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Great Lakes Steelhead & Salmon Amazing "Inland ocean" fisheries

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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-22-2002 11:04 AM
pmflyfisher fyi

As the DNR officer told me yesterday the salmon and steelhead have been in very shallow water and are ready to run. The time has finally come for the major runs to begin. Hope the charter boats left some for the river fisherman.

See attached gramd rapids press article link below. This is the first year of the reduced king salmon stockings in lake michigan started in 1999. Appears they are worried about the size of the runs which do appear late to me. If they are not hear next week on all rivers I say we have a problem.

Source : South Bend Tribune article

Lake fishing may impact river run

Tribune Correspondent

Have Lake Michigan anglers harvested so many steelhead this summer that the St. Joseph River run may be down?

That's possible, said Dave Meuninck of Bodine Fish Hatchery, and it's a big reason why he plans to close the South Bend fish ladder this weekend. Ladders are normally closed during the week and opened on Fridays for the weekend so fish can pass freely upstream. But not this week.

"We are significantly behind this year," said Meuninck. "Last year at this time we had counted more than 2,000 steelhead swimming through the South Bend fish ladder."

Hatchery officials are hoping to collect as many Skamania steelhead as possible over the next few days in an attempt to meet brood stock goals. Department of Natural Resources workers have collected 318 adult steelhead thus far and need another 382. The fish will be artificially spawned at the hatchery later this fall and the offspring will be stocked next year.

Low water flows and hot weather have delayed the steelhead's run into the St. Joseph River. Because it is lagging behind, Meuninck fears waiting too long could create serious problems for fish managers.

"The Lake Michigan harvest has been so heavy outside the St. Joe River harbor, there's some concern the Skamania migration may be below average," said Meuninck. "If so, that will put additional pressure on us to collect enough Skamania before Michigan's winter-run begin showing up in the river."

Meuninck hopes the cooler weather due this weekend will lure more fish into South Bend and enable his crew to open the ladders again by mid-week. The run was gaining steam on Thursday.

"We don't want to close the ladders any more than the fishermen, but the future depends upon it," he added. "If the run continues to grow, we should be done by mid-week."

Michigan officials noted several fish passing through the Berrien Springs ladder this week, including many coho and king salmon. Meuninck said coho and kings were appearing in the South Bend ladder and that those fish are being passed into Mishawaka waters.

Steelhead also were piling up outside Michigan City's Trail Creek in Lake Michigan, waiting to sprint upriver.

"Lake anglers are catching steelhead and chinook in 15 feet of water," Michigan City fisheries biologist Janel Palla said earlier this week. " If we get a good rain, the run should start."

On the inland scene, bluegill continue to provide the most consistent action on lakes and rivers.

"Lake fishermen are catching a lot of gills in both deep and shallow water," said Kevin Claire of Lunker's. "Some big fish are being taken, but you have to sort through the little guys to get them."

Claire noted he caught a nice mess this week on black spider fly around lily pads, yet fellow anglers report catching nice gills in 25 feet of water.

You're going to get a mixed bag of sizes on the St. Joseph River, too, said Ray Bradford of Midway Bait and Tackle in Osceola.

"The bluegills are in the brush along the river banks," he said. "The little ones seem to be up near the top of the brush, while the bigger fish are being caught in deeper water around the edges of the brush."

Red and pink wigglers and wax worms are producing best.

Bradford said walleye and bass are hitting Producer crankbaits on the river, too.

Goose season

Michigan's regular goose season is open now through Oct. 6 in southern Michigan. Indiana's season doesn't open until Oct. 12.

Tribune Correspondent Louie Stout:

Grand Rapids Press- Salmon Returns
09-22-2002 10:55 AM
pmflyfisher Yep, very nice day in harbor and dunes country, tad to windy, could not use my favorite casting position, unless I wanted to go into 20-30 MPH wind gusts. Think I will do it again this coming friday should be better with this cool weather and rain. Can't wait.
09-21-2002 05:09 PM
umm hmmm.....

Leaves are falling, apples are being picked, days are becoming shorter....salmon are in and fall is here.

Nice to hear you hooked into some Great Lakes chrome.....

Ahhh, I can see it now!
09-21-2002 02:00 PM
Western Michigan

Hit a western michigan river mouth and the lake michigan surf yesterday. It was raining and windy all day. Tough fishing the spey with sink tips in that wind. One gust took my hat write off into the lake michigan, got lucky and got it before it sank!

Stripping streamers, lost one on the hook up. Finally connected with a bright 15lb king. Nice fight, let him go.

Talked to a Michigan DNR creel census officer. She indicated that the runs are late and slow this year. Lake water temps are still in high 60s. When the kings and cohos come, there should also be alot of skamanias with them.

Could be great fishing coming soon.

All in all, a nice relaxing quiet day on Lake Michigan. Brought back some fresh michigan corn, apples, plums, flowers, etc. No other fisherman to be seen either (priceless).

Trees are really starting to change, autumn is here.

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