Some fish from Houghton Lake
Windy conditions on the Great Lakes are preventing boat anglers from heading out and this week has been no exception. Salmon runs are just getting started in the major river systems however it will take cooler temperatures and rain like last week to get more fish moving.
Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Harbor Springs: Catch rates were hit-or-miss. One angler did well fishing 80 feet down in 120 feet inside the bay toward Wequetonsing.
Petoskey: Salmon fishing was very slow but anglers did well with lake trout. They are fishing 80 to 120 feet down in 115 to 130 feet from the breakwall to Bay Harbor. Spoons, spin-n-glows and peanuts worked well. Some caught the odd Cisco and steelhead. A couple salmon were caught off the D Pier at the mouth of the river and by those surfcasting with spoons near the breakwall.
Bear River: The number of salmon caught was dwindling especially after the warmer weather returned. A couple small steelhead and brown trout were caught below the dam by those using spawn, flies and artificial eggs.
Charlevoix: Anglers are reminded that the weir in Medusa Creek is in operation so the creek is closed to fishing within 100 feet of the mouth. Fishing activity increased near the cement plant. Anglers are wading in the slip or trolling and casting from boats inside the breakwall.
Elk River: Anglers using spawn caught a few brown trout and salmon but overall fishing remains slow.
Traverse City: In the East Bay, anglers caught lake trout, cisco and the occasional salmon when trolling or jigging in 90 to 110 feet. A lot of fish were 65 to 75 feet down. Smallmouth bass fishing was slow in 20 to 30 feet. A few perch were found in 35 to 40 feet. In the West Bay, boats were trolling near the mouth of the Boardman but catch rates were slow. Lake trout were taken in 80 to 110 feet and a few perch were caught on wigglers or minnows in 30 to 40 feet.
Boardman River: A few salmon were caught on spawn, but numbers are still relatively low. The weir is in place.
Frankfort: North winds turned the lake over and anglers were having a hard time finding consistent temperatures. Those trolling in the bay and the harbor caught very few chinook salmon. Most are using J-plugs and flies.
Betsie River: Had good activity for those fishing spawn or a single pink egg in the early morning. The spawning closure in the lower portion of the river from Betsie Valley Trail Bridge west to a line in Betsie Bay between the westernmost dock of the Northstar Marina and the westernmost dock of the Eastshore Marina was lifted on Thursday, September 10th. Recent weather patterns have resulted in water levels returning to normal conditions, therefore the spawning closure placed on the Betsie River mouth is no longer necessary and the area is now open to fishing.
Onekama: Anglers were trolling 60 to 80 feet down in 100 to 120 feet straight out or north to the “Barrel”. Fish were hitting on J-plugs and flies.
Portage Lake: Bass anglers have been struggling to land fish in shallow waters and along the drop-offs. Water temperatures are still warm so even the panfish were slow to bite.
Manistee: Those fishing north about 8 miles were catching more fish. A north wind blew colder water back in and was recorded at 40 feet down. Most are catching mainly chinook followed by the occasional steelhead and lake trout. More coho were starting to be caught. Most are fishing 80 to 130 feet down in 100 to 300 feet with a mix of spoons, cut bait, and J-plugs. Pier anglers found fish just before daylight when using a size 6 Cleo off the south side of the south pier. A wide range of colors were working well including yellow and white.
Manistee River: Had salmon in the lower stretches including Tippy Dam. While fish are there, we still need rain and cooler temperatures to bring additional fish in. Anglers are drifting spawn under a bobber or casting crank baits.
Ludington: Catch rates were still hit-or-miss. The water were fairly warm with surface temperatures in the high 60’s and low 70’s but a north wind did turn the lake over. Anglers are still fishing about 6 miles south to the project at 80 to 100 feet down in 130 feet or off Big Sable Point in 120 to 300 feet. Most of the fish caught were taken about halfway between Ludington and Manistee when using J-plugs and cut bait. Anglers caught mostly chinook followed by coho, steelhead and lake trout.
Pere Marquette River: The fall like weather did push a fair to good number of salmon into the river. Anglers caught fish when drifting spawn under a bobber or when casting crank baits.
Pentwater: Pier anglers are catching salmon but the bite is slow. Try early morning with glow spoons or J-plugs or floating spawn under a bobber. Boat anglers found salmon in shallow waters 50 to 60 feet deep with blue spoons and body baits.
Pentwater Lake: Some brown trout were caught from the Long Bridge.
Pentwater River: Is producing some salmon.
Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Burt Lake: The DNR will be assisting with a lake sturgeon survey from September 14th through October 2nd with six large-mesh gillnets fished at short intervals throughout the lake each of the following days: Sept. 14-18, 22-24, 28-30 and Oct. 1-2. There will be no survey gear deployed at night, and nets will be pulled from the water by 6 p.m. each day. Each line will be marked with two staff buoys with an orange float, a staff and flag held in place by a large anchor. The buoys on a single gillnet are approximately 365 yards apart. The DNR recommends anglers avoid fishing between the floats, since they could potentially snag their hooks on the survey gear. All lines are fished in depths of 15 feet of water or more, so the survey gear poses little threat to boat activity.
Rogers City: Continues with a mixed bag fishery containing chinook, walleye, steelhead, lake trout and Atlantic salmon. As fall approaches, these younger fish start to feed heavily as they prepare for winter so this is an excellent time to fish. The key is to find structure and look for baitfish. Boats are fishing south towards Swan Bay or north towards Forty Mile Point. Fish the entire water column in 40 to 90 feet with spoons. Good colors are green, blue, black and white, purple, orange or glow early and late. Those caught were stuffed with young of the year smelt. There were no salmon at the weir as most fish were staging off Swan Bay. Try shallow water using bombers and J-plugs off boards.
Alpena: The bay cooled off and anglers were taking a mixed bag of lake trout, walleye, steelhead, Atlantic salmon and the occasional chinook off North Point, around Thunder Bay Island or 3 to 4 miles straight out of the harbor in 25 to 70 feet. Spoons are taking most of the trout and salmon. Good colors were green, blue, purple, black and white or glow early and late. Deep diving body baits were taking most of the walleye.
Thunder Bay River: Had reports of a couple salmon jumping however anglers fishing for them had no luck. Catch rates were still extremely slow as water temperatures were still too warm for any major run.
Harrisville: Fishing is starting to pick up with anglers reporting walleye, steelhead, lake trout, chinook, coho and Atlantic salmon. Most are fishing north of the harbor in 40 to 70 feet with spoons and body baits. Spread your baits out while using planer boards, long lines and downriggers to get them placed throughout the water column.
Oscoda: Pier anglers are fishing early morning and late evening with Cleo’s, wobblers and spoons. Popular colors were blue and silver, orange and silver or glow. Those able to get out on the lake were trolling around the mouth in 12 to 40 feet with spoons, wobble glows and body baits. They caught salmon, steelhead and walleye.
Au Sable River: Fishing was still on the slow side.
Houghton Lake: Was giving up some walleye and panfish. Most anglers were using crawlers and leeches. Crickets were also taking panfish.
Tawas: Pier fishing was very slow. A few walleye were caught near the weed beds off Jerry’s Marina and the odd salmon was caught near the buoys on the outside of the bay.
Au Gres: Had slow fishing however there were reports of better perch fishing down off the Saganing and Pinconning Bars. There were rumors of steelhead caught by those surfcasting.
Au Gres River: Construction on the boat launch at the mouth of the river is underway. There will be partial ramp closures until construction is completed sometime in November. The ramps will be reduced to one pier with two launch and retrieve lanes. Shore anglers took a mix of small perch, freshwater drum and some bluegills. On the East Branch, those fishing near the Singing Bridge caught a few smallmouth bass.
Upper Peninsula Fishing Report
Keweenaw Bay: Those trolling reported a mix of coho, lake trout and brown trout. Five anglers jigging for lake trout out from the pine tree off Pequaming picked up 25 lake trout in 260 feet. At the South Portage Entry, those jigging caught lake trout in 150 to 280 feet off Newton’s and Farmers Reef or in 260 feet along the south end of Big Reef. Good lake trout fishing off Big Louie’s Pont when jigging in 240 to 260 feet. Of those trolling, some did well while others did not. They fished Hermits Cove, Gay Point, straight out from the Big Traverse Bay Pier, Big Louie’s Point, 6-Mile and 7-Mile Reefs in 100 to 150 feet. Those trolling north or south of the Big Traverse Bay Pier picked up a mix of coho, steelhead and lake trout in 30 to 60 feet.
Menominee River: Shore anglers caught some perch, bluegills, catfish, walleye, smallmouth bass and freshwater drum when using minnows and crawlers on the bottom. Boat anglers caught walleye and smallmouth bass when trolling stick baits or when casting tube baits and jigs.
Little Bay De Noc: The walleye action was fair to good between Gladstone and the Third Reef when trolling stick baits or drifting crawlers in 14 to 30 feet. Catch rates were fair along the “Black Bottom” and off the mouth of the Escanaba River when trolling or drifting crawler harnesses in 12 to 25 feet. Several good perch reports just south of the Day’s River with minnows in about 10 feet and throughout the Escanaba Yacht Harbor when using worms or minnows. Good pike action in the Yacht Harbor when casting or trolling spoons, spinners and crank baits.
Big Bay De Noc: Had good smallmouth bass fishing from Puffy Bay to Garden Bluff. Use minnows, crawlers or plastics in 6 to 18 feet. The last report had some perch caught near the mouth of Garden Bay.
Marquette: Many anglers are successfully catching lake trout off Little Presque Isle when using spoons in 100 to 130 feet. The mouth of the Chocolay River is also a good spot to catch some lake trout with spoons and peanuts. No reports of salmon being caught.
Au Train Lake: Catch rates were moderate. Pike were taken by those casting natural baits or crank baits along the weed beds. Many were jigging natural baits in 10 feet for walleye and perch. Good smallmouth fishing along the west shoreline when using artificial baits.
Munising: Windy conditions on Lake Superior have limited boat access. Surface water temperatures dropped to the upper 50’s. A couple boats did fish Trout Bay however all they caught was one or two lake trout after a four to five hour trip. A few fish were caught around Wood Island. Shore fishing at the Anna River dock was limited due to high winds and white caps.
Grand Marais: Strong north winds have made fishing difficult for boat anglers. Water levels were high in the Sucker River. Local anglers started fishing the river and have caught a few chinook or coho when casting spoons. A few boats tried trolling the river but no fish were caught.
DeTour: When they can get out, boat anglers caught lake trout, coho and pink salmon near the DeTour Reef. The hot baits were black and gold spoons 60 feet down in 80 to 100 feet for lake trout. For coho and pink salmon, try green glow spoons or plugs behind flashers and sliders when trolling from Crab Island to the red buoy and west to the lighthouse. North of DeTour Village at the old coal dock, a couple nice pike were caught along the weed beds off the west bank when casting chrome spoons with a red eye or black and yellow bucktail spinners.
Drummond Island: Perch anglers are targeting the waters around all the islands of Maxton Bay and Scott Bay but there were no good reports. The only perch caught were very small 6 to 7 inches and were found in 12 to 14 feet on the south side of Ashman Island and the north side of James Island. Good walleye action for those trolling planer boards from Paw Point in Scott Bay to Peck Island in 5 to 6 feet and those trolling bottom bouncers with crawler harnesses in 10 to 12 feet between Ashman Island and Rutland Island in the early morning hours. A few perch 8 to 9 inches were caught on minnows and worms in 5 to 7 feet along the weed beds inside Harbor Island. This is a good place to fish when anglers want to get out of the wind.
Cedarville & Hessel: Pike fishing slowed a bit but was still good throughout the islands. Muskie Bay was producing the most pike. Perch fishing is good on the east end of Cedarville Bay, while Musky Bay, Middle Entrance, and Conner’s Point were fair. The north end of Snows Channel is producing some perch as well. Bass fishing is good from Cedarville to Hessel while casting. Some splake were seen inside the Hessel Marina.
St. Ignace: Those putting in the time have caught some chinook salmon. Those fishing the Carp River between the mouth and Mackinac Trail have seen some steelhead and more should be arriving soon.
Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Lake Erie: Had yellow perch fishing. Angler’s had luck using minnows on spreaders when anchored in 20 to 25 feet out of Brest Bay, off Stony Point, Fermi, Toledo Beach, around the E-Buoy, C-Buoy, and Buoys 1 and 2 at the mouth of the Raisin River. No walleye catches were reported.
Lenawee County: The bluegills were scattered on Devil’s Lake. Anglers were still targeting fish in waters 20 feet and deeper but fishing at different depths. Crickets and wax worms worked best. Pike fishing remains good for those trolling the drop-offs. Bass anglers are doing well. On Lake Hudson, water temperatures were starting to drop and that should help those targeting muskie. Panfish anglers did well for bluegill and crappie but keepers were hard to come by. Bass anglers did best along the deeper shorelines.
Detroit River: The majority of fishing activity continues to take place early to mid-day. Those targeting walleye are bottom-bouncing with crawler harnesses either trolling or drifting as well as hand-lining and jigging. A few reported very low catch rates on the north half of the river when bottom-bouncing with crawler harnesses. Those hand-lining at night caught fish but were putting in long hours to do so. Those jigging near the casino on the Canadian side had a fair amount of luck but most of the fish were small. Mid-river anglers had good success in the evening around Mud Island and Grassy Island. The fish caught averaged 20 inches. Success rates downriver were variable around the mouth and up along the east side of Grosse Ile. Boats seem to be averaging 0-2 walleye though a few limit or near-limit catches were reported. Bass anglers had better action with smallmouth up to 4 pounds caught when casting and drop-shotting. Good bass fishing in the Trenton Channel and in the upper river off Alter Road and around Belle Isle. A few bass anglers were running into the occasional walleye when casting lures in shallow water. Downriver most anglers are targeting the east side of Grosse Ile, around the smaller islands in that area and near the southern river mouth. Those targeting yellow perch caught fish 5 to 9 inches but still not much worth keeping yet. The better catches were 5 to 15 fish per angler in front of the Whittier Building and near Mud Island. Musky anglers caught a few fish in the 30 inch range.
Lexington & Port Sanilac: When they can get out, boat anglers have managed to catch a few trout in 80 to 110 feet. Pier fishing was tough with the wind.
Harbor Beach: Constant windy conditions are keeping boats on shore. The few that have been out caught a couple lake trout and some steelhead in 80 to 120 feet.
Saginaw Bay: Good perch fishing continues around the Sailboat Buoys off Linwood (specifically Buoys A, F, and H) with catches of 40 to 50 per boat and the size ranging 8 to 10 inches. Good perch fishing off both the Saganing and Pinconning Bars, in the Black Hole and near Spoils Island. Depths vary so look for other boats. Fishing on the east side of the bay was slower but some perch and a couple walleye were taken off Quanicassee and in the Slot. The best perch fishing was in the morning from dawn until about 11am.
Quanicassee River: Shore anglers took a few decent perch in the lower river.
Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
St. Joseph: Pier anglers caught coho and a few chinook salmon when casting spoons. Some caught the occasional steelhead when floating shrimp under a bobber. Boat anglers reported slow fishing due to rough lake conditions.
St. Joseph River: Had a fair number of steelhead moving through the Berrien Springs ladder.
South Haven: Pier fishing was slow. The occasional salmon was caught by those casting spoons.
Kalamazoo River: Was producing a few chinook and coho. Fish were caught on spoons; crank baits or spawn under a bobber. Good pike and bass fishing.
Grand Haven: Boats trolling in front of the piers and in the channel are catching salmon on chrome or glow plugs. Pier anglers caught salmon on alewife or when casting glow spoons.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Chinook, coho and steelhead continue to be caught by those using flies, spawn and yarn in the drift below the dam however the run has not picked up yet. Channel and flathead catfish were also caught below the dam and off the wall when using live bait. More suckers were starting to be caught which is similar to spring fishing.
Grand River at Lansing: Was slow except for the hot pike action that continues closer to Jackson near Rives Junction. Anglers are using artificial baits such as spoons and spinners.
Looking Glass River: Is producing some pike and bowfin.
Muskegon: Chinook and coho have been caught by those trolling the harbor and the channel. Glow and chrome plugs were the ticket. Pier anglers caught salmon when casting glow spoons.
Muskegon River: Has a few salmon being caught in the lower stretches. The odd walleye was found below the dams. Catch rates for smallmouth were good.
Whitehall: Pier anglers casting body baits caught salmon. The bite has slowed as the week has progressed.