Michigan Sportsman Forum banner

1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well guys here it is Feburary and is been bitter cold since before christmas. The rule for lower lake Huron is when we have a cold winter spring fishing is good. But also with the lake so cold for so long this winter its going to again be hard on the baitfish. So what do you guys think. Is fishing going to suck again throughout the summer like it did last year??? :( Or do you think last year was just a screwy year and things will be back to what we have seen over the last 8-10 yrs ??? I for one dont see things turning around for the lower lake this year. The lack of bait we saw last year didnt get a break from the winter this year and I think they will again have a bad dieoff. We have had for the most part pretty mild winters over the last ten years except for the last two and I hope I'm wrong but I'm not very optimistic about this coming salmon season.... Your thoughts?????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
773 Posts
Hey Dan,

It really hasn't been nearly as cold as it was last winter. And, this past December really wasn't too bad. The lake is still open water for the most part. Lake Huron Ice Cover Last winter, all of Lake Superior & Huron were froze over by early January. There's was talk of tons of minnows in the Harbors just after they froze over in early January so hopefully the bait will recover some. Time will tell. I'm hopen we might be able to get out at the end of March this year, hopefully the water levels start to come back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
I agree with Tech Rally. I dont think it has been a very cold winter at all compartively speaking. Sure its been cold the last month or so straight, but we had a very warm and rainy december, and its starting to look like above freezing temps may be a trend in the near future. Last year we were chasing indiana muskies on march 23rd, I think this year we will be on soft water before that.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
9,792 Posts
Well the lower lake hasnt completely froze over so if it contiues to get milder I believe things should be better.There are still minnows swimming around in the harbors underneath the ice also.Fishing last spring was good in the river for salmon and good in the fall also although the growth over the summer did seem do be stunted from the lack of baitfish.I guess time will tell spring fishing is only about 2 and half months way or maybe sooner.:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,345 Posts
I have a feeling, the numbers should be the same hopefully, the size will be same or even smaller.

I dont think the hard winter last year had that big of a toll on the bait as this did.

I have read about 6 articles on this little creature called Diporeia.

Here are a few of them:

http://www.heraldpalladium.com/articles/2004/01/13/sports/sports columnists/cogswell.txt

http://www.detnews.com/2003/metro/0312/18/d01-12418.htm

http://www.syracuse.com/sports/poststandard/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1069408684286153.xml

Since the late 80's their numbers have declined. From tons to nones. Biologist dont know why the decline is happening, but they do say that it is ironic that the zebra mussles came in the late 80's and that is when the decline began.

This is hitting all lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan).

Last years LOC derby fish in NY was the smallest in the tournaments 8 year history. The NY article I read about it said that there are very little 0-4 year old alwives. The ones they find are 5-year-olds. Larger/Older ones can survive the harder winters, but the larger/older ones have/had the most fat on them too. Alwives netted in L. Ontario were all starving.

No Diporeia = No Bait = No big fish.

Remember when you had to check your lines when you went through a pile of bait in case you snagged one. When is the last time that happened?

Or I could be completely wrong. 1999 & 2000 had some huge kings swimming around and that was only 4 seasons ago. It can go back and forth pretty quick.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,518 Posts
I don't know anything about Lake Huron but the colder the better for Lake Mi. The alewives do much better when the lakes freeze over and we don't loose as much water to lake affect snow can't lake affect when froze. After say this I'm ready for a thaw I've had enough cold and snow. Think spring.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,181 Posts
Those articles are kinda scary Mike. I wonder if its a cyclic thing. I know that when water levels drop, this gives the shorelines a chance to grow vegitation. When the lake levels go back up, the vegitation is submerged which then deposits organisms into the lakes to start the food chain. Hopefully this starts happening this year and maybe things will turn around.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
I have been fishing the south end of the lake for a lot of years and have found out that if the south end freezes over-the fishing is better in the spring. With cold water-you can fish this area longer-well into July.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I dont know, I'm not very optomistic. The bad winter good spring fishing theory has been around for along time but I think it all has to do with bait. If we get a mild winter we dont get a bad alwife dieoff and the kings dont have to look for more food like spawning smelt in shallow water. Salmon are just like you and I "they dont leave food to find food". They come into shallow water to find food. They leave deep water because the food has died in a harsh winter. I know thats just another theroy but its better than any other I have heard on the subject. If the alwife didnt have a good year last year and we have a bad winter this year yes we may see a few more kings in early spring. But with the fall off of the smelt in Huron now theres nothing for the fish to eat in shallow water either. Mike you are right we have not seen balls of bait that make your rods jump when you drive through them in around five years in the south end of the lake. Looking back over my records from the last ten yrs and records of several charter captians. Ill take a mild winter over a bad one every time. You may not hit as many fish in april but in the last 10 years the overall catch rates out of sanilac are alway better with a mild winter..... Take it for what its worth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
Check with Purdy,across the river and he will tell you about the difference in his net take between Ice and no Ice. The lake hasn't frooze over yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I had a chance to talk with a biologist at the Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor. He said that Lake Huron alewife numbers were down over 40% from last year according to research done this past Oct. Even more troubling was that he said a much higher percentage of the alewife's were young, and young ones have a lower survival rate over the winter. He expected that Lake Huron kings would be even smaller this year.

fwiw he also said that Lake Michigan ailwife pops were very good, above normal levels.

Learned some other very interesting stuff from him, but don't have time to post it right now....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,401 Posts
Who cares?!?!?!

Right now I'm just happy thinking about open water and launches again.

The hum of the rigger wires, the "put put put" of the kicker, the gentle slop of 0-1's on the side of the boat, maybe a Tigers game on the AM.

Yeah, that's what I'm waiting for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
I sure hope we have a better spring than we did last year. I t is nice to go up the lake a short distance and get into salmon. Several years ago I found out that fishing Manistee was much better than Lake Huron. The problem is that it is a 41/2 hour trip from here,plus the west winds. You may go there and spend your time on the beach. I chartered for 18 years both here and Manistee and had a lot more repete customers in Manistee than I ever did here. My best day in Lake Huron was 3 years ago on the 4th. of July fishing out of Sanilac. We couldn't keep the fish off the lines. We kept going in and calling buddies to come up and fish. It was one of those day's that you dream about. I don't know that I ever had a better day in Manistee, When this lake is hot it's hot!!!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,094 Posts
I think we should be able to get on the water much sooner then last year,lasts year winter was colder and the spring was wet and cold.hopefully we'll have decent spring this year.thats a bummer about the alewiefs in huron.this lk. huron guy might be heading west more this year then usuall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,069 Posts
You know what the strange thing is...with the thought that Huron's alewife populations are down and the salmon where much smaller in 2003, you never here talk about depleted numbers of Lake Trout.

I understand they have completely different lifecycles, but you would think that a decline in salmon numbers with mean a decrease in Laker numbers (both relying on the same food source).

I know Huron doesn't have the smelt population it once had; additionally, there is a high population of walleye that compete for the same food source.

Let's hope a freighter brings in yet another invasive organism....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
i fish off the wall in port huron in the spring. over the years the ailwifes always made a run throuth the st clair around may. last year i did nt see a run and did nt catch many fish. for the past five years like clockwork they ve been there. smelt have disapeared too when i was a kid i used to dip at pine grove park with my grandfather we would fill five gallon buckets that was 20 years ago. i fish in the same place now and i might see someone get ten if there luckey. i guess i ll see what happans this year
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
Also, regarding the ice cover. According to the images on the glsea site, there is slightly more ice cover right now than on 2/10 last year. Check out the previous 365 day animation. Last year the bitter cold lasted well into February. Lets hope things get and stay mild and maybe we can get on the water a bit earlier this year.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,181 Posts
Yeah Jason, if I remember correctly, there was still some ice in the harbor 2 weeks before the Fish-On tourney last year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,357 Posts
I like the theory that Trippin' has. Our Laker population "appears" to be at the very least stable. On numerous occasions last year, Lakers were caught with smelt, alewives overflowing in their mouths. I would assume that there is more to our lack of kings last year other than gorging mud chickens, but how much of a burden are Lakers putting on bait? Seems they eat everything in sight. It just seems like with the huge numbers of dollars that we spend to fish and the loud complaints about our Kings fishery, that something would be done. Is restoring our Laker population on Lake Huron going to draw people to fish, probably not.
One question that I would love to pose to a fisheries biologist, are Lake Michigan's fish genetically stronger because there is a larger percentage of natural fish, making them better suited to survive stressful enviroments? Just a thought.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,181 Posts
I agree with Capt Heavy, last year there seemed to be more lakers in Huron than I've ever seen. We trolled the shallows in the spring and the lakers were so thick we could not keep them off our lines no matter where we went or how fast we trolled. Don't get me wrong, lakers are fun and decent table fare, but if I had my choice I'd rather catch one of the other 4 trout.

The one thing I question, and I don't know if it has ever been proven, is the article I read that claimed Huron had more natural salmon reproduction than the other great lakes. I wonder if that is true??????
 
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
Top