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Archive of 2012 reports
from "The White Lake Fisherman"

December-January Report

There is no safe ice at this time, so those anxious to go ice fishing will need to wait a bit longer.  Safety first!!! Most docks are put away, and if not there is a good chance that we will see them floating in the spring. Ice is unforgiving, and is one of the strongest forces of nature. Ask Mitchell's Marina as they repair their docks every spring from the ice damage.

Currently, fishing is almost non-existent on White Lake, due to the early spring conditions we have been experiencing. Yet it has been cold enough to keep a thin layer of ice on the surface. I remember about 20 years ago White Lake never froze over during the winter. Nature will decide this again this year, but the odds are we will have the snow and freeze everyone expects. The only question is when.

If you are a true fisherman and not patient, try going to the Ultimate Fishing Show in Novi the weekend of January 12-15th. This will give you a little fix of the year ahead for fishing techniques. I recommend it.  I have attached below some information on ice fishing that you may be interested in. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Spear Fishing Starting December 1st, the spear fishing season for Northern Pike and Muskellunge began on all waters through the ice, except designated trout lakes, designated trout streams, and other specific waters. No Muskellunge spearing is allowed on Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, the Detroit River, or the St. Clair River. Many anglers will try their hand at this historical method of fishing until the season concludes on March 15th.

Spear fishing is often much different from general ice fishing. Anglers will cut larger holes in the ice and fish from tents or small shelters commonly called shanties. The shanty blocks the light, allowing anglers to see down into the water in order to spear the fish.

Anglers who spear fish generally dangle decoys or large live baits (such as suckers) in the water to attract their target fish. They utilize spears that typically have a substantial weight to them and have seven to nine tines on the end of a seven-foot handle.

For additional information on ice fishing in Michigan, including spearing, please check out this detailed article: Ice Fishing - The Coolest Sport Around

The White Lake Fisherman


February Report

The ice fishing season is really a challenge this year due to warmer than normal temperatures. Two days ago I agued a hole in the ice in front of my place and it measured 4 inches of ice. Ideally you want 5 inches or more of ice to feel somewhat safe for a snowmobile. This does not discard the fact that we have underground springs feeding White Lake that make conditions even more of a hazard. Be aware of where the springs are if you choose to go out and try your luck.

In just two weeks, per the MDNR, all fishing license fees will be waived on Saturday and Sunday, February 18-19, in honor of the 2012 Winter Free Fishing Weekend. Residents and out-of-state visitors will be able to enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes waters for all species of fish during their respective open seasons. (Note all regulations will still apply during that time.) Individuals and families are encouraged to get out and fish during that weekend - either on their own or as part of an official 2012 Winter Free Fishing Weekend event. Many activities have been organized throughout the state. View a complete list at www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

Thinking about going ice fishing for Free Fishing Weekend but not sure how to get started? Check out some useful tips and tricks in the article Ice Fishing - The Coolest Sport Around.

I am enclosing a nice response I received recently from a resident on the lake that I thought I would share with you: (click on the picture to see a larger image)

WalleyeI've been following your Walleye posts in the White Lake Citizens League emails and I thought you would be interested in this.

I was out ice fishing for the first time this weekend and caught this nice 21 inch walleye.

We just bought a cottage on the lake this past year. I fished all summer and didn't catch any Walleye either. First time out Ice Fishing and I landed this to my surprise on a tip-up with a chartreuse jig & large shiner.

Keep up the great reports.

Scott Trudell

Remember that shanties must be removed from the lake by February 28th.

Good Fishing and be careful on the thin ice.

The White Lake Fisherman


March Report

Happy Spring!!! It appears that the ice is breaking in many spots and we will be able to get some early spring fishing in this year. I have an ice shanty that was not used at all this year due to the mild winter that we have experienced. The longer daylight hours will not allow the ice to thicken to a proper thickness that will allow anyone to explore the lake ice without extreme risk. I recommend that impatient fishermen value their life more than the fish please.

Remember that fishing for bass, pike, and walleye is prohibited during the month of April due to spawning. The M.D.N.R. regulates these dates intentionally so that the fish can have their time for reproduction.

The pike population on White Lake is very good. This is mostly because few fishermen fish for the northern pike, and usually catch and release them. I noted a lot of hammer-handle-sized pike last year (shorter than 24"). Pike are very aggressive fish and you will catch one due to their numbers and aggressiveness. They are known to strike almost any bait or lure. It is very exciting to catch a pike since they put on a good fight, and get the heart rate up for the fisherman. Their boney nature is a challenge for fillets, and most people would rather not keep them for just this reason. If you can get beyond the many bones, eating a well prepared pike is very tasty.

On another note, you will soon be seeing an invitation to the 1st Annual White Lake Citizens League Fishing Tournament. This event will be held on Sunday morning June 10th. This day is part of a Michigan Free Fishing Weekend, so you can participate without buying a license. Watch for more details in this report and on the website.

Here is an article from the weekly M.D.N.R. fishing report that I found interesting:

Fishing Tip: Catch More Bluegills by Eliminating Jig Spin
For those anglers who do get an opportunity to head out on the ice this winter, a tip to enhance your bluegill fishing success is to eliminate jig spin. It is difficult for bluegills to eat a jig when it's spinning at the end of a line - try these three simple activities to help combat this problem.
  • Stretching out the line is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent jig spin. If you are using a spinning reel just get into the habit of stretching out the first couple of feet of line every time you bring the jig up.
  • Balancing your line and the jig is another easy thing you can do. When you have balance, your line will hang straight because of the weight of the jig.
  • Sometimes switching up your equipment can also help to eliminate jig spin. Small plastic reels have been shown to produce less spin and may be something you want to consider.

For even more information on fishing for bluegills, read this DNR article about Sunfish.

The White Lake Fisherman


April Report

The warmer winter and spring has brought on a accelerated fishing season. If you ventured out in March and did some early spring fishing you might have been rewarded with some excellent catches. Personally I had some extraordinary days. In 2 hours one day I landed 3 pike and 5 beautiful bass. One pike measured 27 inches. The biggest fish I caught was a 6 1/2 pound dog fish. Can you match this or beat it? Let me know. Take a picture and send it to fishing@wlcl.org so we can post it.

The fish are hungry and active. I have been using a split repella lure. Some people off shore were doing very well with limit catches of bass but the season is closed so they released them.

The 1st Annual WLCL Fishing Tournament is Sunday, June 10th. All of the rules are available below. Good luck!

The White Lake Fisherman


White Lake Fishing Tournament
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Rules and Regulations

  1. Tournament is open to all species of fish
  2. All fish caught must be caught in White Lake, Oakland County, Michigan
  3. All fish catching methods are acceptable
  4. All fishermen must abide by MDNR regulations for licenses*, fish size, and boating safety
  5. Only fish caught between the time of 8:00 am - 1:00 pm Sunday June 10, 2012 are eligible for prize entry
  6. Fish must be live for measurement if possible
  7. There is no limit to the number of fishermen per boat, however the boat owner must be a resident on White Lake
  8. Combined weight of 3 largest fish per boat only for prizes regardless of the number of fish caught
  9. Tournament starts at 8:00 am (with air horn sound)
  10. Tournament ends at 1:00 pm at the docks of the White Lake Inn (with air horn sound)
  11. Tournament registration will be from 7:00-7:55 am at the White Lake Inn
  12. Registration tournament entry cost is $25.00 per boat (cash only)
  13. Each registered boat will receive a YELLOW WLCL FLAG that MUST be displayed to help identify the boats in the tournament
  14. The tournament director reserves the right to inspect any boat for fish prior to tournament
  15. Prizes will be awarded for the following catagories: Largest one fish, largest combined weight of 3 fish or less per boat (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place prizes)
  16. Special prize: Largest walleye
  17. Tie breaker is overall length of largest fish
  18. The YELLOW WLCL FLAG must be returned upon fish weigh in
  19. $5.00 of each registration is for tournament expenses
  20. Tournament Director: The White Lake Fisherman

*NOTE: June 10th is is part of a Michigan Free Fishing Weekend, so a Michigan fishing license is NOT required to fish in the tournament!

May Report

You should have seen an invitation to the 1st Annual WLCL Fishing Tournament in the Current Newsletter published recently. This event will be held on Sunday morning, June 10th. This date is part of a Michigan Free Fishing Weekend, so a Michigan fishing license is NOT required to fish in the tournament! Flyers have been distributed to many local businesses, and all of the details are on our archive page. Full rules and regulations are listed below

The tournament starts at the White Lake Inn promptly at 8 am. Sign up is from 7-8 am at the White Lake Inn picnic tables. Each participating boat will receive a bright yellow flag for their boat. The cost is $25 per boat. (Initial response has been good, so you are encouraged to show up early to get a spot.)

The cool days of early spring have helped the fishing on White Lake with some nice catches. If you can avoid the green gook from getting on your line and lures you can have some fun. (The lake was treated May 7th and you should see a major improvement in the water quality soon.)

The White Lake Fisherman


June Report

The 1st Annual White Lake Citizens League Fishing Tournament was held on Sunday June 10th on White Lake. 11 boats with 33 fishermen participated in this event. This was an event open to learning and some surprises. The weather was perfect being warm and sunny, but to the hard core fishermen they maybe would have liked some overcast skies. Oh well, one cannot predict nature. The tournament started at the White Lake Inn docks at 8:00 am and ended there at 1:00pm. Click here to see some photos from the event!

The prizes were awarded as follows: $100 for best catch of 3 fish (weight), 2nd place $50, and 3rd place $30. The largest fish was awarded $40. A special prize of $10 for the largest walleye was available, but no one caught one so the award was added to the biggest fish award instead. The tie breaker was overall length of the biggest fish.

The reality story... The fishermen of the day were Bonnie Frogge and Debbie Pelshaw. These 2 ladies won the best catch and largest fish awards using bobbers, night crawlers, and a hook, while being anchored at their favorite fishing spot. Oh by the way their boat was propelled by an electric trolling motor on a 12' row boat. So much for the high tech stuff the guys use. It should be noted that these ladies tied in both categories with other participants, but with a flip of a coin the trophies went to the guys. The gals were okay with this stating that "the guys always want the trophies anyway... we'll take the cash!"

Here are the results:
Best Catch

  • 1st Place (tie): Bonnie Frogge / Debbie Pelshaw 5.5 pounds
  • 1st Place (tie): Jeremi Stocker/ Rick Gascugu 5.5 pounds
  • 3rd Place: Chris Armbruster / Eddie Armbruster 3.8 pounds
Biggest Fish
  • 1st Place (tie): Bonnie Frogge / Debbie Pelshaw - 2.25 pounds 16" Large Mouth Bass
  • 1st Place (tie): Stephen Eagloski / Nicholas Eagloski / Steve Engloski - 2.25 pounds 16" Large Mouth Bass
Some pike were caught but there were no keepers. The weigh in fish were Large Mouth Bass, although any fish caught qualified for the weigh in.

Overall this event was a great start and localized for the people around White Lake. I plan on doing this again next year with an earlier start for the avid fishermen. Good Luck.  

The White Lake Fisherman


July Report

White Lake is very warm now and, considering the heat waves that we have been having, that is not hard to believe. The fishing has been very good from most reports, and some very large bass have been taken throughout the lake. Live bait is the secret of fishing success. The June WLCL Fishing Tournament showed this.

My catch of a 6 1/2 pound dog fish still stands as the biggest fish caught so far this year. If you have caught a bigger fish let me know! On the other end though, on Father's Day I caught a 35 pound giant snapping turtle and returned him to his hunting ground. His claws were the size of a man's hand. Scary to think we have such large reptiles in our lake.

On a separate note I am attaching a nice story another fisherman shared with me about White Lake. I thought you would enjoy it:

I have fished White Lake for many, many years. OK I am sixty-four so I can say that. Many years of fishing had past when someone told me that there were smallmouth bass in the lake. I had caught thousands of largemouth out of White Lake but never a smallmouth. So one day I spent a few hours fishing for them in 1990 and caught a couple to my amazement.

I gave up the fancy bass boat and tournament fishing across the state to help pay for my older sons college educations shortly after. I did the golf thing for a number of years and then the water drew me back and I took up kayaking about eight years ago.

Then last year I started thinking about those smallies I caught in 1990 and wondered if I could do it again. I dusted off a couple of rods and reels and loaded up some fresh line and headed off this past Sunday to give it a go with my kayak on the roof. It turned out to be one of the greatest fishing trips I ever had. The first fish was caught with me wading in the water up to my waist, and it provided an acrobatic show and even tried a number of times to swim between my legs. A beautiful 3.5 lb. smallmouth. The next fish was a smallie too, but only 2 lbs. and stayed low. I won't say where exactly I was fishing, but I'm sure some locals saw me. As it turned out I paddled back to the launch and caught two largemouth.


Keep fishing and good luck.

The White Lake Fisherman


August Report

The warm weather continues to heat up White Lake. As the swimmers will tell you... it is like bath water. The deepest spots in White Lake are about 30' deep and, knowing that fish tend to like a bit cooler water than a surface temperature of 86 degrees, it must be getting crowded near those deeper spots for fish (hint). Let me know if you confirm this.

I went fishing in one of our canals a couple of weeks ago and noted that the blue gill had moved out for the most part. The ones that stayed were hugging the bottom looking for cooler temperaatures. This did not stop the bass from staying in the canal though. I landed a nice 2 pounder within 5 minutes of fishing there. I later moved to a weed bed on the lake and landed a nice pike. I was using a jointed repella lure, trying to stay above the weeks. I fished about an hour.

On another note, I was talking to a fellow neighbor on the lake and he told me that his brother-in-law was fishing White Lake in the late evenings and nights for walleye. He told me he was quite successful and had landed a 2" the other day using lures. This is good news.

Weekly Fishing Tip: Recent Fish Kills Caused by Extreme Heat and Drought
Numerous fish kills have been reported from around the state recently and the DNR's Fisheries Division staff are tracking and monitoring these events.

The combination of very high water temperatures and drought flow conditions have made conditions very stressful for fish and in many cases, these conditions are beyond lethal temperatures. Additionally, high water temperatures also often result in low oxygen values, particularly where there is a lot of vegetation.

The overall effects of these events on the state's fisheries are often very localized and may not significantly change overall population numbers. However, effects on population numbers are not known at this time and will take some time to fully evaluate.

There are a few things anglers can do to keep fish healthy while out on the water in these high temperatures:
  1. Be extra careful when handling and unhooking fish that are to be immediately released. This will keep stress to a minimum.
  2. Do not keep fish that you intend to release in live wells for very long.
  3. Avoid fishing during the hottest parts of the day. Fishing in the early morning is least stressful for fish and provides the coolest water temperatures.

Keep fishing, and hope your summer fishing success is as good as your determination and patience.

The White Lake Fisherman


September Report

The White Lake water temperature is starting to drop a bit from my data, so there is still a lot of time to take advantage of some good fishing prior to the lake turn-over in the fall. The blue gills have returned to the canals and shallow water. They had gone to the deeper water due to the temperatures being too high and the lack of oxygen.

The rains have helped, but also the weed growth has progressed. There usually isn't any weed treatment after Labor Day unless necessary. Overall fishing has been pretty good if you know where to fish, and use structure to guide your choices of fishing spots. Here is a tip you might want to try:

Fishing Tip: Have you tried this bass technique?
If you jig fish for bass you've probably experienced a snag or two. Did you know the typical snag-release technique (shaking your rod vigorously) can actually attract bass and sometimes walleye as well?

Rod shakes - and the subsequent lure shaking - often alert nearby fish. This technique is particularly effective when sunny conditions are present and bass are sticking close to cover. With the being said, you may want to purposely find snag-worthy locations! 

Be sure to check out rocks, boulders and other hard cover locations, as well as logs, brush piles and weeds. As your jig starts to get hung up shake accordingly and you just might catch that smallmouth bass you're after.

Please note this technique works best with snag-free, weedless-style jigs.

Good Luck.

The White Lake Fisherman


October Report

Go "hunting" for fish this fall! Autumn can be one of the best times of the year to seek out your favorite fish species for a day of fun angling. One species to target this October and November is walleye.

Walleye are thought to be in their best condition in the fall, and can often be found in the canal mouth areas of our lake. They're gathering there to take advantage of the baitfish that like to hang out there as the weather cools off. Set your sights on 10 to 12 feet deep to find these guys. 

I ran across the next article from the MDNR. You might be interested in it:

Fishing Tip: Help the DNR help others go fishing!
Do you know a great place to go fishing? Is it easy for others to access? Can you fish from the shore at this location? Then the DNR needs your help!

Many people don't know good places to go fishing, and they often don't know where to look to find out. The DNR is trying to address this issue by developing a Family Friendly Fishing Waters website dedicated to connecting interested individuals with local fishing opportunities.

As an angler - perhaps you can help by sharing your knowledge? To create the Family Friendly Fishing Waters website, the DNR needs your help in collecting submissions via an online form about water bodies located throughout Michigan that would be easy for new anglers to access and use. Submissions are being accepted from anyone willing to share their knowledge. We will then use the submitted information to build the website. 

To get started on submitting a potential Family Friendly Fishing Waters location, simply visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/FFFW and answer as many of the form's questions as possible. Please note some of the questions are required so the future website can be as thorough as possible.

The form requires submitters to share digital photos of any suggested Family Friendly Fishing Waters location. Photos should be relevant to the suggested location and highlight the fishing area(s), the parking area and/or the water body itself. Be sure to take several photos from various angles and we will select the best ones to use.

Upon submission, all entries will be vetted by DNR staff to ensure they fit the necessary requirements to be considered a Family Friendly Fishing Water location.

Help us to make this effort a success - please consider submitting a water body today! For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

The White Lake Fisherman


November Report

The October weather provided a lot of challenges for the fisherman, since it was inconsistent at best. Trying to pick and choose a day was like the flip of a coin. The wind played a major factor in trying to get out to try our luck. But, don't give up just yet... autumn provides some of the best fishing, since the fish are still very active, and they need to fatten up for the long winter months of cold water and less food. Many boaters have winterized their boats and put them away. If you have not yet put your boat away, take advantage of the fun still awaiting you.

On a separate note, did you know that the person managing the M.D.N.R. launch on our lake has some valuable fishing info available just for the asking? I visited the launch site earlier in the year, and I was asked if I would be interested in a map of the lake, as well as a fishing hot spot location sheet. Of course I said yes! This information was terrific. The map provided some contours of the lake, as well as marked areas of where to fish. This information provided insight as to the species of fish in our lake, and where some of the best places are to catch them. I personally could not disagree with the information. Yes, I have my favorite spot... but for the novice, this information provided some great insight to possibly enhance the success of the fisherman.

Fishing Tip for the month: Try a blue floating rapella lure at a slow trolling speed. The pike and bass love them.

Good Luck.

The White Lake Fisherman


December Report

Targeting Northern Pike at First Ice: Getting ready for ice fishing? Many anglers will agree that the first ice of the winter season often produces some of the best northern pike fishing you can find.

There could be a couple of reasons why this is so. Perhaps it's because there are plenty of baitfish for them to target thanks to a decrease in weed cover, or perhaps it's because first ice is often clear and allows the sight-feeding fish to target their prey more easily because of the penetration of sunlight. Regardless, the coming weeks (weather permitting) are a great time to target this species.

You'll want to use a tip-up for this type of fishing, with a minnow or small panfish on the end of your line. Keep in mind you can catch small panfish in the lake you're fishing and legally use them as bait in the same water body.

Target similar areas that you may have fished for northern pike when there was still open water, and you might see some success!

Hoping that we have some safe ice this year so we can try this.

Happy Holidays.

The White Lake Fisherman


for more information e-mail
communication@wlcl.org (Bob Parrett)
president@wlcl.org (Bill Maine)
weeds@wlcl.org (Frank Dyson)
White Lake Citizens League
P.O. Box 851
Highland, MI 48356

Copyright © 2019 Robert Parrett, All rights reserved