Andy Streblow of Montague, Mich., recently worked the waters of the Grand River in northeast Ohio’s steelhead alley with guide Brad Dunkle of Toledo-based Wildwood Anglers and landed this robust steelhead buck. WILDWOOD ANGLERS
■ Lake Erie: What has been referred to affectionately as a “very odd spring” continues on the big lake, with anglers marking plenty of fish in some of the stained water around the reef complexes, but struggling at times to put fish in the box. Fishermen have been forced to abandon some historically productive early spring sites and seek out cleaner water, according to Bob Barnhart of Netcraft. “There’s a lot of moving around, since no two days are alike, even back-to-back days,” he said. “These fish are on the move, and relocating the fish is what guys are finding very challenging. It is really all about finding the right water — not dirty, and not super clear either.”
■ Maumee River: Anglers have had a good stretch of fishing this week to coincide with what has likely been the peak of the run. Most of the traditional spawning run sites have been producing fish, with the best action coming upstream from the Maumee-Perrysburg bridge, according to river watcher Joe Roecklein. He added that a few white bass are showing up in the catch as well. Author and river regular Brian Miller reports that the run of good fishing could be negatively impacted by a spike in the water level because of heavy runoff from recent rains. Miller said rising water will scatter the fish, while a drop in the water temperature is usually followed by a couple days of poor fishing. Miller said if rains stain the river and reduce the water clarity, anglers should go to pink, black, and chartreuse colored baits.
■ Walleye Tournament: The sixth annual Maumee High School vs. Perrysburg High School fishing tournament is scheduled for a Saturday morning start. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Rotary Pavilion at Side Cut Metropark, with fishing getting started at 10 and running until 1 p.m. The contest is open to all students, staff, alumni and friends of either school. The awards will be presented around 1:30 p.m. near the Rotary Pavilion.
■ Sandusky River: The transition is underway on this tributary, with white bass expected to be pushing into the river following the recent flush of rain, according to Bernie Whitt at Angler’s Supplies in downtown Fremont. The walleye run was already winding down, with smaller males making up the bulk of the catch. There have also been some excellent catches of crappies taken around the docks and in areas where brush is in the water.
■ Detroit River: Sylvania native and veteran guide Spencer Berman reports that there are fewer larger walleye in the river these days but still very good numbers of fish. Jigs tipped with minnows have been the go-to bait, with anglers finding success in the cleaner water when rain and wind stir things up.
■ Irish Hills: This group of southeast Michigan lakes provides some of the best springtime opportunities for bass fishermen and panfish anglers. Crappies are falling victim to small minnows or tiny twister tail rigs, once these fish are located in their preferred water. Blue gill fishermen will soon be on the lookout for clusters of spawning beds as the lakes warm and spawning activity increases. Bass anglers are focused on the shallows in anticipation of a big uptick in activity.
■ Ohio Strip Mine Lakes: Guide Corneilus Harris of Guru Outfitters relays that the recent run of warmer weather has elevated the largemouth bass activity. Harris said he has been throwing a Berkley Pit Boss as close to the bank as possible and allowing the bait to drop below the surface with a series of erratic twitches and stops. Big bass are blowing up on the baits with this technique.
■ Tip of the week: When fishing the walleye run in the Maumee River, finding the correct amount of weight to use is the single best move an angler can make, according to Netcraft’s Bob Barnhart. With too heavy a sinker, the bait loses its action and is prone to snag, while too light a weight will force you to lose contact with the bottom. “This is a hard thing to communicate to people, but it is vital to fish as light a sinker as you can,” Barnhart said. “You want to allow the current to give your bait all the action it needs.”