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Fishing report by Dan Manyen for Saginaw Bay and Tittabawassee River From Essexville Michigan

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Updated: 03/04/03
Walleye Express Charters by Captain Dan Manyen
Fishing the Saginaw Bay and Tittabawassee River From Essexville Michigan by Captain Dan Manyen Visit Dans Website    Walleye Express

E-mail Capt: Dan Manyen, at Walleye Express Charters. 
Hey, Gang.
    Did anybody else notice all the skunk smells this week. Seem everywhere I went this past week, the male skunks were in full advertising mode for some female companionship. Bad part is, the skunk was also no stranger for me and my clients this weekend on the Saginaw Bay as well.

I say weekend but really mean Friday 2-28-03 and Saturday 3-01-03. Two absolutely beautiful days weather wise, with no wind and a sun so bright and warm you didn't dare put the heater on in the shanty. Yet me and a lot of others fishing in all parts of the Bay couldn't figure out where or what the walleyes wanted. Oh, one of my buddies got into them before dark on Friday in 20 foot of water off Linwood Road, but his success was rare for what I heard all day on my cell phone. Now of course this Sunday 2-02-03, and looks like Monday 2-03-03 are both going to be a wash, with heavy 20 to 30 MPH winds predicted. 

Other buds fished in 12, 14, 16 and 18 feet of water Friday and Saturday with very limited success. And the spots I've been doing good in these last few weeks were all bud dead. Our Friday consisted of loosing a nice 6 to 8 pounder near the top of the hole, and actually seeing 3 other walleyes come in, take a quick look at the Do-Jigger and keep right on going. Saturday was worse. Had about a dozen fish come in the hole, look everything over and leave. 

It may have been the extreme bright sunlight and the extra ice traffic this weekend that turned them off, who knows. But I know I wasn't alone with my empty box syndrome. I did get out the Wednesday before 2-26-03 with a decent day for the effort. In fact we caught some giant perch with the 3 very nice walleyes we caught. I'm posting those pictures with this report. 

Its looking like the beginning of this week will not take away any of our ice pack, but may start whittling away on it by the end of the week. Let's face it, we ended up pretty good ice wise for such a dismal start this year. My old body is telling me it may be time to start the easy fishing style of boat fishing soon. I'm taking bookings for the night trolling bite on the Bay for this coming spring. You cabin fever guys might want to give me a call. Be safe, Capt: Dan
Captain Dan Manyen Visit Dans Website    Walleye Express
E-mail Capt: Dan Manyen, at Walleye Express Charters..

Hey, everyone.
   Going to post the report early again. Seems mother nature don't want anybody who works all week to have any fun on the weekends. I of course being retired, can take advantage of those weekdays. But my ice fishing clients the last couple weeks, either suffer the consequences or get canceled. Well, the same thing happened this weekend.

I fished Friday 2-14-03 with a Travers City client near Linwood Road and there wasn't so much as a whisper of a breeze. The fishing was dead all morning and well into the afternoon for some reason. We did end up going 3 for 3 with the biggest being about 5 pounds. But all this action occurred between 2:30pm and 4:30 pm. Took one fish on the Silver/Red DoJigger, one on the Pearl/Orange Warrior spoon and the last on the Genz Worm with live minnow.

Now you would think with Friday being so calm, the fallow up day would at least be relatively the same way. WRONG. Saturday morning 2-15-03 looking out at the Bay she looked like the Arctic Tundra. The bad part was it got worse as the day wore on. Having the heater on high only kept the extreme chill out of the shanty. And the blowing snow from the 20+ NE wind blew snow like fine gold dust in every tiny crevasse and opening in the shack. Coming off the Bay Saturday night was a nightmare. Visibility was about 100 yards.  All the cracks were filled in both front and back with snow drifts, making it hard to determine where the safe spots to cross were. We did go 4 for 6 on the walleyes, with a 7 pounder being the big guy. Do-Jiggers and the Warrior spoon took all the fish Saturday.

It's starting to look like we'll be ice fishing well into March, even if mother nature turns on the heat. Got the first 2 weekends open as well as plenty of weekdays for anybody wanting to hook up for a charter in early March. I'm adding the few picture I took from this past Friday and Saturday. If your heading out yourself, be very sensitive to the ice cracks. Try to use the well established crossings. These snow drifts we just got, will insulate any open spots from being frozen again. Good luck, be safe, Capt: Dan
Captain Dan Manyen Visit Dans Website    Walleye Express
E-mail Capt: Dan Manyen, at Walleye Express Charters.

Howdy, folks.
   Going to do the weekend report a little early. Cause I'm positive I won't be heading out in the morning for another day in the Gail force SW winds. I was out Friday and went 4 for 5 on walleyes with a nice 8 pounder in the catch. But the real fish catching surprise came this morning 2/08/03. All the pictures will be submitted with this report.

   I knew when we got on the Bay at State Park we were rolling the dice. Offshore winds can open up cracks in a hurry on the old Bay. So we felt our way along the main crack and found a nice safe area to cross. Found ourselves just south of the big pack out from Linwood Road, where I heard two pickup trucks had taken the deep six Friday night. The wind made setting the portable up a real task. The day before the Silver/Green taped Do-Jigger was taking names. Followed closely by the smaller sized Pearl/Orange Warrior Jig.

   But the king of today's windy festivities was my always faithful Gens Worm and live minnow rig. This rig is dead sticked next to the Jigging hole. The flash of the jigging draws them in, and the live bait finishes them off. Just seemed this was what they wanted BIG time today. Two clients from Ohio and myself iced 10 walleyes by 10:30am and started CPR (Catch Photograph Release) on another 4 walleyes, that climaxed with a 9 pounder just before noon.

  The Ericson Road highway to the Black Hole is still intact as of Friday. But the success reports have been mixed. Seems kinda early for them to be starting towards the rivers, but the eggs in some of the walleyes we cleaned were showing signs of maturity already. The river started giving up bigger fish last weekend, and its about time. With the 10 days forecast predicting yet more ice making temps, looks like we can squeeze every ice fishing inch out of this winter. 
Good luck, think safe, be safe, report to ya's soon. 
Captain Dan Manyen Visit Dans Website    Walleye Express
E-mail Capt: Dan Manyen, at Walleye Express Charters.

As of Saturday 1/25/03, new ice has formed or has blown in from the inner Bay. A reliable friend reported to me today, that 4 inches of ice is now farther out than the previously mentioned 2 miles on Wednesday, and is now up to 5 miles out from State Park. This is new ice so be careful. Capt: Dan.
Hey Gang.

     Well, I'll get right to the meat and potato's of both the ice conditions as I know them, and how my own 3 fishing trips went this past week. This open water phenomena on the inner Bay has got me and many others puzzled. Last year was the first year In my life, that the Bay didn't freeze over. Now this year, with frigid temps but high persistent winds, the Bay still remains open in the middle. Virtually every access road/area West of the channel on the Bay, has ice only out about 2 miles. 

   The ice thickness is fairly thick and safe enough all right, but any off shore winds makes it precarious at best, wondering if your going to take a little ride to Canada or not. The ice East of the channel is better and extends father out. From Calahan Rd. around the shoreline all the way to Caseville. Anything West of Calahan has stayed unsafe because of the Hot Ponds flow. Getting out just 2 miles on the West side puts you mainly in 11 to 12 feet of water on most of the roads, with the exception being Linwood Rd. which may put you a little deeper. Not bad fishing depth for both the first 2 hours in the morning and the last 2 at night for walleyes. But those deeper depths are better for action all day.

Now, on the flip side the Saginaw River is getting more than its share of ice production. Seeing quad runners and snowmobiles running up and down its lengths isn't a sight often seen. But we fished near the mouth yesterday and had 12 to 15 inches of thick hard ice. Stay clear of the middle section from the mouth to Dow Docks for a few more days yet, as the barge that went threw during the middle of last week left a broken thin ice section. The Independence bridge area was giving up a few nice walleyes last week as well. And all the Saginaw Areas downtown have been fair to good. Everybody I've talked to, are getting or missing 2 or 3 strikes for an afternoons effort. Still a lot of small fish in the river right now, many 14 1/2 inchers, and the C.O.'s are checking pales and licenses quit often. Take a ruler or mark 15 inches with a felt marker on your pale or sleds.

    Myself, I went out Monday 1/13/03 off Calahan almost 4 miles. Caught 1 walleye (to small) and 9 perch. Wednesday 1/22/03 1.68 miles off from State Park, 11 1/2 feet of water, very close to the open water. Had 3 walleyes come in the hole, take a look and keep right on going. 6 guys around us did catch 3 nice walleyes between them. Yesterday 1/24/03 went out from the DNR launch at the mouth of the river. Caught 3 walleyes and 9 perch. Two of the walleyes were 8 and the other 9. Inches that is. ;-)  Sorry, no pictures, to cold. Good luck, think safe, be safe, report to ya's soon. 
Captain Dan Manyen Visit Dans Website    Walleye Express
E-mail Capt: Dan Manyen, at Walleye Express Charters.

Happy New Year,
    All you Fishing fanatics. Sorry for the BIG Lag time between reports. But mother nature is trying hard to keep the season in Limbo again this year. But its starting to look like we'll get out for some walleye ice fishing action soon, if we don't have any more winter heat waves.

   Not being able to stand the waiting around for ice, and then the kinda open, kinda closed, open water opportunities, I took matters into my own hands this past week or so. Spent one day 12/28/02 up on the Tittabawassee River fishing open water, and then headed up North to Black Lake for 2 days 01/01/03--01/02/02, for some ice fishing. One trip treated me like a step child and the other treated me like a king.

  The river trip on the Tittabawassee had all the elements for a good day, except there isn't many walleyes in the system to be caught this year for some reason. And I mean the other reasons besides the extra low/clear water. Usually there are at least some fairly decent catchable walleyes numbers in the system by now, but not to many this year.

  Now the Black Lake Ice fishing trip was a different matter. With just fishing 2 1/2 hours both days each morning, and then about 3 hours before dark, we killed the walleyes. We stayed in 11 to 15 feet of water while using both tip-ups, outfitted the conventional way with Big Bluer shiners and small treble hooks, along with snap Jigging Gold/Orange Do-Jiggers for our other technique. We caught about an equal amount on each. Also took my two biggest on a #8 Gens Worm, while deadsticking it with a big shiner next to my jigging hole. These little Caterpillar shaped lead head jigs, have been hot the last few season on the Bay as well. Finally tally was 21 walleyes 7 Pike. Nobody but me wanted to keep the pike, so we threw them back. One was a 30 incher. I'm submitting all 8 pictures I took on both days of our catches on Black. I'll leave it up to each site to pick the one or ones they want to post. Still booking winter ice trips, with hopes of getting out. If this interests you, give me a call. Report to ya again sooner I hope, Capt: Dan. 

Captain Dan Manyen Visit Dans Website    Walleye Express

E-mail Capt: Dan Manyen, at Walleye Express Charters.
Hey Folks.
   Gotta a little quickie report for ya's..........ICE.   Yup, looks like were are going to be walking on water well before the Christmas holidays. One BIG change from last year No-show. Took a little ride this afternoon 12/04/02. There 1 1/2 inches of ice in the launching area of the Tittabawassee, so open water fishing there is done unless we get some milder Indian summer weather. As you all know, this can happen and open up the Tittabawassee in a hurry when and if it happens. The Saginaw is well on its way to icing over as well. Lots of shore ice is creeping its way towards the middle in every place I could see it today. And with these slight winds the last couple day, the Bay itself should be fishable, maybe, by this weekend. Those near shore perch should be hungry and ready to bite. Small Russian Hooks and some of Franks Super Shiners will do the trick for the perch. I've canceled my scheduled open water river trips for the next 2 weeks and will be hitting the Bay myself this weekend for perch. Got the camera back and hope to have a fresh report for you's after this weekend. I'm going to start booking some ice trips now, with the hopes the bay gets hard out far enough to catch some walleyes. Give me a call and with mother natures help, we'll ice some Eye's. Other wise, report to ya soon.........Capt: Dan.
Hey, Folks.
    Well, the withdrawals from converting from Lake Erie Monsters, to Tittabawassee River small fry's hasn't been made any easier this last 2 weeks. We've boated 22 walleyes in the last 4 trips with only 5 being keepers.

    So heres the new short, skinny. As these two words would most describe both the conditions on the rivers and the length of the fish for my last 4 trips. I fished 11/02/02, 11/03/02, 11/07/02 and 11/08/02. All but the trip on the 2nd were charters and done on the Tittabawassee River. The Tittabawassee is still at its Midsummer levels, low and crystal clear. Fortunately, some good news is that somebody, either the city of Midland or Dow themselves, dredged out the ramp area so at least after you do launch, you can motor out to useable water. THANK YOU, WHOEVER. Unfortunately, even when the Sanford Dam is operating, you have some serious shallow waters to go thru to get to the dam or areas below it. The Sanford Dam is owned and operated by the Wolverine Power Company and generates power daily from 7:30am to 2:30pm. It takes some 3 1/2 hours to reach the Dow area. How much power/water of course means how much water is available and how many wheels they run. No water is released on weekends, and by Sunday, Whew she's low.

   I talked to the main man at the dam and he says minimum dam water flow is anticipated unless we get some serious rain soon. The ground water is also at an all time low he tells me, and this all plays into the equation. The water temp of the river was in the premium catch zone though, 40.6 today. There is a group of juvenile (12/13 inch) walleyes in the system now, along with a few 3 to 4 pound new Bay arrivals. I know because we see them darting out of the holes as we go in to anchor up and caught a couple during our trips. But when you catch 11 and keep 5 just 15 inches, like on the 2nd, the majority are river cigars.

  I know that with the first good heavy rain things will get right in a hurry. Still haven't heard of any good fishing on the Saginaw yet, but any day now. Still booking trips both on the Tittabawassee for day trips and Night trips on the Saginaw. Give me a call and we'll try to write an eye-popping report. Tight Lines and report to ya again soon. Capt: Dan. 

Captain Dan Manyen Visit Dans Website    Walleye Express

E-mail Capt: Dan Manyen, at Walleye Express Charters
Captain Dan Manyen Visit Dans Website    Walleye Express

E-mail Capt: Dan Manyen, at Walleye Express Charters.

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