Spring fishing moving in
Written by South bend Tribune   
Friday, 11 March 2005 11:00

Weary of winter? Think spring.

Although die-hard anglers were still trudging onto ice this week, several southern Michiana waters were thawing and becoming available to boaters.

Also, rising river temperatures have triggered some movement among steelhead populations, indicating that even the fish are ready to break out of winter doldrums. Videotapes recorded at the South Bend fish ladder have shown at least 50 new steelhead have passed through the ladder as of March 1.

"The water was 38 degrees Wednesday," said river biologist Rod Edgell. "If we get some warmer weather, we should see more movement."

Dick Parker at Central Park Bait and Tackle in Mishawaka said boat anglers caught steelhead in Mishawaka last weekend on spawn and plugs. The river is a little high and clearing, he added, so fishing should improve for everyone within the next couple of weeks.

He recommends shore anglers use spawn, nightcrawlers or flies tipped with wax worms early, but don't overlook in-line spinners once the fish get active.

Elsewhere, the best ice is found north of the state line.

Anglers were fishing most southern Michigan lakes, yet some LaPorte lakes, Lake Wawasee and many of the smaller lakes in northern Indiana were still ice-covered.

"The die-hards continue to go out, but the ice around the shore is pretty iffy," said Larry Stover of the Tackle Box in North Webster, Ind.

Bob McCartney of the Trading Post in Edwardsburg agreed, noting that pike fishing with tip-ups has been good on southern Michigan lakes in about 8 feet of water and that some perch are being caught shallow.

Steve Hardwicke of Kasst Tackle in LaPorte said his area lakes were a little unsafe around the edges but at least five inches of hard ice could be found off-shore. Anglers were catching perch, bass and bluegills.

"Some bluegills are being caught on red worms and red wigglers in 8 to 10 feet of water," he said.

If you're anxious to launch a boat, Stover said Pike Lake in Warsaw is wide open and the backwaters of Webster Lake are free of ice.

Mike McNulty of Midway Bait and Tackle said that not many anglers have been fishing his stretch of the St. Joseph River between Elkhart and the Twin Branch dam. But that doesn't mean the fish aren't biting.

"My boat ramp is open and we're ready for spring," said McNulty. "The walleye bite should heat up any day now."



The Michiana Steelheaders' tournament previously scheduled for Sunday has been postponed until March 20...If you're fishing Indiana waters, don't forget to get your new license. The 2004-05 license expired Feb. 28. Last season's Michigan's license is good through March 31.
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