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Bait Fuel

By Louie Stout

Ben Dickinson with large skamania

Cooler water temperatures and rainfall has drawn Skamania steelhead into some Michiana streams and rivers.

Indiana Lake Michigan Biologist Ben Dickinson said his crews have been gathering several steelhead at the Trail Creek Weir in Michigan City and hope to be done soon.

The adult fish being collected will be stripped of eggs and milt to produce future steelhead stockings.

“We’re getting about 50 to 100 a day, so it’s been steady,” Dickinson said. “We’re hoping to finish up this week.”

By Louie Stout

John Meyer, the reel repairman for Clear H2o Tackle

If you’re shopping for a reliable spinning reel, choose Daiwa. And if you’re after a quality baitcaster, choose Shimano.

That’s the opinion of a Michiana reel service provider who sees about 200 reels a year.

Given the popularity of Shimano spinning reels, one might think just the opposite.

But John Meyer, the reel repairman for Clear H2o Tackle who works from his home in Edwardsburg, Mich., says he sees fewer problems with Daiwa spinning and Shimano baitcasters.

“Regardless of what dollar-wise you’re going to invest, those two are probably the best and most reliable that I see,” he said. “I don’t see a lot of difference in the brands of reels, but those two seem to be best.”

Even so, he said that paying $500 for a reel is overkill. Based upon what he sees inside the reels that he repairs, a $150-$200 baitcast or spinning reel are pretty good quality. Reels built today, he added, are better than those some 20 years ago.

Holiday Fishing Report

By Louie Stout

Young fisherman with nice crappiesPanfishermen can expect a banner holiday weekend assuming the weather is stable.

If you're fishing Michigan this weekend, you won’t need a license as the state will celebrate a free fishing weekend Saturday and Sunday for both residents and non-residents.

Bluegills and crappies are biting just about everywhere, with both species spawning shallow on some lakes. Things could slow down a bit with Friday’s cold frot but fishing should still remain pretty good over the holiday.

Crappies typically spawn earlier, but area baitshops report anglers still finding good crappies in the spawning mode.

Bluegills began moving onto beds on the shallow, darker lakes last week and should be in full force on most lakes by the weekend since we will be under a full moon beginning today.

“It doesn’t matter where you go, the fishing is good everywhere down here,” said Bonnie Kelley of Kelley’s Bait in Lakeville, Ind.

By Louie Stout

Darrin Schaap talks sunglasses

Every serious angler knows the importance of sunglasses. The lenses not only protect your eyes, but allow you to see beneath the surface of the water.

But not all sunglasses offer the same level of protection - or the quality of vision - you need. They may look cool and inexpensive, but are you getting the benefits you need?

Clear H2o Tackle Shop owner Darrin Schaap knows this all too well. When he’s not fishing for bass and bluegills on Michiana lakes, he’s on Lake Michigan trolling for trout and salmon or in Florida chasing saltwater fish.

“Quality sunglasses are more expensive but if you spend as much time outdoors and on the water as I do, you realize they are worth every penny,” said Schaap, a Costa Del Mar dealer.

The benefits may not be noticeable as you try them on or compare with other brands, but there are discernable differences once you get on the water, he added.

“The components in premium glasses are better made, the lenses are clearer and they are more abrasion resistant,” he said. “Quality glasses have more options to enhance your vision experience; you get more frame options and can find a pair to fit your head and nose perfectly.”