Big Lake a hot spot for chinook
Written by Muskegon Chronicle   
Monday, 22 May 2006 12:28

Other than the rivers being high due to the recent rains, the local fishing action has been exceptionally good this week. But, as area anglers are well aware, volatile weather conditions can have a negative impact.

Those trolling Lake Michigan have been taking good-to-excellent numbers of chinook (king) salmon along with a few coho and lake trout. Most of the salmon have been in the 4-12 pound class, but chinook weighing up to 20 pounds have also been brought to the scale.

Some of the better action for the larger king salmon is being found during the early-morning hours, 15-35 feet down out in the 40-70 foot depths. Shortly after sunrise, the better fishing is often found in the 100-150 foot depths where the coho and lake trout are being taken.

Most of the salmon are taking spoons fished off the downriggers, but lead-core and Dipsys are also being used effectively. The color productive color patterns vary from one day to the next, but green dolphin, bloody nose and watermelon are among the favorites that usually produce.

Because large school of baitfish are still be found near the mouth of the channel and between the breakwater arms, chinook also are being taken by those casting spoons, especially off either of the channel walls at White Lake. Again, the early morning hours have been productive.

The Lake Michigan "white-belly" action has been hot for more than a week as many limit catches have been taken from the 55-foot depths off White Lake. There could be some large schools off Muskegon and Grand Haven as well, but few anglers have been trying because of the success off White Lake.

Traditional double hook setups using spinners and spikes have been working well, but mousies, wigglers, eyes and minnows can also be effective at times.

Congratulations go out to Steve Sherwood as he is in the process of having certified what could be a state record fish. Sherwood caught a 7-pound, 8- ounce white sucker out of the White River. The state record is 7 pounds, 3 ounces.

Speaking of large fish, catfish anglers are catching big flatheads. Fish weighing 24 pounds, 28 pounds, and 35 pounds, 5 ounces have already been brought to the scale this week and the odds are good that more will be taken.

All of the catfish were taken out of Muskegon Lake by those trolling large body baits (Rapalas) for walleye. It should be noted that flathead catfish aren't bottom feeders, so don't expect to catch one by using a "stink-bait" on bottom. These more aggressive cats target larger forage and have been known to inhale suckers weighing up to three pounds. If you're looking to catch a trophy catfish, this is a good time to give it a try.

The bluegills are coming back on the beds, so this is a great time to break out that fly rod and get in on the fun. These prolific panfish are also easily caught on wax worms fished 3-4 feet under a light float. Muskegon Lake, White Lake, Wolf Lake, the bayous off the lower Grand River and many of the smaller waters in the greater Twin Lake area are just a few of the good choices.

Crappie (spec) fishing continues to be good on Duck Lake, inside the marinas on both White Lake and Muskegon Lake and on Mona Lake. Small pinkie jigs, marabou jigs (white or yellow) and minnows fished under a bobber work well.

The walleye fishing has slowed in and around the channel mouths on both White Lake and Muskegon Lake. Most of the fish being taken are by those trolling body baits during the evening hours.

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