“Since 2015, I’ve noticed the fish being caught here have been getting bigger and bigger and bigger.”. If those don’t work, cast spoons (Mepps’ Cyclops and Little Cleos are Martin’s favorites). It was a nice fish, about 17 inches and just what we’d come looking for: a splake. The splake is difficult to identify externally because it resembles both parents in different aspects. “Casting is just more fun with fewer problems. Or, maybe we could have had there been any visibility. Check out the instructions for submitting it at Michigan.gov/MasterAngler. About 20 minutes later, Martin scored. Think you’ve caught a Master Angler splake? “Anglers are very excited to fish for splake here, especially since their sizes started going up a few years ago,” said Ferguson. Over the next five hours we caught four more, three keepers and a throwback (they have to be 15 inches to keep) and an eight-pound-class lake trout that fell for Martin’s pink Rapala. Many anglers talk excitedly about fishing for and catching splake, with one destination in particular producing outstanding opportunities to reel in a big one. About 15 minutes in, Kossuth caught one about the same size as Smith’s, casting out over deep water. “I know we would have caught fish on them. When those temps reach 55 to 58 degrees, the splake will begin to move out into Wilderness Bay and can be caught while trolling at Point Brule. “We’ve had days when we’ve caught 30 or 40 fish,” he said. We had none. When the water is still pretty cold, Ferguson (who interviews anglers all fishing season long to find out what is biting, when, where and on what) gets numerous reports of anglers taking splake in as little as six to eight feet. When Rapalas aren’t producing, try Thundersticks. “Clearly the opportunity to target them has always been there as we stock splake right in Hessel, but it’s even more exciting based on the current size of these fish.”. “Fishing for splake out of Hessel is a great experience,” said Mike Ferguson, a DNR creel clerk who covers the ports of Cedarville, Hessel and DeTour. Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center, Bluesource/DNR Big Wild Forest Carbon Project, Assistance for Private Forest Land Owners, County and Municipal Law Enforcement Information, Fisheries Division Citizens Advisory Committees, Michigan History Center Commissions & Committees, Pigeon River Country Equestrian Committee, Timber and Forest Products Advisory Council, Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Councils. And we caught more fish because you were actually feeling that tick and you’d slam it home.”. You can see the end of the world from here. The rain was heavy and constant; the sky was as dark as a terrorist’s heart. Many anglers talk excitedly about fishing for and catching splake, with one destination in particular producing outstanding opportunities to reel in a big one. It was more like a subtle walleye bite. How about Master Angler size? Unlike the one half of their parentage, the lake trout who will want open water, splake will hug the shoreline, especially as that water warms up. Martin positioned the boat in about 15 feet of water and we were fan casting the area. Martin said there’s no telling what sort of lures the splake will want on any given day. You want a chop on the water and the worse it gets the better the fishing because they don’t know you’re there.”. The theory, of course, is that casting brings fish in toward the boat and sometimes those fish will peel off and take a minnow. I was with Martin, his boyhood pal Kurt Kossuth and Smith, a local guy, on a miserable day: 46 degrees, blowing and wet, wet, wet. One hour and we had four splake in the boat.
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