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Archive | Fishing Tip

Fishing Tip: Taking great catch-and-release photos

Are you an avid catch-and-release angler? Do you like to take photos of the fish you catch, prior to returning them to the water? Do you know the safest way to take these photos so you ensure the fish can live to be caught another day?

Here are some steps you can follow:

• Wet your hands before you handle the fish; that way you won’t remove any of the protective mucus (or slime) that coats the fish’s body.

• Remember fish can’t breathe out of water, so they will become uncomfortable rather quickly. Keep the fish in the water until your camera is ready to take the shot.

• Take the photo with the fish fairly close to the water, so if it squirms out of your hands it will land in the water and not on a hard surface.

• While holding the fish, don’t pinch or squeeze it and don’t stick your fingers in its gills.

• Be mindful of the different kinds of fish that have teeth and/or spines that could stick you.

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Get your fishing gear ready

Several season openers Saturday, April 30

Angler holding a brook trout. Michigan’s statewide trout fishing season opener is Saturday, April 30. Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Put your 2022 fishing license to good use next weekend during the trout opener and the Lower Peninsula inland walleye and northern pike seasons, all of which open Saturday, April 30. Enjoy Michigan’s world-class fishing opportunities on your own or bring your family and friends along for the fun.

Anglers are reminded that in Upper Peninsula waters, the walleye and northern pike possession seasons open Sunday, May 15. Michigan’s muskellunge possession season on all Great Lakes, inland waters, the St. Marys River, Lake St. Clair, and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers opens Saturday, June 4. Remember that catch-and-release fishing for muskellunge is open all year. 

The catch-and-immediate-release season for largemouth and smallmouth bass is open all year on nearly all waters (unless otherwise closed to fishing (check the current Michigan Fishing Guide for specifics). The possession season for bass opens statewide Saturday, May 28, except for Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River and the Detroit River, which open Saturday, June 18. The Lake Erie, Detroit River, Lake St. Clair and St. Clair River daily possession limit for walleye will remain at six fish through April 30, 2023.

The new license season began April 1, so anglers need to be sure they have purchased a new fishing license for this fishing season. The 2022 fishing licenses are valid through March 31, 2023. To purchase a fishing license, visit Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses.

Anglers can make a real difference in helping to prevent the spread of invasive species by taking the time to clean, drain and dry waders and gear before heading to a new location.

Two invasive species, New Zealand mudsnail and didymo (rock snot), have been detected in Michigan. Both thrive in high-quality waters and can have harmful effects on stream ecosystems.

The NZMS Collaborative offers these simple steps for cleaning boots and waders:

  • Stomp and inspect as soon as you leave the water to remove attached debris.
  • Brush waders, soles and laces to loosen remaining debris and mud.
  • Spray boots and waders thoroughly with a disinfecting agent.
  • Rinse after 20 minutes.
  • Dry waders thoroughly before next use.

The 2022 Michigan Fishing Guide and Inland Trout & Salmon Maps are available online along with a lot of other helpful fishing information. Visit Michigan.gov/Fishing for the most up-to-date information. You can view the complete guide online or download it to your device for later use.

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Fishing Tip: Crappie

From the Michigan DNR

Crappie are among the most difficult pan fish to pattern because of their tendency to suspend in the water column, except in the spring. During this time, crappie move to shallow water – sometimes in water only a couple feet deep – to spawn, so there isn’t a lot of water column to suspend in.

Crappies like both minnows and jigs. The easiest way to fish for them is to suspend the bait under a bobber, halfway between the surface and the bottom, around any sort of cover – weeds, brush, dock pilings … whatever.

Anglers who prefer a more active approach can cast with jigs and swim them back or fly fish with minnow-imitating streamers. Just think shallow in spring.

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Fishing Tip: Storing ice-fishing equipment for next season

From the Michigan DNR

You may want to think about getting ready to store your ice fishing equipment. The key is doing it properly, so you’ll be ready to hit the ice next winter. Here is a checklist of things to do:

  • If you have an auger, check for any damage and dry all the blades before storing it. You may want to consult your power auger’s manual to know how to appropriately handle any leftover gas and how to protect the engine.
  • Remove batteries from any electronics to prevent any potential damage from leaking batteries.
  • Make sure your portable shelter is completely clean and dry before storing. You may want to put some moth balls in it or hang it to keep pests at bay.
  • Take a full inventory of your rods, reels and tackle to see what you might need/want next year. Also remove all bait or line from your hooks and lures for storage and make sure everything is dry.

By the time everything is properly stored, you’ll be itching to get out on your favorite stream, river or lake for some spring fishing!

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Fall is an important time to think about gear maintenance

From the Michigan DNR

With the colder months quickly approaching, many anglers may be getting ready to store their gear for the season. Below are a few maintenance tips you should follow so your gear is cared for and ready to be used next season.

*Make sure your gear is clean and completely dry before storing it. Start by cleaning everything (rods, reels, and line) in fresh water with soap, or with the manufacturer’s recommended solution, to remove any materials that may have become attached or embedded.

*Inspect your gear for any damage and make any repairs or prepare for replacements.

*Don’t store any of your gear in direct sunlight or in a place where heat and/or moisture might build up.

*Air your waders out completely, and don’t forget to hang them upside-down for the months they are out of use.

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Fishing Tip: Fall Great Lakes pier fishing for smallmouth

A giant smallmouth bass caught off a Lake Michigan Pier. Photo screen shot from The Fishin’ Pohl on YouTube.

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

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Fishing Tip: Looking for some fun? Go fishing this fall!

Ask many anglers and they’ll tell you fall is a wonderful time to go fishing as fish prepare for the colder months by ramping up their feeding efforts. Most will target salmon, walleye, perch, panfish and bass and see much success when doing so. Check out our “Where to Fish” page to find some new fishing spots! Just go to michigan.gov/dnr and click on the arrow for Things to Do. Find “fishing” and then click on the three dots, then “where to fish.”

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Fishing Tip: Catching bass on top of the water

Many anglers would agree there’s an excitement that comes from using topwater techniques to target bass. There’s something to be said for seeing a bass strike your lure with your own two eyes.

But how do you fish for this species on top of the water? It mostly comes down to location and lure selection.

Target areas that provide good cover for the bass, such as weed beds, logs, big rocks, etc., that have a few feet of water over them. Cast a floating lure next to the cover and play with a bit before reeling it in.

When it comes to lures, select those that float and that are designed to resemble the favorite foods of bass, such as frogs.

Topwater fishing for bass works best in low-light conditions such as early in the morning or late in the evening.

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Fishing Tip: Fishing deep for post-spawn bluegill

After spawning, bluegills will move to deeper water for the rest of the summer, and larger bluegills can be hard to locate. They can be found living near the top of the thermocline (the layer of water between the deep and surface water), where water temperatures approach 69 degrees. Depending on the lake, this depth usually will be somewhere between 12 and 18 feet.

To locate this depth, either use a lake thermometer, available at most larger tackle stores, or contact the nearest DNR office. If the lake has a public access site, fisheries biologists will have surveyed it and will have a temperature-oxygen profile of the lake. This chart will identify the depth with a temperature near 69 degrees.

Try fishing at this depth, where the 69-degree temperature is close to the bottom – usually at the deep edge of weed beds. Use light line (4-pound test or less) tipped with a white ice-fishing teardrop jig baited with a wax worm. Some anglers use slip bobbers, while others fish European style with very long fiberglass poles. Early morning and dusk are most productive.

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Fishing Tip: Let’s catch some crappie!

Crappie are among the most difficult pan fish to pattern because of their tendency to suspend in the water column, except in the spring. During this time, crappie move to shallow water—sometimes in water only a couple feet deep—to spawn, so there isn’t a lot of water column to suspend in.

Crappies like both minnows and jigs. The easiest way to fish for them is to suspend the bait under a bobber, halfway between the surface and the bottom, around any sort of cover—weeds, brush, dock pilings, etc.

Anglers who prefer a more active approach can cast with jigs and swim them back or fly fish with minnow-imitating streamers. Just think shallow in spring.

For more information on crappie fishing, visit the crappie page on the Michigan.gov/dnr website. At the site, click the down arrow on Education and Safety, then Learn about Michigan species, then Fish, then Crappie.

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Fishing tip: Targeting perch on Lake St. Clair

When anglers think of Lake St. Clair, they often think of bass or muskellunge fishing – but during the winter months, many think of it as a yellow perch destination!

There are a few techniques to target fish on the lake, including staying on the move and focusing on areas where the perch are most likely to be found. Perch on Lake St. Clair often will hang out on the vast, shallow flats as they look for smaller fish to prey on. Since structure is limited during the winter months, they’ll use the shade of the ice cover to fill in that role. Fishing these areas can often offer anglers great success with large-size fish!

Want even more tips for fishing yellow perch – and not just on Lake St. Clair? Visit the yellow perch page on the DNR website. Go to michigan.gov/dnr and then fish, and then species information.

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Fishing tip: Where to find northern pike in Michigan

Photo courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Most places in the state are seeing cold temperatures, but fishing for northern pike will continue to pick up. Pike are extremely popular during the ice fishing season but are readily available throughout much of the year.

There are many notable northern pike fisheries located throughout Michigan, including on Muskegon, Portage and Manistee lakes and Michigamme and Houghton lakes. But this species can be found in many other lakes and virtually all larger rivers in the state.

Please note there are many regulations for northern pike regarding minimum size and possession limit. Be sure to read up on this species in the current Michigan Fishing Guide at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/FishingGuide2020_684742_7.pdf and on the northern pike page on our website. Go to www.michigan.gov/dnr and search for northern pike.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union

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