■ Maumee River: The action picked up in the Buttonwood section of the river earlier this week as the water started to rise, with mostly male walleyes making up the catch, according to river watcher Joe Roecklein. There are a few white bass being taken, but with most anglers still using the Carolina rig, the focus is not on the white bass. Bob Barnhart of Netcraft said he would not be surprised to see the recent rain and rising water level bring a new push of walleyes into the river. The walleye bag limit returned to six on Thursday.
■ Sandusky River: Most of the walleyes appear to have moved out of the river, and the attention has shifted to white bass this week, according to Bernie Whitt at Anglers Supply in downtown Fremont. He said the anglers were “slamming” big white bass before the rain spiked the water level and muddied the river, but Whitt expects the Sandusky to settle quickly, making for good fishing over the weekend. Bright twister tails or minnows fished under bobbers are producing the most white bass.
■ Lake Erie: Pro angler Dan Stier provided detailed insight after winning last weekend’s walleye tournament based on the Detroit River by making a 37-mile trek across the lake in four and five-foot waves to seduce huge walleyes from the reef areas around North Bass Island. Stier trolled spinner rigs set 25-to-35 feet back, fishing in 18-to- 22 feet of water, and with his fishing partner he caught 18 fish over seven pounds in an hour. The key was a super-slow speed: seven- tenths to eight tenths of a mile per hour. Any faster, and the bite fell off, Stier said.
■ Inland lakes, reservoirs: When the rivers get flushed with rain, raising the level and staining the water, some of the savvy anglers move to the bodies of water less impacted by the weather. Things have warmed up enough for bluegills and crappies to be in the shallow areas and on the prowl. Wax worms on tiny jigs fished under bobbers are the first choice bait.
■ Ohio steelhead rivers: The recent rain has the rivers on the rise and the water temperature increasing. Guide Owen Murphy of Ohio Steelhead Drifters said he expects the steelhead to start moving back out into Lake Erie soon, with smallmouth bass making their way into the rivers to spawn. Murphy said a mixed bag of bass and steelhead is a certain option in the coming days. Streamer fishing with sculpin and leech patterns should be a good bet, according to Murphy.
■ Michigan steelhead rivers: The steelhead numbers are on the rise in the Au Sable and if the water continues to warm, the fish should be on the beds soon, according to MDNR. Steelhead are holding in the deeper holes on the stretch between the mouth of the river and the dam. Anglers are using spawn, wax worms, flies or combinations of natural and artificial baits. Steelhead fishing remains strong on the Little Manistee River, while fresh runs of steelhead are moving into the Pere Marquette.
■ Detroit River: Most of the large females have left the river, but the smaller males are still biting, according to guide Jon Bondy, who said the best walleye fishing has been in the upper half of the river, from downtown to the mouth of Lake St. Clair.
■ Lake St. Clair: The name of the game is smallmouth bass, according to guide Spencer Berman of Spencer’s Angling Adventures. The catch-and-immediate- release season opened last Saturday, and Berman said he’s finding smallmouth in 3-to-6 feet of water as they stage around hard bottom areas preparing for the spawn. Rattle traps and tubes have produced the most fish.
■ Irish Hills: The bluegills have turned on in the shallower water in the smaller lakes of the region, hitting on wax worms fished with small flies under slip bobbers, according to Zak Decker. The warmer days and warm rains should have the crappies and bluegills biting in Wamplers and some of the other larger lakes this weekend.