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River steelhead anglers can’t get a break.

Just when the steelhead started pouring into South Bend and Mishawaka, heavy rains turned the river into a high, dirty flow.

All of this comes when Indiana opens up its free fishing day Saturday, April 20. State residents won’t need a license but all other regulations apply.

Prior to the rains, fishing had begun to improve. River anglers were catching quite a few steelhead while inland lakes fish were moving toward the shallows.

Any day now.

That’s the report coming from anglers and tackle shop operators who expect spring fishing to bust out next week, if not this weekend.

There already are signs of fish getting active. Die-hard anglers who have battled unseasonably cold temperatures this week have been catching some fish.

A few steelhead were being caught from the river, coho were taken along Lake Michigan pier heads, and crappies are making the biggest news on inland lakes.

Louie with a Falcon Lake Big 'un.Louie with a Falcon Lake Big 'un.ZAPATA, Tex. – I expect three things to happen anytime I go south on a working fishing trip.

  1. An unseasonably brutal cold front
  2. A stiletto-like wind
  3. Fishing success that falls well short of expectations.

Check. Check. Check.

As we noted here a few weeks ago, Travel Tender of Goshen is closing its doors.

On Saturday (March 30) it will conduct a huge auction of all types of fishing gear.

You will find thousands of lures, both new and antique, being auctioned off. Also, there are old trolling motor parts, old fishfinders, ice fishing gear, lanterns, new hard baits still in boxes and who knows what else the store has had in its back room.

The auction will be at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Here’s a link to the auctioneer who has listed a lot of the stuff being sold:


It’s sad to see the Travel Tender go out of business after serving anglers for 34 years. Ernie Bontrager carried a lot of quality tackle and had become one of this region’s best sources for hard-to-get bass lures and top of the line rods and reels.

Spring is really around the Corner. Honest.

Looking for a clue? How about the fact that a few steelhead have been sliding through the South Bend ladder.

Sure, they’re a few weeks behind. But with a little warmer weather to heat up the river, fish officials expect a big rush upstream that could help make up for the poor fall run of 2012.