Shiawassee River Fishing

Shiawassee River

When somebody from Shiawassee County says “let’s go fishing”, 9 out of 10 times they’re heading to the Shiawassee River. That could be because of the lack of choices in the area, but more likely, because of the great fishing this river provides. It’s better known to residents as “The Shi”. I grew up in the small farm town of Corunna right on The Shi. It is where I fished exclusively until about 14 years old and I still know of many self named holes like “the horseshoe” or “the pike hole”. There are several long stretches with treed banks that feel somewhat remote like from Shiatown to Vernon or Goodall Rd. to Lytle Rd. or several stretches where the river flows through towns.

Now it’s not the cleanest river by any means, but most residents can tell you one time or another that they swam in it as a kid. I can also tell you stories of digging up green worms along it’s banks. With all that said, it’s not a river for somebody looking for a meal, but if you’re looking for an action packed fishing adventure, this river is for you. It’s not really well known around the state, but any local will claim it’s the best river they’ve ever fished. I recently talked to Captain Chris Noffsinger of Northern Adventures Fishing, www.northernadventuresfishing.com, who has gained notoriety as a great smallmouth bass guide and tournament angler. Chris said he started off fishing the Shiawassee as a kid and commented on the great smallmouth bass fishery it provides.

From catching big carp on a hook and night crawler to a nice pike on a Rat L Trap to a fighting smallmouth on a tube jig or spinner, this river has it all. It’s not uncommon to take a 2 hour float trip and hook into 20+ fish. It is easily accessed in many places by shore or easily floated in a canoe or row boat. The most common fish species targeted are Smallmouth Bass, Pike, Carp, Suckers, Panfish, Catfish, Largemouth Bass  and walleye. There are many parks and dams that allow fishing including Shiatown, downtown Vernon, downtown Corunna and several in downtown Owosso.

The best part is, The Shi just keeps getting better. With several dam removals the spring walleye run continues farther and farther upstream. The river has been getting cleaner over the years and with better management will continue to clean up.

If you have fished this river in the past, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t yet, give it a try next time you’re in the area. Check out www.fishmich.com/counties/shiawassee-lakes/shiawassee-river.php for more information on Shiawassee River Fishing or leave a comment there to help out new fisherman visiting the river.

Fishing, Fire and Seclusion

Every summer Michigan residents pack their vehicle to the gills and head to their favorite campground. Some, in their deluxe R.V. equipped with satellite television and air conditioning and others in ginormous tents the size of their master bedroom with king size air mattresses. Most campers, I’ve noticed, have everything possible to make the woods as much like their homes and to keep themselves as clean as they can. I’ve camped every summer for as long as I can remember and in just about every situation. I have no problems with anyone’s idea of camping, but would like to remind people of the traditional sense of camping.

Life in today’s world has become so fast. With cell phones ringing constantly, internet everywhere we look and the kids glued to the television, a camping trip is the last place I want technology. Most people go camping in an area with a lot of attractions. I go camping to be outside and get the family back to nature. We all need to slow down once in a while and be reminded of the peacefulness of the outdoors. You can sit by a campfire for hours doing nothing without getting bored like while watching T.V. or playing video games.

Here’s my family’s idea of a great camping trip.

First and foremost is location, location, location. If you can’t see another person, there is no electricity or running water and staying there is absolutely free, you’ve got a great camping site. The only thing that would make me sacrifice any one of those features is water. It doesn’t have to be great water frontage, but it does need to be close. Whether it’s a trout stream, a sandy beach or a frog pond, water can keep anybody occupied for hours and hours.

Next is camping equipment or lack there of. With a propane camping grill and a cast iron skillet supplemented with a good camp fire, you can cook practically anything. We take one cooler filled with enough food to last two days unless it’s more remote. Then we add another cooler with dry ice for a deep freeze. We sleep in a tent on the ground with blankets, but I truly miss a sleeping bag next to the fire. That’s how I grew up camping with my dad. If it started to rain, I would get the truck cab and he would sleep underneath the truck. Just make sure you’re parked at the top of a hill.

That’s it food and shelter and the all important fishing gear. Our fishing gear will typically take up more room than the rest of the gear. This type of camping isn’t for everyone, but we are out there to get away from life and show our kids the true beauty Michigan has to offer. At 6 and 4 years old they have caught 100’s of frogs, turtles, lizards and snakes while camping and now have began asking if we can sell our house and live in the woods. When my kids ask if they can be homeless, it makes me proud. To me, camping in the woods is a great type of homelessness.

Thanks for reading and be sure to leave us a comment or check out www.FishMich.com for more Michigan Fishing information

Slamming Spring Walleyes

walleye

Walleye Fishing

Walleye can be an elusive fish many times of year, but spring time is definitely the easiest time to catch trophies. Many people flock to Michigan rivers as walleye enter to spawn for that chance at a big female. But, what about those walleye filled lakes that don’t connect to rivers. That’s one place that doesn’t get as much pressure.

As water temperature reaches 40 degrees walleye move to the shallows just like many other species. They typically spawn in 1-3 feet of water in sandy or gravelly areas of the lake. Submerged islands and feeder creeks are hot spots this time of year, but so are sandy beaches. During the warmth of daytime the large females typically head to deeper water and then return to beds at night, but the smaller males tend to stay in the shallows all day. Like bass, walleye will protect their beds aggressively and attack anything that comes close. After done spawning, they move to deep water and rest for about a week. Next is feeding time. Post spawn walleyes will move back to the shallows and feed constantly to replenish their lost energy.

Knowing all this will help come up with a plan to catch these tasty fish. I prefer to leave the boat at home this time of year. The docks typically aren’t in yet and you’re going to be fishing close to shore anyways. I’ve done well at public beaches that are shallow  and then have a sudden drop off to deep water. On the right day fish can be caught all day long, but the bigger ones are easiest at night. Put on your waders and head out, casting back towards shore. Spring time walleyes will hit a lot of bright colors. Try jigs with twister tails in many colors or live minnows or night crawlers. Small crank baits also work, but they have to be shallow divers. Whichever presentation you chose, make sure it is fished slowly. The fish are active this time of year, but the water is still cold, which slows down the fish.

This is a great time of year for Michigan Fishing. There are many fish available and choosing which to target can be hard, but I recommend you give Spring Walleyes a shot.

If you’re interested in spring walleyes leave us a comment below and get on www.FishMich.com for reports and tips in our Fishing Forum

 

Spinning Reel Vs. Baitcaster

Reels

Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel

The two most popular fishing reels are the Spinning and the Bait caster. A lot of fisherman learn on the spinning reel first and never try a bait caster. Everybody can identify the two by looking at them, but we’ll talk about the differences while fishing.

Spinning reels are easy to use and don’t take very much practice for beginners. The spool spins while being reeled and stays still while casting. Basically the line comes off the reel in hoops and when the lure hits the water, the line stops. One of the problems with these hoops is line rubs on the eyes of your pole and slows it down. Another is memory. Those hoops can remain after casting which leaves slack in the line. It allows casting into the wind and is very forgiving with tangles. The spool itself is larger than a bait caster which allows for more line. The bigger spool and more line creates a faster retrieval speed. Gears play a big part of this, but the spool size and amount of line is usually overlooked.

Bait casters function completely different. When casting, the spool actually spins releasing the fishing line in a straight line. This helps the line go evenly through the eyes of the pole. The line will release as fast as the weight on the end will pull it. This means a large weight can be thrown very far with little resistance. The problem is stopping that spool from turning. As anybody that has used a bait caster knows, when your lure hits the water or any other object the spool keeps turning and the line binds up. This is called a bird’s nest and can be very irritating. A lot of anglers become discouraged with it and stop using them completely, but learning the reel’s braking system is key to casting.

Now for the advantages and disadvantages of both. Bait casters are superior for pulling big fish out of thick cover. Spinning reels are better for light tackle and sensitivity. They are more accurate for long casts, but bait casters are more accurate in short flipping situations. Getting precise casts in heavy cover or under obstructions the bait caster wins. They also win for long casts with baits over 1/4 ounce. Newer spinning reels with one finger trigger systems have made them the easiest and most popular for all around fishing, but the newer braking systems on bait casters have helped anglers add them to their fishing arsenal. Whichever one you prefer, adding the other technique can help catch more fish in certain situations. I suggest practicing with both on land first and stick with it.

For more advice on fishing reels check out our forum at www.FishMich.com

Choosing The Best Fishing Line

fishing line

fishing tips and techniques

Fishing line is one of the most important tools for fishing any species, but unfortunately the most overlooked. You can see the importance in how many choices are on the shelf at your local bait shop. Companies are putting a lot of money these days into developing new and better lines and marketing all of the benefits to the angler.

When I was a younger fisherman, I went to the store and bought the cheapest line in whatever size I thought I needed to catch the fish I was targeting. Then one late night crammed into a dirty hotel room with 5 other fishing buddies, we tested all of our different lines. We took the end of the line and tied it to a fish scale. Whoever’s line made it to the highest weight before breaking (in the middle, not at the knot), won ten bucks. They were all close in the test strength, but none actually came close to the right amount. My cheap 12 lb. test monofilament broke at about 3 lbs. of steady pulling. After that weekend I decided to look into my fishing line a little more.

You should consider a lot more than just strength when choosing a new fishing line. Abrasion resisting, Stretch, Knot Strength, Weight, Visibility, and of course Price all play a role in choice. And, no fishing line is the best choice for all conditions, locations or species. Having said that, I will point out a few characteristics of the most common three fishing lines available, without naming brand names.

Monofilament Fishing Line

This is the most common line used by fisherman. It accounts for 2/3 of all fishing lines sold, but that is probably because of cost. It can be much cheaper than any other choice. It is also a very light line which makes it a great choice for top water presentations. That is about all I can say that is good about mono. It absorbs water, which loosens knots and reduces sensitivity. It stretches quite a bit. Just snag a tree or rock with it and pull. You’ll see how far you can pull your pole before it actually snaps. Mono also starts to degrade and become brittle when left in the sun. You should replace it often. After talking bad about it, I still use it. I spool all my reels with mono first and then tie on a different choice for about the last 50 yards. This saves money and helps keep other lines tight to the reel with no slippage. Like everything in life, remember that the cheap monofilament lines are far worse than the more expensive.

Braided Fishing Line

In the old days, this was the only thing available and they were highly abrasive and had low knot strength. Nowadays, Superlines or Microfilaments have progressed braids into a much more user friendly and popular option. The smaller diameter compared to other types makes it less visable and allows more line on the reel. It also has very little stretch, which gives the angler high sensitivity and more hook ups. It’s weight allows lures to dive quicker and deeper and provides longer casts. The biggest problem with Braid is a palomar knot is required. It’s not that big of a deal to some, but the novice angler can get discouraged by this. It also is highly abrasive. You will notice the frays in your line if fishing in thick cover or rocky rivers. Today’s Braided fishing lines have come a long way and will continue to improve. It is a very good one to pair with mono because of price and slippage on a reel.

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Fluorocarbon is typically the most expensive of the three, but does have some great advantages. Number one is being nearly invisible. No matter the thickness fluorocarbon is much less visible than the same weight line of other types. It doesn’t deteriorate in the sun or with other chemicals and is very resistant to abrasions. It stretches less than mono, but a little more than braids. It does sink in water so it helps getting baits down quickly, but also can become stiff.

All these lines have advantages and disadvantages. After experimenting with many lines, you will find that you catch more fish with certain ones in certain situations. I’ve actually spooled all three on a reel at once. Mono first to add bulk to the reel, then braid for strength and sensitivity, then a fluorocarbon leader for really clear water. I typically only use fluorocarbon for leader because of my cheapness, but really like using braids for sensitivity. I’ve stood next to a friend fishing mono for bass while I had a superline spooled. He never even felt a bite while I reeled in fish after fish. He was using one of my poles though. (sucker)

Leave any comments on fishing line below. Let us know what you prefer. And as always, check out www.FishMich.com for local reports and conditions.