Good trout opener expected
Written by The Mining Journal   
Sunday, 01 May 2005 08:20
Recent cold, damp weather may help bring in rave reviews for Saturday's stream opener for trout fishing. The fish don't much care what the weather's like, but the bugs certainly do.

"I think this may be a great opener," said Mike Herman, fisheries biologist based out of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Escanaba office.

Saturday opens the general trout season for most sections of rivers and streams, along with designated trout lakes.

A bit of a warm-up the past few days should get the fish in the mood for biting again, but the nice weather won't have been around long enough to get the bugs out in search for blood - at least not just yet.

While the roller-coaster weather in April may initially hurt early fishing success, the best way to find out is to get on the water.

"You can't catch fish with your line in the boat," said Herman, an avid spring fisherman. "I think people put too much emphasis on the weather and barometer readings and such stuff. If you get your line in the water, you're going to catch fish."

It may just be a matter of how many fish.

"The warm-up and then quick cool-down we've had in the last few weeks was a tremendous shock to the whole environment," said Jim Waybrant, a DNR fisheries biologist based out of Newberry. "The trout are where they always are, but the problem may be with how they'll be biting.

"It's really hard to predict right now."

Waybrant's specific area of study is from the Chocolay River in eastern Marquette County over to Sault Ste. Marie.

He said that water in rivers and streams - and to a lesser extent in lakes - warmed up to as high as 55 degrees during the warm spell earlier this month, then quickly dropped back to about 40 degrees.

However, the leveling off of temperatures during the last few days, which has included a gradual warming trend, may make this a better-than-average early season.

Herman said the warm-up of a few weeks ago was helpful in one area - it melted snow earlier than usual, meaning there hasn't been any flooding or even high-water situations during the past week. That's quieted streams and improved water clarity earlier than usual.

Waybrant said there were no sweeping changes to rules for trout fishing, though the restricted status of some trout lakes may have changed since last year.

He suggests consulting the 2005 Michigan Fishing Guide for information on specific bodies of water.

In addition, fishing licenses have risen a dollar over last year, with a warm-water species license for the general public costing $15 and an upgrade that includes trout and salmon species making the total $28.

For senior citizens ages 65 and over, the prices are $6 for a warm-water species license, which becomes $11.20 to include trout and salmon.

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