By Howard Meyerson
The 2015 salmon season is just getting underway and what anglers can expect remains uncertain. Lake Michigan fishing typically picks up in May but just where in the lake depends on water temperature. And so far lake waters have been uniformly very cold.
“It’s tough to pinpoint where the chinooks will be when water temperatures are the same around the lake,” said Jay Wesley, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan basin coordinator. “But, fishing for lake trout, coho salmon, steelhead and brown trout has been decent. And I know of one 17-pound (chinook) that has been caught.”
Charter anglers around St. Joseph have had intermittent luck with chinooks so far. One recently called to share that fishing was sporadic — a 30-fish-day with a boat full of clients might be followed by a three-fish-day. Cold blustery weather made for difficult fishing in April.
Anglers are likely to find this year’s catch about the same as last, according to Wesley. Michigan sport and charter anglers caught 125,000 chinooks in 2014 and in 2013. Both years were down from 2012 when anglers caught 275,000 chinooks.
Of course, there are fewer chinooks in Lake Michigan these days. Fewer are now stocked by all the Lake Michigan states, and a 2015 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report indicates fewer wild (untagged) salmon showed up in the 2014 catch, particularly up north, where they have been plentiful. Continue reading