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Anglers hoping for ‘normal spring’

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Updated: April 23, 2013 2:42PM



Normal does not apply in the outdoors.

That point is being driven home again this March with every cold front, with every snow and with every blasted north wind coming down Lake Michigan.

Particularly since we had an extended historic heat wave last March.

“Everyone remembers last year when it was 80 degrees,’’ Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert emailed. “I am in Duluth right now looking at Lake Superior, which is frozen. Really going to be a ‘normal’ spring fishing season as we normally would know. Next week things should improve and boats will be getting out. I think that the ice is going away and pier and boats will see success.’’

We sure can hope.

“I guess it is a normal spring,’’ said Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station. “Last year was warm and guys were going out getting 45 perch, then catching 15 coho.’’

There’s been small windows over the past few weeks. On Friday, there was a pack of boats at Gary Light. Ed McCain of Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond said they caught coho to 21.5 inches.

Bobby Bergren was out with other friends from Munster and caught a nice mix of typical spring coho and brown trout.

Fishermen have the itch, it’s just been nearly impossible to scratch because of the weather.

“My phone is ringing: ‘What do you hear?’ ” Sleziak said. “Main thing we need is stable weather, 45-47 in the days, and not below freezing at night to get the water temperature to come up and the coho and crappie going. The water temperature has to come up a few degrees to get those fish going, until then, we are kind of screwed.’’

That’s about the same way Breidert sees it.

“If we see some consistent 40s, life will improve,’’ he emailed. “I remember when my son was 12, about 10 years back, we did not even start fishing until Easter week. Did tremendous right outside the (Michigan City) harbor: 20 coho in two hours. I suspect we may have to wait until next two weeks before things settle.’’

Think coho: The Hoosier Coho Club Classic, at 39 the longest running tournament of its kind on the Great Lakes, is May 4-5 out of Michigan City. Go to hoosiercohoclub.org.

Fishing notes: Sleziak said there’s been some whitefish and an occasional brown trout caught on the pier heads. ... There’s been spotty reports of perch at 92nd and 95th in the river on Chicago’s Southeast Side. Mik-Lurch had reports of bigger perch from boaters in the Cal in the slips just in from the harbor. ... Sleziak said there are steelhead in the streams, but many are trying. ... Mik-Lurch reported some crappie in the corn channel on the Indiana side of Wolf Lake.

Turkey: The draw for turkey hunting at the Reynolds Creek Gamebird Habitat Area will be held at the Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife area at 10 a.m. CST on April 6. To be eligible, hunters must present their 2013 turkey license to be given a numbered badge for the computer-generated random draw. If successful you will be given a special permit card with the hunt period you selected.

Wild things: Wildlife biologist John Castrale posted on the Indiana birding network that a young peregrine, b/r 78/D from Whiting, “spent the winter at a church in Heredia City, Costa Rica,’’ 2,200 miles away.



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