Lake Michigan South End (Early Ice Out)

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Portage, Indiana (Latest fishing report

Mar 17,15 Portage  & Pastrick Boat launches

Not good at Portage…..piers are under water at the boat launch.  However, the piers at Pastrick were up high enough where you won`t need boots to launch. The lake was the color of sandy clay . GOOD LUCK. The wind was a little much, but there where a few fishing the wall anyway!

Mar 15,15 Portage….. Burns Ditch

This was the maiden voyage of 2015. I knew I didn’t have any adults that could go with me on this trip, so it was me and my 10 year old. I had a report from a friend that they took limits at Gary Light yesterday, but concerned about making that run from Portage. (I’ve never done it in my boat) Especially with just my 10 year old.So we trolled four lines in and around the ice patches. It was pretty cool to be out there. When we turned the corner, I could tell there was alot of ice out west, so I immediately knew we’d be staying close to the ditch. We started in 20 feet of water and ran the shoreline between the mouth and the port wall, and then back to the mouth. No marks, nothing. We moved out to 35 feet, and trolled out to the port wall corner and came back in the same depth, saw more marks and probably bait in that area, but no hits. We pulled the lines (Two Dipsy’s, One Planer, and one flat line) and did some casting in and around the mouth at the mudline. My son is notorious for turning his spinning rod into a bird’s nest in little to no time, and that history held true today, so we trolled two flat lines in through the mudline for a bit, and then headed in. I did some casting around the water exchanges, but nothing. Several guys on the rocks. I never SAW a fish caught from 6-7 other boats, or shoreline guys.Guy at the dock had two, and one other guy when i first left the dock had one coho. I’m sure I could have made the run to Gary if I had drove in and around the ice, but not in that situation.

It was BEAUTIFUL outside and a great day on the water. They’ll be here soon. Water said 32 degrees on my fish finder.

Mar 12,15 Portage…..Burns Ditch
Report as of this morning is, all ramps open. Mouth of the ditch is still locked up. Good news/bad news!!!!!!

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So far it looks like we are going to get an early ice-out?

Mar 13,15 Report (Montrose)
I got out tonight on the lake front from 5:30-6:30pm and the coho were biting!
First fish came after 5 minutes on a XR08 in Hot Head. It was about 16″. Second fish came 45 minutes later and was much larger all around at about 22″. I caught it on a 1/4 chartreuse jig head with a grub. This one came unbuttoned right away and dove straight in the mud to avoid the paparazzi. No pics taken.Water had very good visibility and temps were between 35-36. On the concrete, accumulated snow/ice ranged from 0-7ft. There were patches without ice, but those were pretty muddy. Both fish were 3-4ft down. My retrieve was not slow by any means and I did very speed some with my cranking, but I wasn’t stopping or imparting any action with my rod.I’ve always thought 42 degrees was the magic number for prime time coho, but 2 per hour about matches my peak catch rates for casting with one rod. Either I got lucky, or the coho are here pretty thick. If they are here now in numbers, maybe they’ll stick around and and we’ll have a a few weeks or more of good action. Last year it seemed like they were only here for a minute.Hopefully this report helps some people and gives them the confidence to catch fish.

Once the ice breaks up trolling is superb! It’s the best time of the year for small boat owners to limit out on coho. Chinook, stealhead and some brown’s will also be around.  Often the secret to catching fish is to fish near the surface. Here the salmon find warmer water and baitfish . Although the water temperature is below the peak activity range for salmon (45-54 degrees) to feed, the fish sense the warming trend and become aggressive. High-flat lines and planer boards are the way to go for fast ice-out salmon action…..Small great lakes trolling flies w/flashers and  fish imitation lures like floating Rapalas work great! I recommend a slower trolling speed than used during summer months. The waters that warm the quickest will hold  marauding salmons searching for baitfish.  Coho Salmon strike savagely! Although, they run small, since they are just beginning to chow down on the food that make them fat later in the season. But what they lake in weight is more than made up for in fight.  On days when the lake is alive with baitfish, feeding gulls and coho chasing lunch, the action lasts up to an hour and if you are fishing when the frenzy occurs, the action is unmatched! The salmon will gorge themselves on baitfish and a few of the crippled ones will swim to the surface. This attracts Sea Gulls, and is a pretty good bet that the salmon are nearby. Be sure to troll in and around areas like that….. Savvy lake Michigan trollers know that coho salmon are not often in big schools during spring. So, it is important to cover a lot of water while trolling in an effort to intercept scattered pockets of fish.

Category: Salmon & Trout

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