By: Greg Knapp
Getting Bit Guide Service
Fishing can be hot on the Grand River in January; that is as long as we do not get a deep freeze. Look for the steelhead to be sitting in the slower deeper runs throughout the river if it stays ice-free. Slowing down your presentation is key to finding steelhead. They are not going to chase down your presentation as they would when the water is on the warmer side. If you are throwing hardware or plugs, try working them slower and right down near the bottom. Most winter steelhead will not chase down a lure during the dead of winter so put it right in their face. Float fishing jigs and waxworms work well during the winter months. Twitching your rod tip here and there can trigger strikes when dead drifting them is not working.
If a majority of the typical fishing areas are frozen, try below the Dams such as 6th Street or Webber to find open water. The walls of downtown Grand Rapids are popular areas to fish for winter steelhead. The post office wall and the quarry hole wall are good spots. If you are going to boat or wade the Grand River in the winter, use extreme caution. You can have ice flows or good-sized pieces of shelf ice coming down the river.
The bayous of the Grand River can be great ice fishing for a variety of species, try Sterns or Millhouse for gills and specs. Use caution when fishing the bayous. It is always a good idea to use a spud to make sure the ice is safe.