Big fun right now chasing shallow-water browns

Updated 4/10/2013 3:58 PM

Have we angered the weather gods?

Is there a possibility some outer space planetary misalignment is causing this country to suffer through the constant, never-ending stinky weather?

April flowers have yet to bring smiles to our weather-beaten faces. But there is one note of happiness afoot: Gargantuan brown trout have been visiting our coastal waters.

Yes, the trout have arrived in the shallower waters of Lake Michigan. In fact, they never really left because their food sources are plentiful in the form of alewives, lake shiners, perch, the round goby and sundry swimming, appetizing morsels.

Several years ago I tried something new -- or at least it was new for me.

I caught big brown trout through the ice in southern Wisconsin harbors.

Even though the mercury hovered near zero, the action kept shooting the excitement factor higher with each fish caught.

Right now some very hefty fish are being caught by shore fishermen from Milwaukee all way to Gary and Michigan City.

I've had several guys call in to my radio show and share their experiences of catching browns over 20 pounds while working the sides and ends of the Waukegan pier.

With the howling winds and frigid air temperatures, it's really a crap shoot locating fish, in that they could be close to shore one moment and then suspending in deeper water to try and find a warmer water depth.

Here's my choice of a rod, reel, line and baits to use.

I'd go with a 7-foot, medium-heavy spinning rod; a large enough spinning reel with a super drag system; 25-pound (minimum) Spider Wire; and some 1/0 hooks.

I would carry a rather large assortment of live bait to my place on the pier. I'd include fresh spawn sacks, live, large minnows, nightcrawlers. Also take some artificials, like a Cleo spoon. I'd even have a straight-shaft spinner along as well, like a Mepps or Blue Fox.

If you can, tie a 6-foot leader on to your line, and use fluorocarbon.

Please don't email or call asking where the best spot would be. Bait shops on the lakefront would have a better idea on any hour-to-hour basis.

•Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at

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