By Louie Stout
Skamania Mania is off to a good start - bluegills are schooling and biting on the weed edges and a few big pike, bass and muskies are being caught as we head into another holiday.
Skamania steelhead fishing had been very good around the river mouths and shorelines of Lake Michigan prior to last week’s weather change.
It’s been pretty good in Trail Creek as well, and while a few fish have trickled into the St. Joseph River, the best fishing there is yet to come.
Trail Creek runs cooler and the hot weather has stifled steelhead’s interest in moving farther upriver into Indiana waters.
The Skamania are a summer-run species of steelhead that head into creeks and rivers during summer months and stay there until they spawn the next spring. The cooler the tributary water, the more fish that will migrate upstream.
Lake Michigan Biologist Ben Dickinson said his crew has been collected steelhead at the Trail Creek weir.
“We took 139 out of the trap today,” he said Wednesday. “And I hear fishing has been pretty good in the usual places in the creek.”
Dickinson said action had been good in the Michigan City Harbor at the pier and around the DNR building.
“It’s been good for about two weeks,” he said. “People have been casting spoons or floating livebait to catch them. Most are the 8-pound, 3 year olds, but I’ve seen some steelhead weighing in the high teens.”
Boat trollers have been doing well around the Trail Creek mouth and near Portage. Boaters venturing father out are catching coho, kings and a lot of lake trout.
The inland lake scene has been pretty good as well. There are still a few bluegills spawning on some lakes but the majority is hanging out around the first drop off and weed edges away from shore.
The three tackle shops we contacted all said that fishing has been pretty good on all of the lakes in their areas.
“Mostly bluegill and crappie,” said Bonnie Kelley of Kelley’s Bait in Lakeville. “It seems to be good on all of the lakes down here and I continue to hear good things about Potato Creek.”
Crickets, red wigglers and wax worms are taking the bluegills while minnows are catching the crappie.
Jim Housman at the Tackle Box in North Webster, Ind. said bluegill fishing is good about everywhere in Kosciusko County.
“The red ears are spawning on those lakes that have them,” he added. “I’m seeing some pretty good bags of panfish that are being caught.”
Housman said bass fishing has been good on Webster Lake for anglers fishing 10-inch worms around the weeds and swimbaits and Senkos fished over the shallower flats.
“A few guys are still catching muskies and Winona has been producing some nice walleyes on crawlers and leeches,” Housman said.
Brian Hensley at Clear H2o Tackle near Edwardsburg said red wigglers have been producing good bluegill fishing just off the weedlines.
“I’m also getting reports of spawning bluegills on some lakes,” he noted.
Bass fishing has been decent, added Hensley. Anglers are having the best luck with bottom bouncing baits.
“Some nice pike are being caught out on the deeper drop-offs,” he said.