Well, it has been awhile since I have a fishing report, so I will recap the winter and let you know what is going on now.
Warmest winter on record left us with little ice on the Bay this year and what we did get tended to move around a lot. I never sent out a report or called many people about the “whitefishing” because ice conditions were so bad. We were forced to stay in the bays where the ice was locked in instead of going out to the more productive waters, so the fish had to come to us instead of the other way around. We caught fish, but it was a slower winter fishing for all and you needed to be very careful when you ventured out. Had a few friends that had to be rescued when they ventured out onto unsafe ice. Several idiots more than once, but we did not lose anybody. Numerous shacks were lost, along with 4 wheelers and a lot of fishing gear, a few cars and trucks, but thank God no bodies. I will never call you to come under these conditions, so you got no calls last year from me. I will let you know next year if it is normal and we can drive right out to the shacks.
March was exceptionally warm, but April has been cooler, so we are only a couple of weeks ahead of a normal spring now. But with the warmer than normal winter and early ice melt the water temps are warmer than a normal spring, so:
Walleyes…….Really good early bite just after ice out, then it cooled off post spawn, now they are biting really good again. The limit is only one per person until the opener next weekend and the best bite is after dark, but if your dedicated you can catch that one in a lifetime walleye over 10 or 12#s.
Brown Trout…..We have been struggling to catch Browns for years. We believe it is because the DNR planted many more walleyes these past years. The Browns are planted just about the time all of the walleyes move close to shore pre-spawn, so the predation rate has been huge on these little guys. The DNR is now planting these Browns deep water from a moving boat to spread the fish out. This means the birds and predator fish don’t just step up to the buffet line, they at least have to work for there meal. Seems to be working, because there were more Browns caught this year than in the past several. Baileys Harbor held their Brown Trout tournament this last weekend and the winner was 31#s. I don’t know the quantity of fish caught, but this is a huge Brown!!
Whitefish…..Typically our fish of choice through the ice, but decided to try them from a boat this past week. Was very surprised at the quantity and quality of the fish we caught. We use the same gear and tactics as with winter fishing and surprisingly to me it was easy to see the bite and the fish pulled harder than in winter. I will be fishing these more this week to see if the bite continues or see if the fish are moving to. I will let everyone know on this fishery in a week or so, have some guys coming over this weekend and I think we will try fishing them from the big boat.
Salmon…..As I stated earlier the water is warmer than normal on Lake Michigan. Normally we would be seeing water temps in the 40s close to shore and still in the 30s in deep water, but it is already in the 40s on the bank reef and beyond. Several boats ventured out and did really well this past weekend. Is it a fluke or are the Chinooks here in numbers this early? We will be fishing the Lake more this week also and I will certainly let everyone know what is going on. Might be the year where you can fish an early trip with record catches and come back up for your normal trip a second time. Pictures and numbers will be sent as soon as we get back from our first trip later this week.
Tight lines and light winds to you an yours………Capt Bill