'June Swoon' impacts area fishing
Written by Muskegon Chronicle   
Thursday, 16 June 2005 15:45

The trolling action out on the Big Lake continues to be very slow but those targeting inland waters are finding good-excellent numbers of bass and bluegill.

Those going out into the 250-350-foot depths of Lake Michigan are taking an occasional salmon on spoons set 50-75 feet down but it looks like the "June Swoon" will be with us even longer.

Bass anglers are enjoying some excellent fishing as many limit catches are being taken -- and for the most part released -- from waters such as Muskegon Lake, White Lake, Bruce's Bayou, Stearn's Bayou, Pottawattomie Bayou, Spring Lake and Mona Lake. Some of the better producing lures this week have been the Senko, Yamamoto grub, plastic worm and top-water lures, such as the mouse and Pop-R.

This is also prime-time for bluegills as they are bedding in deeper (6-8 feet water) on both Muskegon Lake and White Lake. These fish are very aggressive and can easily be caught on wax worms, meal worms or red worms fished 3-4 feet under a light float. Inland waters such as Wolf Lake, Blue Lake and many of the smaller waters found between Twin Lake and Hesperia also have been productive.

This is also a good time to break out your fly rod and wade along the shoreline, as the gills have been taking spiders, black ants and a variety of small poppers.

The upper Muskegon River from Croton Dam down to Thornapple has been excellent for both brown trout and rainbow trout in the 10-12 inch class. These feisty little fish will readily take a drifted minnow, half crawler or a surface fly.

Although a few schools of alewives have come in, many anglers are reporting that the numbers are significantly down compared to last year. How this will impact the fishery remains to be seen but any reduction in the baitfish population is cause for concern.

The walleye fishing on Muskegon Lake is usually poor at best during the month of June, but this year the action has been good. Blindman's Spinners in hammered copper and hammered gold with either a chartreuse or orange stripe has been good. These blade-bead lures work best when sweetened with a whole crawler and trolled with a bottom bouncer.

The best walleye action is being found in 6-12 feet of water during the middle of the day. The "keeper" eyes have been running 15-17 inches and there have been many more smaller fish which is a good sign for the future.

Other inland waters worth trying for walleye include Hardy Pond, Fremont Lake (best near dark casting Husky Jerks around the weeds) and Hamlin Lake.

The freshwater drum (sheepshead) have been active on Spring Lake this week as numerous fish that would qualify for a DNR Master Angler Award (seven pounds or more) have been hitting jigging spoons and trolled crankbaits. The same holds true on Muskegon Lake where live bait rigs (Blindman's Spinners), spoons and crankbaits have been very effective.

Although sheepsheads aren't known for being glamour fish, they are fun to catch as they hit hard and will give a good fight on light tackle.

The pike fishing has picked up as fish up to 10 pounds have been taken on both White Lake and Muskegon Lake this week. Try drifting with a large minnow, casting with a spoon such as trolling a crankbait along the outside edge of a weed bed or slow trolling with a spinner blade-crawler combo.

The perch action has been all but non-existent out on Lake Michigan this week, although a few native "yellow bellies" continue to be taken from both Muskegon Lake and White Lake.

If you just want to have some fun, there is a $500 bounty for the first two 15-inch gobies caught anywhere between Grand Haven and White Lake. No entry fee is needed, just turn the dead fish in to Adam's Angler Archer in North Muskegon.

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