Fishing for Suckers::Yates Cider Mill, Rochester, MI
Ice out is an awesome time to fish. Driven to feed and spawn, many species head into rivers making them pretty accesible to anglers. Driven by shanty-fever and the need to learn how to cast again, I head out to the Clinton River.
Zeus and I fish at Yates Cider Mill starting in Mid-March until around Good Friday. It’s become a tradition to freeze our asses off, talk about college basketball, drink McDonald’s Coffee and drown a few nightcrawlers with friends and family.
The rig is simple. Tie a barrell sqwivel below a 1 oz or 3/4 oz egg sinker. Tie on a flourcarbon leader and attach a #6 hook. Add nightcrawler, hooking it twice, once through the head and another time through the collar. This leaves most of the worm to wave around in the water.
We caught a few suckers, at least one per trip, and missed a “bonus fish” (big walleye spit the hook) this season. I saw more guys catching trout than previous years. Most steelies were caught on eggs flies or stone flies early in the morning. Wallys and suckers are caught on bottom bouncing nightcrawlers. One dude even showed me pics of a pike he caught on a crankbait.
A BIG difference compared to previous years was the CROWD. It’s a very popular place. If you plan to head out there, make it early and be prepared to share your fishing hole with some other folks. And bring lots of back up tackle. The river is full of snags.
Chasing these fish can make for some cold, early and frustrating mornings. But fishing at Yates is a great way to get over ice fishing and practice setting hooks for bass season. Oh and if you’re lucky the Cider Mill might be open and serving amazing donuts. All around, a cool spot to fish.