About The Fishing
Starting in late August Steelhead will start showing up at the mouth of the creeks in the early morning. At first they’ll leave as soon as the sun hits the water, as time goes by they will stick around the mouth
of the creeks longer and longer until the first cool rain in mid to late September. Then we'll
start finding them running up the creeks a short distance, the more cool rains the further
they will push up the creeks. The fish well settle into the deeper pools once the creeks freeze
up until a thaw and the fish will continue their move up stream again, along with fresher fish
just beginning their spawning run, until they spawn and begin their journey back to the lake.
The spawn usually will happen in the spring, late February thru early April, though I have
caught spawned out fish as early as late November. Eventually they all spawn and return to the
lake where they meet up with a lot of younger non-spawning Steelhead that congregate at the mouth
of the creeks in search of baitfish to feed on. Throughout the colder months Presque Isle Bay is also producing Steelhead. Though not in the numbers that we come to expect in the creeks, it still can be a good
option when the creeks are blown out from heavy rains or froze over from winter weather.
Spring time brings about other fishing opportunities. Ice is off the bay the lake may still
have some ice, depends on how hard the winter was. As the water warms around the end
of March Crappie and Perch move into the shallows to spawn and there are still some
younger Steelhead chasing bait around the bay along with some mature fish, they will
stay till the water gets into the mid 50's. The water continues to warm when it gets into the upper 50's the Bluegills and Bass get more active, both are being caught all spring but your numbers increase dramatically with the warming of the water. Bluegills will scatter and move off into deeper water a couple of weeks after the spawn is over. Bass will continue to produce good numbers all summer, but weeds will have a growing effect on how many can be landed.
How I Fish STEELHEAD
My weapon of choice is an 11 1/2 foot noodle rod with 4 pound test line, crowds have forced me to switch to 6 pound test. Maxima is my line of choice, the abrasion resistance of Maxima has brought me back to it after trying others time and time again. For hooks I like Eagle Claw style #42 size 10, 12 or 14
depending on the situation, at times I will use a Mustad style # 37460 size 14 with skein. As
far as baits go I rely heavily on natural baits although artificial definitely have their time and
place. Early on off the mouth of the creeks casting spoons and spinners can be productive if
the fish are not to spooky, if they are spooky power bait, egg sacks or large minnows fished
off the bottom with as little weight as possible or under a float. Once we start fishing up the
creeks its skein, egg sacks, minnows (live & salted), yarn, nymphs and streamers, depending on the conditions, fished most of the time with a float but sometimes without. When fishing the bay we can use spoons, spinners, jig & grubs, minnows and egg sacks or skein.
How I Fish Bluegills
I use 9 to 10 1/2 foot light action rods with 4 or 6 pound test line, depending on the situation. If longer casts are needed longer rod is better, as the season goes on weeds and pads get thicker heavier line is better. Early
on when we're fishing for Perch we will catch some big Gills on minnows, but grubs are the
way to go when we start targeting them. Bluegills will start schooling up off the docks and
piers then they start showing up outside their spawning areas. I'll start looking with a jig &
grubs (curl-tail, tube or hair), as the water warms I'll go to ice jigs & grubs (tear drop,
banana or ant) then to a fly (stonefly nymph, spider, ant or streamer). All of which would be suspended under a float, usually a Glo Bob pin float or a Rocket Bobber, they are both excellent when you have to make a long cast.
How I Fish Bass
As with the Bluegills we will catch a lot of bass on minnows early on fishing for Perch.
When we start fishing for them in earnest its plastic worms most of the time, my worm of
choose is Zoom. In the colder months I'll use the smaller models like the
Swamp Crawler or Finesse Worm as the water warms I'll throw in the
bigger Trick Worm. Zoom is a softer plastic worm than most which makes
it easier to set the hook with the light action rods I like to use. The rest of the time I'll mix in
spinner baits, tubes and stick baits. Again my rod is the light action 9 to 10 1/2 footer; I'm
using worms with little or no weight so the light action allows me to get it out where I need it.
The last couple of years I've been working on a summer program that has produced some nice Smallmouths and Bluegills on a fly and grub combo fished as a dropshot rig.