Trout, salmon run improves
Written by South Bend Tribune   
Saturday, 17 September 2005 19:19
As more steelhead trickle into South Bend and cooler weather is in the forecast, St. Joseph River anglers can expect plenty of action over the next couple of weeks.

Bodine Hatchery officials report a steady increase in steelhead movement. They've collected 65 fish at the South Bend ladder this week with the bulk of those coming Thursday.

"We expect quite a few (today) and think next week should be very good," said Division of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries biologist Rod Edgell. "The nights are cooler and the water temp is down around 73 degrees."

Unfortunately, most of the fish in South Bend and Mishawaka are stacked around ditches and streams feeding cooler water to the river.

"We had one customer get his limit at the Twin Branch dam, so we know the fish are there and more are coming," added Dick Parker of Central Park Bait and Tackle in Mishawaka.

If the region gets a good rain, those prospects would be even better. Low water conditions have hampered the migration from Lake Michigan into the St. Joseph.

DFW Lake Michigan biologist Brian Breidert said fish were filtering into Trail Creek at Michigan City, too. He has seen a mixed bag that includes kings, coho and browns mixed along with steelhead moving in the creek at Michigan City.

"Peak migrations are affected by water levels and temperature," he said. "This is just the beginning, with the bulk of the kings entering the stream during the later part of September. Coho will be available for anglers until November."

Lake Michigan fishing has been decent from Michigan City to St. Joseph. Greg Smith of the Trading Post in Edwardsburg said the big fish are staging out to about 100 foot depths. Parker said fish are being caught in New Buffalo around 70 feet on J Plugs and spoons. That seems to be the case in Michigan City as well.

On the inland scene, bluegills continue to bite well on the river between Twin Branch and Elkhart. Anglers are catching fish on a number of baits but crickets are producing best, according to Mike McNulty of Midway Bait in Osceola.

"We're also starting to see more walleye getting caught," he added. "A guy came in with a limit Sunday night and had two over 22 inches. He caught them on the bottom with crawlers in 8 to 10 feet of water."

Oddly enough, Smith says reports he's gotten from the Michiana Walleye Club members haven't been as promising.

"They had a tournament down there and only a few fish were caught," he noted. "They should be biting better right now."

Smith also said that Painter, Burch, Corey and Diamond lakes have been hot bluegill lakes the past few weeks.

"It appears to be getting better every day," he added. "The small fish are moving shallow and the bigger ones are moving closer to the shallows. My reports say the big fish are hanging in those 15 to 17 foot depths."

Coho stocking

Briedert reminds anglers that small cohos are being stocked over the next two weeks and fishermen who catch them should treat them carefully.

"These young fish are the future adults, so it is important they be handled with care," he explained. "They are generally aggressive bait stealers and those anglers fishing with smaller baits, spawn and crawlers will hook into a few. Get them back into the water quickly so they can survive to become bigger fish of the future."

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