Conditions less than ideal for Michigan trout opener

IRON MOUNTAIN – Today is opening day of trout season on Type 1 and Type 2 streams in Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says things may get off to a slow start. Ice in the north and flooding in the central and lower regions of Michigan make for less than ideal conditions.

At The Sport Shop in Iron River, Don Ciochetto agrees.

“Frankly, it’s not going to be a good opener,” he said. “The water is going to be high, the water is going to be dirty and the water is going to be cold.”

Ciochetto said most anglers buying licenses from The Sport Shop are not planning on going out for the opener.

Tom Bean at Crystal Bait in Crystal Falls said fish will be sluggish in the cold water.

“Trout like the water temp to be about 50 degrees,” Bean said.

John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township said he’s starting to sell a lot of licenses to anglers getting ready. He also reported people still going ice fishing on Badwater.

There are still plenty spring turkey licenses for sale in the state.

At Crystal Bait, Bean said he’s seen a couple of decent turkeys harvested, weighing in at around 20 pounds.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said that, although many northern waters remained ice covered, warm weather and sunshine are in the forecast for the coming days. Song birds are signing. Turkeys are finally starting to move.

Prolonged spring conditions this year have produced an excellent maple syrup crop across Wisconsin in stark contrast to last season. Colder than normal conditions resulted in very high quality syrup being produced, which translates into quantity and quality. Backyard hobbyist and large producers have been wrapping up syrup cooking in the southern and central portions of the state over the past week and the season is winding down in the north with warmer conditions predicted over the next week.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:

Trout streams were flowing high and fast. Access will be difficult on most lakes and streams as snow pack is quite deep in places. The trout opener will be slow but look for good fishing in the weeks following as the ice melts and the trout move into the shallows to feed.

Keweenaw Bay: The Ice has broken up almost straight out from Carla’s Restaurant and the ice is gone from Keweenaw Bay Park. Shoreline ice in many places has started to erode. Some fishing out from the L’Anse Marina have gone in up to their knee’s after stepping into old holes that were eroding from underneath. Anglers have caught a few chinook, coho, rainbow trout or lake herring off the L’Anse Marina and up near Perch Corner. The smelt bite between Baraga and Bucks Marina slowed.

Falls River: Has rainbow trout but the bite was slow.

Marquette: Pack ice is still present along the shorelines between the Carp River and the Chocolay River. There are large areas of floating ice along M-28 about a half mile off shore. The Upper Harbor is ice free and ready for launching. The Lower Harbor could be ice free by the end of the week. The breakwalls were still dangerous due to ice cover. Catch rates for coho were not good however a couple steelhead were caught by those using spawn, crawlers, spinners or small plastic worms.

Chocolay River: Has steelhead although the big push has not yet occurred. Many are fishing here because most of the snow is gone.

Menominee: The bay is ice free however the marina was still iced in.

Menominee River: Walleye were caught upstream of Boom Island when jigging minnows. The shoreline between Stephenson Island and the dam was busy with shore anglers and those wading while casting rapalas. The Cat Walk and fishing platforms at the Hattie Street Dam were also busy with walleye anglers. Try casting different colored rapalas, jigging with zip lures or jig heads with and without minnows. Those looking for brown trout had no luck.

Cedar River: Is ice free. One boat trolling off the mouth had some difficulty with floating ice. They were targeting brown trout but had no strikes. Stoney Point was still iced in.

Little Bay De Noc: Even though much of the bay was still iced over conditions are deteriorating on a daily basis. All the rivers are open and flowing high and fast. Steelhead anglers have started but water temperatures were still cold. The Ford River launch is open but the dock is not in and the current is quite strong.

Big Bay De Noc: Is in the same condition as Little Bay. All the rivers are open but running high and fast. Perch anglers are hoping the ice will be gone as we move closer to spring fishing. At Fairport, the launches are ice free and open.

Au Train: The bay is still iced but movement of the ice is causing pressure cracks. Two feet of snow remains in the parking lot at the Brownstone launch. Some were fishing near the mouth of the river but no fish were caught.

Munising: Had very low fishing pressure as ice conditions have changed dramatically over the last week. Ice is present but no longer safe in the west channel. Sand Point had ice but there is open water along the length of the shoreline. While many areas still had packed snow and ice anglers need to be cautious of potentially large pressure cracks hidden under the snowfall. The best access to the ice is near the mouth of the Anna River but use caution around any open water. Catch rates for coho and splake were poor. A couple whitefish were caught in shallow waters near the Anna River. Access to Trout Bay has been cut-off due to shoreline conditions.

Sucker River: Has steelhead moving in. Deep snow will make it difficult for shore anglers navigating along the river.

Two Hearted River: Steelhead were starting to move in. Water temperatures are still cold so anglers are still waiting for that big push of fish. Access is very difficult right now unless you fish near the High Bridge. The snow was still two to three feet deep in places along the watershed.

Albany Creek: The access is still snowed in but those hiking down to the lake have caught some steelhead. They are wading near rocks and casting spawn or spinners.

Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers continue to target perch in Hessel Bay but the better fishing was in Musky Bay. Try minnows, wigglers and wax worms.

Carp River: A few anglers have caught steelhead on spawn. Look for the beginning of the smelt run now that the mouth of the river is ice free.