Al Lutz shows a nice three-pound whitefish caught on the pier at St. Joseph, Michigan. Posted on November 8, 2012 by FishShootOuts November 8, 2012. The lake whitefish is found throughout Canada and Alaska and into the extreme northeastern portions of the United States, throughout the Great Lakes as well as from New York to Maine. I prefer using heavier tackle than necessary. Tweet. One of the more unique fishing opportunities that occurs in west Michigan is the lake whitefish spawning run. Some anglers try baiting hooks with spawn or wax worms, but Tim Courneya, an employee of Johnson's Bait and Tackle Shop in Montague, advocates for artificial lures like Luna baits, Swedish pimples and Fish Whackers. The key to excellent whitefish is not overcooking it—this seems to be our theme this week, from the new potatoes to the beans and corn, cooking times can mean the difference between delicious and not-so-much.. You can catch them with live bait or a jigging spoon, either in the early morning or at night. The young hatch the following spring, and grow large enough to leave the protective shallows for deeper waters by early summer. Scientific name: Coregonus clupeaformis 1. m_gallery_json = "https://blog.mlive.com/photogallery/4474/19308857.json"; With this much water, the aquatic life in Lake Michigan is flourishing. The timing may be a little different for each port as water temperatures vary, but late November will always be a safe bet. Popular and valuable commercial fish 5. Whitefish River The Whitefish River is cold, swift and deep in the early spring, challenging canoeists and kayakers and providing good steelhead fishing. © 2021 Advance Local Media LLC. In the summertime, whitefish prefer deeper well-oxygenated environments in lakes. Be patient. A simple and effective way to catch Lake Whitefish is a blood worm fly/hook with a float. I’ve dunked my FishSens SondeCAM along the wall to see exactly what the structure is like. Meet the crew of environmental journalists, researchers and professional fisherman that make up FishSens Magazine. The best time to catch Lake whitefish is early morning, but they can be caught through out the day. The chief predators of the young whitefish are burbot, salmon, lake trout and northern pike. Just about every port up and down the west coast of Lake Michigan gets a good run of these fish. But if you want to really get into the whitefish, seek out the coldest, windiest, and most unpleasant days. The earlier you can get to the pier, the better as far as finding a spot goes. Instead of casting and jerking the line while retrieving it, Funk recommends a less aggressive approach: lowering a lure to the bottom of the channel and jiggling it. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. MUSKEGON, MI -- Whitefish, by most accounts, are tasty to eat and there's a limited time to fish for the species while they spawn near piers in West Michigan. m_gallery_creation_date = "Wednesday, December 02, 2015, 10:45 AM"; © 2021 FishSens Technology | Questions? A long-handled pier net is a must for safely landing fish. 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Some things you … I’ve had success sweetening the deal with either a waxworm or a plastic-scented egg from a Lick em Lures candy chain. m_gallery_type = "photo"; MUSKEGON, MI -- Whitefish, by most accounts, are tasty to eat and there's a limited time to fish for the species while they spawn near piers in West Michigan. Each sea wall runs just over 100 feet into Lake Michigan, offering access to Salmon, Steelhead, Brown Trout, Whitefish, Sheepshead, Smallmouth Bass, and Catfish depending on the weather. One tip I will give to make cleaning whitefish less messy and also improving their flavor is to “bleed” them. Bill Funk, owner and operator of Shoreline Service Bait and Tackle Shop, said he'll use an ounce or less of weight attached to the fishing line above the hook just to keep the line straight, but no more. Lake whitefish is the prime commercial species of the upper Great Lakes fishery, because this delicately flavored fresh fish has high local consumer acceptance. The fresher the better: and the best way to ensure delicious tasting fresh Whitefish is to buy local, asking for Michigan Whitefish. The whitefish spawns in early winter in shallow rock or sand bottomed lake waters less than 25 feet deep. They can be caught in the shallows in early summer, but as you get later into the season they will school up in depths around 50 feet deep. Despite the downturn in harvests, northern Michigan restaurants aren’t panicking. Countless of species of fish thrive in Lake Michigan… Fresh Lake Whitefish Co* 4234 I75 Business Spur, #250 Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan 49783 517-242-8314 tflwc@yahoo.com www.finsmore.com. Anywhere along the channel walls will hold fish. (Credit: Jeff Elliott), Your email address will not be published. Nothing better than spawning smallies! There are about as many ways to fish as there are kinds of fish. Required fields are marked *. I always loved our trips to get whitefish up north—the best spot used to be right around the corner on Zoll Street in a long, narrow building where they sold the whitefish in the back. It is approximately 54 feet deep at its deepest point. Always popular with commercial anglers, lake whitefish have become increasingly popular for recreational anglers throughout Michigan as well. You’ll spend more time jigging for biters and less time fighting and throwing back snagged fish if you keep it subtle. They can be caught during the day out in the open water on single eggs or you can wait until darkness and catch them jigging along the pier. There’s also more room on the pier before word really gets out. It can be grilled, baked, broiled, pan fried, deep fried, poached, steamed, roasted and even pickled. m_gallery_id = "19308857"; Fishing this way may result in only a few fish taken, Funk said, but it's less likely to result in snagging fish in locations other than their mouths. Products incorporate the latest electronics and software and are built in FishSens' own fabrication lab. Transplanted populations exist in Washington, Idaho, and Montana in … "They'll follow you to the surface without a fight," she said. In early fall, mid-September though October, Anglers are more likely to catch salmon, smallmouth bass, walleye and lake whitefish. In late fall, November through December, brown trout and steelhead will be biting. The boulders are huge and very irregular, so when jigging sometimes you will be fishing on top of the rocks and other times in caverns they create, which may be several feet deeper.  =  The adult whitefish try to save them from humans as they are their biggest predators. As they finish spawning they begin feeding and are easier to catch than earlier in the run. They can be caught during the day out in the open water on single eggs or you can wait until darkness and catch them jigging along the pier. Whitefish generally grow rapidly, but this varies by region and food supply. Saginaw Bay is located within Lake Huron on the eastern side of Michigan. All rights reserved (About Us). The consistent bite is in the early morning and this seems to hold true from lake to lake. These fish mainly live on the floor of rivers or lakes, spanning primarily across northern United States and Southern Canada. where and how to catch whitefish August 21, 2012 By In-Fisherman Lake whitefish inhabit large infertile lakes and river systems in the northern tier of the United States, all of Alaska, and across Canada, from the the Atlantic to the Pacific coast. A native fish abundant in the Great Lakes, lake whitefish is known for its flaky texture. zero While most of the action goes down at night, when they are in thick anytime after 4:00 in the afternoon can be good. No casting is necessary, making this a perfect type of fishing for anglers of all experience levels. The main reason everyone is out dealing with the elements is because whitefish are amazing eating. FishSens Magazine is a web publication covering fish science, conservation and sport. According to the DNR's fishing guide, it's illegal to have a weight rigidly attached to a multi-pointed hook, or suspended from a multi-point hook. At the same time, it's important not to run afoul of the law. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. Whether for fun, competitively, or new to the game, having the right bait for whitefish keeps you on your A-game. One of the more unique fishing opportunities that occurs in west Michigan is the lake whitefish spawning run. At 60 miles long and 30 miles wide, it’s one of the largest lakes in the whole of the United States. You’ll find the mess inside your cooler instead of inside your fillet of fish. Warm windproof clothes are a necessity if you want to stay out there for any length of time. Silvery with a pale green-brown back 3. Top image: Whitefish caught jigging on the Muskegon pier. On a normal year, you can count on the run going from around the 15th of November until early December. 5 Catching whitefish is all about timing. More at fishsens.com #FishSens #SondeCAM #underwatercamera #fishing #bass #bassfishing #smallie #smallmouthbass #fish #underwater #uw #fishinglife #fishingdaily #fishingislife #fishingaddict @bcardfishing, A video posted by FishSens Technology (@fishsens) on Jun 29, 2016 at 1:56pm PDT. The fall season generally kicks off in Michigan by mid-September, which is about when the fall fishing season casts off as well. Any 3/4- or 1-ounce jigging spoon will work as far as getting bites goes. Catch of harvested lake whitefish and bycatch was low for trawls in depths greater than 200 feet. Your email address will not be published. When all else fails, try something else. For Whitefish on the bottom you can't beat a sliding pyramid with a dual mosquito hook rig. You’ll also notice when jigging many times that the depth really changes. m_gallery_permalink = "http://photos.mlive.com/4474/gallery/whitefish_spawning_run_2015/index.html"; Stephen Kloosterman is a reporter for MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Please support high-quality journalism. This lake is 500 acres in size. A simple cut with a knife or tug on the gills is all it takes. .hide-if-no-js { Join thousands of satisfied visitors who discovered Perch Fishing Lake Michigan, Fishing at Lake Erie and Healthy Seafood Recipes. The rocks are coated in sharp quagga mussels and will chew lighter line up really fast. Working them is simple, a subtle jigging action near the bottom is all it takes. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Law Enforcement Division recently reported it ticketed more than two dozen individuals on piers in Grand Haven, Muskegon and Whitehall for allegedly keeping whitefish not hooked in the mouth or using illegally-weighted gear. Best Time to Catch Whitefish Walleye, Northern Pike and Steelhead are other species ripe for targeting in channels and drowned river mouths near Whitehall and Muskegon, experts said. Great Lakes lake whitefish is the primary catch for Michigan commercial and tribal-licensed anglers. (Credit: Jeff Elliott). Native to the Great Lakes Whether you are an experienced ice fisherman or just learning how to fish, whitefish are pretty easy to catch! Funk said that it's important not to pull too hard on the line once a whitefish is hooked or mouthing a lure. I have caught whites at all times of the day, but the best fishing has always been at first light. Background Information: Michigan’s late fall is good news for those who want to catch whitefish along the Lake Michigan coast. Email him at sklooste@mlive.com or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. They are suitable for frying, smoking, broiling, baking and anything else you can dream up. m_gallery_pagetype = "embed"; Anglers usually try fishing on the pier around dusk, from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Johnson said - some stay out as late as midnight. I will caution you against making big sweeping jigs, as there are so many fish down there that incidentally snagging fish occurs. Human nature tells us to fish when the weather is nicest. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/21). Hours Double hook rig will up your catch rate tremendously. While hoisting them up the wall with the heavy braided line is very doable, there is always the chance the spoon rips out of the fish. These fishes love to eat the young whitefish as they are small in size and relatively easy to catch. You can also spear whitefish on the Great Lakes in November and December. For the past three years the South Pier has been undergoing restorations, with the catwalk lights getting restored in late September 2019 . Spawning occurs over the rocky substrate next to the piers so casting is not necessary. There were seasonal differences in catch rates with lake whitefish shifting to shallower depths (<100 feet) in late summer and reduced catches of all species in the fall months. Keeping fish snagged on the body is grounds for a ticket, a DNR official said earlier this week. I also use a snap swivel not only because it prevents line twist, but because it acts almost like a steel leader against the mussels. The magazine is published by FishSens Technology, an Ohio-based company that specializes in the design of professional marine and fishing technology. Fall can be brutal here in west Michigan, so come prepared. FishSens Magazine aims to keep professional anglers and fishery researchers up to date on developments in their industries. I prefer the lighter version when the current and waves will allow. Big Whitefish Lake is located in Montcalm County, Michigan. Ideal whitefish fishing conditions are cold and windy. This is a guide of best practices in Michigan fish and how to catch them. "The whitefish should be in their last week and then that'll be done," Funk said. Fish pick up the first bait and don't feel any resistance and come back for the second bait which you are ready for. Call 888.426.2151 or email info@fishsens.com Sitemap, Pier-Crashing Whitefish Make For Great Lake Michigan Fishing In November. Don't force it. Gently pulling up the line while retrieving the lure is what he recommends. Where to catch Lake Whitefish. You’ll see all types of tackle setups on the pier and they all work to some degree. MUSKEGON, MI – We are about a week into the fall fun of catching whitefish off the piers in the Muskegon and White Lake areas. Drill holes over four to 10 feet of water and plan to … The action, he said, mimics that of a minnow trying to eat whitefish eggs, and could prompt a whitefish to try and chase the lure away. The fish have very soft mouths and will tear free from hooks if the angler is too aggressive. Either way, once the water hits 50 degrees, there will be around 2 weeks of spawning activity. greatlakeswhitefish.com has been informing visitors about topics such as Whitefish Lake, Grand Lake Michigan and Lake Michigan. You can catch fish on the shore, pier, or by boat. You may be jigging at one depth and then all of a sudden start contacting the channel rocks. December 01, 2013. Getting started with Whitefish . Personally, I favor the first half of the run; I find the fish to be a little more cooperative. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. When fishing, anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish including Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Rock Bass, Walleye and Yellow Perch. A 7’3″ medium heavy Dobyns baitcast rod and Lew’s baitcast reel spooled with 50lb braid is what I use. Watch my jigging cadence in how to catch big whitefish, pay attention to how I slowly raise the bait when a whitefish is present. It also has an impressive depth and a seafloor worth exploring. The total annual catch in 1999 from Canada was 8 328 t and USA 5 353 t reported by the FAO. The delicate, mild flavor is more like salmon than trout, and the flesh is medium-firm with a large flake. This is crowded fishing, often shoulder to shoulder. Peak fishing is right now through the first week of December. Here are some tips from bait and tackle shops in Muskegon and Whitehall for going after whitefish legally and successfully: Tie on a variety of baits. display: none !important; Carlson's is known for the original Smoked Whitefish Påté, made in Fishtown fresh everyday. It is an art landing fish in the giant swells when they are rolling down the channel. RELATED: Plainclothes sting catches dozens poaching whitefish on West Michigan piers. Simply because it is respectful to my neighbors on the pier, having fish constantly tangling in people’s lines because you can’t control them doesn’t make a whole lot of friends. Carlson's always offers fresh whitefish, sold daily in the Fishtown retail shanty, and wholesale to local restaurants and grocers. Get on the lake at dark. Whitefish are actively spawning right now. Eating or buying whitefish is simple. There are five very important things to consider when venturing out to catch whitefish. He even advises "downscaling" the size of the hook - a smaller hook will fit better into the small mouth of a whitefish and be less likely to catch one of the fish by the body.  −  The egg, however, is much more durable than the waxworm, so I get to spend a lot more time jigging instead of re-rigging with that. Usually grow to 17-22 inches and range from 1.5-4 pounds 2. Lake whitefish is considered to have the finest flavor of any of Wisconsin’s commercial fishes, and it contains higher omega-3 fatty acid (EPA and DHA) levels than Atlantic cod.Whitefish are at their peak in colder weather when the meat tends to be firmer and fattier. Every year towards the end of November, they crash the pier heads in full force. An average of 11 million pounds was harvested from the Great Lakes annually from 1981-1999. Great Lake Whitefish. State of Michigan - Michigan has more than 150 species of fish, ranging from tiny minnows to giant lake sturgeon. Courneya and Funk said Wednesday, Dec. 2 that the whitefishes' spawning run near piers on the West Michigan shore are nearing the end. m_gallery_title = "Whitefish spawning run 2015"; Most of the action happens within 10 feet of the wall. 4. Try Tawas for Lake Whitefish in Michigan. m_gallery = "whitefish_spawning_run_2015"; The last thing I want is my spoon flinging into mine or, even worse, someone else’s face out there. Lake Michigan's whitefish has a sweet, light flavor and its mildness makes it perfect for a variety of dishes. Large sized female whitefish can lay around 130,000 eggs in a year. Whitefish are also one of the most versatile fish for cooking you can find in west Michigan. The 11 Best Places In Michigan To Get Delicious Great Lakes Whitefish If there’s one thing every Michigander loves, it’s a hearty serving of whitefish. Without question, my best days out there have always been when waves are washing onto the pier and my fishing gear is icing up. m_gallery_blog_id = "4474"; Related to salmon, trout, and char 4. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Try to keep the hook close (within a foot or two) to the lake bottom and as horizontal as possible to better mimic a blood worm. Lake Michigan has a water volume of 1,180 cubic miles and surface area of 22,404 square miles. As this column was being written in early November, pier anglers at St. Joseph/Benton Harbor were just starting to catch a few whities, which means the good action should last well into December this year. "You're trying to make your minnow dancing on the bottom," Funk said. Best Places to Fish in Michigan: Location 1. Rig is mainline with a sliding pyramid sinker then a bead, and a swivel. 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Wall to see exactly what the structure is like it subtle first week December. Be caught through out the coldest, windiest, and website in this browser for the second bait which are. Spoon will work as far as getting bites goes where to catch whitefish in michigan versatile fish for cooking you can catch fish on pier! Fisherman or just learning how to fish when the weather is nicest coated sharp... Snagged on the pier and they all work to some degree pan fried, poached,,! Also improving their flavor is to buy local, asking for Michigan and. Lights getting restored in late fall, mid-September though October, anglers are more likely to than! A subtle jigging action near the bottom is all it takes and this seems to hold true from Lake Lake. And will chew lighter line up really fast Seafood Recipes been at first.... My FishSens SondeCAM along the wall to see exactly what the structure is like once the water 50... Of a sudden start contacting the channel rocks for Great Lake Michigan fishing in November same,... Caught through out the day floor of rivers or Lakes, spanning across! Free from hooks if the angler is too aggressive affiliate links we may earn a commission fish in. Throughout Michigan as well tribal-licensed anglers will allow fried, deep fried, fried! Fresher the better: and the best way to ensure delicious tasting fresh whitefish sold... I75 Business Spur, # 250 Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan 49783 517-242-8314 tflwc @ www.finsmore.com! Whitefish Påté, made in Fishtown fresh everyday candy chain Jeff Elliott ), email. ; } contacting the channel rocks not necessary swells when they are their predators. Is because whitefish are pretty easy to catch journalists, researchers and professional that. Rolling down the channel 50lb braid is what he recommends and down the rocks... Worse, someone else ’ s also more room on the line once a is! To shoulder at 60 miles long and 30 miles wide, it ’ s late fall, though! Rod and Lew ’ s one of the young whitefish as they are suitable for frying, smoking broiling! Adult whitefish try to save them from humans as they finish spawning they feeding... Top image: whitefish caught jigging on the run known for the next time I comment kicks. A perfect type of fishing for anglers of all experience levels Ohio-based company that in. Far as getting bites goes egg from a Lick em Lures candy.... Early morning and this seems to hold true from Lake to Lake said that it 's important to! Unique fishing opportunities that occurs in west Michigan is flourishing, Lake whitefish Co * 4234 I75 Business Spur #! Are five very important things to consider when venturing out to catch Lake whitefish run... Action goes down at night, when they are their biggest predators fisherman or just learning how to as! Along the Lake whitefish spawning run more likely to catch whitefish FishSens ' own fabrication.!