Fishing has slowly been improving since the beginning of November. Rain has worked its way up and down West Michigan and this is what is bringing fresh groups of steelhead into our river systems.Continue reading
Tough Conditions Right Now
Right now, on the rivers we fish, they are either too high and dirty or too low and clear. All of this makes steelhead fishing challenging. With that said, here’s the latest from the frontlines.Continue reading
Fall Is Here
Fall is here, the smallmouth and pike bite continues to be good and the salmon have arrived. Here’s the latest from the frontlines on the Grand River and it’s tributaries.Continue reading
Welcome to September and the beginning of the Fall. The Grand River and its tributaries are in great shape and morning water temps have dropped to the upper 60’s with day time temps in the low 70’s. Here’s the latest from the frontlinesContinue reading
Grand River Fishing Report
The Grand River is in fantastic condition, low and clear to slight stain with temps in the mid to upper 70’s. Here’s the latest from the frontlines and all things Werkman Outfitters.Continue reading
And The Beat Goes On….
After a deluge of rain a couple of weeks ago, the Grand River has come down nicely with almost perfect stain. As long as we don’t get any major rain events, things are setting up nicely for a banner next two to three weeks. Here’s the latest from the frontlines of the Grand and its tributaries.
A few weeks ago the Grand River hit flood stage as a result of the watershed getting 6+ inches of rain over two days. Just because the Grand was blown out, didn’t mean we stopped fishing. Once the rains subsided, we rerouted to the southern tributaries to chase smallmouth. As the rivers have continued to drop, the fish have continued to come to the dinner table.
With the high water we’ve been using streamers and spinners to cover water. Those clients that cast right too and almost on the structure have been rewarded with solid fish….but that’s the key, you need to get right up tight to the structure. If not, you’ll miss the opportunity. If you’re new to fishing, just listen to the guide and don’t be afraid the get hung up. If you do, we’ll get you unhooked. Eventually, you’ll make the cast that hits the zone and you will be on one.
As we’ve always said, you don’t need to travel hours north to have have a fantastic fishing experience. With that said, we spent some time with Rachael Ruiz from Eight West showcasing the Grand River. Take a look.
I cannot say it enough, the next two to three weeks are shaping up nicely for some really good fishing. If you’ve been putting off giving us a call, now’s the time.
Capt. Tom Werkman aka "The Old Man"
After an unusual start to the spring, as a result of wild temperature swings and little in precipitation, the smallmouth are becoming more predicable and we are finding them in their usual summer places. Here’s the latest from the frontlines on the Grand River and its tributaries.Continue reading
Things Are Getting Better….
After a slow start to the spring smallmouth and pike season, fishing is improving on the Grand River and its tributaries.
Water temps are now consistently in the low to mid-sixties and should only get warmer with the near term forecast. The Grand is currently at it’s mid-summer level and is slightly stained. This can provide for some excellent fishing opportunities as the spawn winds down and the fish start to move into the deeper holes and stretches.
In order to get fish to net, we’ve been having to mix things up on a daily basis. It seems one day they want bait, while next day they want an in-line spinner and we are definitely maximizing the bite windows.
For those of you that follow our adventures, “The Old Man” dropped “The Kid” off at the airport last week for his annual pilgrimage to Alaska. Each year he guides on the Naknek River for Naknek River Camp and Katmai Trophy Lodge. Max will back November 1, just in time for the start of the fall steelhead season. If steelhead is your game, book early as we tend to fill up fast.
Hey, summer is a great time to get on all the smallie and northern pike action. Warm weather, no crowds and we have the river pretty much to ourselves. Give us a call, book a trip and get on our calendar. Come and enjoy all that a Michigan summer has to offer.
- Tom "The Old Man" Werkman
Grand River Fishing Report
Spring has definitely arrived in West Michigan and it almost feels like summer. With said, the steelhead fishing is quickly subsiding on the Grand and the other rivers we fish.
We find ourselves quickly transitioning to smallmouth and northern pike. For me, this is the best time of year to fish, no crowds, warmer temps and a lot of actively feeding fish.
Water temps are in the upper 50’s to low 60’s on the Grand. This means that whatever steelhead are left the system, they’ll quickly spawn and beeline it back out to Lake Michigan. Both Max and I would like to thank all those that booked with us for the spring run. Here are just a few highlights.
With the current water temps, we are starting the see both the smallmouth and pike activity picking up. Many of the fish we have brought to net have been found on the shallower flats, where they are actively feeding. Try using inline spinners in #4 and #5 blades in the colors of resident baitfish. It’s a little too early for creature baits, although you can’t rule out a bite or two.
From here on out, the warm water bite will only continue to get better. The pre-spawn smallmouth bite will soon be in full force so give us a call to get on our spring, summer and early fall calendar.
Captain Tom Werkman
Pike Fishing The Grand River
Of all the fish I like to fish for, my favorite is the northern pike on the Grand River. Pike are known by many names such as “The Wolf Of The Water”, “Hammer Handles”, “Snot Rockets”, “The Tax Man” and the list goes on.
I understand that for some anglers, they despise having one hit their lure and for good reason. If they don’t destroy your lures, they will sure mess it up, probably to the point where you can’t use it again. Plus, they can be a bloody mess. With that said, when I run guide trips, of all the warm water species we fish for, the one clients want to catch most, is the northern pike.
Northern pike have a single dorsal fin with light colored spots on a darker body. The upper half of the gill cover and entire cheek have scales, and five to six submandibular pores (underside of lower jaw). The northern pike is a member of the Pike family (Esocidae), with its cousins the muskellunge and grass pickerel.
Northern Pike Habitat
Northern Pike are commonly associated and prefer the weedy shallows of both the Great Lakes and inland waters. In rivers, they are often found around log jams, fallen timber, slackwater and weed lines next to drop-offs.
Depending on the time year they are be found in the deeper slack sections of the river or the shallows. Two of the largest pike, that clients have landed on the Grand, where in less than 3 feet of water, with one of those pike exploding out of the river like a tarpon.
They prefer water temps from 40 degrees up to 72 degrees. Anything above 72 degrees, the fish start to get stressed and we tend to avoid specifically targeting them.
The ideal temp for big northern pike is when the water temp is under 65 degrees. This typically coincides with the spring and fall months on the Grand and its tributaries.
Life Cycle of the Northern Pike:
Pike in the Great Lakes region spawn in the shallows in April or May, right after the ice leaves. As a result of their eating habits, young pike grow rapidly in both length and weight. Females become sexually mature at age three or four with males at two to three years. Beyond sexual maturity, pike continue to gain weight, although more slowly. Northern pike have an average life span of six to eight years, with some living as long as 15 years of age.
In order to protect Northern Pike, while they are their most vulnerable, the Michigan DNR does not allowed them to be taken from March 15 – the last Saturday in April in Michigan’s lower peninsula’s inland rivers and waters. There is an exaction to that rule and that is the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River and Detroit River.
Diet of the Northern Pike:
About 90 percent of the pike diet is small fish. However, they are more than willing to supplement their diet with any living creature their huge jaws can surround. Those include, frogs, crayfish, waterfowl, rodents and other small mammals. Their preferred forage fish are yellow perch, sunfishes, minnows and suckers.
Fishing for Northern Pike:
Pike can be taken on live bait (primarily large minnows) and all manner of artificial lures. They can be caught either by trolling or casting. Large diving or topwater plugs, spoons, spinner baits, flies and the red and white Dardevle all produce.
Some of our favorites are Mepps #5, double willow bladed spinner baits in white, X-Raps and large flies in baitfish patterns and colors.
Pike are not leader shy and because of their sharp teeth, therefore, we recommend the use of wire leaders or 40 lbs mono or greater leaders.
If you handle a pike remember that they have teeth in their gill plates and they can easily leave a mark on you.
Northern pike can be some of the most exciting fish to catch. While the fight is not like that of a steelhead or a salmon, they provide a lot of excitement. The boat can go from silence to violence in a nanosecond. So if you want to get on “the wolf of the water”, then give us call to book your tip.
Capt. Tom Werkman