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Bait Fuel

By Louie Stout

Steven Szymczak with a walleye

Today’s trendy swimbaits catch more than bass.

In fact, says walleye angler Steven Szymczak, it’s one of the most effective – yet overlooked - techniques for catching walleyes in Michiana.

“It’s definitely the most underutilized technique,” said Szymczak, who works at Clear H2o Tackle in Edwardsburg. “Everyone thinks of it as a bass lure, but it’s very natural and really deadly on walleyes.”

Swimbaiting is effective on the St. Joseph River and nearly all of Michiana’s lakes that contain walleye, he added.

By Louie Stout

Louie StoutIf you see fishing tackle or boating equipment you think you might want this year, buy it now.

It may not be available this summer.

Retailers in Michiana and around the country - both boat and tackle – are finding the supply pipeline extremely tight and expect it to remain that way throughout most of the summer.

“If you thought last year was bad, this year could even be worse,” said Steven Szymczak of Clear H2o Tackle in Edwardsburg, Mich.

Call it the perfect storm. The pandemic caused factories to shut down last spring and by the time they opened, they were far behind. Couple that with a soaring interest in fishing and boating, and the demand went through the roof.

To make matters worse, several components or products made overseas have been hung up in shipping issues due to the pandemic.

Area retailers ordered heavily last winter and those goods are trickling in. The shelves are filling up – kinda - for now.

By Louie Stout

Steelhead have been pouring into Indiana waters and that should continue with the rains the past couple of days.

During the week of March 10-17, 2,386 fish passed through the South Bend ladder and another 1,295 the past week. That brings this year’s total to 4,355.

That’s still shy of the long-term average of 7,000, and the weather could dictate if we’re able to see that many move up.

“The St. Joe and the other tributaries are dealing with clear, low water and that has hindered the run so far,” said Lake Michigan Biologist Ben Dickinson. “It’s been a challenge and we need the rain.”
Even so, rising water temperatures have several steelhead already spawning and some might be done.

p>By Louie Stout

Fishing season is upon us.

We may be in mid-March, but it’s time to get the boats out of winter storage and tune up the tackle.

The fishin’ season is upon us.

All of Michiana’s lakes are open and early-bird anglers were catching fish during last week’s warm-up.

And the best is yet to come.

“It’s only going to get better now that the ice is gone,” said Brian Hensley at Clear H2o Tackle in Edwardsburg. “We’ve got cooler weather this week, but there is still movement and feeding activity.”

That’s especially true of perch, crappie and bass. Some bluegills are being caught, but perch are crappie are the first to move shallow.