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Archive of 2014 reports
from "The White Lake Fisherman"

February Report

The cold weather in Michigan and White Lake continues. The ice thickness is beyond a manual auger unless you need a major workout. I have a few ice fishing tips for you if you so decide to test the elements. The first is to move often if there is little or no action at your hole. This can be challenging, but it is better than just sitting there and hoping for action.

Walleye are a popular target of ice anglers, with many jigging for this aggressive species. But did you know weather can play an important role in your opportunity to catch them?

While you might not be able to notice the wind whipping outside your shanty, walleye under the ice notice it. When the wind shifts, it impacts things under the water, including the current and silt. This might mean you'll need to change locations on the ice to find what you're looking for.

Fish are very sensitive to air pressure and when it's consistent you'll find the fish can be very active. But if the pressure drops you'll also see a decline in bites.

Along with pressure, you'll see changes in activity thanks to temperature. Many anglers gravitate to their favorite spots on warmer days, only to find not much activity under the ice. Temperature drops affect the air pressure which turns many species off.

Good Luck and hurry spring!

The White Lake Fisherman


March Report

I am providing some interesting information for you fisherman this month anticipating Spring (hurry up), but for the most part this report is still focused on ice fishing - and I anticipate the ice to be with us well into April.

Master Angler Program recognizes big catches: This year marks the 41st anniversary of the DNR's successful Master Angler program. Launched in 1973 to better recognize anglers who catch unusually large fish, the Master Angler program began with just a handful of fish eligible to win distinctive Master Angler shoulder patches. In 1992, the catch-and-release category was established.

Master Angler has expanded over time to include nearly 50 species for which anglers may compete for honors. At the end of each calendar year, recognition certificates are also awarded to anglers entering the top five fish in each category.

The 2014 Master Angler information and application is already available at www.michigan.gov/masterangler. The deadline for submitting a 2014 entry is January 10, 2015. Be sure to include a photo of your fish if it has not already been identified by a DNR fisheries biologist.

Fishing Tip: Understanding fish posture to help with ice fishing success. Fish often maintain one of two postures - one where they are ready to strike (fins up and backs arched), or one where they are focused on traveling (fins tucked in). Understanding these postures can aid in your fishing success, particularly through the ice.

The first step when using fish posture to impact your ice fishing techniques is to have appropriate equipment, such as sonar. This tool allows you to visualize the posture and react effectively.

Secondly, pay attention to time periods of aggressive posture. Most likely you will see it exhibited around sunrise and sunset - plan your trips accordingly.

Ice fishing activity is down. It seems many are getting tired of the extreme cold, deep snow, difficult travel conditions, and trying to drill holes through excessive ice.

2014 Fishing Licenses went on sale March 1. This gives anglers one month to purchase their new license before they are required on April 1.

The White Lake Fisherman


April-May Report

I have combined months for this report due to the cold spring and frigid winter we have had. Fishing was not allowed on White Lake until May 1st for most species of fish we care to fish for. Yet, I have noted a few fishermen still trying their luck just after the ice disappeared. The water temperature is still very cold (40's) and most fish have not spawned due to this. In addition the weed growth is way down and the water is very clear. This can be a good time to try your luck if you can enjoy the cold on the water.

The 3rd annual WLCL sponsored Fishing Tournament will be Saturday June 7th starting at 7:00 am at the White Lake Inn. The same rules and prizes as last year with a Team Trophy for the Best Catch and Biggest Fish This is done in conjunction to the MDNR Free Fishing Weekend so you will not need a fishing license even though most people should have one.

Fishing Tip: Want to find fish? Use sonar! Avid anglers are constantly looking for tips and tricks to help them have more successful fishing trips. Many turn to sonar technology to achieve this goal.

Although a bit of an investment (units start at $100 and go up), sonar products offer a variety of benefits on the water. Most units can provide anglers with readings on temperature, vegetation and structure in the water, type of bottom below you, fish in the area, depth, current speed of the vessel, GPS navigation, and waypoints for future trips. Some even allow you the opportunity to purchase nautical charts.

The White Lake Fisherman


June Report

Our 3rd Annual W.L.C.L. Fishing Tournament took place Saturday June 7th. 14 boats loaded with over 50 fishermen and fisherwomen went on the hunt on White Lake for pursuit of catching some fish they could brag about and possibly win a place of honor in our awards. The weather was perfect. The sunshine was abundant but fishing was very tough. Personally I did not catch a fish. This was true of many. But then there were the selective few that have the bragging rights to show off their catch. Click here to see some photos.

Here are the 2014 Winners:

  • Biggest Fish - 4.6 lbs bowfin (dog fish) caught by Bonnie Frogge & Michelle Lee
  • Best Catch - 3 bass totaling 9.2 lbs caught by Rick Gascolgne & Jermy Stocker
  • 2nd Best Catch - 2 bass and a pike totaling 7.5 lbs caught by Scott Trudell, Larry Sokolowski, & Joe Van Wormer
Note: All tournament winners will be invited for special recognition at the WLCL Volunteer Appreciation Dinner later this year.

There are many honorable mentions for we all tried, but as we know it is called "fishing" and not "catching". Thank you for your support and I hope to see everyone again next year.

Fishing Tip based on the results of the tournament: The water is warm. The fish are staying down. Use live bait around your favorite fishing area and be patient. You will catch fish.

The White Lake Fisherman


July-August Report

The dog days of warm water fishing are upon us. Here is a unique article that you may appreciate and that may create some action for you.

A simple method for summer lake fishing
Sometimes we want to go fishing and enjoy getting out on the water, but just don't want to expend a lot of energy - especially if it's too hot to work hard at it. Here's a laidback way to cover water and find fish you might otherwise miss, without needing complicated gear or a fancy boat. All you need is basic fishing tackle and some kind of watercraft. Even a rented rowboat, paddle boat or canoe can work

Rig your rod with light line (four to eight pound test), tie a small hook on the end of the line (#4 or smaller), and add a split shot or two about a foot above the hook. Favorite baits for this method include half a nightcrawler or a baby crawler, leeches, or even some of the heavily scented artificial leeches or small plastic worms. Hook the bait in the center of one end so it doesn't spin when you gently pull it through the water.

Position your boat so the prevailing breeze will carry it along a drop-off or across any area with water depths of at least 12 to 20 feet. Let out enough line, or adjust the amount of weight on the line, so your bait will stay about 12 to 20 foot deep no matter how deep the water actually is. Then set your rod down against the side of the boat, relax and watch the tip of the rod for a bite. Drop the rod tip when you see a bite and count to three before reeling in and setting the hook with a firm pull. Not too hard!

Many fish such as bass, walleye, yellow perch, crappie and larger bluegill will move into deeper water and suspend at their preferred cooler temperature during the hot summer months. Slowly drifting a larger, natural bait at these deeper depths will often get you more than you bargained for.

The White Lake Fisherman


August Report

Hello again fishermen...here is a good article for you on trying to catch the walleye. Good Luck.

Catching The Elusive Walleye
In many of Michigan's lakes walleye can be a rather elusive sport fish, making the quest for their tasty fillets difficult at times throughout the year.

Walleyes are predators that eat a wide range of small baitfish like yellow perch and various minnows, which logically has many anglers targeting these fish with minnows and crank baits. However, walleye also feed on aquatic insects when they are available and using crawlers on crawler harnesses can be an effective technique for working towards a limit.

July is a time of year when walleye in many lakes will typically be in depths ranging from 20 to 35 feet where they are feeding on insects or baitfish. During these feeding periods many walleye will be suspended in the water column and trolling a crawler harness at low speeds can be an effective way of hooking these elusive fish.

The White Lake Fisherman


Late August Report

Hello fishermen. I have a couple of new articles that may help you refine your fishing success. Enjoy.

More hints on targeting walleye
Most anglers targeting walleye know that catching them in the spring is much easier than catching them during the warmer summertime months. In most Michigan lakes walleye in the summer typically seek cooler, deeper and darker waters while typically feeding in the shallow waters only at night. Because of some physiological properties of walleye, their sensitivity to bright light typically results in avoidance of shallow waters during day light periods.

Anglers in the summer time months typically target walleye during the evening and morning time "low-light" periods. Targeted water depths will vary between lakes, but most anglers seek drop-offs where walleye will typically move up to feed in the shallow waters during the evening through morning hours. My experience fishing walleye in this fashion is usually successful by using a leech or minnow on a floating jighead weighted with a small splitshot sinker (or two). Anchoring at the drop-off or using a slow drift has been the most productive for me.

Other anglers may want to troll artificial lures or crawler harnesses along the deeper side of the contour lines in order to cover more area in a shorter time period. My grandfather always used to say, "Once you find them, you need to stay on em." I think there is a lot of truth to that.

Walleye fishing is sometimes a frustrating activity due to some long waiting periods between catches and finding the perfect conditions. However, once you get a bite it typically signifies something special and hopefully a memorable experience with family and friends.

Understanding water temps and their impact on fishing
As Michigan's inland lakes warm up in mid to late summer, knowledge of a water body's temperature stratification becomes helpful for fishing. Seasonal temperature influences in lakes form different zones, and as a result, different temperature ranges and oxygen levels are associated with these layers. Knowledge of these layers or zones can lead to increased angling success.

The warm surface zone is called the epilimnion and has an abundance of oxygen. The bottom zone is called the hypolimnion and is typically cold and depleted of oxygen. The middle zone is the thermocline and the point at which warm oxygen rich top water is separated from the cold, oxygen depleted water below. The thermocline may prove to be a great depth at which to fish due to the abundance of oxygen and temperature found "in between" very warm and very cold. This ideal zone in most Michigan inland lakes typically will be between 10 to 30 feet, depending on lake size and depth. Just like us humans, fish need oxygen to breath and many don't particularly like to be too warm or too cold.

If fishing in shallow water bodies, look for shaded areas provided by large floating vegetation, overhanging vegetation, submerged logs, or other woody debris which provides water that is a little cooler and cover, where many fish species prefer to spend their time. Also don't forget to try fishing at night during the summer "doldrums" when water temperatures reach seasonal highs. Many fish species become active at night with relief from the daytime sun and heat. And lastly, take a kid fishing with you for luck, and to teach them about this wonderful sport!

The White Lake Fisherman


End-of-Year Report

Hello fishermen. White Lake was busy this year with fishing - but catching was a bit of a challenge for most of us. The harsh winter of 2014 did us in with inconsistencies of weather. Many people agree that summer never arrived, nor did the fish catching. I include myself in this. Now I had some good days, but they were few. Let's hope for a better year next year. Here are some tips for you as you prepare for the colder months upon us.

Fall is an important time to think about gear maintenance. With the colder months quickly approaching, many anglers may be getting ready to store their gear for the season. Below are a few maintenance tips you should follow so your gear is cared for and ready to be used next season:

  1. Make sure all of your gear is clean and completely dry before storing it. Start by cleaning everything (rods, reels, and line) in fresh water with soap or with the manufacturer's recommended solution to remove any materials that may have become attached or embedded.
  2. Inspect your gear for any damage and make any repairs or prepare for replacements.
  3. Don't store any of your gear in direct sunlight, and don't store any of your gear where heat and/or moisture might build up.
  4. Air your waders out completely and don't forget to hang them upside down for the months they are out of use.

I hope ice fishing is productive for you. I personally don't do much of this. Good Luck and have a Happy New Year.

The White Lake Fisherman


Late-December Report

As of the time of this article White Lake is not yet frozen, yet it has frozen and thawed about 3 times since early November. It is currently not safe to venture out. But, the time is coming when you should be able to try your luck. Here is an article that may help your success:

Fishing Tip: Ice fishing in the middle of the day
We often emphasize that the best times to go ice fishing are early morning and around dusk - but what about those folks that can't go during those times and would prefer to fish in the middle of the day? Don't worry; there are options for them too!

A few species are ideal mid-day targets; including northern pike, yellow perch, and bluegill.

For northern pike you can set-up some tip-ups and enjoy a leisurely day on the ice. For yellow perch you can drill a high number of holes and move around frequently. For bluegill you use a fish locator to follow around a school.

Need even more tips for going ice fishing? Check out this article: Ice Fishing, the Coolest Sport Around.

Enjoy and 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