Blackfish Technical Apparel
Bite Me! Jigheads

By Louie Stout

Fishing competitions remain extremely popular in Michigan and the same waters tend to draw the most events, according to DNR survey results.

The state’s Fishing Tournament Information System, a mandatory reporting process prescribed for tournaments conducted on state waters, shows more than 2,200 bass tournaments were held on 298 bodies of water in 2019. In addition, more than 90 walleye tournaments were conducted on 34 fisheries.

“We operate 1,300 boat launches around the state and have about 300 sites that host a tournament,” said program coordinator and fisheries biologist Tom Goniea. “That means 2/3 of our sites don’t see a tournament all year.”

Lake St. Clair remained the most popular tournament lake drawing 73 tournaments last season, followed by Muskegon Lake (59), Gull Lake (52), Gun Lake (48) and Austin Lake (45).

Southwest Michigan lakes that made the top 10 include Klinger, Portage and Paw Paw.

The average weight of per bass caught in Michigan contests was 2.21 pounds while more 3,722 weighed 4 pounds or more. There were 20 bass measuring greater than 20 inches caught in tournaments reported to the DNR.

By Louie Stout

Do You Like Catching Indiana Muskies? Thank Mark Zeak

When Mark Zeak opened the Tribune to the sports section last November, a big smile spread across his face.

Pictured with this column was Mason Alvarado with a 32-pound muskie caught from the St. Joseph River.

“I helped start this whole muskie thing in Indiana many years ago,” said the 72-year-old Mishawaka resident.

By Louie Stout

As we inch farther into spring weather, fishing conditions improve with each warmer day.

In fact, today would be a good day to get out as it’s a free fishing day in Indiana for residents only. That means you won’t need a license (today only).

Although the steelhead run is winding down, there are still plenty of fish in the St. Joseph River. Coho, lake trout and kings are being caught by boaters and some pier anglers on Lake Michigan between East Chicago and St. Joseph, Mich.

And while the crappie spawning season is tailing off, bluegills are starting to get active between the shallows and the nearest drop-off. The muskie lakes are producing and some big bass are being caught as they move around on spawning flats.

By Louie Stout

Heddon Legacy a Big Part of Michiana History

Michiana has had a hand in the making of America in so many different ways, including some fishing tackle as we know it today.

Legend has it that at the turn of the 1900s, James Heddon was carving a stick along the banks of Millpond Lake just east of Dowagiac. When he threw a sliver of wood into the water, a big bass surfaced and inhaled it.

That gave Heddon the idea to create a topwater lure because, at that time, nearly all fishing lures ran underwater. He went home and created the “Dowagiac Expert” that quickly popularized topwater fishing.

Heddon, who was more interested in fishing than owning a business, turned the job over to his son Charles who went on to build a lure manufacturing company that became one of the largest in the world.

For that and many other reasons, it was announced last week that James Heddon will be inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mo. this September.

James HeddonAlthough the company was sold multiple times and is currently owned by PRADCO in Fort Smith, Ark., many of Heddon’s creations continue to sell well today.