon when trolling body baits in 10 to 20 feet of water north and south of the harbor.

Port Sanilac: Pier anglers are catching steelhead and brown trout.

Harbor Beach: Pier anglers caught steelhead and brown trout.

Port Austin: Pier anglers caught steelhead off the gas dock when casting small spoons. Late afternoon and early evening were best.

Saginaw Bay: Had excellent walleye fishing off the mouth of the Saginaw River. Walleye were hitting pretty much anything thrown at them including jigs and minnows. Some channel cats were caught in the Hot Ponds. Perch fishing near the Pigeon River has not yet started because the water is colder north of Sand Point.

Kawkawlin River: Perch fishing was good off the bridge at State Park Drive.

Saginaw River: Had good perch fishing between the mouth and Essexville. Fish ranging 10 and 11 inches were caught on minnows.

Quanicassee River: Had good perch fishing but the action has tapered off as it appears the season may have already peaked. Rain may bring in some fresh fish, but don’t wait too long to get out there.

Sebewaing River: Also had good perch fishing but has tapered off.

Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

St. Joseph: Overall fishing is pretty good. Pier anglers were doing best with a good number of coho taken with spawn fished on the bottom. A few whitefish were caught. Boat anglers caught coho and brown trout when trolling small spoons or body baits.

South Haven: Windy conditions have kept most boats off the lake. Pier anglers caught a few whitefish or brown trout but overall fishing was slow.

Holland: When the lake is calm, anglers trolling close to shore caught brown trout. Be careful of low water levels at the boat launch.

Port Sheldon: Those trolling have caught brown trout on body baits. Orange and yellow were hot colors. Water levels are low at the boat launch.

Grand Haven: Both piers were hit-or-miss for steelhead and brown trout. Shore anglers caught a few on spawn or skein. Boats using planer boards with body baits caught fish along the shoreline. Orange and yellow were good colors. Boat anglers need to use caution due to low water levels at the launch.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Rain this week could bring the final push of steelhead. Suckers are starting to move in. Bluegill, crappie and perch were caught at Riverside Park.

Grand River at Lansing: Anglers are hoping the rain will push steelhead up into the Lansing area. Suckers are being caught near Lowell and Lyons. Try crawlers or red worms on the bottom.

Reeds Lake: Was producing bluegill in the channels, crappie in 15 to 20 feet of water and perch in 5 to 10 feet.

Whitehall: Pier anglers caught steelhead when still-fishing with spawn.

White Lake: Boat anglers were starting to catch some steelhead.

2013 Lake Leelanau Walleye Tournament

Mike_IMG_04702013 Lake Leelanau Walleye Tournament

Saturday ~ May 18th 2013 ~ 7:00am – 3:00pm



Walleye Tournament begins at 7:00 am SHARP we have Two (2) check-in docks this year

*The DNR Boat launch on County Rd. 641 OR *The Narrows Launch “Old Bait Shop”


Click here to download form


ENTRY FEE: $50.00

If Paying by Check, Please make payable to: Lake Leelanau Community Assn.



2013 Walleye Tournament

Attn: Tony West

2375 S. Lake Leelanau Dr.

Lake Leelanau, MI 49653

**The form can also be dropped off at Dicks Pour House !!


Recent Size of Field & 1st Place Prize

2010 –  40 Boats – $750.00

2011 – 51 Boats – $1,000.00

2012 – 42 Boats – $750.00



Questions? CALL TONY (231) 409-7223 OR MIKE MCSWEENEY (269) 506-3860




Huge Catfish from Kansas

catfishStephanie Stanley, of Olathe, got hers when she reeled in a 82.05-pound blue catfish at Milford Reservoir on Saturday. Rich Witt, co-owner of the Catfish Chasers tournament in which Stanley was fishing, said it’s the largest blue catfish ever caught at Milford, and the largest from any lake in Kansas.

As big as it is, though, it was about 20 pounds shy of her tournament partner/husband’s best-ever blue catfish. Robert Stanley holds the current state record for blue catfish at 102.8 pounds, caught from the Missouri River on August 11 of last year.

“She has the biggest ever from a lake, and he has the biggest from a Kansas river,” Witt said. “Those are some nice fish.”

Witt’s partner, David Studebaker, said Stephanie Stanley’s fish didn’t come as a total surprise.

“These blue catfish are really growing, they’re making a world-class fishery here in Kansas in a lot of our lakes,” he said. “It won’t be long before the new state record comes from Milford. It may only be a couple of years.”

It could even be a very familiar fish. Stephanie Stanley’s huge fish was released unharmed, so it could keep growing.

Mike Miller, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism information chief, said blue catfish are native to the Kansas River system, though not many had been caught in the mid- to late 1900s.

In 1990 the fish were stocked in Milford, hoping to create a population of voracious predators that would help control populations of shad and other baitfish. The fish have grown rapidly and are now reproducing well on their own.

Studebaker said the Stanleys won Saturday’s tournament weighing in five fish that totaled 155.38 pounds. He said some anglers had five fish that totaled more than 220 pounds a few days before the tournament.

Witt said catch-and-release fishing has helped the populations of big fish grow. All fish caught at Catfish Chasers tournaments must be released alive. Many anglers, even when not fishing in tournaments, follow an unwritten rule of releasing all blue catfish more than 10 pounds.

Catching blue catfish between 20 and 40 pounds is now common at some lakes, like Milford and Melvern Reservoirs.

Miller said blue catfish have been stocked in about 13 reservoirs and in most are growing well. At many lakes, including El Dorado and Cheney Reservoirs, blue cats must be at least 35 inches long before they can be kept. Miller said the regulation was put in place to let the fish grow large enough to become mature, and reproductive.

As well as creating an exciting trophy fishery, Miller said blue catfish contribute other ways to the Kansas fishing scene. They are active, open water predators on things like shad, white perch and rough fish, like carp. They’re also munching down on some pests.

“Blue cats eat zebra mussels. I don’t know that they eat enough to really make a difference,” Miller said of the invasive mollusks, “but we know they’re doing well in lakes with zebra mussels.”





Is this a perculier spring or is this an old fashion one.  We may have seen the last ice fishermen this past Saturday.  Most were from out of town who had not had their fill this season.  Reports were of 12 inches of ice but the shore lines are starting to go.  Its time to quit.  Fishing hasn’t been the best.  The famous “Last Ice” may be a rumor.
The amount of ice left may be a problem.   Pike, walleye and trout seasons reopen the last Saturday in April.  We need warmer temperatures and rain so the lakes are open.
Most anglers have now focused on steelhead.  We are only a short distance from the Manistee River.  Tippy Dam is the local favorite and there’s also the Betsie and the Pier Marquette.
There are steelhead at Tippy Dam but best catches are in the holes down river.  Warmer temperatures and rain will push more to the dam.  Flies, spawn and wax worms tipped on jigs are all catching steelhead.
Those lucky first period turkey hunters may be hunting with snow left in the fields and woods.  Time will tell.

Most are ready for spring and open water fishing

Amy-crappieThe weather has been great this week but most are tired of ice fishing and the lakes are deserted with great ice. What few guys are out the fish are biting, smelt good on Higgins and Crystal. Most are waiting for open water and crappie to start running in the canals.


On Monday, April 1st, all anglers 17 years of age and older will be required to have a 2013 fishing license. Be sure to pick up a copy of the 2013 Fishing Guide when you purchase your license. Even though the calendar says spring, ice fishing is going strong in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula. While spring is slow to arrive this year, a long, slow warm-up is better for fish production.





Northwestern Michigan



Skegemog-  Perch have been on the bite big time this week with many limit catches.Call Jack’s Sport Shop@231-258-8892


Fife Lake- Real slow this week Call Lakeside Party @ 231-879-4346


Portage Lake- Osborn’s  says big perch are biting and the lake has no people on it. Call Osborne’s@ 231-889-3775


Hamlin Lake- Has had a good bite this week with crappie and gills being caught in limit numbers. Call PM Expeditions@ 231-425-8913 or Hamlin Grocery@(231) 843-2058 and Capt. Chucks @ (231) 843-4458


Lake Missaukee- Fishing has been great with crappie, and gills on the bite. Call Miller Corner@ 231-839-0440.


Betsie River: Is producing a fair number of steelhead. Try flies, spawn or a wax


Crystal Lake: Continues to produce smelt.


Lake Cadillac: Ice fishing continues however the shoreline ice is starting to deteriorate. Those fishing have caught crappie and bluegill but catch rates were hit-or-miss.


Lake Mitchell: Still has ice fishing. Be careful along the shoreline. Those fishing in the coves have caught a few fish.


Pere Marquette River: Fresh steelhead are moving into the river system. Anglers could see a big push of fish in the next week or so as temperatures and water levels slowly rise.


Big Manistee River: Is fishable and should have a fair to good number of steelhead including some fresh fish. Many are fly fishing below Tippy Dam. Pappy’s Bait is open for the season at Wellston shop hours are 7 to 5 right now call@ 231-848-4142 he gets reports daily on Tippy Dam



Crystal Lake Many are fishing off Lobb Rd. for perch, whitefish and smelt.  Whitefish in 60 feet of water with a hali jig tipped with a perch minnow or wiggler and 4lb line.


Northeast Michigan



Black Lake- Has good ice with perch being caught. Call Parrots Outpost for the latest ice conditions (989) 733-2472


Mullet Lake– Is producing perch for those using minnows and wigglers call Mullet Lake Party store@ (231) 627-4644 or  Topinabee Market@ 231-238-9578


Burt Lake: Catch rates have been good on perch un Maple Bay and the ice is still good. Call Pat & Gary’s Party Store 231-238-6776


Grand Lake: Was producing a few perch. Try 15 to 25 feet of water around Grand Island.


Long Lake: Is producing bluegill and perch. Try a teardrop with a minnow or wiggler.. Call Bucks@ 989-595-2121


Otsego Lake- Fishing has been fair on Otsego  Perch fishing has been fair  on Bradford, chub Lake trout fishing has been good. Call Northern Sports@ 987-448-2014



Higgins Lake- Still has ice however the shoreline along the west side has started to deteriorate. Anglers can access the ice off the North State Park and the west boat launch however access is now determined on a day-by-day basis. Smelt were caught off Big Creek, the west launch and the North State Park. A few perch were caught out near the Sunken Island. Call Phoenix Park 989-821-7220 or Sports Barn 989-821-9511 for latest ice conditions


Houghton Lake- While many have quit ice fishing, those still going out have caught a few perch and some bluegills. Honeycomb ice is starting to show up along the surface only.

Most are using wigglers and wax worms in 7 to 9 feet of water out by the Middle Grounds.


Lyman’s @ 989-422-3231 says bluegill have been biting along with nice perch and crappie.


Korbinski’s call Rod@ 989-366-9500


Pappa’s Bait reporting great bluegill fishing off the middle grounds on Houghton Lake. 989-429-5780


Cheboygan River: Steelhead started to move into the river however cold water temperatures will slow the bite. Fish the deeper holes until it warms up.


Ocqueoc River: Also has steelhead moving into the river.


Oscoda: Pier anglers caught steelhead on spawn, spoons, spinners or body baits.


Au Sable River: With the warmer weather, melt off is increasing the river flow. Spawn, spoons, spinners and body baits are working well down near the mouth. Upstream, try spawn, spinners, wax worms or flies. Look in the deeper holes as most fish were not on the gravel.


Tawas: Ice anglers inside the state harbor and open water anglers fishing outside the wall are getting brown trout, steelhead and lake trout. Live minnows are best but spoons were also working in open water.


Tawas River: Those casting lakeward off the mouth have caught a few walleye.


Au Gres: Boats trolling off the mouth are getting a few walleye.


Au Gres River: Is high and muddy. A few perch and a good number of steelhead have been caught where there is open water in the river and by those surfcasting.


Rifle River: The sucker runs are just getting started. The action should pick up through the week and peak sometime next week.


Pine River: An ice jam at the mouth was preventing boats from launching. The water is high and muddy. The only thing caught was a couple small perch.


Upper Peninsula Report


Keweenaw Bay: Catch rates for lake trout were spotty. Those fishing on the reefs are using lead head jigs cut bait such as smelt or suckers in 120 to 180 feet of water. Those fishing out from Whirl-I-Gig Road and Pequaming were in 240 to 275 feet of water but catch rates for coho, lake herring and whitefish were hit-or-miss. A nice lake trout measuring just over 37 inches was caught off Big Reef. Anglers say they can see clouds of smelt on the fish finders however it seems they are not feeding because catch rates were slow.


Falls River: Was producing a few rainbow trout.


Marquette: Changing wind directions have been shifting the ice so much that it is no longer safe to venture out. The Lower Harbor and breakwall were still iced in at the launch. The Upper Harbor has one launch open for boat access. Anglers did manage to catch some coho, lake herring and splake near the “Bubblers.” They were using small jigs and spinners tipped with crawlers or cut bait.


Carp River: Those casting from shore had no luck for coho and steelhead.


Chicagon Lake: Whitefish are active in 45 to 65 feet of water most mornings. Perch fishing was spotty.


Iron Lake: The morning bite was good for perch and bluegill. Use minnows or wax worms in 14 to 17 feet of water. Slush is making travel difficult.


Groveland Mine Ponds: Few anglers were out because of deep snow on the lakes. The road getting to the lakes is in poor condition because of the deep snow. Those that could make it out did catch some nice bluegills in 25 feet of water near the boat launch on South Lake. They were jigging wax worms at different depths.


Lake Antoine: In Dickinson County also has a good amount of ice but deep snow continues to make travel difficult. The few anglers that were out did catch a few small perch on wax worms near the middle of the lake.


Little Bay De Noc: Ice was holding across the Bay however large ships have been moving in and out near Escanaba. Angler participation has been low with many removing their ice shanties. All shanties must be off the water by midnight March 31st. Perch fishing was fair between the “Narrows” and the Second Reef. Some jumbo perch were caught on minnows and wigglers in 8 to 30 feet of water. Good catches of small perch were reported around Butler Island in 5 to 10 feet of water. Whitefish anglers off Sand Point were lucky to catch a couple fish in 75 to 85 feet of water when using minnows or spawn.


Keweenaw Bay: The lake trout bite continues to be hit-or-miss out near Big Reef, Newton’s Reef and Farmers Reef in 130 to 180 feet of water. Those fishing off Whirl-I-Gig Road did well when using lead jigs with cut smelt. Try 200 to 265 feet of water.


Falls River: Is fishable. Anglers will find some rainbow trout.


Marquette: Strong northwest winds have opened up areas close to shore. There is still substantial ice flows on the lake and the area from the Chocolay River to Shot Point remains iced in. Both launches at the Upper Harbor are free of snow but the Lower Harbor remains iced in. The breakwalls are still ice covered.


Carp River: Has steelhead moving into the river. Anglers have caught a few when casting real or artificial crawlers and small crank baits.


Groveland Mine Ponds: Ice fishing is still going strong however deep snow is making travel much more difficult. Those fishing Island Lake caught lots of small bluegills when jigging wax worms.


Lake Antoine: Still has ice but the accumulation of snow has made travel difficult. A few perch were caught by those jigging with wax worms or using tip-ups with minnows in the middle of the lake.


Little Bay De Noc: Still has significant ice north of Escanaba. To the south is open water starting at Portage Point. Perch anglers with portable shanties are fishing near Butler Island and the “Narrows.” Catch rates were fair in 18 to 30 feet of water when using wigglers, minnows or mousies. Rivers in the area were still iced over but starting to show signs of breaking up.


Au Train: The bay is still iced in. A few anglers were jigging for coho off the Brownstone Launch but no fish were caught. There is still a good foot of fishable ice however strong northwest winds have created pressure cracks near shore. The Brownstone launch still has close to three feet of snow.


Au Train River: Has open water at the mouth. Those jigging caught no fish.


Rock River: Is slowly opening up but remains frozen at the mouth.


Munising: Fishable ice could still be found from the West Channel near Christmas to Sand Point. Walking conditions improved as melting from the sun followed by cold nights helped to firm up the top layer. Catch rates for coho were slow but a few whitefish were caught by those jigging a single egg or wax worm. Splake were still scattered so catch rates were slow. Good catches of smelt were reported near Sand Point. Anglers were jigging about halfway down. Burbot have been caught in the evening. Those hoping to catch lake trout in the West Channel had no luck. Trout Bay had fishable ice. Those targeting coho reported some limit catches.



Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report


Lake Erie: Boat anglers are picking up a few walleye in Brest Bay and near Luna Pier. While marking lots of fish the bite was still slow. Most are using Husky Jerks or Reef Runners.


Huron River: Steelhead were caught on flies, small hair jigs and Little Cleo’s.


Detroit River: Perch were caught in the marinas and canals around Grosse Ile however the bite was starting to slow. Try a slip bobber with a minnow. A few walleye were caught in the lower Trenton Channel in 12 to 15 feet of water.


Lake St. Clair: A few perch were taken along the shoreline and in the marinas.


Port Huron: Activity was starting to pick up along the wall as anglers try smelt dipping or fishing for trout and salmon.


Lexington: To Port Austin is transitioning from ice to open water fishing.


Harbor Beach: A couple steelhead and brown trout were caught. The bigger live minnows worked best but hardware is worth a try. For now, try still-fishing with a live minnow on one pole while casting a spoon on another.


Saginaw Bay: The ice off Palmer Road is gone. Boat anglers fishing lakeward of the Saginaw River mouth are taking good catches of walleye. Most are using jigs with minnows. Sebewaing had good perch fishing in the river during the warm-up.


Saginaw River: Anglers between the mouth and Essexville have taken limit catches of large perch. They are using perch rigs with shiners.


Quanicassee River: Was producing limits of large perch for those using perch rigs with shiners between the bay and the M-25 Bridge. Catch rates were not as good off the old State Road Bridge.


Pinnebog River: A few suckers were just starting to show up however it is still early for them at this location.


Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report


St. Joseph River: Coho were starting to show up along the pier.


Kalamazoo River: Steelhead were caught between the Allegan Dam and M-89.


Rabbit River: Was producing steelhead near the Hamilton Dam.


Grand Haven: Is producing some steelhead for pier anglers.


Grand River at Grand Rapids: Fresh fish are moving in and will continue especially with rain in the forecast next week.


Grand River at Lansing: Anglers are still catching steelhead in Prairie Creek. Rain is needed to bring fish up to Lansing. Now is the time to start targeting catfish.


Muskegon River: Yellow perch were caught at the Davis Bridge.




Easter has passed and some are still ice fishing.  Last year at this time many had made several trips in their boats.


The lakes look empty.  Currently expect 16 inches and more.  However, the shore lines show evidence of rotting.  Great things are suppose to happen at last ice.  So far the crappie and gills have been spotty.  One day we do well, the next only a few.  You just have to be there.  On the catching days, it seems the crappie are suspended to the top 4 feet.


Even with the remaining cold weather our safe ice fishing days are numbered.  All good things come to an end.


While the ice is declining, river fishing has caught most anglers attention.  The Manistee River has turned many anglers into River Rats.  Guys and girls both are catching steelhead fever.


The river’s cold but there’s plenty of fish.  The parking lot at Tippy Dam is starting to fill up.  Lots of stories of numbers caught, several in the 10 pound range.  As the snow thaws fishing will only get better.


You’ve been warned.  Your 2012 Fishing License expired 3/31/2012.  The 2013 licenses are the same price.

No increase.  This is the time to get a 15 percent discount if you purchase 4 or more

licenses at one time.  Some restrictions apply.