Due to some website updates and overall busy schedules, we’re a bit behind on posting. To recap the scene from this spring, it can be summarized in a few short words; rain, cold, mud and dredging. Mother Nature heard our fretting over low water levels and did her best to make up the difference, all in a month.
With 9.10 inches of rainfall in Grand Rapids during the month of April, we saw historic flooding on Michigan’s largest river. With the precipitation levels being consistent for much of the lower peninsula, nearly every river in West Michigan followed suit. This resulted in muddy runoff into lower basins and connected inland lakes for weeks and weeks. While stained water often helps the fishing, this went far beyond the desired conditions. From perch to walleye to steelhead, every targeted species struggled.
To worsen the odds, two other conditions offered negative effects. The late winter and colder than average spring kept many fish from spawning on time. As it stands today, many bluegills are just bedding, nearly 4 weeks behind the typical year. The other situation dealt with by many Muskegon anglers relates back to the low water levels. Muskegon is home to a terrific and well used commercial shipping port. For this reason, maintaining shipping channels becomes a top priority in low water situations. Fall and winter storms helped push sand into the break arms and fill in the channel, resulting in a need to dredge this spring. For a variety of reasons (including debris from the flooded river), the dredging took much longer than expected. This operation typically puts any near-shore fishing on a downturn, and when lasting as long as it did, causes fish to feed and spawn elsewhere.
For the reasons above, the spring fishery in Muskegon was not as great as it has been in prior years. In a touch of good news, all of the rain we’ve had has caused the Great Lakes to rise at a solid clip. We’re hoping this persists, but in the meantime, let’s hope for some great weather this summer!
My dad and I did manage a weekend venture outside of the West Michigan area, meeting up with friends Steve and Scott to fish the western basin of Lake Erie for the spring walleye run. True to form this spring, wind, waves and rain followed us, resulting in more “chocolate milk water” fishing conditions. While the conditions were poor, it was a great test for the new Skeeter WX2100. With west winds of 20-30 miles per hour and fish congregating 5-7 miles offshore, we had plenty of waves to test out the new ride. Long story short, we felt safe, confident and dry the entire day, even in an “Erie Chop” of 4-6 feet and better.
Here’s to hoping for a summer filled with great weather, great fishing and lasting memories.
Tight lines all!