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Bite Me! Jigheads

By Louie Stout

Timing is Everything on Quirky Simcoe Smallmouth

Newmarket, Ont. – JP DeRose peered over the nose of his 20-foot Bass Cat bass boat and pointed to a spot on the bottom in five feet of water.

We had been fishing for a couple of hours without a fish.

“There’s a big one next to that rock!” he said anxiously. “Throw your bait on the shiny spot next to the rock.”

I pitched the Ned Rig to the spot, lifted the rod tip and felt nothing.

DeRose looked at me like he’d seen a ghost.

“When are you going to set the hook?” he said sarcastically. “He’s got it.”

I never saw the fish or felt any movement. In fact, it was difficult to even see the rock with the gentle waves that churned above it.

I looked like a rookie.

By Louie Stout

Big Orange Fish Surprises Edwardsburg Angler

Bo Thomas launched his boat early one misty morning with hopes of catching a few largemouth bass on Harwood Lake near Jones, Mich.

His buddy Jaxon Disher and girlfriend Emily Lopez, both of Edwardsburg, accompanied the 19-year old Edwardsburg angler that dreary Wednesday.

Thomas is an avid bass angler and a member of the Western Michigan University Bass Fishing team. He has aspirations of pursing a pro fishing career, something his father, Mickey, dabbled in years ago.

Around 10 a.m., Bo made a cast with a drop-shot rig far off the drop-off on which his boat was sitting as they worked the edge of a flat.

By Louie Stout

Big Bluegill from St. Joseph River

You may have heard that bluegill fishing on the St. Joseph River has been spectacular in recent years. That’s something you didn’t hear anglers talking about 20 years ago.

Elkhart/South Bend aquatic biologist Dar Deegan says the fishery is dramatically different than it was when his predecessors were studying fish populations two decades ago.

“Back in 1998 when this office started these surveys, the river’s fish community was dominated by suckers but that has changed noticeably over the years,” he said.

By Louie Stout

One of the biggest concerns shared by many anglers this time of year is the spraying of chemicals designed for killing aquatic vegetation on Michiana waters.

Yet, if you talk to waterfront residents, they would tell you those treatments are necessary to allow recreational use of the waters.

It’s a controversy that DNR managers battle every spring and early summer.

Who to contact to report weed treatment issues.

Lake associations employ professional contractors to come onto lakes to kill non-native plants they believe interfere with boating and other recreational activities.

Anglers see the vegetation as necessary fish habitat and the lifeblood of a good fishery. Fish biologists agree emphatically that vegetation leads to a healthy eco-system, but understand that shallow areas can become weed choked and inhibit boating activities if not kept in check.

Aquatic plants provide other benefits. They provide oxygen that in turn helps keep the water clear. Decaying plants rob the oxygen and diminish water clarity.