Caution urged for 'hard-water' anglers
Written by Muskegon Chronicle   
Thursday, 15 December 2005 12:17

The "hard-water" fishing season is well under way in some areas, extreme caution continues to be urged as the ice remains shaky -- or non-existent -- in many cases on local lakes.

It's not wise to fish alone during "first ice" and keep a rope handy and use a spud to probe for any soft spots. A few anglers have gone though this week, but fortunately they were in shallow water at the time.

The hot bluegill action has begun on Hamlin Lake, where many anglers are taking 25-limit catches in the 6-9 inch class. Traditional areas, such as Indian Pete Bayou, have been productive. Wax worms, mousies, spikes and wigglers are working well.

Other local waters that have been producing fair-to-good catches of gills include Millhouse Bayou off from the lower Grand River, Cranberry Lake, Snug Harbor on Muskegon Lake and the Conservation Club on Muskegon Lake. Gills have also been taken at Wesley's Marina on White Lake but watch for thin ice.

A few walleyes have been taken from Silver Lake (3-5 inches of ice) and the upper stretches of Hardy Pond. Tip-ups baited with a blue-back minnow and jigging Rapalas have been effective.

The steelhead action has been fair on the lower White River, the Grand River below Sixth Street, the Kalamazoo and Muskegon River above Bridgeton. Spawn has been the choice of most anglers but several nice fish in the 7-9 pound class have also been taken on both spinners and body baits. Most of the steelhead being taken have a missing right pectoral fin which means it was planted by the Michigan DNR.

Those using tip-ups with large minnows have had some success on Muskegon Lake this week. Try fishing the 3-6 foot depths of Snug Harbor or inside the Conservation Club marina.

A few whitefish are still being taken from the Muskegon Channel wall, but the action has slowed. Earlier in the week a few were being caught from the area behind the NOAA station and along the wall by the Silversides but, except for a few late-spawning fish, the weekend the action should be all but over by the weekend.

Some good news as well, as anglers fishing for bluegills in the Snug Harbor section of Muskegon Lake have observed large numbers of small perch about 1-3 inches in length. If all goes well, it appears that we could have a good year class of native "yellow-bellies" on the way.

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