The Blade Fishing Report: 4-18

The best angling information from area experts


■ Maumee River: As the water level has dropped, the anglers have spread out to most of the traditional walleye spring run locations, but the fishing has gotten tougher, according to river watcher Joe Roecklein. Anglers were dragging limits out of the Jerome Road stretch at mid-week, but by Thursday things had slowed considerably. Roecklin expects the weekend to be an indicator of whether the run has peaked, or hit a lull. Gary Lowry at Maumee Tackle reports that the water temperature was at 48.7 degrees Thursday with conditions continuing to improve and bright-colored lures producing the most fish.

■ Sandusky River: The water was a little high and quite muddy in mid-week and the angling success slowed a bit, but that water level change might have brought another surge of fish into the waterway, according to Bernie Whitt of Anglers Supply in downtown Fremont. As the river settles down and clears, he expects the walleye fishing in the Roger Young Park area to turn on this weekend. Whitt saw a few white bass caught this week, but not enough to indicate that run has started.


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■ Lake Erie reefs: Spring walleye jig fishing on and around the Lake Erie reef complexes is at its peak, according to Bob Barnhart of Netcraft, who fished the area in a recent tournament. He said that each place he stopped during the event the fish finder was loaded with marks, and that the trend of numerous big fish continues as many walleyes in the 8-12 pound class were checked in during the tournament. Trollers are also doing well in the area from G-can north to D-can.

■ Inland lakes, reservoirs: Until the mid-week cold snap, the water had been warming quickly, with perch spawning in full swing, according to Mike Wilkerson of the ODNR. There were reports of crappies being caught in the Lima area waters, and Wilkerson expects sunfish and crappie fishing to pick up soon throughout the region.

■ Ohio Steelhead rivers: Prior to the rain that hit Tuesday, the steelhead fishing had really turned on in the Rocky, Conneaut, Chagrin, Grand, and Vermilion rivers in northeast Ohio, according to Owen Murphy, a guide with Ohio Steelhead Drifters. He expects the fishing to pick up once the water clears, and in the meantime recommends big, natural-colored buggers and stoneflies as the best offering.

■ Michigan steelhead rivers: The Manistee is providing decent steelhead catches to those anglers fishing below Tippy Dam and bottom bouncing, floating eggs, or fly fishing, according to the MDNR. On the Pere Marquette, recent high water has made things difficult on the fishermen. Drift boats on the Au Sable have produced fish using spawn, body baits, flies, spinners, spoons and wax worms.

■ Irish Hills: The ice is finally off all of the lakes and as the water warms, expect the panfish bite to commence. Area angler Zac Decker reported that bluegills are being caught on Iron Lake, and that as expected, crappies are starting to bite on some of the other lakes in the region. “Things should get going here really soon,” Decker said.

■ Detroit River: The spring walleye fishery has finally turned on now that the ice has left the river, according to veteran guide Jon Bondy at his website. Bondy said there are a lot of large walleyes being caught in 10 to 30 feet of water while vertically fishing chartreuse or black jigs tipped with emerald shiners. Big fish up to 13.5 pounds have been brought in.

■ Lake St. Clair: Some of the docks are going in at the access sites on the lake, but fishing activity has been slow, partially due to the recent heavy winds and rough conditions, according to Mike Thomas, fisheries biologist with the Lake St. Clair Fisheries Station. The muddy water stirred up by the winds will make fishing difficult in the short term.

■ Walleye Tournament: There will be 117 two-person teams on the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie this weekend for the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit event. The two-day tournament is scheduled to start Friday morning. The public is invited to the weigh-ins, which begin at 4 p.m. daily at Elizabeth Park in Trenton.