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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it just me or are the numbers of fish drastically down? I'm not even seeing any steelhead. Norm cold years are the best cuz fish don't want to get in the current, ice blockage ect. Best time to find those circling pods of chrome. Hope it's just an off year and not the new norm. It will nev be like the good ole days, but darn give a few fish year at least. Off year on the surf last fall too. Anyone else seeing same thing?
 

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I was wondering how that was going. With the mild winters, we haven’t tried in a couple years. Looking like it would be a good year for chasing chrome and browns through the ice. However, I’ve usually gone later in the season. I hope they show up for you soon. Do you have better luck with spawn or minnows?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't norm get them to bite. Just seeing them down the hole does it for me. I have my best luck with a pale cream color hair job (jig stupid auto correct) with a waxie. Spawn works if it's the good stuff. If the wigglers are big just a #10 hook and bb shot. They tend to be up shallow so no weight is needed. Juvenile fish will hit a live minnow hard. Adult fish will hit a live minor but it's not their first choice. Sometimes u may see an individual fish for days before it may hit. West Mi is not the best place for these fish. I just live here. East side has the best. Harbors freeze solid, no current, no river to shoot up. They get way more fish if you include Brown's and salmon. But it's fishable on west side too, if u can get out during cold spells. Or just wait for a cold cold year and hit it during the thaw. Gets noisy that time of year tho. Used to get cold winter's every year when I was a kid. One of the best places on west side is harbor springs, altho it's not a drowned river mouth. The mouth of bear creek petosky used to be full before the pier was put in to divert water away from docks altho I'm sure they are still there. Not even sure if they let u fish it no more. A hidden gem was the docks in Elk Rapids. If it freezes. It used to. But only used to be one row of docks. Used to fish off the docks early spring too. But again, not sure if it's alowed. Rich people tend to "not want to look at" the lowly people like us who make this country run lol. Lots of places up the whole west side.
 

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I hear you in the east side harbors. We have had good luck there, for reasons you explained. But we keep seeing icefishing shows in Milwaukee, and they are killing the trout through the ice in the harbor. I know they stock it differently. But I read our stocking reports and we dump plenty of fish(browns, steelhead) on this side of Lk MI, at least enough for there to be fishable Numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I hear you in the east side harbors. We have had good luck there, for reasons you explained. But we keep seeing icefishing shows in Milwaukee, and they are killing the trout through the ice in the harbor. I know they stock it differently. But I read our stocking reports and we dump plenty of fish(browns, steelhead) on this side of Lk MI, at least enough for there to be fishable Numbers.
We do stock, but the fish run up the big rivers in fall. In harbors they swim in circles staging (Atlantic's come in to feed). We get a warm up and they shoot the river on the west side. Plus with west wind, we don't get good ice near our rivers unless it's a drowned rivermouth lake, so the circle they roam is very large. Plus there is more boundary structure in harbors which dictates the path of their circle. Just not too many harbors like that here. At the mercy of cold weather to push drop backs, back out to lake. Cold weather also makes them stage up outside the current till it warms up. And those fish will shoot the river as soon as it warms up above freezing a few deg or more. And when sub zero sets back in a few days again, the fish will stage back up, swimming in circles waiting. Again, in a harbor, they have nowhere to go. And instead of the fish disappearing when it warms up (up the river) they just start feeding with a metabolism boost from the warm up. Trick is to find a place, where fish have no place to go, where there is good ice. Not too many of those places here on west side. Prob why harbor springs has consistent numbers of fish once there is ice. Prob why Elk Rapids, Bear Petosky was so much better, the river there is very short, and fish don't go far before they turn back to stage and wait.
 
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