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July 25, 2014

Saginaw Bay Area

Hot Bite Report

by Capt. Dan Manyen Winter

by Capt. Dan Manyen

Specie: Walleye

Location:

The Saginaw River in most years (when run-off is light) freezes earlier then does the Saginaw Bay, especially up near it's narrower headwaters in the City of Saginaw itself. Walleye usually enter this system long before freeze-up. And die-hard's like myself catch many vertical jigging or quarter casting jigs from boats right up until freeze.

Usual Best Time Ice fishing:

Late December till Mid/too late February. All weather depending.

Average Catch:

Lots of smaller fish of 15 to 19 inches, from recent natural hatches has been the norm for the last 2 years on the river. Larger fish start to show up in February with a few in the 10 to 12 pound range, often winning a local tounament that the City of Saginaw puts on yearly.

Fish Finders:

With how clear the water column has become in the last few years, both Flashers and Cameras work very well to alert you when a walleye comes into the hole. But depending on river current, flasher have to be set down current a little to capture your jigging action.

Lure choices:

#5 and #7 Jigging Rapala's. Fire Tiger, Perch, Silver Blue best choices. Tip belly treble hook with head or small minnow. 2nd best, 1/4 to 1/2 ounce (depending on current) Fireball jig. Orange/Chartreuse tipped with minnow. Jig Rapala 4 to 6 inches of bottom. Lift/drop Fireball jig on bottom.

Best Bite:

The fish on the river bite best in the mornings/evenings, but have been know to bite all day.

Shelters:

Shanties are not usually needed, as most places on the river have high banks or buildings blocking winds. Plus moving around to find better runs or holes is made quicker/easier with small portables or simple wind blocks.

Augers are also (for the most part) not needed. If your in decent shape, the thickest I've ever seen ice on the river has been about 10 inches thick. Spuds also aide in safety when used to hit the ice ahead as one moves along to another spot.

Access Areas:

Good roads run along almost the entire length of the Saginaw River from it's headwaters to where it dumps into Saginaw Bay. But because of the flow dynamics of the river, only certain spots have been tested and seem safe from year to year for safe access.

The first spot would be Wicks Park, just below where the Shiawassee and Tittabawassee rivers dump into the Saginaw. Find any spots where you can physically see others fishing, or spots along that road where others are walking down to the river.

For first timers, do not make or break any new untested trails or access points anywhere. Next access is along M-13 or (East Bay City Road) just south of the Zillwauakee bridge on I-75, that crosses the Saginaw River. You can also turn North off I-75 and fish the upper side of this access area. Both spots will have many vehicles parked along the road and lots of anglers during mid-season. Vets park in Bay City will also have anglers up and down the river during peak times. The launch at Independence bridge in Bay City is probably the busiest and most productive (at times) on the river. The last is the DNR ramp at the very mouth of the Saginaw River. This spot can be productive, but can change often because of ice breaker traffic, run off and just plane current. Be very careful at this access.

Guides:

Truthfully, I am the only guide I know of in the area. My business name is Walleye Express Charters. My name is Capt, Dan Manyen. My address is 1686 SE Boutell Rd, Essexville, Mi, 48732. My phone number is 1-989-893-4802.

I also have a (do it yourself) total ice fishing package on my web site that I sell, that supplies you with as much helpful and specific local knowledge of everything I could pack into it for your visit here. Including many specific directions and details of all the access points I mentioned on the Bay, as well as Motels/Hotels rates/numbers/locations, bait shop locations/numbers/hours/bait tackle availabilty and restaurant info, along with 26 of my own personal GPS locations I use, with contour mapping of my best Saginaw Bay spots, for both the early and late ice fishing season. That address is http://www.fishsaginawbay.com/ice.html All the contact information, particulars and pricing for a guided trip is also entered there.

Saginaw Bay

Specie: Walleye

Location:

Saginaw Bay has become a walleye factory these past 2 years. With 5 record year classes of natural reproduction in a row and a forage base that seems to be growing along with this surge, the Bays open water and ice fisheries have been nothing but fantastic.

Average Catch:

Most walleye caught will be from 17 to 22 inches. But a true wall-hanger is always possible. I've caught many fish over 8 and enough over 10 these last few years to know there are more then a few left out there. And in recent years, a few bonus slab perch and White Fish in the 6 to 8 pound range are showing up and can be caught on the same gear and techniques used for walleyes.

Fish Finders:

Water clarity in the past few years (because of zebra mussels) has been outstanding. Both flashers and cameras work very well to alert you of a fish in the hole.

Usual best Times Ice fishing:

Late December to Mid-march depending on weather/ice conditions.

Lure choices:

Spoons of many types and brands are the #1 choice for the Bay. #3 Do-Jiggers Chrome/Red Lightening Bolt is my favorite. Cleos in Silver/Blue is another good choice. Tip all spoons with a large minnow head hooked through the center of the head. Jigging Rapala's also get the nod. Fire Tiger or perch are best. Tip belly hook with small minnow. I also use a 1/4 ounce Genz Worm (Green/Chartreuse Orange/White) on a dead rod, baited with a live emerald shiner, hooked just underneath the dorsal fin to stay alive and kicking. 4 to 6 inches off bottom is the best area to both jig and let dead rod minnow swim.

Shelters:

Using shanties or wind shellters is a good idea on the Bay. Open expanses and even the slightest wind can make you cold in a hurry. Ice augers are also a must as ice thickness can get close to 30 inches in a cold winter.

Transportation:

I would highly suggest either snowmobiles or 4 wheelers. Our fishery is not a close to shore fishery until very late in the season, when the warmer temps and the spawning urge bring walleyes close to shore in shallower water and nearer the river mouths. Most fish are caught in 12 to 26 FOW throughout the majority of the season. And that is from 2 to 6 miles out on the Bay from any access point you use.

Access Areas:

The Southern and Western half of the Saginaw Bay are best for walleye ice anglers in my experience. Areas West of the Saginaw River shipping Channel and what we locals call the Inner-Bay. East side areas have many Sand Bars and Shallow Reefs more conducive to perch fishing. 90% of all walleye ice fishing on the bay takes places West of the channel and in this inner-bay area. There are 3 popular access points I use myself on the Bay.

The first access area is at Bay Cities State park on Beaver road. There is both a DNR (daily permit needed) parking lot and a small/narrow road for ice access and parking right on the ice.

The next is at the end of Linwood Road, where both a small public parking area and ice parking access is available. And Ericson Road, a ice access only area between Kitchen and Coggins road, North 4 miles from the Linwood light on M-13. All of these ice access areas are close to shore and near cattails and do not get safe themselves till around that Mid-January timetable.

Guides:

Truthfully, I am the only guide I know of in the area. My business name is Walleye Express Charters. My name is Capt, Dan Manyen. My address is 1686 SE Boutell Rd, Essexville, Mi, 48732. My phone number is 1-989-893-4802.

I also have a (do it yourself) "Total Ice Fishing" package on my web site that I sell, that supplies you with as much helpful and specific local knowledge and information about everything I could pack into it for your visit here. Including many specific directions and details of all the access points I mentioned on the Bay, as well as Motels/Hotels rates/numbers/locations, bait shop locations/numbers/hours/bait tackle availabilty and best restaurant info. Along with 26 of my own personal GPS locations I use, with contour mapping of my best Saginaw Bay spots, for both the early and late ice fishing season. That address is http://www.fishsaginawbay.com/ice.html

All the contact information, particulars and pricing for a guided trip is also entered there.

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