By Matt DeYoung
As the days grow shorter and the leaves begin to turn from vibrant green to muted oranges, yellows and browns, most outdoorsmen turn their attention from the water to the woods.
But deer, turkey and small game aren’t the only worthwhile pursuits this time of year.
The water that was crowded all summer long with recreational boaters and swimmers is now nearly abandoned, making for a wonderful time to get out and chase after a wide variety of fish species.
When you think of fall fishing in Michigan, the first thing that comes to mind is chasing salmon in area rivers. While the big King salmon run will have already passed by mid-October, there are still lots of opportunities to bag the magnificent creatures.
A prime spot to catch salmon is on either of the Grand Haven piers. Fishermen line both the north and south piers with their long, limber fishing rods, hoping for a chance to do battle with a mature salmon that might tip the scales at 20 or more pounds. The bait of choice is live alewives, which anglers typically catch by tossing throw-nets off the pier.
Other fishermen use spoons, such as Little Cleos, or other large baits in an attempt to entice a bite.
As you follow the Grand River upstream from its mouth, there are countless spots for fishermen to wet a line, including a popular access spot underneath the U.S. 31 bridge as it spans across the river.
The Grand River contains a wide number of species, from hulking bottom-dwelling catfish to acrobatic largemouth and smallmouth bass and tasty walleyes.
Many bayous jut off both the river and Spring Lake, and the bridges that traverse the mouths of these bayous are great places for fishermen to spend a lazy morning, afternoon or evening.
Works dangled under a bobber can entice anything from a bluegill to a bass. A nightcrawler sitting on the bottom is a great way to fool a big catfish, while other baits to try include minnows and even cooked shrimp.
Farther upriver, you’ll find the Bass River Recreation Area, which surrounds a huge water-filled gravel pit.