The weather is going to warm up this weekend hopefully the gills will be on the beds, bass fishing has been great. Fishing has been slow as weather has hampered people getting out.
t’s here! Michigan’s annual Summer Free Fishing Weekend will be observed this Saturday June 8th and Sunday June 9th. Both residents and non-residents can fish without a license however all regulations still apply. This is a great opportunity for novice anglers to introduce someone new to the sport of fishing.
2013 Summer Free Fishing Weekend Events
Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
There were reports of panfish starting to stage for spawning, but that will probably be set back now because of the cold front. The trout streams are running a bit high but fishing can be good on the higher water, especially for those using bait. Along Lake Michigan, rumor has it there are fewer chinook salmon compared to last year however the average size is bigger.
Harbor Springs: Boat anglers might want to try for lake trout near Harbor Point. Look for smallmouth bass around the docks.
Petoskey: Anglers fishing off the pier with crank baits and crawlers caught smallmouth bass. Look for pike, carp or rock bass as well.
Bear River: Has been high and fast. A couple steelhead can still be found up near the dam but most of the fish have spawned. Try spawn bags above the dam.
Charlevoix: Anglers continue to do well for walleye in the channel after dark. The bite usually starts between 10-11pm. Anglers are fishing on the Lake Michigan end of the channel when the current is going out or the Round Lake end when the current comes in. Use deep diving crank baits or a ¾ to 1 ounce jig with a rubber minnow or rubber worm with a twisty tail. The fish were not interested in crawlers or leeches. A couple smallmouth bass were also caught. Boat anglers caught lake trout 80 to 100 feet down in 100 to 220 feet off North Point. Try green and orange spin glows with dodgers or cowbells. A few fish were caught near the can at St. Mary’s Cement.
Traverse City: Lake trout catches were decent for those trolling or jigging in the East Bay. Ciscoes were caught on jigging spoons in 20 to 70 feet of water. Smallmouth action slowed with the cooler weather. The West Bay had fair lake trout fishing. Depths were variable. Those jigging caught lake trout and the occasional whitefish.
Elk River: Smallmouth bass were hitting on crawlers and artificial baits. Catch rates will improve with warmer weather. Steelhead can still be found but most anglers were targeting bass.
Boardman River: Is producing pike, smallmouth bass, rock bass, perch, carp and suckers. Try crawlers, leeches or plastic baits for smallmouth.
Frankfort: Brown trout are still hitting between the piers and outside to the elbows. Early morning was best starting about 5am. There is a large number of alewife around the piers. With the cooler than average temperatures, the chinooks are slow to arrive this year.
Portage Lake: Bass anglers are having a great time working the beds and along the drop-offs. Anglers reported good catches of bluegill, crappie, sunfish and pumpkinseed. Crawlers worked best. Walleye have slowed but the pike are becoming more active.
Manistee: Salmon have been caught 50 to 120 feet down in 100 to 200 feet of water. Anglers are using green and blue dolphins or green and blue meat rigs. Pier anglers casting spoons caught a few brown trout.
Lake Cadillac: Bluegills were on the beds. Anglers are using a piece of crawler or leaf worms. Only a few crappie were caught. The pike action was good however the fish are running small. For walleye, anglers are trolling crawler harnesses in 12 to 16 feet of water.
Lake Mitchell: Is producing a few crappie for those using minnows. Bluegills were on the beds. Pike are still hitting but the fish are small. Large bowfin were caught.
Ludington: Salmon action has been hit-or-miss. Fish were caught 60 to 120 feet down in 120 to 140 feet of water with meat rigs or green and orange spoons.
Pentwater: Anglers caught a mixed bag of chinook, coho and steelhead 45 to 70 feet down in 90 to 150 feet of water across from the Silver Lake sand dunes. Blue and green were the hot colors.
Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Rogers City: Runoff after the rain not only muddied the water but also raised the surface water temperatures to the high 40’s. Lake trout have been caught off Sea Gull Point, Adams Point and west towards Forty Mile Point. Fish the entire water column or close to the bottom in 40 to 70 feet with cowbells and spin glows or spoons. Hot colors were green, orange, yellow and blue. Chinook, Atlantic salmon and steelhead have also been caught. Pier anglers caught Atlantic salmon. Good colors were orange and gold or chartreuse and silver.
Presque Isle: Had good lake trout fishing in 30 to 60 feet of water with dodgers or cowbells and spin glows. Those high-lining in the shallows did well off Big Lighthouse Point. A couple Atlantic salmon were taken towards Stoneport. Try bright spoons.
Alpena: Those walleye fishing caught a few on crawler harnesses. If fishing for lake trout, try the Thunder Bay Island area.
Thunder Bay River: Is producing smallmouth bass and a few smaller walleye up near the 9th Street Dam. Crawlers and leeches worked best. Anglers may still find the odd steelhead up near the dam.
Harrisville: The lake trout are moving out at a slow pace. Most of the fish caught were suspended in 50 to 80 feet. Average size was 10 pounds. Most are using spoons, flies and body baits with downriggers, lead core and planer boards. Steelhead should be in the area.
Oscoda: Pier anglers are catching walleye in the early morning or late evening however; don’t rule out those overcast afternoons. Crawlers, leeches and body baits were the ticket.
Au Sable River: Steelhead are still moving in however the number of fish is declining. Catch rates were inconsistent. The brown drake hatch should occur in the next week as a few are hatching at this time.
Houghton Lake: Walleye fishing usually picks up between the storm systems. Anglers caught largemouth bass but the bluegill fishing was hit-or-miss. Cooler weather has delayed spawning in much of the state. Some caught rock bass.
Tawas: Pier anglers are catching bass. Those fishing out in the bay caught smallmouth when casting tube jigs. A few walleye were caught in 25 to 30 feet of water. The area is currently seeing a mayfly hatch.
Tawas River: Is producing catfish, bowfin, freshwater drum and even the occasional walleye.
Au Gres: Those trolling for walleye did well in 30 to 35 feet between Pt. Au Gres and Pt. Lookout, south of Pt. Au Gres or North towards the gravelly shoals and the Charity Islands. Bass fishing was good.
Au Gres River: Is producing channel cats but some are trying for walleye.
Upper Peninsula Fishing Report
Keweenaw Bay: Salmon catches were hit-or-miss. When they were hitting, anglers did well when trolling 25 to 60 feet down in 30 to 70 feet of water between the head of the Bay northward to the Keweenaw Bay Roadside Park. Coho and lake trout were also caught. Most were using spoons and trolling between 2 and 2.4 mph. A chinook salmon weighed in at just over 18 pounds. Those trolling the South Portage Entry caught a few lake trout near Farmers, Newton’s and the Big Reef. Chinook and coho were taken 35 to 40 feet down in 40 to 50 feet of water from the Entry south towards the Keweenaw Roadside Park.
Marquette: Had good salmon action with some getting their limit of chinook. The fish were averaging 4 to 8 pounds but a few went as high as 10 to 18 pounds. Good coho action as well with the fish running 1 ½ to 3 pounds. Best areas to fish are still outside the Lower Harbor breakwall and towards the Chocolay River or the Sand River when trolling in 100 feet or less. The occasional coho, steelhead or brown trout were also mixed in. Lake trout were caught as shallow as 50 feet or as deep as 150 feet between Shot Point and Granite Island. The fish are eating sticklebacks. Stannard Rock is producing good numbers of lake trout for those jigging along the breaks. Fish up to 25 pounds were reported.
Menominee: Anglers jigging with minnows are still picking up some nice walleye in Wisconsin waters not far from the mouth. Those trolling crawler harnesses had fair catches. Those launching off the Cedar River were trolling north and south in 12 to 14 feet of water with crawler harnesses or rapalas.
Menominee River: Is producing walleye, catfish, pike and freshwater drum for those casting spoons or rapalas. Those anchoring by the deep holes near the paper mill did well when jigging minnows. A few walleye were caught at night by those fishing off the Cat Walk. They are casting rapalas or jigging minnows.
Cedar River: Anglers caught smallmouth bass when drifting minnows but the fish were running small. Pike were caught down near the mouth. No trout were reported.
Little Bay De Noc: Perch fishing slowed but a few were still caught near Gladstone Beach in 14 to 25 feet or the Kipling Flats in 17 to 28 feet. Fair to good walleye catches reported at the mouth of the Whitefish River in 8 to 12 feet. Crawlers with jig heads or harnesses worked best. The reefs produced a few fish during the day but the better fishing was at night. From the “Narrows” south to the “Black Bottom” was best for walleye. Anglers are trolling or drifting crawlers in 18 to 30 feet of water.
Ford River: Had good smallmouth action around the mouth and up to the bridge. Shore and boat anglers are casting tube baits or crank baits.
Big Bay De Noc: A few walleye were caught in Kate’s Bay and out to the “Boot” when trolling stick baits or crawler harnesses in 18 to 23 feet. Smallmouth bass were drawing anglers to Ogontz, South River, the “Sand Pit”, Tylene’s Bay, Kate’s Bay and Garden Bay. Water temperatures are still cold for this time of year. Try plastics or crank baits in 4 to 10 feet of water. Fairport had no salmon reports.
Au Train: Is producing a good number of trout and chinook salmon for those trolling from the Rock River and Shelter Bay to Au Train Point. Most are using spoons or stick baits in water 60 feet deep or less. Gusty north winds cooled the surface water to 40 degrees. Large schools of sticklebacks were reported in the area. Lake trout were common in waters less than 50 feet deep.
Munising: Pier fishing for splake was fair with only a few fish taken by those casting spawn. The fish range 13 to 20 inches. Boat anglers had good results for chinook in the early morning. The average size was 5 pounds. A few splake were also caught. They are trolling spoons in 100 feet of water.
Grand Marais: The upper parking area continues to be blocked with construction debris. Pier anglers have done well taking a mix of whitefish, coho and rainbow trout when using spawn off the end of the pier. The majority of whitefish were small but some caught their limit. Early morning is best. Boats trolling east and west caught coho in less than 20 feet of water. Catch rates for pike were slow.
St. Mary’s River: Had very good walleye fishing up near 15-Mile Road, off Cherokee Beach when trolling crawler harnesses at night in 2 to 4 feet of water. Good perch fishing at Neebish Island directly across from the Neebish Island Ferry Boat. Try minnows in 4 to 6 feet of water.
Drummond Island: Had excellent smallmouth bass fishing off Paw Point in Scott Bay for those casting or jigging tube baits or crank baits in shallow waters about 3 feet deep. Walleye catches were good in Scott Bay when trolling crawler harnesses with bottom bouncers in 4 to 6 feet of water or running planer boards between Paw Point and Peck Island. Bullheads were caught in the shallow waters of Maxton Bay. Smallmouth bass were caught by those casting tube jigs or still-fishing with minnows just north of the DNR launch.
Cedarville and Hessel: Perch have been caught in Cedarville Bay by those using worms in 6 to 8 feet of water near Little Joe Island. Pike fishing remains good throughout the Les Cheneaux Islands. Try still-fishing or casting with chubs. Bass fishing has been very good.
Carp River: Anglers are fishing at the Mackinaw Trail Bridge, the McDonald Rapids and at the mouth. They have caught steelhead, brook trout and brown trout on spinners.
Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Lake Erie: Walleye fishing remains good for most. They are using crawler harnesses or spoons in 18 to 25 feet of water. Fish have been caught in 22 to 24 feet of water between Stony Point and the north end of the Dumping Grounds. Hot colors were orange, purple and chrome. Smallmouth bass were caught throughout Brest Bay and the shallow humps off the River Raisin.
Detroit River: The white bass action has been fast and furious. Fishing is limited with all the white bass but a few perch were caught near Celeron Island and a few walleye were taken near the Ford Yacht Club.
Lake St. Clair: Musky fishing was slow.
St. Clair River: Had good walleye fishing at Port Huron and Algonac. Anglers are jigging or using crawler harnesses. Night fishing was best.
Lexington: Is producing trout and salmon for those trolling spoons in 50 to 60 or 80 to 100 feet of water. A good number of lake trout were caught. Pier anglers caught white bass, rock bass, pike, freshwater drum, smallmouth bass and even a few perch.
Harbor Beach: Some are catching whitefish. For salmon, try straight out and north of the harbor in 40 to 85 feet. For lake trout, try 80 to 100 feet with dodgers and spin glows or spoons just off the bottom. Steelhead were hitting near the surface. Try bright colored spoons with offshore boards. Brown trout were closer to shore. Bass are being caught inside the harbor and close to shore. Keep a towel handy to clear off your line.as the green vegetation is here for a while.
Port Austin: Was producing chinook, coho, steelhead and lake trout in 50 to 100 feet of water. They caught more lake trout than salmon or steelhead. Most are trolling spoons.
Saginaw Bay: Had good walleye action in 5 to 6 feet of water along the Callahan Reef and off the Kawkawlin River when using crawler harnesses or spoons. Walleye were caught off Quanicassee and north of the Slot. It appears the fish are moving out. Good walleye action off Sebewaing for those trolling spoons or crawler harnesses in 11 to 13 feet of water and in Wildfowl Bay when drifting crawlers near the weed line. At Bay Port, walleye were caught out by the islands. Those bowfishing in the shallows are taking a good number of carp. Bird Creek is producing bullhead.
Saginaw River: Those trolling crank baits or crawlers caught walleye between Consumers and the Coast Guard Station.
Quanicassee River: Shore anglers are taking catfish.
Sebewaing River: Is producing a few pike.
Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Holland: Is producing salmon 40 to 80 feet down in 180 to 220 feet of water. A few chinook were caught 100 feet down. Use green and blue regular size spoons and paddles and flies in white, blue and green. Pier anglers caught freshwater drum.
Grand Haven: Pier anglers are getting alewife with cast nets but the only thing they are catching is freshwater drum. Boat anglers are catching salmon 40 to 80 feet down in 160 to 300 feet of water. Many fish were caught in the 180 to 220 range. Blue and green spoons along with blue, green and white paddles and flies were the ticket. Steelhead are higher in the water and hitting on orange and green spoons.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Smallmouth bass are hitting on crawlers, leeches, soft shell crabs and top water baits. Channel cats are hitting on chicken liver crawlers, leeches and cut bait. Flatheads prefer live bluegill or suckers. Those using leaf worms or wax worms caught bluegill. Crappie and bluegill have been caught at Millennium Park and Riverside Park. Pike are hitting on big spinners, body baits or live suckers.
Grand River at Lansing: When anglers can find them, some decent bluegill and crappie were caught above and below the Moore’s Park Dam. Smallmouth bass were caught below the North Lansing Dam. Crank baits worked better than live bait. For catfish, try cut bait, small bluegills, leeches, crawlers or chicken liver.
Lake Ovid: Was producing a few crappie and some small bluegills. If you find fish on the beds, try rubber spiders.
Reeds Lake: Bass fishing was good and some nice perch were caught in 15 to 25 feet of water near the sunken island.
Muskegon River: Has good trout fishing especially for those fly fishing. A drake hatch is currently underway.
Whitehall: Pier anglers casting blue and silver spoons caught coho, brown trout and some large pike. Boat anglers did best south of Duck Lake in 150 to 200 feet. Try fishing all depths as the fish were scattered.
White Lake: Was still producing bluegill, perch, bass and pike close to the shoreline. Catfish are still hitting in the channel. Anglers are casting crawlers or spoons and running them very close to the bottom.