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Fishing on White Lake

Tips from "The White Lake Fisherman"

Send your fishing questions and comments to "The White Lake Fisherman"
at fishing@wlcl.org

Autumn 2015 Report

White Lake is turning over now where the bottom water temperature is matching the surface temperature. What does this mean? I would hope it would mean that the fish will now rise from the bottom and be more active, and your success rate will be outstanding. Let me know if this holds true.

Recently the MDNR has made a change to the catch limits for fishing Michigan waters. Here is the posting:

The combined possession limit for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye and flathead catfish which limited the daily possession limit to five fish has been removed effective immediately.  Anglers are now be able to possess up to 5 bass (largemouth and smallmouth combined), up to 5 walleye, up to 5 flathead catfish, and up to 2 northern pike in their daily possession limit. These species will no longer be managed under a combined possession limit and now will be managed under separate possession limits resulting in more fish for anglers to keep in a day's fishing.

Now this is good news for the fishermen that catch a lot of fish, but for the average person on an inland lake, I believe we are just happy to catch a few fish and then release them. In other cases we can have dinner.

Good Luck,

The White Lake Fisherman


August 2015 Report

White Lake has finally warmed up with a good string of warm days and sunshine. This has slowed the fishing down a bit and I recommend you fish in deeper water for better results.

This is true except for an observation I made last week at the White Lake Inn. Note, a lot of fishing tournaments conclude on the docks of the Inn. Many if not all fish are released after the weigh in right at the docks of the Inn. Bass are territorial and do not move much more than a quarter mile. This bay is just full of huge fish that we have planted from the tournaments. Go stand on the docks there and watch the waters as the kids toss popcorn in to the feed the fish. The blue gill will be on top and the big bass right below waiting their next meal. Bingo. Good luck.

Summer bluegill fishing: Once bluegill have finished spawning in the spring and they are no longer concentrated in shallow bedding areas, larger adult bluegill can be hard to locate. Because of this, many anglers give up targeting this tasty fish until the next spring. But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are three tips on how to locate and catch this scrappy fighter and great table fare after the warm days of summer have arrived.

First and foremost, go deep! The larger bluegill (and often other species as well) move out from shore and down into deeper water where temperatures remain much cooler. In most typical Michigan lakes this means fishing about 10-15 feet down either with slip bobbers or drifting without a bobber using a lightly-weighted line (1-2 small split shot), a small hook on the end, and enough line out to keep your bait at those depths. In lakes with clear water you may have to go as deep as 20 feet or more.

Second, try different baits. While half a crawler or a large worm with a small hook in just one end is always good, the larger fish also love leeches or crickets if your local bait shop has them available. The tough skin on a leech usually allows you to catch several fish on each bait, and the wiggling legs on a cricket seem to be irresistible. Scented leech imitations or even the wax worms used while ice fishing can also work.

And third, don't be afraid to move away from the shore. During warm weather the larger bluegill often suspend out in the middle of the lake. A slow, leisurely drift without a bobber across deeper areas can often lead to finding such a suspended school. You can then stop and target them with slip bobbers or keep drifting through the same area resulting in catching several of the larger fish suspended there.

But beware! You never know when a much larger fish, such as a walleye, bass, or good-size yellow perch might also be hanging out in that deeper water and hungry enough to grab that tasty morsel drifting by. Have fun! Relax! And GOOD FISHIN!

The White Lake Fisherman


July 2015 Report

Our cool summer has resulted in cooler than normal water temperatures. This means that the fish are not staying as deep in the lake as they normally would. The result is that fishing for our main game fish is good this year, or should I say your success rate should be better. I have noted this with an excellent success rate. I have caught keeper fish in less than an hour almost every time I have gone out.

The canals are excellent choices since with the cooler temperatures the fish stay there, where in the past they have left for cooler waters in the lake. The WLCL fishing tournament showed the same thing as far as catches goes. Plenty of fish caught, although not every catch was to size for keeping, but the action was good.

Using a float while fishing: Floats can be a useful tool for anglers looking to find bigger fish while also producing a relaxing fishing opportunity - sitting back and letting the gear work its magic.

Using a float, such as a traditional bobber, classic teardrop or oval-shaped option, will allow fish time to check out your bait up close and decide if they want to take a bite.

Anglers will also need to decide between using a spring-type fixed bobber or a slip bobber. A slip bobber offers you more flexibility because it can move up and down the line depending on where you put a stopper.

The White Lake Fisherman


2015 Fishing Tournament

The 4th Annual WLCL Fishing Tournament is Saturday, June 13th. All of the rules are listed below. Good luck!

White Lake Fishing Tournament
Rules and Regulations

  1. Tournament is open to all species of fish
  2. All fish caught must be caught in White Lake, Oakland County, Michigan
  3. All fish catching methods are acceptable
  4. All fishermen must abide by MDNR regulations for licenses*, fish size, and boating safety
  5. Only fish caught between the time of 7:00 am - 12:00 Noon Saturday June 13, 2015 are eligible for prize entry
  6. Fish must be live for measurement if possible
  7. There is no limit to the number of fishermen per boat, however at least one person on the boat MUST be a White Lake / Highland resident
  8. Combined weight of 3 largest fish per boat only for prizes regardless of the number of fish caught
  9. Tournament starts at 7:00 am (with air horn sound)
  10. Tournament ends at 12:00 Noon at the docks of the White Lake Inn (with air horn sound)
  11. Tournament registration forms are available here
  12. Tournament registration will be from 6:00-6:55 am at the White Lake Inn
  13. Registration tournament entry cost is $30.00 per boat (cash only)
  14. Each registered boat will receive a YELLOW WLCL FLAG that MUST be displayed to help identify the boats in the tournament
  15. The tournament director reserves the right to inspect any boat for fish prior to tournament
  16. Prizes will be awarded for the following categories: Largest one fish, largest combined weight of 3 fish or less per boat (1st and 2nd place prizes)
  17. Special prize: Largest walleye
  18. Tie breaker is overall length of largest fish
  19. The YELLOW WLCL FLAG must be returned upon fish weigh in
The White Lake Fisherman - Tournament Director

*NOTE: This is part of a Michigan Free Fishing Weekend, so a Michigan fishing license is NOT required to fish in the tournament!


Click here to see photos and information about the 2015 winners!


Spring 2015 Report

Happy Spring 2015! The ice was thick this year and the winter almost as brutal as last year. We made it. The ice was about 24 thick in places, so the oxygen levels had to be down.

When the ice melts and the winds increase, lakes and ponds go through a period called "turnover", which is the process of water turning over from top to bottom. When this happens, residents are apt to see some dead fish. This is usually the result of "winterkill", caused by a harsh winter with thick ice.  This type of fish kill typically does not affect the overall health of fish populations or the quality of fishing. Click here for more information on fish kills.

On another note, fishing in April on White Lake is limited to pan fish only. Walleye and pike season does not open until May 1st. The water temperature is about 40 degrees in the lake, so be aware. The canals are heating up and you can see the algae blooms starting when the sun appears. Lake treatment should start soon. Good luck on your angling.

There will be a White Lake Fishing Tournament this year on Saturday June 13th. More detail to follow.


The White Lake Fisherman


Archive of Fishing Reports from 2010

Archive of Fishing Reports from 2011

Archive of Fishing Reports from 2012

Archive of Fishing Reports from 2013

Archive of Fishing Reports from 2014

Fishing Advisories

The Michigan Department of Community Health, which issues fish advisories for all water bodies in Michigan, indicates that the levels of contaminants in White Lake are relatively good in comparison to other inland lakes, and especially good in comparison to rivers and the Great Lakes. The current statewide advisory more than adequately provides safeguards for consumption of fish from White Lake. Information regarding advisories and consumption of fish is available at www.michigan.gov/fishandgameadvisory

Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Information

Fishing Website

Angler Information

Licenses, Seasons, and Permits

Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them

Send your comments and questions to fishing@wlcl.org

for more information
call the Hotline: 248.887.5658 (April - October)
or e-mail communication@wlcl.org (Bob Parrett)
White Lake Citizens League
P.O. Box 851
Highland, MI 48356