Had a decent outing using fathead minnows on the automatic fishermen and jigging blade baits, gulp, and cast masters. Also tried my luck trolling for a bit, was a tad bit windy but was able to find a few spots to fish out of the wind. It's finally time for open water! Have fun, good luck, and tight lines!
Summerfest Grounds, Lake Michigan, Milwaukee County
|@ the lake|
Below 40° F
36° - 40° F
jcc... alewife numbers are way up compared to what they were 5 years ago...
There were excellent perch hatches in 2015-2016. I caught over 300 perch last summer.All between 4-8". I wonder if it's because alewife numbers are down?
I've wondered that as well. From what I've seen recently the alewives are very much under control but the new issue is the gobies - which both Browns and Lakers eat, as well as smallmouth. It seems to me that the better course of action would be to increase stocking of trout and either maintain or reduce salmon plants.
If the problem is that the forage is in dire shape, why would you stock more of the fish that feeds much more than a brown? If I remember correctly, it takes 2 1/2 browns to eat as much as 1 Chinook. It seems like they are more worried about keeping the Charter boats in business than they are about helping to correct the forage base.
JMO and I am sure that I will get blasted for it.
Yes, Lake Michigan is a world class fishery for trout and salmon. But the forage base is at a critical low point (disappearance of alewives, smelt, perch, bloater chubs). In order to ensure that all the large predator species populations don't collapse due to starvation, Michigan and Wisconsin determined that they had to cut back on stocking of some species. The fish managers are not making a big mistake...they are being proactive so there still is a world class fishery for some species.
All of the DNR Stocking information is available on their "Fisheries Stocking Database" run through USGS. The data isn't usually the most up to date but it will give you all the info from 2017 at least. The stocking of browns has been reduced a lot (mainly due to the charter captains wanting so many more Coho/Kings... in my mind). Just my two cents though! All of the WDNR data is public so don't be afraid to email the local biologist they are usually more then receptive to assisting the public!
Does anybody know what trout the DNR stocks now?Just don't see many small browns, rainbows,or Brook trout like years ago.
Brown trout are held longer in the facilities to raise them. Longer hold times means more food and man hours, which means more $. There is really no difference in rearing costs between domestic and the seeforellen strain. Steelhead cost a bit more to raise as they are held for almost a full year, but they are caught and harvested a lot more than browns are (so the $ amount per fish harvest is higher for browns). Then you gotta slightly talk about the lack of winter creel for the DNR which is another story but lack of funding doesnt allow them to do it at the moment, if you would go to one of the meetings it normally comes up from Haataja almost every time.
As far as the fishing goes, I almost never catch browns from shore during the summer months anyways (maybe 2 or 3 a summer in most of my 20+ years of fishing out here). So there really is no difference. I dont target them but I can say for a fact the Milwaukee Harbor is loaded with seeforellen browns during the middle of summer (if you wanna find a few for Salmon-a-rama that's the place to look). The seeforellen strain doesnt spawn until about late November but big pushes come into the harbors by about mid to late October. They still contribute greatly to the spring fishery as well. So you're looking at over half the year with opportunities to catch these brown trout nonetheless.
Overall, I'm not really for or against the cut to the domestic strain. I see the reasoning for it all (had to cut salmon or ?). If in the future they decided to increase brown trout stocking I personally hope it's in the seeforellen strain numbers and not the domestic strain. I think the odds are just better for them to survive in the conditions of this big lake.
Spawn on a #6 or #8 circle hook a foot off bottom. Sometimes they come in at shallower depths but a few dozen hours of watching the vex says the majority are cruising near the bottom this season. I'd start there. Change spawn frequently, every hour or so even if it looks fine. Gives you a better chance. Most importantly, bring a few friends with licenses so you can drop 9 or more lines. 3 to 6 rods will get you 1-2 bites a day on average.