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Tag Archive | "fishing"

Muskegon River walleye egg collection to occur this spring


 

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds Muskegon River anglers that Fisheries Division personnel will be taking walleye eggs below Croton Dam this spring.

The DNR plans to collect approximately 62 million walleye eggs from the Muskegon River in 2014 that will result in 13.4 million fry for transfer to rearing ponds throughout the Lower Peninsula. These walleye will be raised to fingerling size and stocked in late spring or early summer in lakes and rivers throughout the state.

Lake Michigan walleye populations in the Lower Peninsula depend on the fingerlings produced from Muskegon River eggs, as well as many inland lakes in the Lower Peninsula. The size of the walleye spawning run in the Muskegon River is presently about 40,000 to 50,000 each year. DNR crews will strip milt and eggs from approximately 700 adult fish, which will be returned to the river, except for 60 that will be sent to Michigan State University for fish health testing.

“This adult population consists of mostly stocked fish,” said Rich O’Neal, fisheries biologist for the Central Lake Michigan Management Unit. “The Muskegon River has the largest run of walleye in the Lake Michigan watershed south of Green Bay.”

The DNR plans to collect walleyes with an electro-fishing boat beginning as early as the week of March 24 and concluding by April 15. Eight days of fish collections are planned during this period. The actual date when collections will begin depends on water temperatures and the presence of ripe fish. This schedule can change on a daily basis for many reasons, but it is anticipated most work will be completed during the last week of March through the second week of April.

Sampling using electro-fishing usually begins each day at Croton Dam at about 8:30 a.m. and proceeds downstream to the Pine Street access site. If more eggs are needed, additional collections may occur downstream to the Thornapple Street access site.

Egg collection and fertilizing is conducted at the Pine Street access site, about 2 miles downstream of Croton Dam. This process generally begins between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. The public is welcome to observe how the eggs are removed from the fish and fertilized before they are packed and shipped to Wolf Lake and Platte River state fish hatcheries.

Anglers who wish to avoid the walleye collection activities should fish downstream of the areas of the river previously noted. The DNR asks anglers to exhibit caution when fishing near the electro-fishing boats. Wading anglers will be asked to exit the water when the boat approaches to ensure anglers’ safety during the electro-fishing work. The DNR appreciates angler cooperation during this critical egg take operation.
Learn more about fisheries management and fishing opportunities at the DNR website www.michigan.gov/fishing.

 

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Weekly Fishing Tip:


*OUT-Weekly Fishing tip youth-ice-fishing-2014_originalFinding panfish through the ice

 

Have you been attempting to target panfish during your ice fishing trips this winter, but aren’t having much luck? Consider the following things:

Are the panfish sticking to shallow or deep depths?

Are they hanging out in the weeds or on the rocks?

Are they suspended or are they hugging the bottom?

Due to the weather much of the state has experienced recently, panfish are likely to be in deeper water to find more oxygen. Keep that in mind when you look for them!

Also keep your presentation efforts in mind. A popular effort includes putting a jig on the bottom and using a twitch-pause-twitch routine with it.

For more information on winter fishing in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

This tip was adapted from Michigan Outdoor News.

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Fishing out of the dark house


Keith Stanton and a monster fish

Keith Stanton and a monster fish

by Jack Payne

 

Spearing is a long time tradition in the northern states and a great way to pass a cold winter day. As in any ice fishing sport, safety is always an issue. Be sure the ice is thick enough to support you and the gear you’ll need.

Spear fishermen usually use a saw to cut a hole in the ice about 3-feet by 3-feet. An icehouse or shanty is placed over the hole. It is important to keep the interior of the shanty as dark as possible. The light through the surrounding ice will illuminate the water under the shanty and make the target fish visible. Most spearing is done near a break or on the shallow flat in 4-8 feet of water. Pick an area close to a marsh or a large flat where small perch and gills will roam.

Weighted spears are used to harvest the fish. These spears generally have six to twelve tines, and are five to six feet in length. A small diameter rope is attached to the spear for retrieval.

Keith Stanton might easily be called a dark house fanatic. He loves spearing and fishing out of any type of dark house. Keith created his own web site just to share the joy of this type of fishing with everyone. His site is called www.pikespearing.com. In addition he produces videos of spearing and fishing from a dark house.

“First and foremost, it’s a blast,” remarked Stanton on his thoughts of spearing. “The closest thing I can compare it to is bow hunting for whitetail deer.”

In his opinion, spearing fish through the ice offers much more of a challenge than tip up or hook and line fishing for this reason. And just like with bow hunting whitetail deer, when you see the fish swimming through the spearing hole you get the same adrenaline rush as you do when you are staring down a whitetail buck.

But pike spearing really offers so much more than just spearing the fish, especially if you have friends or family in the shanty with you. As you sit and wait for the fish to come in, it is a great time to catch up with old friends or just hear about what is new with your kids.  And of course just watching the aquatic life under the ice is also very cool. You usually see bass, pan fish, muskrats, carp, crayfish and other underwater water dwellers darting in and out of the spearing hole.

Pike spearing is a relatively inexpensive sport to get into, as all you need is just a shack or a portable shanty, a spear and a decoy. With the advances over the years in the portable fishing shanties, it is easier than ever to come up with a “dark house.”

When spearing for pike through the ice patience is the key. Some days you can sit all day without seeing a single fish. Other days it seems as though you can’t keep them out of the hole. Don’t get discouraged or give up until you have landed or speared at least one fish. And after you have experienced that excitement, you will be hooked!

Spearing provides solitude, quietness and a time to share a sport with a friend. The shanty provides a dark background and keeps the wind and snow off of you. I enjoyed sitting there and watching the perch and gills swim through nearly as much as the pike sliding in for a kill.

 

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Weekly Fishing Tip


 

From the Michigan DNR 

 

*OUT-Weekly fishing tipAre you ready (and prepared) to go ice fishing?

 

Several parts of Michigan should hopefully have ice in the coming weeks, thus providing anglers with an opportunity to go fishing. Will you be joining them? Then it’s time to get prepared to head out safely on the ice!

Equipment

You’ll need some special equipment if you head out ice fishing. Take stock of your spud/auger, skimmer, shelter and apparel to have an enjoyable experience out on the water.

Techniques

Pick your preferred ice fishing technique and the species you wish to target and brush up on your skills. Whether that is hook-and-line fishing for bluegill, sunfish, perch or crappie; using tip-ups for northern pike, walleye or trout; or spearing for northern pike, muskellunge or sturgeon.

Safety

You should always stay safe when heading on the ice. These five tips can help: 1) Never fish alone; 2) Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return; 3) Always test the ice with a spud; 4) Take the appropriate emergency items, such as a lifejacket and ice picks; and 5) Take a cell phone with you in case you need to call for help. Keep it in a plastic, sealable bag to make sure it doesn’t get wet.

Want more information on ice fishing? Visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

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Late fall whitefish


Tom DeMaat holding two whitefish.

Tom DeMaat holding two whitefish.

by Jack Payne

Late November and into December is an excellent time for whitefish and Menominee on the piers of Lake Michigan. Muskegon, Grand Haven, Port Sheldon, Holland, Saugatuck and South Haven are top piers starting in November and lasting through the winter. Fishing in the dark is best but cloudy days with a chop will produce fish.

In addition to these connecting waters, we have some dandy inland lakes. Most are up near Benzie County such as Crystal Lake but don’t forget Higgins Lake just north of Houghton Lake.

“Fishing conditions can be tough but the action rewarding,” said John Barr, a regular on the after dark whitefish crew. On top of the weather conditions these fish bite soft. Normally the best action takes place on the inside or channel side of the piers.

The first wave of whitefish feed heavily on the eggs from the king salmon. As the water cools and the steelhead move in some anglers switch to skein in hopes of catching both. Most whitefish anglers use a single egg when chasing this delightful and wary fish. Single eggs from a female steelhead are the best.

An egg sinker with a small orange or red bead just above a barrel swivel is the basic technique during daylight hours. A number 8, 10 or 12 egg hook tied to a leader completes the rig.

The ideal day has a chop similar to the perfect walleye day. The length of the leader is based on the size of the waves. Flat seas require a 6 to 8 foot leader. Two-foot waves work best with a 3-4 foot leader. Anything over 4 foot swells and a 6-inch leader works best.

Anglers need to hold their rods or keep a very close eye on the tip. One tap is about all that you will get before your bait becomes dinner. Savvy pier anglers often paint their rod tips with glow in the dark paint or some bright color for easier visibility. A seven to eight foot rod with a fast tip and a decent backbone works great regardless of the technique.

The Muskegon pier generally sees action before the other piers in West Michigan.  The action starts north and continues south with the cold water. Safety reasons dictate not to fish when the waves are crashing over or if they become icy.

Hopkins spoons are a favorite at night with the anglers. A long rod is used and most of the action is taken while vertically jigging. The smallest spoons that you can find work the best. Other good choices would include Kastmasters, Rapala and if you can find them the Zip Spoon from Blitzer Creek. We make our own using the Do It Molds and add glow in the dark tape with a red eye!

The key is to tick the bottom and lift up 6-12-inches. Drop down and repeat while paying very close attention for a hit. Snagging fish can be a problem with spoons and all snagged fish must be released. There is no size limit on whitefish or their cousin the Menominee.

The diehard anglers pull a shopping cart onto the pier. Most anglers mount PVC rod holders and carry a five-gallon pail. Inside the pail anglers carry tools and small plastic tackle boxes with all of required gear.

Parking is provided near the piers at all of the ports except Saugatuck. Saugatuck requires a mile walk from the Oval Beach in Douglas. Muskegon pier is the longest with a lot of riprap rock along the pier. South Haven pier borders the downtown district with plenty of parking and good lighting.

There are few fish that can match the quality of eating on a grill or in the broiler better than a whitefish. Some of the piers have a cable that you can lean over and not worry about falling in, and on others you need to pay close attention.

Remember to bring along a long-handled net or you will be lying on your belly sucking in Lake Michigan water while trying to net a fish. Been there and it was not fun. Give whitefish a try before the ice fishing season starts.

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Post goes to Canada


N-Post-goes-to-Canada

The Cedar Springs Post made it to Rice Lake, Canada, on a fishing trip.

Traveling with the Post was Elizabeth Deboe, Norman Colborn, Vicki Gillispie, and Vivian Deboe, all of Cedar Springs; James Thomas, of Comstock Park; and Mike and Trish Neal, of Hastings.

Thanks for taking us with you!

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Catch of the Week


OUT-Catch-Savickas-newSince they were not able to obtain a turkey hunting license, Anthony and Linda Savickas decided to take their sons, Ian and Tyler, pike fishing in Mecosta County in early May. It turned out to be a good choice. Tyler, 16, caught this northern pike, which weighed in at 20 pounds and 43-1/2 inches. His parents had it mounted for him, with friends and relatives pitching in to help create a nice keepsake for him.

Way to go Tyler, you made the Post Catch of the Week!

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Bass fishing


Eric Payne with a bass caught on a molded worm.

Eric Payne with a bass caught on a molded worm.

by Jack Payne

 

Thump, thump, thump and bam! A fish hit and game on. After trying to play bulldog with me on the bottom the bass finally came up and tried shaking its head to dislodge the hook. This fish was not successful in its try to be free.

Most days you will find me throwing finesse style baits, small worms, light weights, or a spinner bait. But on the dog days of summer and leading into fall it is often best to use a larger bait and fish deeper.

We were throwing the large Garter Worm or the Magnum Bass Stopper Worm from Stopper Lures. We fished this bait very similar to the drop shot rig. In our case we use a heavy bell sinker with the plastic worm tied onto a loop knot a few inches above the sinker. One angler might fish four inches up and the other angler might try a foot. See who gets the best action and duplicate it.

We like tying on a short leader, 6-12 inches long to the plastic worm. This gives the worm some movement, some added flutter and lift. We feel that we get more strikes when fishing in this manner than compared to a very short or no leader.

Sinker weight varies between three eighth and possible up to three quarters. It depends on the wind and the depth. Fifteen feet to thirty feet is our preferred depth. Deep long points are our first target and then sunken islands, mid lake humps and other off shore deep water structures.

Yes, we basically fish with our backs to the shoreline. Not what you would expect from many bass anglers. The next difference is that we fish vertically and we drift with the boat or move slowly with the trolling motor.

Once again, using a trolling motor while actually fishing is taboo with some anglers but I fish to catch fish and enjoy myself. I grew up chasing walleye and learned the fine art of vertical fishing. For many years my trolling motor was on the back of my boat and I back trolled. It’s only been a few years that I’ve enjoyed a front bow mounted trolling motor. I still run a tiller motor and that might change in the future.

When you walleye fish you learn how to fish deep water, how to find the spot on the spot and how to finesse fish or how to fish vertically. If you don’t then a live well becomes better suited as a cooler.

I really believe that anglers would catch more bass during the late summer and into the fall if they spent more time fishing the deep water. Sharp drop-offs are easy to find with your graph, many of the points that you would fish can be located by looking at the shoreline.

The idea behind a drop shot rig or the rig that we use is in maintaining contact with the bottom and keeping control of the plastic worm. I like the leader to the worm instead of it being tied tight to the line. I like the way it floats and flutters. Some anglers like it tight because they can feel any hit instantly from a bass. Try it both ways and see which way you enjoy best.

A larger bait matches the late summer forage. In the next month you will see a direct change in the size of the baitfish with less smaller fish and larger baitfish. In addition the metabolism is higher and many game fish want a larger meal while expanding less energy to fill up.

Deep water haunts with larger baits worked near the bottom will produce bass during the dog days of summer and leading into the fall. Deep water will continue to produce bass right through the turnover period just before the snow flies. Fish with your back to the shoreline and enjoy some great bass action overlooked by many anglers.

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Weekly Fishing Tip


Catching a catfish in Michigan

 

Rodney Akey with record catfish.

The new state record flathead catfish caught on May 22 on the St. Joseph River has brought a relatively unheralded species into the daylight. The record flathead, which weighed 49.81 pounds and measured 45.7 inches, was caught by Rodney Akey of Niles, who was fishing with an alewife for bait. That’s one of the main differences with fishing for the flathead than other catfish species. Anglers often use live baitfish when pursuing flatheads, unlike the earthworms, shrimp or various stink-bait concoctions many catfish anglers use.

Flatheads tend to live in slow-flowing rivers where they typically inhabit deep holes. Veteran flathead anglers often pursue them at night, fishing on the bottom in the leading edge of the hole or on the flats upstream. Large minnows, small sunfish or cut suckers are preferred baits. Summer is the most popular season to fish for flatheads; what better time to get out and try your luck!

For more information on fishing for catfish, check out the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them section of the DNR’s website. Go to Michigan.gov/dnr and then click on fishing, then angler information, and then “Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them.”

 

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Weekly fishing tip: Fly Fishing Frenzy



June is the month in Michigan for fly fishing after dark, with big bugs for big trout. The month’s hatches start with the brown drake mayfly, followed by the isonychia mayfly, and rounded out by Michigan’s biggest mayfly, the hexagenia. Each bug can be expected to hatch in one to two weeks on a given water body, with some overlap. With the warm weather so far in 2012, the hatch schedule has been accelerated in Michigan so the hatches this year may be more intense and last fewer nights that usual.

Bugs will begin to emerge in the evening after sunset and can continue well after dark. Roughly 48 hours later those same bugs will return to the water they hatched from and die. Both events cause a feeding frenzy in the fish community and provide a lot of fun for the anglers that take advantage of the feeding fish. Contacting a local fly shop or bait shop is a good place to look for information on hatch activity on a specific water body. For information on fishing for trout in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

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