Ice fishing coming soon.

November 23, 2014

IMG_0900For the Love of Fishing is written by Sean McDonald.

What a quick change from fall to winter in a very short period of time. The deer hunters with shanty shacks with heaters were loving the cold and snow. Steelhead fishermen now have the rivers to themselves.  The lakes are freezing in our area and I do not know anyone who has ventured out on them in search of first ice bluegills. I am hesitant to even clear my driveway from the snow on it with hopes that the warm up and rain predicted for Sunday and Monday will make it all go away.

For the time being we are still catching steelhead on the Pere Marquette and Manistee rivers. The Pere Marquette is currently fishing better than the Manistee. I think it is because the PM has dropped in level and the fish are not as spread out. The best fishing on the PM has been from Indian Bridge to the mouth and the upper and middle sections are catching a few fish. We are holding the best numbers in the lower river.

Water temperatures on both the rivers has taken a nose dive and steelhead are holding in slow moving winter pools. With the water temperatures below 40 degrees it is important to work an area a lot slower than in mid-October when the water was in the 50s. Mid-October and early November fish are always easier to catch. A few casts in a run would produce a fish or you would move on to the next spot. The warmer the water is the more aggressive they tend to be.  Winter steelhead tend to be on the downstream side of the holes and in tail outs. Earlier in the year when the water was warmer they were near the front of the pools and runs right on the current seams. Fishing upstream of log jams is another good spot to try for winter fish.

The Manistee is still high and stained in level and they also have a lot more snow then we do in Mason County. The Manistee level has been above average for a long time and the steelhead seem to be holding in areas where we would not normally fish. Do not hesitate to try new spots near the edge of the river with some depth and a slow current. The fish on the Manistee also seem to be grouping up. You may hit several spots with 1 or none and pull into an oddball spot and catch 5. Both rivers are fishing better in the afternoons when the water warms up a degree or two. Remember to use courtesy when pulling your boat out at a launch on days below freezing. Let your trailer drain into the river by pulling out a few feet and letting it drain. If you pull up the ramp too fast you will leave behind a sheet of ice for other fishermen to deal with if not yourself the next time you launch there.

It is time to get your ice fishing rods out, change the line and sharpen your auger blades. It looks like we will have another banner ice fishing year. Portage, Manistee, Hamlin, Pere Marquette and Pentwater lakes will be the focus of the upcoming Winter in my ventures.

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