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John Semeyn and Don Hice show off a 1-man limit (2-gallons) of smelt from and hour-and-a-half's worth of dipping in the Carp River.

Lake trout, like this one caught by Dave Scroppo, are being jigged up from East and West Grand Traverse Bays.

All waters of the area
Thursday April 23, 2009

For the most part, the snows are gone here in Northern Michigan. There’s still a patch here and there in the woods, but that’s it. And the fishing’s been improving with the warming weather.


I got the chance to go smelt dipping last weekend (Saturday, April 18) in Mackinac County’s Carp River and had a blast. It was a quick-lived dipping session for me, though, driving up and back from the Traverse City area the same night.


The river was full of dippers and smelt. There were three of us that went up, we only had one net (long story), but still managed about 250 smelt—very close to Michigan’s new one-man 2-gallon limit. Had we each had a working net, we figure we could have gotten close to a 3-man limit. Three-man limit or not, we still had a blast.


As for steelhead here in the NW corner of the Lower Peninsula, it’s been an interesting year, to say the least.


The Boardman River, downtown Traverse City, really has NOT seen much of a run this season. It’s been a fish here, and a fish there, that’s it. And the Betsie River run has slowed with fresh fish, but the fish that were low in the system early on are still there, however, most are now up and over the Homestead Dam. If you have a drift boat, or know that section of the river for wading, you stand the chance of having a great day. The Elk River has yet to see very many fish. This is usually a later-running river, anyway. We’ll see.


The lake trout fishing in East and West Grand Traverse Bays has been pretty good this past week. Those who jig have been doing well. The lakers are still deep, though, from water 145 to 175 feet deep. Spoons, like Lindy Viking Spoons and Hopkins Jigging Spoons, have been have been good choices. (Tip: don’t tip the jig with bait as this will impede its action. If you want scent, spray it on.) There are whitefish being taken while laker fishing, as well.


If you are looking for white and red horse suckers, look no further than most every river here in the NW Lower, including the Betsie, Platte, and Boardman Rivers. The rivers have been invaded by suckers of all sorts this past week—good news for those looking to catch and can these fish, bad news if you like to bottom bounce for steelhead.


I’ll have more information after this weekend—the opener for nearly every species of fish here in Lower Michigan. Watch out trout, walleye, pike, muskie, and catch-and-release large and smallmouth bass... we’re on you way!




Dave ~ WildFishing

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