Saginaw Bay Area Fishing Report 3/15/2013

ICE OUT TROLLING IS KILLER

ICE OUT TROLLING IS KILLER

Saginaw Bay: Ice conditions on the bay and the river (Saginaw river is open) are deteriorating but those fishing near shore in a few locations are starting to get some nice perch. Palmer Road was producing perch in five to 10 feet of water and some walleye were caught in 10 to 12 feet. There was good perch fishing off White’s Beach in six to eight feet and off Cody-Estey Road and Newman Road in five to seven feet. Try minnows or minnow heads on small spoons. Catch rates were better during the week, too many people on the ice during the weekends. Those fishing at Bay City State Park reported seeing lots of walleye through the ice, but they did not bite. Anglers need to use extreme caution as the strong west winds have caused the sheet ice to break off and blow out about a mile offshore from the beach at the State Park.

On the east side, perch were caught off Tietz Drain in four to seven feet of water but the weekend crowds seem to shut fishing down. Anglers were ice fishing in the marinas at Sebewaing and Caseville but only small perch were caught. The shore ice is breaking up. Be especially cautious of the ice off Mud Creek and into Wildfowl Bay. Honeycomb ice can be found throughout the bay.

Saginaw River walleye

Saginaw River

Saginaw River: Had lots of anglers launching at Rust Avenue and catching good numbers of walleye down as far as Zilwaukee. Most were vertical jigging with spoons or jig heads baited with minnows or Gulp baits. The ramp at Zilwaukee is ice free. Those launching have caught walleye as far down as Cass Avenue. The ice in Bay City is dangerous and should be avoided. Water levels are rising and becoming more turbid after all the rain and snow melt. Anglers are reminded that walleye, pike and muskie seasons close on Friday, March 15 and will re-open on Saturday, April 27.

Tittabawassee River: Has high water levels and is over the banks at Midland. The high muddy water will make fishing very difficult. Before the rain, boat anglers fishing just upstream of Gordonville Road were taking walleye on a white twister tail or a spoon. Those launching off Center Street caught walleye near the M-46 Bridge.

Au Gres River: On the East Branch, Whitney Drain and the Singing Bridge was not fishable as it was still iced over.

Outer Saginaw Bay
 Au Sable River: Water levels are up and fresh fish are coming in from the big lake. Catch rates were good for those using wax worms up river or spawn down near the mouth. Those casting small spoons or body baits off the end of the pier caught steelhead and the occasional brown trout.

Tawas: Most of the permanent ice shanties have been removed from Tawas Bay, the rest need to be removed no later than midnight on March 15. Those fishing reported slow catch rates.

Tawas River: Has open water fishing again. Steelhead were caught on spawn.

Weekly Fishing Tip: Fishing Michigan’s piers & breakwalls
Michigan’s numerous piers and breakwalls offer great fishing opportunities throughout the year. Anglers often participate in this activity to target a variety of species, with trout and salmon being two of the most popular.

If you decide to partake in this type of fishing you’ll need a high-quality rod and reel. Technique-wise you’ll want to vary the depth and speed of your retrieves and consider fan-casting as opposed to casting perpendicular to the pier/breakwall.

There are lots of bait options to consider, including spawn bags with steelhead, trout or salmon eggs; live alewives; or night crawlers. You’ll also want a long-handled net close at hand to aid in landing your catch!

As always, take plenty of safety precautions when fishing piers and breakwalls.