Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reedsburg Dam Fishing Report

Reedsburg Dam with very low water levels
The hot and very dry summer has left many of the lakes around Michigan with low water levels. Reeds burg Dam and the Dead Stream Flooding are no exception. The low side of the dam is at the lowest it has been in many years. It has only rained a few times in the Houghton Lake area since spring.

Add that the winter was mild and below normal snow fall hindered the water levels after the initial runoff which came early in February/March. Water levels were very low last year due to lack of rain but this year is even worse.

What are normally good areas to fish in at this time of year have become so shallow that the vegetation has grown to the point that access is limited at best. One such area is directly across from the boat launch. The fishing there was very good in the spring but levels are so low you might be able to walk on it.

Sunset at Reedsburg Dam (Dead Stream Flooding)
With all that said, the fishing is still good, sometimes. The warm weather and low water levels are heating the water to the point of being like a heated pool. Great for swimmers and sunbathers but not so much for fishing. The very warm water keeps fish still and slows their feeding. So fishing is best in the morning after the water has had a chance to cool overnight. Also fishing in the late evening is usually good about an hour before sunset.

Small fish can usually be caught any time during the day mostly near Lilly pads or other vegetation that offers cover. Trolling can be very effective for larger fish. Since there is no real deep water at Reedsburg (especially now) try trolling near or over weed beds or reeds.

Two hook harness with plastic worm
Lately I've had success with a plastic worm on a two hook harness with a single spinner, I have two, one with a silver spinner and one with a single florescent green spinner blade and five beads. I troll with a 50 Minn Kota electric motor set at one or two if trolling into the wind. This allows me to troll for hours without draining the battery very much.

Best time: Mornings at sunrise

Best bait: A toss up but I do well with nightcrawlers, both real or plastic if trolling. The plastic stops the small ones from biting the tail and pulling the bait off the hooks.

So come on up and don't forget your bug spray and sun block. Oh yeah and a bathing suit because the water is fine.

Sunbathers taking a dip from the dam
Sunset over the Reedsburg Dam

Sunset over Dead Stream Flooding

Hope to see you up here. It's been a great summer so far...

Ken S

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bluegill Festival 2012

The  63rd Annual Bluegill Festival 2012 is coming to St Helen July 12-15. 

Bluegill by Reedsburg Dam
Summer kicks off with the festival celebrating one of the areas favorite indigenous species, the bluegill. Known primarily as a tasty treat, bluegill are also a whole lot of fun to catch. Their fan like body can give them a lot of kick when caught on a hook. I have often thought I had a good sized bass on the line only to discover it was a small bluegill.

These sometimes sizable fish are a member of the sunfish family and are so alike in appearance (especially during spawning), bluegill are often mistaken for sunfish. Either way they fight like heck and eat the same.

In celebration of these feisty fish St Helen will have a Grand parade, a kids parade, a talent show, a medallion hunt, arts and crafts, horseshoe contest, softball contest,bingo and a fishing contest. And much more.

So if your in Houghton Lake area the weekend of July 12-15. Stop by the Bluegill festival for some rides, contests, fishing and parades. Beverage tent and live entertainment.

For more festival info click here.

As always hope to see you there.

Ken S

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Houghton Lake Fishing Report: July 5,2012

Crappie while trolling at Reedsburg Dam
Fishing conditions have been less than optimal (to say the least) over the past few weeks. High winds have made the waters murky as well as making it difficult to stay in one spot even when using two anchors. The temperatures have been very high lately causing the fishing to be erratic especially during the day.

In these conditions I have one word "trolling". Trolling is simply moving your bait through the water behind a boat at a slow speed, using a specialized electric or small gas motor. This works two fold in that the fish tend to be agitated by the moving bait, much the same as casting and retrieving, and you can cover a large area increasing your chances of success.

Largemouth trolling at Reedsburg Dam
If you have never tried it or tried it unsuccessfully I would give it a try. I do not recommend using a   regular boat engine, at least not for an extended period of time. The engine uses a shaft driven water pump and at very slow speeds may not pump enough water to keep the engine cool and could cause engine damage. Possibly even seize the engine. Nothing can ruin a day on the lake like hoping for someone to give you a tow back to the boat launch or dock. I know this from personal experience.

Rock Bass at Backus lake
Best fishing: late evening (an hour before sunset) or, in the early morning after the water has had a chance to cool. If your set on fishing during the day try the deeper water off the south DNR boat launch (site of the Tip Up Town USA). The south weed bed runs along this area and usually produces walleye, perch, bluegill and northern pike.

Best bait: anything that works. I've caught bluegill, bass, crappie and perch on nightcrawlers and on plastics. I had a fellow next me on the Cut river catch a 16" largemouth using a chub (think very large minnow). Some swear by leeches for walleye especially trolling in the summer.

There's a new bait shop in town, Angelo's on old 27 (formerly Dead Stream Party Store). Actually they're a party store with bait. They have snacks and hope to have a beer license soon. Just a short ride from the Reedsburg Dam campground and boat launch. If you need some bait or some goodies  you don't have to drive into town.

That's all for now. Hope to see you on the lake.

Ken S

Bud Bash 2012: Here It Comes

Love it or hate it Bud Bash in Houghton Lake, Michigan is on it's way.

Bud Bash is a summer time legend in Michigan, surrounding states and parts of Canada. When sun worshipers and boaters of all ages converge on our little town (on the shores of the biggest inland lake in Michigan) for a weekend of unrivaled fun on the water. OK the Jobbie Nooner could be a close second. Both involve boats and sunbathers and lakes. Both are Pure Michigan (tongue in cheek).

The Jobbie Nooner is held on an island in Lake St Clair, in the late springtime and during the week. Bud Bash is held at the Limberlost Bar & Grill on the south shore of Houghton Lake, the first Saturday of August. Jobbie Nooner is often cool and rainy. Bud Bash is hot, hot,HOT!

Sponsored by Budweiser, there is plenty of refreshments,freshly prepared food, and my favorite,  live music. Limberlost has a spacious deck with a beautiful view of Houghton Lake and a dock for those that wish to arrive by boat. Many boaters just tie off to each other and enjoy the sun and fun from their boats.

The actual Bud Bash is on Saturday but many revelers begin on Friday and continue on through Sunday. Especially when the weather is nice. 

This has been a booming summer for Houghton Lake so far. Whether due to gas prices dropping in time for summer or just word getting around about what a great place Houghton Lake is to vacation it's a welcome sight for local merchants. There are plenty of other festivals and activities in and around Houghton Lake for non Bashers.

Plan early if you'll need a motel room for the night. We have campgrounds near town, several state campgrounds and parks.

Tips for a good time:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Drink responsibly. Alcohol dehydrates (each year someone goes to the hospital for dehydration)
  • Monitor your time in the sun and use sunscreen or sunblock 
  • Please be responsible and respect other peoples property (the biggest single complaint is property damage to homes near the Limberlost) 

We want you to have good time but drink responsibly  

 So come early and stay late.

Hope to see you there,

Ken S

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Houghton Lake Memorial Weekend 2012 Fishing Report

Sunfish at Reedsburg Dam
There's good news and bad news.

Good news first.

The Walleye and Bluegill are biting on Houghton and Higgins Lakes. I'm not positive but I've heard the Bluegill are biting on St Helen lake also.

In Houghton Lake: Best places are near the weed beds along the south shore, west shore and the middle weed bed. Also fishing should be good in the East Bay near Harveys Marine. The North Bay holds some nice sized Northern Pike and Walleye.

In Higgins Lake: Rock Bass, Perch and Bluegills are being reported along the west/south shoreline in 15-20 ft of water.

Nice size Crappie at Reedsburg Dam
In St Helen: Some of the best Bluegill fishing in the state is near the weed bed off Artesia beach (near the west end.

Bad news.

The fish were biting at the Cut River but have slowed considerably. Best times for fishing would be late morning/early evening.

Reedsburg Dam flooding side
Reedsburg Dam also had great fishing on the low side but the water level has dropped considerably in the past week. Fishing has dropped off BUT fishing on the flooding side of the dam has started to pick up for Bass and Bluegill. So Reedsburg is a toss up for this weekend.

Backus Lake no report due to high winds but Bluegills and Perch plus some Northern Pike and Bass are always possible. Try near weed beds along shore or in the middle.

Backus Dam off M-18 fishing has been poor due to high fast moving water but could improve over the weekend.

Rock Bass at Reedsburg Dam
Weather forecast is for plenty of sunshine and high temperatures in the 80's. Great for sunbathing not so much for fishing. Also wind predictions are between 10-15 mph. So mornings and evenings should be optimal with lower temps and less wind. Fishing should be good all day.

Best Bait I have been getting hits on both live bait and plastics. Check with your local bait shop for which is working best for what your after.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2012 Easter Egg Drop at Houghton Lake Bloggett Airport

The Easter Bunny arrived at Houghton Lake Bloggett Airport a little after 10am on Saturday in a Cessna 172. Marking the beginning of the Easter Egg Drop.

Soon after the plane made three separate passes over the 36/18 grass runway as plastic Easter eggs were dropped to the grass. After each pass children of different ages ran onto the grass strip carrying baskets and bags, and picked up as many Easter eggs as they could.

Several of the Easter eggs were special and were turned in for prizes. All participants received a bag of Easter goodies.

There was a very good turn out, no doubt, partially due to the beautiful, sunny day and warm temperatures. 

Easter Bunny
Handing out goodies

Smile for the camera

Waiting for the plane

Easter Eggs being dropped

Waiting in line to turn in their eggs for prizes

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fishing Dead Stream Flooding Mar 20,2012

Crappie near Reedsburg Dam
I had a pretty successful day of fishing on Dead Stream Flooding by the Reedsburg Dam. I went out around 2 in the afternoon and worked my way around from the boat launch to the dam and back before finally finding a spot with the fish biting. I'm not sure if it was the spot or the time as it was near 5 before I tried the last spot where I finally had a bite.

First catch was a small (maybe 18" Northern Pike), then a Largemouth Bass. A short move to get away from the wind brought me to an area of dried cattails and clumps of vegetation. It was also a hot spot for Sunfish and Crappie most bigger than 8".

I was fishing nightcrawlers on a 1/32 oz orange jighead about 12" below a weighted orange bobber. Seems I had a bite in each direction I cast my line.

The water levels are high right now from winter runoff so the area I was in may not be accessible in the summer when water levels are low. I know the area is filled with tree stumps that are easily seen from shore in the summer.

Backus Creek Spring 2012
I plan to try kayak fishing this year to reach several areas around Houghton Lake that are not accessible by boat in the summer. Fish are pretty much undisturbed in these areas so I expect the fishing to be very good to excellent.

One area is near a Backus Creek dam. It was a busy area last summer with many people fishing from the shore. The water level was low last year and some people were walking out on what is normally water covered vegetation. In the evenings fish can be seen breaking the surface just outside of casting range. If the fish won't come to me, I'll go to them.

I have already had a great deal of success catching Northerns, Largemouths, Sunfish, Bluegill, Crappie and Dogfish (Bowfin). I believe this to be a great year of fishing. If you haven't been fishing in awhile this could be a good year to take it up again. Dust off the old fishing rod and grab some friends and get out to the water, drop a line in and relax. Introduce a youngster to fishing this year.

Backus Lake Update: Logging is still going on near Backus Lake and the heavy equipment is taking it's toll on the dirt roads. Though their adding dirt and grading there are still some areas you won't be able to get a camper past. Hopefully by May they'll be finished and have the road back to an accessible level for campers.

Come up and see us soon.

Ken S

Friday, March 16, 2012

Houghton Lake Ice Out Underway

Dead Stream Flooding by Reedsburg Dam
Houghton Lake and surrounding area bodies of water and waterways could be ice free by the end of March if not sooner. Due to the warm temperatures all winter, especially in March (as much as 25 degrees above normal for this time of year), the ground never fully froze. And along with the abundance of sunny days areas such as Dead Stream Flooding by Reedsburg Dam are 90% open water. The melting snow and ice has caused high water levels and fast moving rivers and creeks.

In the photo above you just see a small amount of ice along the western shore. This was taken on March 15, 2012. Many Geese, Ducks and other water fowl have already returned to the area.

Reedsburg Dam March 2012
As seen in the photograph on the right, the water levels on the low side (riverside) of Reedsburg Dam are very high. The water is almost to the bottom of the west bank access stairs. The water is moving so swiftly it was near impossible to fish this side of the bridge. Reports are that there's no activity in this area.

Fishing will probably remain poor until the water temperatures rise and the water levels recede to normal after the spring runoff.

If the warm weather persists summer fishing will begin early this year. The downside is that the insect population could explode early with record numbers. But until then I'm just enjoying the warm days for as long as they last.

For those who fish or camp at Backus Lake off M-18, there is lumber being harvested in the area. That coupled with the early thaw is leaving deep muddy ruts along the road that are hard to get through even with four wheel drive. The dirt road is usually muddy and wet during the spring but with the trucks and heavy equipment rolling over them it's much worse. Hopefully they will be done soon and the road will be graded to fill the ruts. Many people enjoy camping by the lake during the spring and summer. Right now it would be impossible to get a camper back there.

Take Care,

Ken S

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Houghton Lake HS: Legally Blonde the Musical

Coming  March 23-25, 2012 The Houghton Lake High School rendition of

Legally Blonde the Musical

At the high school auditorium. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7pm and a Sunday afternoon matinee at 2pm.

Tickets will be sold on March 8,13,15,20 and 22 at the ticket office in the high school lobby.

Tickets are $8.

So c'mon out and enjoy a great night at the theater while supporting the high school.

Hope to see ya there,

Ken S

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Houghton Lake Gun and Knife Shows: Mar 2012

There are two gun and knife shows coming to Houghton Lake.


March 17, 2012   Sat  9am-3pm
Houghton Lake Playhouse on M-55 Sat.
For more info call 989-798-8709

March 24 & 25, 2012   Sat 9-5 & Sun 9-3
Busy Bea Expo on M-55 (in the old Walmart building)
For more info and $1 off admission coupon CLICK HERE!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Harrison Frostbite Winter Festival 2012

If your like me by February you have a case of the "winter blues" with a large dose of cabin fever. I haven't been to the Harrison Frostbite Festival before, but after hearing about it on the radio I may have to check it out.

The theme is "Vegas" and many of the "events" are indoors. And the Lions Club is sponsoring the childrens events (indoors). There are, of course some outdoors contests

Outdoors includes; a golf tournament on Budd Lake and a fishing contest.

For more info click here.

Don't forget about the Higgins Lake-Roscommon Winterfest also this weekend Feb 17 & 18.

Hope to see you there,

Ken S

Higgins Lake-Roscommon Winterfest 2012 Update

The weather hasn't really been cooperating this year with unseasonably warm tempertures and below normal snow fall. But Mother Nature has given us a little bit of a break with a couple of inches of snow and up to 9 inches of reported ice thickness.

The snow will help the Cardboard Classic Downhill race (sat 10:30-12) at Pioneer Hill. The Higgins Lake Fishing Derby (sat 9-3) is still on. As is the Ice Skating Rink by the Gerrish Twp Marina (all day fri and sat).

Unfortunately the Snowmobile Radar Run has been cancelled due to unsafe ice conditions.

For more info click here

The many other events should be unaffected.

Lake City and Harrison also are having winter festivals this weekend.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Higgins Lake-Roscommon Winterfest 2012 Feb 17-18

Tip Up Town is over and the warm weather keeps on coming but the winter festivals remain undaunted. Next up is the Higgins Lake-Roscommon Winterfest 2012 featuring the Cardboard Klassic at Pioneer Hill. The only question is, will the weather cooperate?

The warm temps ( a high of 48 degrees today) is taking it's toll on the lake ice and the small amount of snowfall this year. I have only seen a few anglers "brave" enough to go out on Higgins Lake and there may not be enough snow on Pioneer Hill for the Cardboard Klassic.

This could also effect the Higgins Fishing Derby and the Snowmobile Radar Run. Both events are held at the North Higgins Lake State Park. Not to mention the Snowman contest.

The weatherman is predicting highs in the mid to upper thirties all this week. That still leaves 2 weeks until Feb. 17th, the first day of the festival. So keep your fingers crossed and pray for snow.

There's plenty to do so come on out and cure the cabin fever. Badges are $5 and help deffer the costs of the festival.

For schedule of events and more info click here.

Hope to See Ya There,

Ken S

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tip Up Town 2012:Next Up...Polar Bear Dip

Certainly one of the most popular events at Tip Up Town is the Polar Bear Dip. Many people of all ages will stand in line for a couple of hours to take the plunge into the icy cold waters of Houghton Lake. Volunteers will work this week to cut the hole and check the ice thickness to be sure it will be safe for both "dippers" and observers.

The plunge begins around 1pm on Saturday though some will start to line up a early as 10am to get registered and be first in line. Registration and $20 are required to take the dip. The $20 helps keep the Tip Up Town festival happening and participants receive a Polar Bear Dip sweatshirt. Sweatshirts are while supplies last (one of the reasons people arrive early for registration).

The Polar Bear Dip is only a part of the fun. There are shows all weekend in both the family tent and the Adult (beer) tent. There are also many contests for both children and adults.

The first weekend of Tip Up Town USA 2012 was a great success although the numbers have not been reported as yet. Next weekend promises to be even better with milder temperatures in the forecast.

A $6 badge is still required for entry. If you have already purchased a 2012 badge you are good to go, badges are good for everyday of the festival and proceeds help pay for the festival.

So don't let "cabin fever" get you down this winter. Come to Houghton Lake and enjoy one of Michigans best festivals.

Hope to see ya there,

Ken S

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tip Up Town USA 2012 Has A Cold Beginning

Tip Up Town 2012

Tip Up Town USA, Houghton Lake, MI.

The festival began officially with the Grand Parade this morning at about 10 am with the temperature near 3 degrees. Although as of this writing the temp has risen to around 18 degrees, a Tip Up Town heat wave to be sure. Many are braving the cold on this sunny day. TUT is having a great turnout so far this the first weekend.

If you are coming to Tip Up Town this year the badges required for entry are $6. Parking and shuttle ride from the Houghton Lake High School to the Tip Up Town site is FREE. Let me say that again. Parking and shuttle rides between Tip Up Town and the Houghton Lake High School are FREE. Just look for the signs on the south side of M-55 next to the library. Badges are available at area merchants and at the Tip Up Town site.

Tip Up Town USA 2012 hope to see you there,

Ken S

Tip Up Town is held at the south DNR boat launch off M-55 near the Pines Theater and Pineview Highlands Golf Course, from there, just follow the crowd (on foot). There is no parking at the TUT site.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Will Tip Up Town USA Still Happen If The Lake Doesn't Freeze?

Tip Up Town 2012

Due to the "mild" winter and above average temperatures there is serious concern the ice on the lake may not be thick enough to be safe and the lack of snow doesn't help either. But fear not, TUT will go on as planned although some events and attractions may have to be cancelled. Most of the TUT entertainment and events are not on the lake but in the parking lot of the DNR boat launch. Still TUT does require colder temps and snow to be successful.

The Ice Slide is waiting for some cold weather and snow but should be ready by the time TUT's first weekend rolls around. The always popular Polar Bear Dip should be a go (ice thickness permitting). As will most if not all events.

The average temperature for this time of year is around 18 degrees but not so this year. Temperatures have been in the mid 30's with only a couple of nights when the temps were in the single digits. The lake does have ice on it and should be thick enough to be safe by mid January, in time for the festival.

As for snow, Houghton Lake has had one of the lowest snow falls in recorded history for December. The Tip Up Town USA organizers and area merchants are hoping for snow. As the festival and snowmobilers brings much needed revenue to our area during the slowest time of the year.

So "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" See you at Tip Up Town USA.

For more info on Tip Up Town USA  CLICK HERE

Stay warm,

Ken S