Salmon fishing slowing down salmon
Written by Muskegon Chronicle   
Monday, 06 June 2005 06:04
Trolling on Lake Michigan is still producing a fair number of chinook salmon, but the action has slowed and the kings that are being caught seem to be running smaller.

The best fishing is found by those willing to get out before daybreak and set lines by 5 a.m. The evening hours have also been productive with the fastest action often being found during the last hour of daylight. Some good fish are being caught during the day as well, but the better fishing is generally found in low-light conditions.

Some of the more productive lures this week include lemon ice, blue dolphin, Moonlight lures and herring rigs. The 110- to 140-foot depths, 40-60 foot down have been productive, but a few anglers have been venturing out into the 250- to 350-foot depths to find larger fish.

The walleye fishing has improved on the Grand River as good catches are being made by those drifting with leeches and crawlers and by trolling body baits against the current. Spring Lake has also been good as fish up to 8 pounds have been taken on jigging lures such as the Silver Buddy and by casting Husky Jerks after dark from the shoreline.

Those trolling with body baits after dark have had a measure of success on both White Lake and Muskegon Lake, but some nice fish are being taken during daylight hours as well. Try trolling blade-crawlers rigs (Blindman's has been working well) in 10-18 feet of water along the breaklines.

A few anglers also are taking some nice walleye during the middle of the day (10 a.m.-1 p.m.) by trolling body baits, such as the Rapala Husky Jerk, 18-25 feet down in 30-35 feet of water. In addition to the walleyes, a fair number of sheepshead, pike, bass and channel catfish are being taken as well.

The bluegills have started to bed along the north side of Muskegon Lake between Bear Lake Channel and Snug Harbor. Good numbers of hand-sized gills are moving in along the south side of the lake and on White Lake. Good numbers of bedding panfish also can be found on most of the smaller inland waters. Blue Lake, Wolf Lake and the Grand River Bayous are all good choices.

Some excellent crappie action -- many in the 10-12 inch class -- can be found in Spring Lake around the bridges, White Lake near the city marina docks and on Mona Lake around the Henry Street Bridge. Try using minnows under a light float or cast a pinkie jig.

The channel cats, along with an occasional flathead, are hitting on the Grand River, Muskegon Lake and White Lake. Cut bait taken from either a sucker or alewife works well in the Grand River, but some of the better catches on Muskegon Lake are being made by those trolling for walleye at the east end just out from the river mouth.

The bass opener was productive on both Muskegon Lake and White Lake as many of the fish are still being found on their beds. Although more largemouth were caught than smallmouth, the smallmouth numbers seem to be up compared to last year.

The Lake Michigan perch action has been slow and that is typical during early June when the fish are spawning. Better catches of native "yellow bellies" were being taken from the 6-12 foot depths of Muskegon Lake, but that fishing has slowed down.

The alewives have begun to move in, but these baitfish are nowhere near as thick as they have been over the past several years. Either the bigger schools have yet to move in or else the run will be significantly smaller this year.

If you're just looking for some fun fish to catch try going out after sheepshead -- they're plentiful, take most artificial lures as well as live bait and put up quite a scrap on light tackle. Just don't forget to register your catch for a Master Angler Award if you land one that is as least 21 inches long (catch-release category) or weighs 7 pounds or more in the kept division.

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