Weekly Fishing Report
By Michigan DNR
Southeast Lower Peninsula Saginaw Bay
Walleye were caught at the Old River Channel, the Dumping Grounds and at Buoy 3 northeast of the number one buoy. Walleye fishing was good on the east side of the bay. The slot out from Sunset and up to Sebewaing was producing in 15 to 18 feet of water. Shallower water of 10 to 12 feet was also good for walleye. Around Caseville, anglers caught a few walleye out front and toward Sand Point, and also off Oak Point. Crawler harnesses and body baits were working well. Walleye were also caught at Finn Road out in 20 feet of water. Crawler harnesses were working the best. Smallmouth and largemouth bass were caught in the lower part of the Saginaw River on an assortment of crankbaits and rubber worms.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Walleye were caught near buoys #4 and #6 while trolling crawlers in 15 to 17 feet of water. Some chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon, lake trout and walleye were caught out past buoy #2 while trolling spoons and body baits in 50 to 70 feet. There were some smallmouth bass caught and released near shore along and out near Tawas Point while casting spinners and plastics. At Gateway Park on the Tawas River, fishing was slow. There were some smallmouth bass caught while casting spinners, body baits and crawlers.
Lake trout fishing was good, with limits reported. Anglers were mostly fishing 30 to 70 feet of water. Lake trout were throughout the water column. Anglers were running a couple of lines near the bottom with flasher and Spin-N-Glos and spoons in the water column. Anglers wanting to target Atlantic salmon should fish the top half of the water column, focusing on the top 30 feet or so. Try running smaller spoons in bright colors. Walleye fishing was slow in the bay.
Thunder Bay River
A few walleye were caught at night off the Ninth Street bridge while drifting leeches. Walleye were also caught while trolling in the river with crawler harnesses. Anglers were also catching a mix of smallmouth bass, rock bass, bowfin and sunfish. Anglers were casting with body baits and using live bait.
Catfish, bullheads and freshwater drum were caught in the Au Gres River while still fishing crawlers on the bottom. Walleye fishing was good, with some limits caught while trolling crawlers and crankbaits in 15 to 35 feet from the mouth of the Au Gres River and south toward the Saganing bar. Some largemouth and smallmouth bass were caught and released near the Charity Islands and near the shoreline while casting spinners and plastics.
Anglers were having the best luck with Atlantic salmon in the top 50 feet of water with smaller spoons. Bright colors seemed to be the best, such as oranges, silver, bright greens, golden yellow or any of these combos. Anglers reported that there was a lot of bait. Anglers should fish structured areas for best results for lake trout. Lake trout were caught on dodgers and Spin-N-Glos along with brightly colored spoons with lots of green on them.
Lake trout fishing was decent, with limits reported. Anglers were still having some days where they had to work harder for them than others. Lake trout love gobies, and they were eating them heavily. Anglers should target areas that have rocky bottoms or areas of structure. Best depths were in 35 to 60 feet of water. The lake trout were all over the water column as well. Anglers were using green, lime, blue or chartreuse spoons as well as cow bells with Spin-N-Glos or dodgers with Spin-N-Glos. Fish the top part of the water column with smaller spoons for Atlantic salmon.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Fishing slowed down, but a few king salmon and lake trout were caught at Big Sable Point straight out in 80 to 190 feet of water when fishing 30 to 80 feet down. Green and blue spoons and flies were catching more fish than other colors. The fishing on the pier was slow.
East Grand Traverse Bay
Bass fishing has picked up significantly over the past week. Bass were being seen on their beds within the past few days. Water temperatures in the shallows were at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and bass fishing is expected to remain good over the next few weeks. Lake trout fishing has been slow.
Fishing slowed down, but a few king salmon and lake trout were caught along the shelf and at Big Sable Point last week. Depths where fish were being found ranged from 100 to 225 feet of water while fishing 30 to 80 feet down. Green and bule spoons and flies were working well. Pier fishing was slow.
Lake Michigan anglers trolling the barrel caught lake trout while using cow bells. King salmon harvest was down this week, coinciding with the rough weather. In Portage Lake, water temperatures were slowly rising, and the mayfly hatch was in full swing. Anglers were catching bass, bluegill and yellow perch. Bass and bluegill were on beds.
Anglers reported catching fewer fish over the past week, which may be influenced by changes in local alewife numbers. Anglers trolling in Platte Bay reported catching lake trout, with most bites occurring while fishing near the bottom.
Little Bay de Noc
Anglers had some success trolling or drifting harnesses. Some anglers were also using crankbaits. Smallmouth bass fishing was good, with anglers using jerk baits and soft plastics.
Anglers reported that alewives moved in, which made for a tough walleye bite. Salmon anglers reported cooler surface water temperatures, although salmon had not yet arrived. Some lake trout were caught.
Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay
Anglers were catching lake trout, coho and king salmon the past week. Most fish were being caught while trolling with artificial bait, mainly spoons. Some lake trout were also caught while jigging with natural and cut bait. Most anglers found their best days on the water starting as early as 6 a.m. on days with decent weather.
Anglers were catching a few pike and perch off the pier in Hessel. They were also catching some smallmouth bass in Hessel and Cedarville. In Detour, angers were catching a few chinook salmon, along with lake trout and Atlantic salmon. Some anglers were boating to Drummond and catching a few walleye and some smallmouth bass around Maxton and Scott bays.
Fishing was more consistent within the shallow bays along the shore of Sugar Island. Anglers reported that walleye, northern pike, perch and smallmouth were caught. When the temperatures in the bays were in the low to mid-50s, the fish were moving shallow, which made trolling for most of the species somewhat difficult, but there were catches reported in the shallow bays. Walleye have been a tough bite as of late, hardly hitting crankbaits or any artificial baits for that matter; crawler harnesses were the most productive, with the occasional pike hit on most of the usual methods as well as by-catch when trolling for walleye. Perch were hitting on perch rigs, and the bite was slowly increasing with temperatures.
There were a couple Atlantic salmon caught along with a couple steelhead up along the rapids. Most of the fishing was producing a good number of harvested fish along the west side of Sugar Island and along the shoreline by Dunbar. In the upper river, whitefish were starting to get caught consistently, but not much fishing for them happened behind the powerhouse yet. Most of the trolling in the area was hit or miss. Try trolling just under the surface if you’re able to or try jigging and rigs, which were more productive in comparison to trolling.
Traverse Bays/South Portage Canal Entry
Anglers had good luck fishing for lake trout in waters 120 feet deep. Coho salmon were also represented in the catch, but lake trout were by far the most commonly caught species. Anglers were fishing a wide range of depths from 30 feet to 230 feet deep, with those fishing deeper than 100 feet straight out from the Portage Canal reporting higher catches. Anglers taking advantage of the early hours were catching most of the fish.
Boating anglers were mainly trolling within the bay while targeting king and coho salmon. A few anglers reported limits on lake trout, but most are finding tough fishing. Anglers reported good catches earlier in the previous week; however, action slowed during the last four to five days as the temperatures changed. A large sand bar off the Anna River has made fishing there difficult.
A few anglers and fishing charters reported limits of lake trout while fishing near the Au Sable Lighthouse and Five Mile Reef. Pier fishing for whitefish was slow, with little fishing pressure observed. Angling effort was primarily taking place during dawn and dusk, while the southerly winds have slowed the bite the past few days.
Carp and Pine rivers
Anglers were catching brown trout and brook trout in the headwater reaches of these streams as insect hatches were becoming more frequent. Many of these tributaries and upper reaches hold wild and stocked trout, and anglers using stealthy techniques will catch more fish. Look for fishing to get better as insect hatch frequency increases in the early summer.
Fishing pressure has increased over the past week as anglers have reported relatively good success in the Marquette area. Anglers that were trolling between the Carp and Chocolay rivers have had good success in 40 feet and deeper water. King and coho salmon were being caught near “Shot Pointe.” Some of the best success has been reported from anglers fishing with bright orange spoons or flickers. Anglers targeting lake trout should try either jigging in deep water (150 feet or more) or trolling in medium to deep water. A few anglers reported successful trips fishing for lake trout on Stannard Rock while jigging and trolling.
Fishing pressure in the Au Train area has been very limited. The Rock and Au Train rivers have seen little fishing activity, and there have been no reports of any catches. Anglers have had some success in the past by casting out a worm or spawn bag from shore. Anglers have also had success catching lake trout and salmon to the east of the Brownstone Boat Launch while trolling orange and multi-color spoons and flickers. Anglers fishing to the west of the launch have primarily caught lake trout. Near the mouth of the Laughing Whitefish River and jigging around Au Train Island in deep water have also proven to be good places to try trolling.
Upper St. Mary’s
Fishing pressure for whitefish remained steady upriver of the Soo Locks. Anglers were reporting more catches of whitefish at smaller sizes (15 to 18 inches) upriver compared to fewer catches, but larger-sized fish downriver. A limited number of round whitefish (Menominee) were being reported in the catch. Jigging with artificial and natural wax worms was producing consistent results for whitefish. At Waishkey Bay, walleye fishing was good while trolling with crawler harnesses after sunset.
Salmon anglers fishing in Whitefish Bay reported catching chinook and coho salmon over the past week. Anglers trolling between 50 to 70 feet down in roughly 100 feet of water using different-colored spoons reported having the best success. Anglers also caught some brown trout and steelhead. Walleye fishing near the mouth of the Tahquamenon River has also been good for anglers trolling crawler harnesses and stick baits. A few muskellunge were caught and released while trolling for walleye and by casting spinner baits.