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Tuesday February 17, 2009

My most sincere apologies for being tardy with my fishing reports—it’s been a crazy winter for me. Home destruction and re-construction from water damage, as well way too much work, all got in the way.

But with that said…
Looks like the ice on most our inland lakes up here in the Traverse City area is firming back up. The overnight air temperatures have been falling into the 20’s, and sometimes into the single digits, which has been putting a Band-Aid, so to speak, on the hurt the warm rain put on the ice around here.
Lake trout
The lake trout scene’s been good on Elk Lake, with lake trout up to 30 inches taken regularly by my buds. The fish have been coming from about 90 feet of water, with most of the fish taking spoons tipped with meat. The average size laker taken has been in the low- to mid-20 inches.
The steelhead bite was difficult over the last week or so as the rivers around here had been blown out by the rain and snow melt off… But that’s also brought in a few fresh fish into the systems and melted off the ice that was covering them.
The Boardman River’s seen a fair amount of fresh steelies. This time of year it’s wiggler and wax worms on a tiny jig, drifted with the currant through the deepest, darkest holes, which produce best. And there’s been a fresh flush of fish that have made their way into the Big Manistee River. These fish are still mostly hanging out in the lower sections of the river. The aforementioned baits the best thing going this time of year, too.
The walleye bite’s really picked up on the inland lakes since the warm spell, especially anywhere near a river or stream where they spawn. Lake Bellaire’s been producing fish as well Long Lake. Hit the flats in 30 feet or less near inlets (but not too close to) as fish migrate towards their happy spawning grounds. The bite’s been good on both Jigging Raps and spoons, such as Northland Buck-Shot Rattle Jigs and Lindy Viking Spoons, all tipped with part of a minnow.
And as a better-late-then-never report: I spent a couple days of the weekend of February 6 through 9 on the ice of Saginaw Bay for walleye. The first day (the 7th… the start of the great thaw) I went 8.31 miles off the town Sebewaing (basically a  couple miles south of the Spark Plug) where we landed a couple nice fish. We also had several other fish come up to the bait without striking, all in 24 feet of water.
The second day was off the Port of Linwood (slightly north of) where we went about 4.5 miles out, to water in the high teens. We had to move a couple times but ended up catch a few walleye almost directly east of Linwood.
Both days out the walleye wanted spoons tipped with a chunk of minnow, worked aggressively, over body-lures, such as Jigging Raps and whatnot. One guy in my group, Don Leuenberger, landed a 13.425-pound monster walleye on Saturday, Feb. 7, which landed him first place in this year’s “Shiver on the River” walleye contest. (See for Mlive’s article.)
Although I haven’t been out there, it sound’s like Saginaw Bay’s starting to refreeze after the thaw. By the time I left there on Tuesday, Feb 10, the shoreline was melting off fast and it was getting difficult to get onto the bay. For the most up-to-date reports, contact Frank’s Great Outdoors,, 989-697-5341.
Well, that’s all for now. As always: BE SAFE ON THE WATER!
Dave ~ WildFishing

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