Steelhead may spawn earlier this spring
Written by South Bend Tribune   
Friday, 10 March 2006 10:05

Get ready for spring steelhead fishing. Warmer weather and rain is the perfect recipe to get steelhead moving in the river again and increase their interest in spawning. That spawning activity might start sooner this year, according to river biologist Rod Edgell.

"We're getting some reports from fishermen of spawned out fish and some steelhead that are already releasing eggs," the biologist said. "At this point, it's only a theory, but the warm winter may have caused the eggs to mature faster and could mean bedding activity could begin sooner."

Steelhead gather on gravel areas where they are susceptible to flies and livebait. After releasing eggs, the fish return to Lake Michigan where they spend most of the summer.

The spawning ritual usually doesn't begin until April, Edgell said. River water temperature was 42 degrees Thursday while 50-degree water tends to produce the most spawning activity, he added.

"But we expect to see some fish moving through ladders this week," explained Edgell. "We just began our videotaping at the ladder and don't have any evidence yet, but we suspect are moving."

Dick Parker of Central Park Bait in Mishawaka said some fish are being caught at Central Park and below the Twin Branch dam.

Walleye fishing on the St. Joseph River is improving, too.

While the best action remains below the Berrien Springs Dam, Mike McNulty of Midway Bait in Osceola said some fish are being caught above the Twin Branch dam.

"I'm hearing about some walleyes being caught around the Bittersweet and County Line bridges on minnows," said McNulty. "I imagine the other bridges upstream are producing as well. Right now, the fish are running small."

Trout and salmon fishing activity also has picked up around the Lake Michigan lakefront. According to Indiana Lake Michigan biologist Brian Breidert, more anglers are getting out and therefore more fish are being caught.

"Coho and browns were being taken from the Michigan City pier and harbor," he said. "Some browns have weighed close to 14 pounds while cohos have been running 16-18 inches or in the 2-to-4-pound range."

Breidert said crawlers, shrimp, and spawn fished under a bobber about 6 feet down has been the successful presentation.

Shore anglers at Burns Ditch have also been catching coho.

"The streams have steelhead in them for anglers to catch," Breidert added. "Small spinners, flies and spawn have been the successful baits. The water has been low and clear and will require some careful presentation to be successful."

Most inland lakes have lost their ice and panfishermen are doing pretty well. Greg Smith of the Trading Post in Edwardsburg said perch, bluegills and crappies are being caught from Juno, Eagle and Diamond lakes. Most of the mixed bag of fish are coming in 8-12 feet of water with minnows producing crappies and perch.

In Indiana, Lake Wawasee also was producing good crappies and perch in 6-to-8 feet of water.

You need to login or register to post comments.