“With as cold as it’s been, the ice has gotten pretty thick,” said Fish On bait shop owner Cory Melvin.
“There’s good ice pretty much everywhere, but it’s been too cold and windy for anyone to be out there without a shanty,” he said, referring to Spring Lake and the Grand River bayous. “There’s not anything biting right now anyway.”
But things should recover this weekend, he said.
The weather forecast calls for temperatures to be in the mid-20s today, up to about 30 degrees on Sunday and into the mid 30s on Monday.
In the meantime, the cold temperatures, thick ice and heavy snow cover have sent fish looking for more oxygen-rich waters, said Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist Scott Hanshue.
The lower concentrations of oxygen in the water also mean there’s a stronger chance of fish die-off.
“I anticipate a lot of fish kills in this area in the spring because of the harsh winter,” he said. “Especially in the nutrient-rich areas.”
Hanshue said bluegills, panfish and bass will die off in the bayous.
“On Spring Lake, they’ll see a lot of gizzard shad die-off,” he said. “They are susceptible to die-offs because of the cold temperatures.”
Early ice formation started off an excellent fishing season, Melvin said.
“People were able to fish early. They were able to fish in a lot of different spots and they were catching,” he said.
Because of that, the Cleveland Street business has enjoyed booming sales.
“We just sold our last jet sled and we can’t get any more,” Melvin said. “We can’t get any more augers and certain rods and reels.”
Fishing shanties have also been a hot item this year due to the cold temperatures and wind.
John Zelenka grumbled about the clam shelter he bought this year for a couple hundred dollars.
“The snow’s too deep to haul it out here,” he said as snow fell on him while he sat out in the open on Millhouse Bayou late Thursday afternoon.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.