2017-05-11 / Outdoors

Lake Leelanau walleye bite so-so

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff


SCOTT BUGAI recently reeled in this sizeable walleye while fishing south Lake Leelanau. 
Photo: Tara Novak SCOTT BUGAI recently reeled in this sizeable walleye while fishing south Lake Leelanau. Photo: Tara Novak In the wake of another slow opener, Lake Leelanau walleye anglers have started to catch some fish.

Greg Alsip, manager of the Lake Leelanau Narrows Resort, said he’s been catching perch, smallmouth bass and pike but that the post-spawn walleye bite has been on and off.

“This week’s looking a little bit better with warmer temperatures, but it’s been tough skating since the opener,” Alsip said on Monday. “I’ve been catching fish here and there, but nothing really to write home about.”

Alsip said sportsmen have found some success in shallow water after dark, particularly in a pair of heavily trafficked hot spots in the south basin.

Heather Hettinger, fisheries biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, provided a slightly more positive walleye report on Tuesday.


JAMIE SCHOPIERAY is all smiles after pulling a walleye from Lake Leelanau. 
Photo: Tara Novak JAMIE SCHOPIERAY is all smiles after pulling a walleye from Lake Leelanau. Photo: Tara Novak Hettinger has heard walleye fishing has been “pretty darn good” in both Long Lake and Lake Leelanau.

“I talked to a handful of guys, it’s been a mixture,” Hettinger said. “Half the guys have been trolling and half are still fishing or drift fishing with minnows or leeches. It sounds pretty good. A lot of those guys are fishing in the evening hours. The nice thing is that it hasn’t been really warm enough to get a good mayfly hatch. Fish are actively feeding and guys are picking up pretty good numbers of them.”

Most inland walleyes are measuring between 15 to 22 inches, she said.

Where exactly are anglers catching them in Lake Leelanau? GPS coordinates were not available at press time.

“I couldn’t tell you,” Hettinger said. “My assumption is they’re toward the south end of the lake and pretty shallow, but the guys doing pretty well are a little hush-hush.”

Benzie County anglers and fishermen trolling for brown trout and salmon have also reported walleye catches.

Anglers more interested in lake trout and smaller brown trout, meanwhile, may find success in the Leland Harbor.

“If you can get the right day and get out of Leland, that would definitely be worth taking a look at,” Hettinger said.

According to the DNR’s weekly fishing report, pike and smallmouth bass are also swimming in the harbor.

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