Water, fishing heating up
Written by Muskegon Chronicle   
Thursday, 27 April 2006 18:39

This could be an exciting weekend for area anglers as Saturday is opening day for pike, walleye, trout and the new catch-release bass on all inland waters. Fair to good walleye action continues to be found from the Coast Guard station out to the 35-40 foot depths be-yond the Muskegon breakwater arms.

Most of the walleye taken around the breakwater arms are coming on body baits trolled behind planer boards. Try casting Countdown Rapalas from either side of the White Lake Channel as a mixed bag of walleye, pike and an occasional brown trout are being taken. Again, the evening hours have been productive. Drifting with a crawler or leech can work well.

The upper Muskegon River between Pine Street and Thorn-apple is a good choice for opening day of trout season as good numbers of rainbows and browns in the 12-16 inch class, along with an occasional trout up to 18 inches, are holding in areas where there is a break in the current. A few fish will be taken on fly presentations, but bait, such as minnows or worms, produce the better action.

In addition to the rainbows and browns, there are still a fair number of steelhead upriver that are still on the redds.

Carleton Creek, Cedar Creek, Stony Creek, Martin Creek, the north branch of the White River and Mosquito Creek are also good choices for trout anglers.

Good panfish action continues to be found on most inland waters as pre-spawn bluegills are being taken at Snug Harbor on Muskegon Lake, Blue Lake, Black Lake, Duck Lake, Hart Lake, Twin Lake, White Lake, Wolf Lake and many of the bayous off the lower Grand River. Try fishing the 6-10 foot depths (best where there is a dark bottom) during the late afternoon. Jumbo panfish worms set 3-5 feet under a float work well.

Lake Michigan trollers have been taking a mixed bag of brown trout, salmon and a few steelhead. Most of the trout and salmon were being taken in less than 20 feet of water. Try fishing shallow water off Mona Lake as some fish have been taken between the sand bars. Body baits have been working.

The early catch and immediate release season for bass starts Saturday on all area waters. Some of the better areas to try for pre-season bass include Hardy Pond, Bear Lake, Bruce's Bayou, and the water bays and coves on Muskegon Lake and White Lake.

Perch -- Last week the Lake Michigan "white-belly" action was good as several 35-fish limit catches were taken from the 60-foot depths south of the channel. Some nice catches were also being taken from the west end of White Lake near the channel with minnows. "Yellow-belly" perch are being taken on Muskegon Lake just west of the black buoy, off from the mouth of Bear Lake Channel and off the break at Second Street.

Crappie -- This is an excellent time to get after those spawning crappie. Some of the better waters include Mona Lake, Spring Lake, Duck Lake, Hart Lake and inside the marinas found on Muskegon Lake and White Lake. Try using minnows fished with a small jig.

Channel cats -- Good catches of channel cats weighing up to 14 pounds are being taken from the Grand River. Try using cut bait taken from an alewife or sucker. Mona Lake and the east end of Muskegon Lake are also producing channel cats. Few flatheads have been caught, but action will pick up as the water warms.

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