Looking for a bright side to this ridiculous winter and spring weather?
Look no farther than the St. Joseph River steelhead run.
Apparently, this crazy spring weather has been just what the doctor ordered for steelhead anglers. It extended the run and brought us good water flows with lower water temperatures, the perfect combination to attract a ton of fish into Indiana waters.
Check this out: From April 9-16, 2,262 steelhead moved through the South Bend ladder, bringing the April total to 5,477, the biggest month of the 2013-14 fall/spring run. That means more than 13,000 steelhead have passed the ladder since the run began last summer.
Those numbers guarantee this will be the second largest fall/spring run ever since trout and salmon began migrating into Mishawaka in the early 1990s. It’s not likely we’ll break the record (19,655) set in 2000, but compared to the crummy runs of recent years, this is a true bonanza.
And it’s not over. Fish managers expect April’s tally to climb even more over the next week or so.
River fishermen deserve it. Previous springs have been wrecked by high or muddy water, rapidly rising temperatures or a small run.
The recent fishing has been spectacular and it should get even better if the weather holds as expected.
“The water has stayed cool and the river is dropping,” said assistant Bodine Hatchery Manager Bob Bell. “Unless we get a lot of rain this week, it should remain very good.”
Some of the Skamanias have already gone to the gravel bars to spawn. In fact, just about any of the gravelly, shallow areas could potentially hold steelhead.
“Keep casting and cover water,” advised Dick Parker, an avid steelheader and owner of Central Park Bait and Tackle. “If you’re not getting bit, don’t be content to let your bait sit in one place.”