From the DNR 8/24/2017

Northern Lake Michigan anglers are catching some big Chinook, coho and steelhead. While the number of Chinook salmon is down compared to previous years, the size of fish being caught this year has been impressive. To read more check out our 2017 is the year of the Big Fish on Lake Michigan story!
Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Is producing yellow perch outside the River Raisin near Buoys 1 & 2 and east of the buoys towards the Michigan-Ohio line with perch rigs and gold or white beads tipped with a minnow. Near limit catches of walleye were reported off Stony Point when trolling body baits.

Detroit River: Yellow perch were found around the islands including the south end of Grosse Ile in 10 to 15 feet. Most are still using perch rigs with minnows. Bass anglers are taking fish on crawlers, spinners and tube baits.

Lake St. Clair: Anglers have had a hard time locating fish. Those trolling crank baits and crawlers in the Middle and South Channels of the river caught a couple nice walleye. The smallmouth bass action was hit-or-miss. Usually the southern end of the lake is better but some decent catches were reported near the Clinton River spillway.

Lexington to Port Austin: Fishing along the tip of the Thumb was not great as the thermocline was all over the place because of strong winds moving the surface water around. One boat did manage to catch a couple walleye and one steelhead in 160 feet. Lake trout, Atlantic salmon, steelhead and walleye were found in 60 to 110 feet on occasion. Pier fishing was summer slow. Perch fishing will continue to improve through the fall as the water cools off.

Harbor Beach: The fish were still scattered. Lake trout were taken in 90 to 140 feet straight out and north of the harbor using dodgers with spin-glo’s near the bottom. A couple steelhead were taken in the top 60 of 160 feet with bright colored spoons. Walleye were caught with worm burners, thunder sticks or Hot-n-Tots. Bass were still hitting on body baits closer to shore.

Saginaw Bay: The area up toward Pinconning and Standish had fair fishing with perch hitting in 16 feet off the Pinconning Bar. Boat anglers were taking 20 to 25 fish per boat. Most were 8 to 10 inches but some did get the occasional 12 inch fish. A few walleye were taken off Gambil’s Marina near Pinconning in 14 feet and around the sailboat buoys A, B and H. Catfish were hitting worms and shrimp in the Hot Ponds. Over on the east side, most of the boats fishing out of Quanicassee have switched to perch along the south end of the Slot in 10 to 13 feet. Most were 6 ½ to 8 inches. Walleye fishing along the Slot was hit-or-miss but a few were taken in 10 to 12 feet between Sebewaing and Bay Port.

Saginaw River: Shore anglers in the lower river caught bass and catfish.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph: Anglers found Chinook and lake trout in 75 to 160 feet and deeper. The fish were scattered so anglers are working a little harder to find them. Perch fishing was fair for those drifting in 50 feet. Pier fishing was slow.

South Haven: Had good salmon fishing in 110 to 120 feet. Most were using white paddles and spin-doctors with green flies. Perch were caught in 55 feet but they are scattered so fishing was a little more difficult.

Grand Haven: Boat anglers caught salmon 70 to 140 feet down in 120 to 220 feet. A flasher/fly combination worked best with green or white flies. Fish were also taken on yellow or green meat rigs. The thermocline was about 70 to 80 feet down. Smaller boats are fishing inside 120 to 150 feet and the bigger boats are going out deeper when the weather allows. Most of the fish caught were salmon. Pier fishing was slow.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Continues to produce some walleye below the 6th Street Dam. Most are using leeches. A fair to good number of catfish are also being caught both above and below the dam.

Grand River at Lansing: Anglers are getting the occasional walleye. Smallmouth bass were hitting on live and artificial baits.

Muskegon: Salmon were caught 60 to 140 feet down in 120 to 240 feet on a white flasher with green or white flies or green, yellow and blue meat rigs. Glow plugs were best early or late. Pier fishing continues to be slow.

Whitehall: Warm water has slowed the salmon fishing, but boats trolling 55 to 90 feet down in 150 to 225 feet managed to catch Chinook and coho on spoons, flies, plugs and meat rigs. Hot spoon colors were variations of green or blue along with “bloody nose”. Pier anglers casting spoons caught the occasional Chinook in the early morning. Those casting body baits or dragging crawlers on the bottom caught large or smallmouth bass and the occasional walleye.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan: Had good salmon fishing for those trolling spoons and spin-glo’s about a half mile out from the river mouth. The Chinook were averaging between 13 and 30 pounds. Lake trout were found just off the bottom around LaFayette Point.

Cheboygan River: The fishing pressure for salmon has picked up. Shore anglers were fishing the lock and dam with spinners, spawn, and worms but no fish were harvested. Boat anglers did best at the lock and dam.

Rogers City: Is producing Chinook salmon including some really nice fish but no big numbers yet. Most were caught throughout the water column out to 120 feet with spoons, J-plugs, and flashers with squid, flies and meat rigs. Good colors were green, white, blue, orange, silver or glow. A few boats were running planer boards with bombers and J-plugs. The best fishing was very early morning or very late in the evening. Trout and salmon anglers were still picking up a couple walleye.

Rockport: Windy conditions have limited the boat activity. Many are still waiting to see if a thermocline will set up because right now the fish are so scattered. When they can get out, boat anglers may want to try running body baits throughout the water column in 30 to 60 feet.

Alpena: Lake trout were found mostly near the bottom when trolling in 120 to 150 feet. Atlantic salmon and steelhead were found in the top 60 feet. Try spoons, meat rigs and spin-glo’s at the “Humps” and off Thunder Bay Island. A couple brown trout were taken in 50 feet. A few good catches of walleye came from 30 to 40 feet when trolling stick baits or harnesses off Scarecrow Island, Sulphur Island and the north shore. Channel cats were also caught.

Thunder Bay River: Anglers found brown bullhead and good size channel catfish in the evenings when still-fishing with crawlers or stick baits from Mill Island and South Riverfront Park. Those drifting crawlers and casting jigs with soft plastics caught smallmouth bass, rock bass, and freshwater drum.

Van Etten Lake: Anglers had a few decent catches of yellow perch with a perch rig and minnow or when casting small panfish jigs. A couple walleye were taken on crawlers or minnows.

Oscoda: Anglers found good numbers of lake trout when trolling in 120 to 160 feet. Most fish were found on the bottom but a few were suspended. Atlantic salmon and steelhead were in the top 30 to 70 feet. Chinook were 80 feet down in 130 to 150 feet. Walleye were suspended in 80 to 100 feet. Pier anglers caught some good size channel cats on crawlers or shrimp on the bottom. Freshwater drum and bass were taken on crawlers. A few walleye were caught when still-fishing or drifting crawlers.

Au Sable River: Was producing good numbers of smallmouth bass for those drifting crawlers, casting spinners or jigging soft plastics. A few largemouth bass were caught in the weedy cuts and marinas. Channel catfish, rock bass and bowfin were caught on crawlers. Water temperatures were right around 73 degrees. Closer to Mio, those fly fishing hooked a few brown trout with nymphs or terrestrial dry fly patterns like hoppers and flying ants. This time of year is good for white mayfly patterns. Smallmouth bass were hitting on spinners.

Higgins Lake: Lake trout are still being caught in 80 to 135 feet along the north end. Perch anglers found fish in 40 to 50 feet with perch rigs or Hali jig with minnows and wax worms.

Houghton Lake: Anglers are still taking fish along the weed beds in that 9 to 12 feet range. Walleye anglers did better when trolling bright green, purple or rainbow colored crank baits.

Tawas: A few walleye were taken off Alabaster in 50 feet. The odd walleye and steelhead were taken inside the bay when trolling in 80 feet. Pier fishing was slow.

Au Gres: Had slow fishing with only a couple walleye taken off Pointe Au Gres in 35 feet. Down off Eagle Bay Marina which is at the end of Sagatoo Road, anglers were taking a decent number of walleye and perch in 15 feet. The walleye were hitting a crawler harness with pink, purple or silver spinners. The perch were not big but anglers were getting anywhere from 12 to 25 per boat.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Harbor Springs: Most anglers were fishing the Petoskey side however a few fish mainly lake trout were caught around Harbor Point.

Petoskey: Salmon fishing picked up with some large Chinook and a couple coho caught but strong winds once again shut it down. Before the wind, fish were caught throughout the water column as well as 60 to 110 feet down with spoons, flies and cut bait. Lake trout were 80 to 115 feet down in 130 feet but moved to deeper water and were found 135 to 140 feet down. The Bear River had a run of Chinook after the rain. A few were caught with spawn and flies at the dam before catch rates slowed.

Charlevoix: A few more boats were fishing straight out from the channel or towards the cement plant while targeting salmon and lake trout. Chinook were 60 to 80 feet down in 100 to 140 feet on the “bank” in front of the channel. Smallmouth fishing improved in the channel with quite a few keepers caught on live or artificial crawlers and leeches.

Traverse City: A few nice Chinook salmon were caught in the East Bay when trolling spoons in 60 feet near the south end. Lake trout were caught when jigging on Deepwater Point or north and just south of the M-37 launch. Lake trout action out from the Elk Rapids Marina was very good for those trolling along the bottom or jigging in 100 to 105 feet. A couple cisco were also caught. A few perch were caught along the south end. Bass fishing in the Elk River was very slow. Those caught were hitting on leeches and soft plastics. In the West Bay, A few Chinook and coho were caught trolling from Clinch Park to the mouth of the Boardman River and north of the Elmwood Marina. Salmon fishing was still slow but fish have been caught. Those trolling south of the M-22 launch and near the island caught lake trout. Some perch were caught near Lee Point when using cut shrimp in 30 to 40 feet. The Boardman River produced some legal size rainbow trout and small panfish for those using crawlers.

Leland: Had some very good catches of Chinook from North and South Manitou Islands for some while others struggled. A few coho, cisco and lake trout were also caught. Recent southwest winds pushed the cold water deeper than 100 feet but some fish were still found above the break. The “First Bank” produced the occasional salmon and lake trout. Many were using a flasher-fly and meat rig. A few small bass were caught by shore anglers in the Leland River.

Platte Bay: The first run of coho were staging in the bay. Most boats were bringing in 1 to 3 coho along with the occasional Chinook or small lake trout when using J-plugs, spoons, flashers, flies and body baits 60 to 90 feet down. Bright colors worked best but silver and darker colors also took fish. The mouth of the Platte River is fairly deep and boats up to 17 foot had no trouble getting out of the river. There have been no coho up at the weir.

Frankfort: The winds shifted the thermocline so anglers were fishing 70 to 130 feet down. Schools of baitfish were harder to find. Those jigging near the car ferry landing and the south breakwall caught Chinook on spawn. Coho numbers were up slightly.

Onekama: Catch rates slowed as warm water was blown in by the strong winds. Anglers were trolling the top 80 in 100 to 180 feet with purple spoons.

Portage Lake: Mayflies returned yet again and those fishing reported lower numbers of perch and bass. Walleye were still being caught in the evening when trolling a crawler harness or body baits.

Manistee: Surface temperature reading was 69 degrees. Chinook, coho and steelhead were caught on J-plugs, spoons and meat rigs in 140 to 200 feet. The thermocline was 95 to 110 feet down. The number of fish caught slowed but those taken were big healthy fish.

Ludington: The better fishing was in 120 to 200 feet with spoons, J-plugs and meat rigs. Anglers caught some big Chinook along with some coho and steelhead. The last thermocline was 90 to 120 feet down.

Pentwater: Boats trolling from the dunes down to Little Sable Point caught Chinook and coho 50 to 90 feet down in 160 to 200 feet with spoons, flies, plugs and meat rigs. Hot colors were blue flies, green plugs or a “bloody nose” spoon.

Pentwater Lake: Those still-fishing with minnows in the channel caught smallmouth bass and the occasional pike while those fishing near the channel entrance caught bluegill, rock bass, and yellow perch with red worms near the bottom.

Upper Peninsula

Lake Gogebic: Following another week of sporadic fly hatches anglers were still catching a few walleye with a crawler harness or crank bait. Walleye and perch could still be found in shallower water with live bait and a slip bobber though the action was much slower. The north end is still providing some nice panfish but no big numbers. Some legal size pike were caught by those trolling for walleye. Smallmouth are still abundant and being found primarily along rocky structure.

Menominee River: Still had a gate open but anglers have caught a few walleye and smallmouth bass at the Hattie Street Dam when using jigs, spinners and crank baits. Those trolling caught walleye, smallmouth, catfish and freshwater drum.

Marquette: Good numbers of lake trout were taken between the white rocks and Little Presque Isle. A few coho were mixed in. One Chinook salmon was caught near the Lower Harbor. Those targeting coho near Shot Point had minimal success however they caught a good number of lake trout.

Au Train: Catch rates for lake trout were down a bit however some bigger fish were caught near Au Train Island.

Munising: A couple coho were caught in Trout Bay and near Sand Point when trolling. Lake trout fishing was good and those trolling or jigging were taking limit catches in 130 to 180 feet along the Wood Island Reef, the West Channel, and north of Grand Island.

Grand Marais: Boat anglers were taking limits of lake trout including fish up to 22 pounds five miles straight out and off the reefs near the shipping lanes, along Big Reef and off Au Sable Point in 150 to 200 feet. The fish have been eating sticklebacks, herring and the occasional whitefish. Coho fishing was slow but a couple were caught when trolling east of the breakwall.

Tahquamenon River: Had slow fishing but boat anglers floating worms caught small perch and sunfish. Pike fishing slowed and no muskie were reported. Undersize smallmouth bass were caught on worms near the Dollarville Dam.

St. Marys River: At Sault Ste. Marie, only a handful of Atlantic salmon were caught behind the powerhouses. Walleye fishing continues to improve in the shipping channel in 30 to 32 feet with a crawler harness and bottom bouncer between the 3-Mile and 7-Mile buoys. Walleye fishing was poor in Lake George but the pike fishing was consistent on the north end with a black and gold stick bait. Yellow perch fishing was steady in the North Channel in the early morning. Try 25 feet with minnows or crawlers on the bottom. In the lower river, the walleye action was slow. Most of the fish caught were taken in deeper structure when trolling a stick bait. A few perch were taken on a crawler harness near the bottom. Smallmouth bass and pike were caught off the township piers in Raber when casting bright colored crank baits or in-line spinners.

Detour: The few boats that managed to get out and fish from the green buoy south of Fry Pan Island and out near the lighthouse caught a few small Chinook on flashers and squid 55 to 60 feet down in 80 to 100 feet. A couple lake trout and pink salmon were caught along the 90 foot flat 2 miles south of the lighthouse.

Drummond Island: Walleye fishing continues to be slow; however, some fish have been caught after long days on the water. A few nice perch were caught near Harbor, Peck, and Rutland Islands when drifting crawlers. Smallmouth bass and pike fishing were decent for those casting pearl and perch colored artificial lures or flashy spoons.

Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers can find refuge from high winds in the Les Cheneaux Islands of Cedarville and Hessel. Reports of a few nice walleye in the 18 to 22 inch class were reported at the Club Cut which runs in between the west end of Snows Channel and Mackinaw Bay. Anglers were drifting a quarter ounce chartreuse jig tipped with a crawler in 10 feet from Buoys 18 & 19 west to the mouth of Mackinaw Bay. A few walleye were caught when drifting a shiner off the west end of Les Cheneaux Point in the early morning. A few 9 to 11 inch yellow perch were also caught. At Hessel, pier anglers caught pike ranging 25 to 30 inches. Try chubs, or a chrome spoon. Rock bass and sunfish were caught off the Hessel docks.

St. Ignace: Fishing pressure slowed but a few lake trout were caught by those trolling spoons around the islands. On the Carp River, more anglers were out. Shore anglers caught a few walleye on a mister twister or a crawler harness with a leech. Early morning was best. Boat anglers caught a few pike at the mouth when trolling crank baits.

Fishing Tip: Buying minnows for your next fishing trip
Minnows are a popular bait option for many anglers, but do you know the difference between the various species? Understanding these differences can help you excel during your next fishing adventure!

These minnows are usually one to three inches long and are available all year long. In particular, fatheads are great for targeting yellow perch in the fall and are considered excellent walleye bait as well.

Golden Shiner
These minnows are usually around three inches long and are effective during winter, spring and fall months. Many anglers use these minnows for targeting walleye.

Spottail Shiner
These minnows are usually between two and a half and three inches long and have a limited availability, usually during the spring. These minnows are great when walleye fishing.

Sucker Minnow
These minnows are usually between three to four inches, but they can grow to nearly a foot long. They’re available at all times during the year and are considered a top bait choice for northern pike in the summer.

Please note Michigan has several bait restrictions in place to prevent the spread of fish diseases. Information about these restrictions and regulations can be found in the 2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide.

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