Spring has finally started to show its face in west Michigan and that means large numbers of steelhead are entering the river systems. Here’s our river report for March 12, 2020.
Water temps are anywhere between 38-42 degrees. These temps mean fish are on the move. Good numbers of chrome and dark fish are being caught which means this is just the first sign of our spring run.
Spawn and large beads have been bringing the most fish to the boat. Sizes and colors are all dependent on water level and clarity. Pink and chartreuse spawn bags with 5-10 eggs in them are the biggest producers. Fireball orange, chartreuse, and glow roe in sizes 8mm-12mm are the best beads from this past week. Number 4 hooks are what I prefer to run with for both bags and beads.
We are still targeting areas with 4-6 feet of water dept as well as transition water in search of moving fish. Transition water is defined as travel corridors or pinch points. These area are where you can intercept migrating fish.
This is the week when our spring run will start so give us a call to get in on the action.
Fishing dirty water can be a challenge. Use these techniques and you’ll find success. I’m not going to lie. So far, this spring on the Grand we have seen below normal temps with above normal precipitation. The Grand River watershed is the second largest in the state of Michigan and when it rains that means higher flows and dirty water. Don’t fear it but rather embrace it for the challenge. Just because the river is high and dirty doesn’t mean the fish stop eating. The smallmouth bass and northern pike that call the Grand home are use to living in these river conditions.
High and dirty water means targeting the feeder creeks and fishing tight to the bank and structure. We have been using size 10 X-Rap’s in white, orange and perch color. When retrieving, jerk them slowly while keeping slack in your line. Once the you have jerked the X-Rap 2, 3, or 4 times reel the slack and repeat. This way the smallmouth bass and northern pike can hear the rattle, have time to hone in on it and right before they strike, see it.
Once you pick up a smallmouth on the search bait, switch to dredging with a 1/2 oz bullet weight and 3/O hook with a creature bait. We have been having success on black. The bigger the creature and the slower the bounce along the bottom the easier it is for them to see it. With a 1/2 oz bullet weight bouncing off the bottom that will create enough noise for the fish to hear it coming in these high and dirty water conditions. Remember to cast up river at a 45 degree angle and then let it bounce off the bottom down until the line is parallel with the current. Reel it in and repeat. Be patient and pick the area apart using a grid as a template.
Don’t let high and dirty water keep you off the river. Embrace your fear of it and you’ll be rewarded.
X Raps are the name of the game in the Spring Lake bayous right now. This time of yearmthese lures have the best chance to elicit a strike from a largemouth bass or northern pike. Here is our fishing report for May 2019.
With the high water in the Grand River right now, we have switched to fishing the shelter of the Spring Lake Bayous. The gauge in Ada peaked at 14.5 feet on May 5 and has been slowly coming done. As of today, May 8, it’s at 12.9 feet. The river should be in decent shape this coming weekend, assuming no more rain. Remember, the Grand River is the second largest drainage system in Michigan next to the Saginaw Valley and it takes time for all that water to move through the system.
Water temps in the Spring Lake bayous have been ranging from 53 degrees to 57 degrees depending in the time of day. Water clarity is nicely stained and the weeds have yet to hit the surface. The water temp is near ideal for the northern pike. They are coming off the spawn and some look pretty beat up, so if you land one handle them with care.
We have primarily been using X Raps in size 10 on a medium heave rod with fast action tips with 20 lbs mono to create the best movement for lures. When retrieving, remember to jerk the bait as much as you can in an irradict way. The key is to keep some slack in your line as you jerk and reel. The more irradict the retrieve, the better the lure will elicit a strike. Use colors that are more natural with added orange in them such a Perch or Tennessee Olive Shad. This time of year the northerns will be in the weeds, between 3 to 10 feet deep. If you find weeds in this range, work the line.
The bass are in their pre-spawn mode and are in the 6 to 10 feet range. Normally this time of year you can count on starting to see some bass on beds. However, with the colder than normal temps this has pushed the spawn back. Once we start to get water temps consistently in the mid 60’s, bass will start showing up in the shallower areas.
The majority of the action we have been being with largemouth bass has come, again, on X Raps in size 10. When fishing for the Green Trout, use the same techniques as you would for northern pike. Use colors that are more natural with added orange in them such a Perch, or Tennessee Olive Shad as well.
Targeting bass with finesse fishing should improve as water temps rise, but right now it’s not producing the results we are looking for.
The northern pike action has been good and the bass action will only get better as the water temps rise. If you want catch these bayou bruisers then give us a call. They easily cork over an 8 wt or medium heavy rod and give the angler a nice fight.
With the recent warm temperatures in West Michigan spring is on everyone’s mind. With that, steelhead fishing is back. After a long winter of deep snow and polar vortexes the cabin fever can be broke by hitting the rivers. Here’s our fishing report.
After the recent flooding event in West Michigan, over the past few days we’ve been able to get out on area river to do some fishing.
Depending on the day, fishing has been good, but a lot of these fish are still dark, hold overs from winter. We have seen a few chrome ones mixed in, which is a sign that our spring push of fish is just about to arrive.
As the water slowly starts to drop and water temps start to rise into the lower 40’s, the fishing will be getting better and better.
Lately, we have been targeting both spring spots such as buckets and pockets behind good gravel. In addition, we are also targeting the deeper runs and winter holes. We have been finding fish in both areas but most are they are still in deeper runs.
With the first fish of our spring run showing up a lot of these fish have spawning on their minds. That means on thing, eggs. Try using 8mm and 10mm beads as well as egg flies. Colors such as glow roe, peachy king, and peach roe have been bringing fish to the boat.
In the higher flows like we are currently seeing, we like running a bit larger floats. 11-15 gram floats with a shot pattered to match the float accordingly. This will slow your drift down a bit more to give the steelhead a chance to see your presentation.
If you haven’t check out our short film on “Gifts of the Grand” here it is. We partnered with Experience Grand Rapids and Aaron Peterson Studio to showcase the environmental comeback and fishing opportunities that exist on the Grand. The film was shown at the Mountain Film Festival in Saugatuck this past weekend.
Remember to use caution while wading in fast water and while on gravel. Leave spawning fish alone to do their thing so they can make more wild steelhead for all of us.
The Grand River continues to run stained in the middle sections but it is coming down. Hopefully, if the rain can hold off for awhile, clarity should improve. Water temps were in the low 80’s this past week but with the rain we had last night and couple of cloudy days the water is now back in the upper 70’s
River traffic is next to nothing. As a matter of fact, many days we are the only boat on the water and only share it with a few bald eagles, osprey, king fishers, herons and some deer.
Grand River Smallmouth Bass on a Streamer
With that water being as stain as it is you’ll want to use streamers, articulated ones are working best. Color combinations include, yellow brown, orange and green. 300 grain sink tip on an 9 ft 8 wt with a 4 foot 10 lb. leader has been working the best to get the fly down to where the fish are. It’s a bit aggressive, and you may get lodge in some wood or rock, but it’s what’s producing right now.
Grand River Smallmouth Bass
Grand River Norther Pike
When stripping, use slow, irregular retrieves so the fish has time to see the streamer as it goes by. It’ll be difficult with the stained water but look for contours, seams and pockets to find fish. You may have to make a few casts before one hits. Remember, be patient, you want to cover as much water as possible and move as much water as possible to get the fish’s attention in these conditions.
As the day progresses toward early evening switch to poppers. Us a 4 ft. leader with floating line on a 6 wt with a fighting butt as your combination. Yellow and green poppers seem to be working the best. You’ll want to cast right up to the bank with these, as many of the fishing are tight up against it.
The Grand River has many different fishing opportunities for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and northern pike. At Werkman Outfitters, we take full advantage of that by chasing after multiple species using multiple techniques. So come join us on the river and fish different.