Things are not good in Northern Michigan as most lakes north of M-72 still have ice and many creeks and rivers are still high. The conditions are the worst I have ever seen for any opener for boats. There has been nobody fishing so rally no reports but Houghton Lake is open so crappie should start when we get some temps in the 50’s. Higgins is still iced over. along with green Lake , Long Lake heck there was still ice on East Grand Traverse Bay this morning
This coming Saturday, April 26th marks the opening day of trout season on the Type 1 and Type 2 streams as well as the walleye, northern pike and muskellunge opener on the Lower Peninsula inland waters. The “Catch and Immediate Release” bass season for all the Lower Peninsula waters including the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River and the Detroit River will also open this coming Saturday. Sucker spearing and fishing was good on many rivers and tributaries.
Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Some of the inland lakes still have ice which is not safe. Even if the ice melts by Saturday, the water temperatures will be very cold. The rivers are receding but water levels could still be on the high side for the trout opener.
Traverse City: The ice is nearly gone from the East Bay. Anglers should be able to get their boats out soon. Those surfcasting caught a couple steelhead on spawn. The West Bay is opening up. A few boats were trolling near the mouth of the Boardman River. Catch rates for steelhead were limited. Cisco were caught by those jigging.
Elk River: Steelhead fishing was very slow but should pick-up once the water temperatures start to warm.
Boardman River: Fast flow has made steelhead fishing difficult. Anglers caught a few on jigs tipped with wigglers and wax worms. Catch rates will pick-up once the water clears up.
Frankfort: Those trolling have caught brown trout with thin fins and rapalas. Hot colors were black and gold, black and silver or chartreuse and silver.
Betsie River: There will be plenty of steelhead around for the trout opener.
Portage Lake: Was still 40 percent covered with drifting ice.
Onekama: Pier anglers caught brown trout when casting stick baits off the south pier in the morning. Black and silver was the hot color.
Lakes Cadillac & Mitchell: Are finally ice free and fishable.
Manistee: Is producing brown trout for those trolling the shoreline with orange spoons. Black and silver or fire-tiger body baits caught fish. Pier anglers caught the occasional steelhead or brown trout when using spawn.
Manistee River: Has a good number of steelhead. Catch rates were good even with the high water levels. Anglers are bottom bouncing spawn with trout beads.
Little Manistee River: Should have plenty of steelhead for the trout opener.
Ludington: Is also producing brown trout for those trolling orange spoons or body baits. Pier anglers are getting a few brown trout when using spawn.
Pere Marquette River: Is producing some nice chrome steelhead and brown trout. Water levels were still high but receding.
Pentwater: Boat anglers trolling the shoreline have caught a good number of brown trout. Pier fishing was slow but may pick-up by the end of the week.
Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Rogers City: Has pretty much opened up. The ice has left the harbor but there was still some in and around the marina slips. Anglers may want to start casting for Atlantic salmon off the wall. Smaller boats that don’t need a dock can launch.
Thunder Bay River: All the gates but one have finally been closed at the dam. Those fishing at or below the dam had limited success for steelhead. More fish should start moving in now that the current has receded. Those bottom bouncing spawn and flies or floating spawn under a bobber have caught fish. The steelhead run is just getting started.
Harrisville: The harbor is open and one dock is in so boats can now launch. Steelhead and the occasional walleye have been seen in and around the harbor over the last week. Try floating spawn or casting small spoons and body baits.
Au Sable River: Water levels were almost back to normal. Steelhead have been caught between the mouth and Foote Dam. Anglers are bottom bouncing, drifting or floating a mix of baits including fly’s, wax worms, spawn, spoons and small spinners. Fish were also caught in Van Etten Creek.
Houghton Lake: The ice is finally gone! A few crappie have been caught in the canals but that’s about it. Water temperatures are still cold.
Tawas: Did not have much in the way of boat action because there is still a lot of ice floating around the piers and the docks are not in yet. Those casting off the wall caught the occasional steelhead or walleye.
Tawas River: Is producing a good number of suckers and some steelhead. Those wading or casting off the mouth at night have caught walleye.
Au Gres: Boat anglers trolling rapalas in 10 to 15 feet off the mouth of the river were catching good numbers of walleye including some limit catches.
Au Gres River: Remains muddy so perch and sucker fishing were slow. On the East Branch, water near the Singing Bridge was finally clearing up but catch rates were still slow. Steelhead were caught further up between Au Gres and M-55.
Upper Peninsula Fishing Report
Conditions for this weekend’s trout opener will be challenging due to high water and snow pack in many places. Seasonal access roads in many areas may not be passible due to the snow conditions. Areas in the extreme southern and eastern portions may have better accessibility. Trout lakes will have ice cover. Anglers are reminded that ice conditions are rapidly
Keweenaw Bay: The bite was still slow but some lake trout were caught off Jentoft’s Dock, a couple coho were taken at Perch Corner and a mix of splake, whitefish, coho, chinook and brown trout were caught through the ice near the Falls River. Water levels were on the rise in the Falls River. A couple rainbow trout were caught near the mouth. Anglers will need to watch for honeycomb ice.
Little Bay De Noc: Open water has formed just south of Escanaba and is working its way up to Aronson Island. The head of the Bay was still frozen however ice along the shoreline was starting to get soft. Perch fishing was fair near Kipling. Try minnows or wigglers in 8 to 30 feet. Some fished deeper in 35 feet but catch rates were spotty. Warmer temperatures have melted most of the snow and all the rivers were open except for the Whitefish River. Steelhead anglers have started checking the rivers but no reports as of yet. Those fishing the rivers will find fast currents and large pieces of flow ice coming down.
Big Bay De Noc: Had no reports. The rivers are all open with the exception of the Sturgeon River. The road that runs to the river is a seasonal road and my not be accessible. At Fairport, the launches were still iced in however recent rain should help with the thawing process.
Munising: Catch rates in the bay were fair to poor. Warmer weather and rain has uncovered old holes and softened the ice. Anglers should use caution around the Anna River and Sand Point. Open water pockets and cracks around Sand Point have expanded quickly over the last week. Shoreline ice was starting to breakup but most areas around the bay still had thick ice. Many anglers are targeting coho but catch rates were poor. Those looking for whitefish were jigging eggs just off the bottom. The fish range 12 to 17 inches. Catch rates for splake were slow. There is enough open water to fish around the Anna River pier. Trout Bay was slow.
Luce County: Still had ice on the inland lakes. Trout streams are extremely high and there is still a lot of snow in the woods and swamps. Seasonal roads may not be accessible.
Two Hearted River: Due to the high snow pack, access to the mouth may not be possible for the trout opener.
St. Mary’s River: All the boat launches between the Locks in Sault Ste. Marie and Detour are iced in.
Detour: Anglers are fishing Lake Huron just west of Albany Creek. Those fishing off the rocks have caught steelhead when using spawn bags.
Cedarville and Hessel: There was no angler pressure in Hessel Bay even though the north shore and east end should be producing some perch. Musky Bay is good for perch and they are migrating towards Duck Bay in 6 to 8 feet. Bigger fish are being caught but anglers were still catching lots of small ones.
Carp River: Is ice free but no smelt action yet. Water temperatures need to warm up first.
St. Ignace: The Coast Guard will open the waters between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island, effective 8:00am on April 24th. The Coast Guard would like to remind all recreational ice users to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from the shipping channels.
Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Lake Erie: The daily limit for walleye in Michigan waters from May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015 will remain six (6) fish.
Detroit River: Walleye fishing remains very good. Fishing pressure was high but so were catch rates. As long as the weather cooperates and we don’t have any major rainfall events or wind storms to muddy up Lake St. Clair, walleye fishing on the river should remain excellent for the next three to four weeks.
Lake St. Clair: The boat ramps are open. The canals and marinas are warming up enough that anglers were doing well for bluegill and crappie.
St. Clair River: Walleye fishing has been good near Port Huron. A few trout and salmon were starting to show up as far south as Algonac.
Lexington: Salmon anglers started hitting the water and most did pretty well when trolling in 10 to 18 feet south of the harbor off Lexington Heights. They reported 3 to 4 fish per boat when trolling crank baits or spoons with long lines off planer boards. A mixed bag of chinook, coho, steelhead, brown trout and lake trout were taken by those using downriggers. Pier fishing was slow.
Harbor Beach: Is open and the docks are in.
Saginaw Bay: Perch fishing was spotty in the cuts near Palmer Road. Walleye were caught by those trolling crank baits in 16 to 18 feet off Linwood and off the mouth of the Saginaw River. Those jigging minnows off the mouth also caught fish. Area rivers are finally receding and clearing up however perch fishing in the Quanicassee, Sebewaing, and Pigeon was spotty and a lot of the fish were small. Perch fishing is usually best between dawn and 11am. Suckers can also be found.
Saginaw River: Was back in its banks for the most part. No doubt a fair number of fish chose to ride the flooding back to Saginaw Bay when they were done spawning but there should still be enough fish for a good opener on Saturday. Spawning occurred about two weeks later than normal this year so there was two weeks less for the fish to drop back to the bay. Barring another major rain event, the walleye opener should be a good one.
Tittabawassee River: Water levels are down. The walleye opener should be good.
Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Crappie have been caught on many of the inland lakes. Try live minnows or small jigs near structure and along the drop-offs.
St. Joseph: Coho fishing was slow. Boat anglers are doing better than pier anglers in waters 30 feet deep or less. Pier anglers are catching the occasional salmon. Spawn on the bottom worked best.
St. Joseph River: Still has steelhead for the taking. Flows were about average for this time of year. Anglers report a good run of suckers and a good number of post spawn walleye should be available for the opener on Saturday.
South Haven: Catch rates were slow. Pier anglers caught a few coho and brown trout when casting small spoons or spinners. Boat anglers picked up a few fish when trolling small crank baits south of the piers.
Kalamazoo River: Has good steelhead fishing at the Allegan Dam. Suckers are hitting on crawlers.
Grand Haven: Pier anglers caught brown trout on spawn.
Grand River in Grand Rapids: Still has some steelhead available. Most are fishing up near the Sixth Street Dam. Walleye season opens on Saturday and anglers should find some nice post spawn fish.
Grand River closer to Lansing: Steelhead have been caught at the Portland Dam, Webber Dam and the Lyons Dam. Most are using live bait or spawn under a bobber.
Muskegon: Boats trolling the shoreline are getting brown trout and the occasional steelhead or lake trout when using orange spoons or body baits. Pier fishing was hit-or-miss.
Muskegon River: Water levels are receding but the water is still stained. Steelhead are being caught and anglers are finding fresh fish.
Whitehall: Is producing brown trout for pier and boat anglers in the channel. A few coho and steelhead were also caught. Most are using spawn but some were casting lures. Pier anglers caught a couple walleye and pike. Anglers must be out beyond the Lake Michigan shoreline to keep walleye and pike until Saturday.