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I am providing some interesting information for you fisherman this month anticipating Spring (hurry up), but for the most part this report is still focused on ice fishing - and I anticipate the ice to be with us well into April.
Master Angler Program recognizes big catches: This year marks the 41st anniversary of the DNR's successful Master Angler program. Launched in 1973 to better recognize anglers who catch unusually large fish, the Master Angler program began with just a handful of fish eligible to win distinctive Master Angler shoulder patches. In 1992, the catch-and-release category was established.
Master Angler has expanded over time to include nearly 50 species for which anglers may compete for honors. At the end of each calendar year, recognition certificates are also awarded to anglers entering the top five fish in each category.
The 2014 Master Angler information and application is already available at www.michigan.gov/masterangler. The deadline for submitting a 2014 entry is January 10, 2015. Be sure to include a photo of your fish if it has not already been identified by a DNR fisheries biologist.
Fishing Tip: Understanding fish posture to help with ice fishing success. Fish often maintain one of two postures - one where they are ready to strike (fins up and backs arched), or one where they are focused on traveling (fins tucked in). Understanding these postures can aid in your fishing success, particularly through the ice.
The first step when using fish posture to impact your ice fishing techniques is to have appropriate equipment, such as sonar. This tool allows you to visualize the posture and react effectively.
Secondly, pay attention to time periods of aggressive posture. Most likely you will see it exhibited around sunrise and sunset - plan your trips accordingly.
Ice fishing activity is down. It seems many are getting tired of the extreme cold, deep snow, difficult travel conditions, and trying to drill holes through excessive ice.
2014 Fishing Licenses went on sale March 1. This gives anglers one month to purchase their new license before they are required on April 1.
The White Lake Fisherman
The cold weather in Michigan and White Lake continues. The ice thickness is beyond a manual auger unless you need a major workout. I have a few ice fishing tips for you if you so decide to test the elements. The first is to move often if there is little or no action at your hole. This can be challenging, but it is better than just sitting there and hoping for action.
Walleye are a popular target of ice anglers, with many jigging for this aggressive species. But did you know weather can play an important role in your opportunity to catch them?
While you might not be able to notice the wind whipping outside your shanty, walleye under the ice notice it. When the wind shifts, it impacts things under the water, including the current and silt. This might mean you'll need to change locations on the ice to find what you're looking for.
Fish are very sensitive to air pressure and when it's consistent you'll find the fish can be very active. But if the pressure drops you'll also see a decline in bites.
Along with pressure, you'll see changes in activity thanks to temperature. Many anglers gravitate to their favorite spots on warmer days, only to find not much activity under the ice. Temperature drops affect the air pressure which turns many species off.
Good Luck and hurry spring!
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
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
Licenses, Seasons, and Permits
Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them
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