Grand Rapids Fishing Report: April 2014

OK, who has their auger extensions out? My partner and I were finishing up our limits of crappie as we listened to the ice groan and crack as it was freezing thicker. For the first time in my fishing career March brought us twenty-seven inches of ice. The reality of needing to buy my 2014 license to continue fishing on the ice in April and finishing my season around Grand Rapids has become a regular conversation.

The bite has been a new trick every trip as well. The small blue gills have infiltrated the suspended schools of crappie over deep water. We have been picking off a few crappies by varying the jig pattern before the little fish catch on and start snagging your bait. Jumping holes would get you back on a few crappies, then the same story. We both commented about how much work it was to get a limit. Just the time of drilling holes, added to the experimentation with varied jigging styles, makes for quite an effort. I would still rather spend time fishing than almost anything.

The tip up action has picked up, but be prepared to set out your limit of rigs. Predators are hungry and on the prowl, but patterns have evaded us. The scattered approach has been the key to finding feeding fish. Larger minnows, just a couple feet below the ice, and make sure that the reel is clear and dry. Frozen reels on a tip up can ruin a catch, just like an ice laden line on your favorite jigging rig.

In April, the melt running into the lakes from surrounding land will erode the edges. You need to be very careful when crossing the small gap that appears at the shore. At some point it will become unmanageable to cross. Save the cold, embarrassment, and risk of serious injury by knowing when it is time to start getting the boat ready or heading for the river for some steelhead.

As you enjoy this awesome hard water fishing season, use care and respect as you interact with your neighbors on the ice. I recommend keeping a five yard comfort zone between you and anyone not in your group out of courtesy, sometimes, the quiet is as pleasing as the catch always and observe limits and rules. Be a Great Michigan Sportsman! Feel free to share your photos with us on and check out our podcasts on