Walleye fishing continues to be excellent on Saginaw Bay. This is really turning into something special, as there seems to be an incredible number of fish in the Bay this year. Every trip produces a good number of undersize fish, which bodes well for next year’s fishery as well as providing a lot of extra action this year. If you have kids, there is just no better time to get them out fishing! Most of the fish going in the fish box run from 1 1/2 to maybe 3-pounds–just ideal size for superb table fare.
Nightcrawler harnesses are the main program, and take plenty of crawlers. I plan on at least 10 dozen and it’s a “best buy” if purchased in bulk packages. Keep a bag or two of the biggest size Berkley “Gulp” artificial crawlers handy just in case the real ones run out. Active fish will readily hit these as well most days. They come in various colors, but the “natural” seems to work well for us.
Fishing seems to be good to excellent all around the bay! W e’ve caught fish as deep as 34 feet of water and as shallow as 8-feet of water. The best way to find them is to look for any concentration of boats or cruise slowly while watching the sonar (fish finder) for good numbers of fish in the upper 10-15 feet of water. These, we’ve found, are the most active biters. A good source of information can be had at local bait shops, marinas, and Frank’s Great Outdoors “Fishing Hot Line” (989/697-5341). If you go out of Linwood, stop and see Doug at Linwood Sporting Goods right down town or give him a call at (989/697-3825).
Walleye seem to like a slowly presented crawler so aomewhere from 1 to 1/2 mph is a good bet. We do a lot of experimentaion some days with the COLOR of harness blades, finding some colors are far more productive than others. Also, when first setting up to troll, stagger the baits at different depths. (Naturally, in shallow water that isn’t necessary, as a 1/2 ounce in-line weight 18-20 feet behind an in-line board is going to get the job done). We like to stagger lines from 20 to 60 feet back behind the in-line boards for starters, but as a general rule when fishing deeper that 20 feet, somewhere between 30-45 feet back will end up being the routine of the day–at least right now anyway.
TODAY’S TIP: Make certain your marine radio (you are using one–right? You can’t reach the Coast Guard on a cell phone unless they are on your caller list! And I doubt they are.) monitors channel 16 (Coast Guard) and weather channel 5 for advance warnings of severe weather. AND HEED THESE WARNINGS! A boater once told me he didn’t worry about bad weather because the Coast Guard would rescue them if need be. This may be true–if they can get to you in time! And even if they can, their mission is getting everyone back safely, which DOES NOT necessarily mean trying to save your boat as well!
Capt. Terry R. Walsh