Trout fishing season to start on Saturday
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Will the weather improve?
Warmer temperatures and less precipitation could help anglers have a better trout fishing opener this weekend. The first day of legal fishing for trout, walleye, salmon, and pike is Saturday, April 27.
“It’s a guessing game on what the weather’s going to bring,” said Jack Millikin of Skip’s Sport Shop. “They’re predicting pretty decent weather. That should help a little.”
Water levels are high on area rivers right now, and water temperatures are cold. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, water temperatures for the AuSable River were “near 40 degrees” last week.
Millikin said if the “water comes down and gets a little warmer” anglers may find more success this weekend during the opener.
“Spinners and live bait will work the best if conditions are cold,” Millikin said. “If we get into the 50s and some sun, it might pop a few flies.”
April 27 will also mark the start of fishing seasons for salmon, walleye, and pike on Lower Peninsula inland bodies of water. (As of 2018, the opening day of muskellunge is now the first Saturday in June, according to the Michigan Department of Resources.)
On area lakes, most of the ice has melted, but it’s going to be a while before water temperatures rise significantly.
“It looks like most of the ice is going to be off the lakes in another week,” Millikin said.
Because fish tend to be more sluggish in colder water, Millikin recommended trolling and jig fishing for anglers looking to get out on area lakes.
“Super slow troll or vertical jig will work best on lakes with the cold water temperatures. Three-foot vertical jig for walleye or about a half mile an hour troll. Lead head jigs with live leeches or artificial rubber bait with jig head should work,” Millikin said.
“We might have some panfish up in the canals in the lakes or in the shallows where the water is a little warmer,” Millikin said.
In 2014, the Michigan Department of Resources (DNR) changed its fishing license system, eliminating the “all species” upgrade and making all licenses good for all species. Licenses can be purchased online at Michigan.gov/dnr.
The current price for a Michigan fishing license is $26 for state residents.
Who needs a license?
“If you fish in Michigan you must purchase a fishing license if you are 17 years of age or older. If you are under 17, you may fish without a license, but you are required to observe all fishing rules and regulations,” according to the DNR.