They say when the Lilacs bloom the walleye and bluegills start biting, so the lilacs are in full bloom in northern Michigan.
Fishing reports have been good around northern Michigan with lots of bass, crappie, gills and walleye.
Panfish Anglers are cashing in. The majority of crappies have not spawned yet. Those caught are often in the 10-12″ range. Beautiful, healthy fish. Take your pick, both Cadillac and Mitchell have numbers.
No sign of spawning bluegills either. With the current weather it won’t be long before beds show up along the shoreline. All the gills and sunfish have been males. Expect mixed catches of 6 to 8 inch bluegills. The sunfish have been a little larger.
The easy limits of gills off their beds has not started yet. Those with any numbers are working for them. The best is coming.
Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Lilacs in bloom a sure sign the walleye will start biting
The trout streams are finally receding and clearing up. Inland lake fishing has improved with the warmer temperatures. Crappies are actively spawning, although bluegills and bass had not yet started. Bass fishing is very good right now as they are pre-spawn and actively feeding.
Harbor Springs: The dredging was close enough to be doing that the boat launch was opened. Anglers were focusing on lake trout around the Point and smallmouth bass along the shoreline. Try tube baits for smallmouth.
Petoskey: Had reports of few lake trout taken in 50 to 60 feet. Pier anglers were trying but had no luck. Look for smallmouth bass near the rocks and off the breakwalls soon.
Charlevoix: Boat anglers caught lake trout in 40 to 50 feet around North Point. Most are using spoons and cowbells. Those targeting walleye in the channel at night caught a few fish on jigs with soft plastics or crank baits. Those using crawlers in the Pine River Channel had no luck.
Lake Charlevoix: Boat anglers have caught yellow perch however the schools of fish are small and scattered.
Bear River: Is finally receding. Steelhead can still be found at the dam. A pre-spawn female was caught so spawning continues. Anglers did best with spawn bags.
Torch Lake: Was producing a small number of Atlantic salmon.
Traverse City: In the East Bay, lake trout were caught anywhere from 30 to 115 feet. Good catches of cisco were taken by those jigging in 60 to 90 feet. Smallmouth bass fishing was hit-or-miss but should continue to improve as the waters warm. In the West Bay, lake trout were caught in various depths but the bite was slow. Try waters 30 and 120 feet deep.
Elk River: Steelhead were caught on spawn or jigs below the power dam. There are also plenty of suckers in the river and smallmouth bass fishing should start to pick up.
Boardman River: Steelhead remain in the river, but the run is winding down. There are plenty of suckers, a few carp and smallmouth bass in the river.
Platte Bay: Brown trout fishing has slowed because of the cold lake water turning over. A few lake trout were taken on brown spoons in 60 feet.
Platte River: Fishing has slowed with only small trout caught between the hatchery and the Goose Road Campground. Most of the steelhead are gone. Suckers are spawning between the mouth and the Lower Weir. Loon Lake is producing smallmouth bass and carp are on a spawning frenzy.
Frankfort: Brown trout are still hitting inside and outside the piers. Try #7 and #9 rapalas jointed or not. Black and silver were the hot colors. Chinook were caught on spoons outside the breakwalls.
Onekama: Is producing a good number of chinook salmon. Heading south was the key to filling the coolers. Find the warmer water.
Portage Lake: Had very good bass fishing. Largemouth bass were starting to move toward the beds. Smallmouth bass were caught inside and outside the channel. Perch and walleye were hard to find.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Cold water temperatures have delayed spawning this year. A fair to good number of large and smallmouth bass were caught. Anglers have caught bluegill, crappie, rock bass and pike.
Manistee: Boat anglers are taking chinook, lake trout and the occasional steelhead 40 to 100 feet down in 80 to 100 feet of water. Most are using orange and green spoons along with purple and green meat rigs. Pier fishing was slow.
Ludington: Is also producing salmon and trout. Boat anglers are fishing 30 to 100 feet down in 100 to 180 feet with orange or green spoons and purple, red or green meat rigs. Fish spoons up higher and meat rigs down lower in the water column. Pier fishing was slow.
Pentwater: Is producing a good number of chinook and steelhead. Some were trolling along the shoreline in 25 to 40 feet while others were heading out and fishing 30 to 50 feet down in 140 feet. Bright colored lures were the ticket. A few lake trout were also caught.
Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Rogers City: Surface water temperatures were still in the low to mid 40’s. Fish the stained water which is warmer. Those targeting lake trout caught fish up near Forty Mile Point, the State Park and Adams Point when using cowbells or dodgers with spin glows 5 to 10 feet off the bottom in waters up to 60 feet deep. Try casting off the breakwalls or trolling around them for Atlantic salmon. Some caught the occasional chinook on green, orange or blue spoons. The midge hatch is ongoing and should attract fish.
Alpena: Some are fishing near the mouth of the river and the harbor for walleye, lake trout, Atlantic or the occasional brown trout while others were fishing around Thunder Bay Island. Try spoons or body baits at all depths as the fish are scattered. Cowbells or dodgers with spin glows are taking lake trout. The midge hatch is in full swing. This should bring some Atlantic salmon closer to the breakwall. Try orange or silver with chartreuse krocodiles.
Thunder Bay River: Is producing plenty of smallmouth bass and a few walleye. There is also a fair number of steelhead up near the 9th Street Dam. Atlantics are showing up and feeding on steelhead eggs or mayfly larvae. Try drifting spawn under a bobber or artificial baits.
Harrisville: Had good fishing for steelhead, lake trout, walleye and the occasional salmon. Lake trout are moving towards 80 to 100 feet of water. Fish the lower two thirds of the water column. Steelhead are in the upper third of 60 to 80 feet. Spoons, body baits, fly’s on lead core, dipsey’s, planner boards and downriggers are all working. Walleye are in and around the harbor. Shore anglers can fish off the breakwall and the beach. Boats are fishing straight out, north or south of the harbor in 12 to 20 feet with crawler harnesses or body baits.
Oscoda: Boats are finally heading out and catching a good number of steelhead, salmon, lake trout and walleye. Lake trout are in 90 to 120 feet and hitting on spoons. Salmon and steelhead were in 60 to 80 feet and hitting on spoons and body baits. Good colors were orange or combinations of black and blue.
Au Sable River: Steelhead are still making their way up to the beds. Anglers have done well with spawn, wax worms and fly’s. Walleye are being caught off the pier and by those drifting at the mouth. Try crawlers and leeches.
Houghton Lake: Anglers have caught walleye and crappie but are still waiting for the bluegill bite to get started. Water temperatures are still on the cold side.
Tawas: Daytime fishing off the pier was kind of slow. A few carp and bass were caught inside the harbor and a couple salmon were caught on large shiners on the outside. Night fishing off the pier was more productive for walleye by those casting body baits or still-fishing with large shiners. Walleye were caught by those trolling crawler harnesses between the tip of Tawas Point and Buoy #2.
Tawas River: Shore anglers caught mostly smallmouth bass.
Au Gres: A good number of limit catches were reported in 20 to 35 feet between Point Lookout and Pointe Au Gres. A few boats heading further south did very well off the Saganing Bar.
Au Gres River: Shore anglers fishing at night caught channel cats.
Upper Peninsula Fishing Report
Keweenaw Bay: Still had ice however there was enough open water for anglers to try trolling. There is still a lot of ice so those heading out need to use caution because the ice can blow back in and block the bay. A mix of chinook, coho, rainbow, brown trout and splake were taken in 30 to 60 feet when using spoons or body baits in a variety of colors. Those fishing off the rock dock near the L’Anse Marina or the mouth of Linden Creek caught splake on spinners, cleo’s and crawlers. Many were throw backs but some keepers were recorded. Those putting in at the Traverse Bay Marina were targeting lake trout off Big Louie’s Point and Gay Point but the bite was slow. Try spoons in 130 to 180 feet.
Lake Antoine: A good number of bluegills were caught in the shallows. Wax worms and crawlers worked best. Perch, crappie and rock bass were also taken. Boat anglers casting crank baits caught some nice large and smallmouth bass. Many fish were seen in the shallows. Pike were also caught on crank baits. Lake Antoine Road is still under construction.
Marquette: Ice continues to hamper boat anglers at both the Upper and Lower Harbors. The ice extends out for miles and can blow in or out depending on the wind. A couple boats were able to get out but catch rates were poor for those trolling spoons. A couple small coho or splake were caught by shore anglers near the Carp River.
Little Bay De Noc: Had good to excellent smallmouth bass fishing near the mouth of the Ford River and the surrounding shoreline. Anglers did well when casting spinners, crank baits or crawlers in 3 to 6 feet. For walleye, anglers reported few catches at the head of the bay but good catches in the southern section from Breezy Point south to No-See-Um Creek. Fish were caught by those trolling or drifting crawlers harnesses in 8 to 10 feet off Breezy Point but the better action was between the mouth of the Ford River and No-See-Um Creek in 10 feet. Evenings and night fishing were best. The north bay had good numbers of fish but fewer catches. Perch fishing was fair to good off Gladstone Beach when using crawlers in 14 to 30 feet.
Big Bay De Noc: The bass opener was fantastic with a lot of fish caught. Smallmouth were staging and quite aggressive in 4 to 8 feet. Anglers used live bait, spinners or crank baits. Although many participate in “catch and release” high numbers of limit catches were also reported. The head of the bay near the Fish Dam River, Ogontz, Martin Bay, Puffy Bay, South River Bay, Porcupine Point and the sand pit near Nahma all had similar results. Only a few anglers have taken advantage of the good walleye catches up near the river in Ogontz Bay. Most are trolling or drifting crawler harnesses in 4 to 8 feet. The fish will be moving out sooner than later. Perch fishing in Garden Bay is pretty much done.
Au Train: A few anglers were shore fishing near the Rock River but no fish were caught. Ice continues to flow in and out of the bay. A couple boats were able to troll around the ice flows for coho but no fish were caught.
Munising: Anglers need to pay close attention to wind direction because it can cause the ice to return and block the channels. Pier anglers caught a mix of coho, splake, menominee, whitefish or steelhead when casting spawn or worms. Several limit catches of splake were reported. More boats were starting to fish inside the bay for trout and salmon. Chinook were 3 to 5 pounds but a couple fish were as high as 10 pounds. Shore anglers had fair to poor catch rates for splake.
Grand Marais: Pier anglers dealt with ice flows continually moving in and out over the past week causing a major disruption. When the pier was fishable, anglers caught a mix of coho, menominee and whitefish. Steelhead numbers were low. Boat anglers did well taking a mix of steelhead, chinook and brown trout. Shore anglers were focusing near the mouth of the Sucker River.
St. Mary’s River: Anglers were targeting walleye in Brimley Bay but the bite was slow because of cold water coming down from Lake Superior. Once the water warms, walleye fishing should be good. Yellow perch fishing was excellent in the upper river. Anglers were launching from Sherman Park. Try 25 to 30 feet in the shipping channel near the red buoy. Lake George is producing walleye 19 to 23 inches when trolling crank baits in 4 to 6 feet. Lake Nicolet is producing some large pike 32 to 36 inches in the early morning or evening. Most are trolling crank baits.
Detour: Anglers are catching Atlantic, chinook, steelhead and lake trout around the lighthouse.
Cedarville and Hessel: Pike fishing is slow throughout the islands. There are a few pockets, but overall, the harvest is low. Smallmouth bass fishing was great during catch and release, but was slow recently. Splake are still near the Hessel Pier and the marina had a good number of perch averaging 7 to 9 inches. Water temperatures are still cool, 47 to 52 degrees.
Carp River: Anglers are targeting steelhead and suckers at the Carp River Bridge and McDonald Rapids. The water is still fast and muddy but anglers are harvesting fish using spawn or spinners with orange, green or red yarn.
Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Lake Erie: Walleye fishing was still sporadic, but starting to heat up. Stony Pointe is producing in 18 to 24 feet and near the mouth of the River Raisin in 16 to 20 feet. Fish were caught near the E-Buoy, the C-Buoy and the stacks. Try purple and chartreuse crawler harnesses especially early and late. During the day, try suspending jerk baits or reef runners. Black and silver were good colors. Bass anglers are still taking largemouth or the occasional smallmouth near the launch at Bolles Harbor.
Detroit River: Walleye fishing remains very good in the river, but walleye anglers are also getting white bass and smallmouth bass. White bass fishing should be excellent by this weekend.
Portage Chain-of-Lakes: Was producing a good number of bluegill, sunfish and bass. Bluegill and bass were on the beds. Those fishing the sandy flats have done well. Anglers are still taking some crappie along the weed beds in shallow water. Pike were caught along the drop-offs. The gates at the Portage Lake state launch will only be open between the hours of 8am until 10pm.
Lake St. Clair: Has very good smallmouth bass fishing in Anchor Bay and along the shoreline off the Mile Roads. Some white bass are starting to show up. Walleye fishing was spotty.
St. Clair River: Has good walleye fishing. A variety of methods have been producing fish with jigging and bottom bouncing producing during the day, and whipping producing after dark.
Lexington: Boat anglers are taking trout and salmon. Pier anglers caught walleye at night when casting body baits or still-fishing with large minnows. Kids fishing inside the harbor have caught some big rock bass on crawlers.
Port Sanilac: Is producing a mix of lake trout, Atlantic salmon, steelhead, chinook, coho and pink salmon. The fish are scattered but most were fishing in 60 to 70 feet with spoons. Many fish were caught about halfway down. Pier anglers caught coho, steelhead and Atlantic salmon. Walleye were caught at night when casting body baits or still-fishing with large minnows.
Harbor Beach: Is producing some steelhead and salmon in 25 to 80 feet. Try spoons off downriggers and 2 or 3 colored lines with offshore boards. Hot colors were orange and black, purple and black, gold or bright colors. For lake trout, head straight out or south and fish in 60 to 90 feet. Try dodgers or cowbells with spin glows and spoons just off the bottom. A few walleye were caught off the wall early or late when casting small spoons or body baits.
Grindstone City: Is producing a good mix of trout and salmon. Those trolling are taking a mix of trout and salmon out near the wreck of the Philadelphia. Near Lighthouse Park, those trolling for walleye in 12 feet did well.
Port Austin: Did not have much activity as harbor renovations are on-going.
Saginaw Bay: Anglers trolling for walleye are switching from body baits to crawler harnesses. That’s a good sign that the early spring pattern is ending and the summer pattern is setting up. Good walleye catches reported from a variety of locations. Limit catches were also reported. Some general hot spots were 21 feet at the Black Hole, 20 feet off Linwood, 16 feet off Pinconning and 21 feet just east of the Dumping Ground. Fish were also caught in 4 to 8 feet east of Spoils Island and along the Callahan Reef, 4 to 16 feet in the Slot between Fish Point and Quanicassee or the Slot between Heisterman Island and the tip of Sand Point. Good colors for crawler harness spinners were purple, green or anti-freeze and gold.
Saginaw River: Walleye were still being caught in the lower river between the mouth and the Independence Bridge. Anglers are trolling, vertical jigging or casting jigs.
Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Bass and bluegills are finally showing up in the shallows for most lakes. For bluegills, anglers are doing best in 2 to 8 feet when using beetle spins, flies, wax worms, and red worms. The large and deeper lakes are still running behind.
St. Joseph: Salmon fishing was very good in 80 to 100 feet with spoons. The catch is mostly chinook with an occasional lake trout. Perch and pier fishing were slow.
South Haven: Boat anglers are catching a good number of trout and salmon. Chinook were caught in 60 to 100 feet and lake trout in 60 feet. Spoons worked best. Perch fishing was slow.
Holland: Was producing good catches of chinook and steelhead in 70 feet.
Port Sheldon: Had good catches of chinook and steelhead in 145 to 165 feet.
Grand Haven: Salmon anglers are fishing 25 to 50 feet down in 120 to 160 feet of water. They are using mini or regular spoons with 3 to 12 colors of leadcore. Hot colors were orange and bright green. Perch fishing has slowed since stained water moved into the perch holes. Pier fishing was slow unless anglers can catch alewife.
Grand River in Grand Rapids: Continues to produce the occasional steelhead. Walleye and smallmouth bass were caught by those casting crank baits or drifting crawlers. Good action for both channel cats and flatheads. Try live suckers, cut bait, crawlers or leeches. Bluegill and crappie have been caught on minnows, leaf worms and wax worms.
Grand River at Lansing: Smallmouth bass fishing has picked up. Try minnows, crawlers, crank baits or curly tail jigs. This is a good time to target channel catfish as they don’t mind the cold and dirty water. Check out the backwaters for panfish.
Looking Glass River: Is producing some pike. Water levels were still high.
Muskegon: Salmon anglers are targeting 100 to 130 feet of water and fishing anywhere from top water to 50 feet down. Try bright orange or green spoons. Some were using a spinnie/fly combo 120 feet back. No pier or perch reports.
Muskegon River: Fly hatches are just getting started. Those fly fishing have caught some nice brown trout. Water levels were still a bit high and fast.
Whitehall: Boat anglers found chinook, steelhead and lake trout along the shoreline in 25 to 50 feet. Use bright colored lures. Orange was a hot color.
White Lake: Was producing bluegill and sunfish near the end of the channel. Anglers were still-fishing or casting artificial crayfish.