Big Lake fishing remains strong, Hex Hatch Soon

June 20, 2014

image-5For the Love of Fishing. A blog by Sean McDonald.

Fishing on Lake Michigan remains outstanding and it appears we are going to keep the salmon we have in our area for awhile. We now have alewives (baitfish) and cold water- the perfect mix for salmon. Last week the harbor in Ludington was filled with spawning alewives, a bit behind schedule due to the cold water temperatures. Local smaller tin boats were catching limits of salmon just outside the harbor along with a few brown trout. Offshore in 50-100 foot depths we are also seeing a good number of baitfish. Keep a look out for seagulls when fishing, the birds will tell you where they are at.

The winds keep changing almost everyday. A general rule when fishing out of Ludington is if the wind is from the north, go south, if the wind is from the south go north. When in doubt go straight out. The general rule has proven true for fishing kings so far this year.

Standard size spoons like a Yeck Lighting (made in Ludington) or Yeck Fireball have been taking most of the kings because of their smaller size. The vast majority of the salmon we are catching are 6-8 pounds. I think that fishing is so good for the smaller fish (3 year olds) that it may effect our catch numbers next year- but who am I to know- I am not the DNR.  There is also an 18-20 pound class of 4 year old kings in our area but not near as many yet. The larger 4 year old kings seem to be caught on flashers and meat rigs. I have been using herring strips from Familiar Bite and they are working very well. Familiar Bite only uses salt to cure the strips and does not add any oils or chemicals to their strips. We should see more 4 year old kings show up in our region just after the 4th of July.

image-6The Little Manistee River should also have a small run of kings head up it toward the end of June- if not for sure by the 4th of July. If the wind blows hard from the Northwest and pushes the cold water near the pier-heads some of the salmon will head into the river. I believe the Little Manistee has such an early push of kings up it every year because of the weir that will be put in place about the 1st of September.

Bluegill fishing on the smaller lakes is starting to slow down. Most of the fish are done spawning and will begin to head back to deeper water. Large lakes like Hamlin should be prime for spawning bluegills due to the large volume of water it takes longer for it to warm up.

Trout fishermen are waiting for the famed “Hex” hatch of our giant Michigan mayfly to begin any day now. On a normal year it starts about June 20. I have witnessed it as early as June 7 on a warm year. This is the Christmas morning for a fly fishermen in the midwest. The biggest trout in the river will start their annual two week feast eating off the surface at night. The focus area of fishing the hex hatch is normally around the Walhalla area on the Pere Marquette, the Free Soil area on the Sauble, the Irons area on the Little Manistee and the lower and mid sections of the Lincoln River.

If you have never fished the hex hatch it resembles somewhat of a “Snipe Hunt”. Hex fishing basics are head to an area of a trout stream that has lots of muck and silt that the nymphs burrow and live in. Sit and wait in a likely spot at 10:23 at night. If you see bugs flying and on the water and no fish rising to them move your location. You fish with your ears more than your eyes at night. Listen for a slurp of a big brown trout. When you find a good feeding fish the same rules apply at night as during the day. You have to “mend” your fly line to have a drag free float on your fly or you will not catch anything. Glow and the dark fly lines are great for seeing this. Bring lots of bug spray, a flashlight and a sense of humor for tromping around in the muck of a rivers edge. Funny things can ¬†happen at night in the woods, the stars are great to see and trophy brown trout are caught.

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