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Fall fishing provides challenges, opportunities for astute anglers

September 10, 2010
By ANDY NELSON-ZALESKI Journal Staff Writer

BARAGA - As the days begin to get shorter and temperatures dip, it can mean only one thing - fall is just around the corner and the onshore and stream and river fishing has begun.

Fall is a great time to get out and fish. The fall colors make it a really beautiful time to be out in the fall air. There aren't as many people out fishing as there were during the spring trout opener. And it is also a relatively inexpensive hobby.

In the fall, many species of fish are coming in from the deep off shore waters into the near shore to begin their way up rivers and streams to begin to spawn. The brown trout, chinook, coho and pink salmon will begin to spawn in mid to late October and many have already begun their trek into shallower waters.

Article Photos

Ed Prosen of Marquette watches as his line snaps while fishing along the Chocolay River Thursday. Prosen caught two coho while fishing the river. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)

Anglers along the Lake Superior shoreline have begun to target these fish.

Salmon are sensitive to bright sunlight so many anglers will fish in the early morning or last couple hours of daylight after dinner. George Madison, fisheries supervisor for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment in Baraga, said many enthusiasts will be out trolling on the water at daybreak, right as the sun is cresting.

"That is typically the best period," he said.

Fact Box

"Often, between October and November, fishing is very good for walleye, northern pike, and bass."

- George Madison, fisheries supervisor, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Baraga

Once the fish move into the rivers, the morning and evening bites are still good. Overcast days and sometime right after a light rain when the river gets stirred up a bit is a great time because fish will begin to feed, Madison said.

Most anglers fishing along the Lake Superior shore are using baits that imitate minnows.

"Blue and silver or green and silver flashing and even spoons have become really popular," Madison said.

As the fish begin to move upstream to begin their spawning phase, they typically begin to feed on free floating eggs from other spawning fish. As a result, two popular baits that anglers use are spawn bags and terminal tackle such as flies or yarns. Ideally these baits will imitate the natural food source of the floating eggs.

Trout fishing on inland lakes and streams remain open through Sept. 30.

In the excitement of salmon and trout fishing, don't forget other species with seasons still open on the inland lakes. As these lakes start to cool, the fish begin to feed more heavily, Madison said.

"Often, between October and November, fishing is very good for walleye, northern pike, and bass," he said.

Things that anglers should be aware of are the regulations that are in place including which streams are open to fishing and which ones aren't and what the closing dates are for each stream.

There are also size and bag limits that are associated with each fish species.

"In a river, coho, chinook, and pink salmon have to be 10 inches or larger to be kept," said Madison.

Picking up a fishing guide at any licensed dealer or by stopping at any of the Michigan DNRE offices will help. Anglers can also download the guide from the DNRE website. And, Madison said, anglers can call any of the DNRE offices to get information.

Madison said that If anyone knows a child that wants to get out and fish, this is a great time of year to take them.

"Being able to watch them catch a 28- to 30-inch salmon and pull it out of a river is a lot of fun," he added.

Andy Nelson-Zaleski can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 256. His e-mail address is



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