This coming Saturday, April 28th is the walleye, pike and muskellunge opener on the Lower Peninsula inland waters. The statewide trout opener on all Type 1 and Type 2 streams as well as all Type A and Type D Designated Trout Lakes is also this Saturday.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA FISHING REPORT
Steelhead fishing continues. The remaining fish should run and spawn fairly quickly so anglers may find more steelhead for the trout opener this weekend. Conditions for the opener depend on how much rain we get this week. As for the walleye opener, some lakes to target would be Hamlin Lake, Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell, Lake Missaukee, Portage Lake, Bear Lake and both Upper and Lower Herring Lakes. Many lakes in this region are still ice covered but the ice is melting quickly so anglers should wait for open water fishing.
Harbor Springs: The ice is beginning to melt but there was not much in the way of open water yet.
Petoskey: Anglers are fishing for steelhead inside the breakwall when possible. The ice was melted about halfway down the breakwall making that area fishable. Anglers are using spawn bags. There was still ice and snow on the walkway and rocks so caution needs to be used. Anglers were also fishing off the D Pier at the mouth of the river and using spawn and worms or casting spinners.
Bear River: Had higher water levels as warmer temperatures melt the deep snow. There were quite a few steelhead up near the dam but anglers had a hard time landing them because of the high water levels. Most were using spawn bags and flies.
Lake Charlevoix: Still had ice and anglers were waiting to see if it will be gone by the opener this weekend. If the lake opens up, the walleye and pike will likely be spawning during the opener.
Boyne River: More steelhead were starting to come in.
Glen Arbor: Had very little fishing activity. The ramp and docks were still not in.
Traverse City: Perch fishing was good around Deepwater Point in the East Bay. Lake herring and a few lake trout were caught along the along the east side of the bay when jigging. The Elk River was slow with only a couple steelhead taken on spawn in the early morning or late afternoon. In the West Bay, perch fishing was good at times in Bowers Harbor and in deep water slightly south towards Power Island. Lee Point was hit-or-miss for perch but fish were caught off Northport, out from Clinch Park and south of Elmwood Marina. On the Boardman River, a couple steelhead were caught on spawn and wax worms. Suckers had also moved in.
Frankfort: Had a couple small ice formations on the piers. Anglers caught a few brown trout near the elbow on the North Pier. Those trolling north and south along the shoreline reported slow catch rates.
Betsie River: Was producing some decent size steelhead. Anglers were catching both dark fish and some fresh fish.
Arcadia: Boat and shore anglers got out but only a couple steelhead and brown trout were caught.
Onekama: The ice is completely gone from the piers.
Portage Lake: Is ice free. Anglers have been searching for perch but had no luck.
Manistee: Surface temperature readings were about 39 degrees. All docks are now in at the city launch, but the fish cleaning station was still closed. The south pier is still closed until further notice. Small numbers of brown trout and steelhead were caught off the north pier. Boat anglers picked up brown trout, lake trout, and the occasional steelhead when trolling rapalas in the basin and outside the piers in 9 to 14 feet.
Big Manistee River: Steelhead fishing continues and the fish will run and spawn quickly now that it has warmed up. Fish should also be found in the Little Manistee. For the walleye opener, try Tippy Dam Pond and Hodenpyl Dam Pond.
Hamlin Lake: A few panfish were starting to enter the canals.
Ludington: All the docks are in at the city launch but the fish cleaning station was still closed. Pier anglers caught steelhead and brown trout on spawn. Boat anglers picked up brown trout when trolling rapalas in 9 to 14 feet.
Pere Marquette River: Has a good number of steelhead as well. Trout anglers will want to check out some of the major tributaries including the Middle and the Little South Branch as well as the Baldwin River.
Pentwater: Pier anglers caught steelhead and brown trout off the end of the piers. A few walleye were also caught.
Pentwater Lake: Perch anglers reported good fishing in 40 to 50 feet with perch rigs tipped with wax worms, spikes, or minnows. A couple steelhead were caught on spawn from Longbridge Road.
Muskegon Lake: Would be a good bet for the walleye opener. Perch are still being caught in 30 to 50 feet along the west end. Panfish are still in deeper water but will move in as it warms up. The pike opener should be good for those trolling crank baits or using sucker minnows.
Muskegon River: Steelhead fishing continues and warm temperatures should hasten the remaining fish to run and spawn fairly quickly. Because of that, trout anglers fishing in waters accessible to steelhead on the opener this weekend will find more steelhead than usual. Other trout streams to try in the watershed would be the Hersey and the Middle Branch Rivers. As for the walleye opener, try Croton Pond and Hardy Pond.
Whitehall: Boats trolling body baits in 5 to 25 feet caught brown trout and lake trout.Pier anglers caught steelhead and brown trout on spawn both in the channel and outside the pier heads.
White Lake: Would be a good bet for the walleye opener.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA FISHING REPORT
Cheboygan: The bay was still ice covered.
Cheboygan River: Had good steelhead fishing at the lock and dam with spawn, wax worms, artificial baits and lures but did best with spawn. Anglers caught Atlantics on lures at the lock and dam and near the DNR Office. Spawn or a jig and wax worm also took a few fish. The Atlantics were about 20 inches and up to 6 pounds.
Pigeon River: Had a small number of steelhead.
Ocqueoc River: Steelhead were caught on spawn, artificial baits and spinners.
Rogers City: Was still iced in except for the outer breakwall. A couple anglers tried for anything that would hit but had no luck.
Alpena: Boat anglers venturing out were taking good catches of lake trout and a few Atlantics.
Thunder Bay River: Those drifting spawn or flies near the 9th Street Dam or further down the river in the deeper holes should be getting some steelhead. Catch rates will continue to improve with the warmer weather and water flow. The launch ramp near the Fisheries Research Station is open but the main public launch was still iced in.
Oscoda: Atlantic salmon, steelhead, and suckers were caught by anglers drifting or still-fishing spawn bags from the pier and mouth of the river. Pier anglers casting jigs or still-fishing with minnows found walleye in the 16 to 22 feet in the early morning or evening. The walleye bite was still slow.
Au Sable River: Anglers caught steelhead when drifting or floating spawn bags, beads, and wax worms or when casting plugs. Despite the warmer weather, melting snow has kept the lower river temperatures around 38 degrees. Most fish were still pre-spawn and found in the holes. Atlantic salmon and a couple young chinook and coho were caught by those drifting spawn or casting plugs in the lower river.
Harrisville: A few anglers were casting spoons and jigs for steelhead and walleye from the rocks and launch at the harbor but had no success. The skid piers were still not in.
Higgins Lake: Was still iced in and it could be another week or so before the lake opens up. The shoreline ice is receding.
Houghton Lake: Has no ice and most of the boat launches have the docks in. Shore anglers were catching crappie in the canals including some limit catches. Some bluegills were also caught. Few boats have been out.
Tawas: Pier fishing has been good with several Atlantics taken by those mainly casting spoons, but body baits and live minnows fished near the bottom have also taken fish. Walleye have been caught on body baits and jigs in the evening. Boat anglers have also taken walleye, lake trout, steelhead and Atlantics but the trick was to find clear water to troll in.
Tawas River: Was high and muddy but was giving up a few suckers.
Au Gres: Those trolling for walleye did best up between Whitestone Point and Point Lookout in 15 to 20 feet with body baits. Some limit catches were reported. Fish were also caught in 15 to 20 feet off Pointe Au Gres.
Au Gres River: Whitney Drain was high and muddy and fishing was difficult.
Saginaw Bay: The perch spawning period in the inner bay is about over, but walleye fishing is just getting started. Fish were hitting off Linwood in 20 to 22 feet on body baits. Those trolling were getting fish up and down the Shipping Channel and off the mouth of the Kawkawlin River. Vertical jigging with jigs tipped with minnows or plastic bodies produced fish around Spoils Island. The best bite was early morning until 10-10:30. At Quanicassee, perch fishing was spotty with only a few large fish taken in 6 feet off the mouth of the river. On the east side, walleye anglers were trolling body baits all over including the deep part of the Slot, over the Bar, on the Callahan Reef, and back west to the shipping channel. Water temperatures ranged between 37 and 42 degrees. The cuts and rivers from Quanicassee to Bay Port had quite a few anglers but the perch action was poor with only a few small fish taken at Mud Creek. Those targeting suckers did well in the lower Pinnebog River.
Saginaw River: The perch action appears to be done in the lower river. Catfish are being caught.
Tittabawassee River: As for the walleye opener, the river experienced two moderate flood events recently. Flooding just before the opener will usually encourage the post-spawn walleye to leave the river, so it’s hard to say how the opener will turn out. As long as the water levels continue to drop, the opener should be productive, but the spring fishery after opening day may not last as long as it has in previous years.
UPPER PENINSULA FISHING REPORT
Keweenaw Bay: Still had ice however with the warm weather, the shoreline ice was getting very soft. Anglers will need to use caution getting on and leaving the ice. Coho, splake, and steelhead were caught out from the Falls River by those using small minnows or wax worms. Smelt were still being caught out from the Baraga Marina.
Little Bay De Noc: Ice anglers were still out but ice fishing season should end this week with the warmer temperatures. All the area rivers are open except for the Ford River which should open up within the next week. The piers at the north shore launch are open for use. The winter access gates are closed so anyone that still has an ice shanty inside will have to contact the DNR to have it removed.
Marquette: Has a lot of ice. The Upper and Lower Harbors as well as the bubblers are inaccessible at this time. The beach access for the bubblers has been closed off by the city. The rocks have been moved so there is no access to the beach. There won’t be any boat fishing access until the ice leaves the harbors. Both the Chocolay and the Carp Rivers had a handful of steelhead that moved in but the major run has not started yet. Those targeting steelhead were getting a few brown trout.
Munising: Had lots of anglers out ice fishing. They were jigging mainly for coho but only a few were caught. The Anna River has opened up by the mouth which has allowed anglers to fish from the pier. Splake and steelhead were caught on spawn.
Grand Marais: Had no report. Steelhead action was slow in the Sucker River. Access to the river mouth will be limited due to ice jams along the shoreline.
Two Hearted River: Steelhead are steadily moving into the river and the big push of fish has not really occurred yet. Many fish in the river are dark.
Newberry: For trout waters in the area, expect snowpack on all roads heading into area trout lakes and many streams. Despite the warmer temperatures, the heavy snowpack still exists and will likely make travel into any of the trout waters difficult and limited to foot traffic or snowmobile. Inland lakes will most likely be ice covered. Extreme caution should be used by those deciding to venture out as ice conditions have deteriorated and rain this week will only make conditions worse. Water levels in the streams were low but are beginning to rise with the snowmelt.
Detour: There was no fishing effort in the Detour Passage. No docks were in because of the ice and snow.
Drummond Island: Maxton Bay still had ice and a few good catches of 8 to 10 inch yellow perch were taken west of the mouth of the bay in 8 to 12 feet with a tear drop tipped with a wax worm or wiggler. All anglers are reminded to use extreme caution on any late spring ice as conditions can change daily.
Cedarville and Hessel: As of the first part of the week, there was no access to the Cedarville boat launch on Meridian Road. The dock is in at the public launch however it was still covered in snow and ice. There was no fishing effort throughout the Les Cheneaux Islands. At Hessel, ice anglers were still taking splake at the Hessel Marina. Ice was still found about 70 yards out from the steel breakwall at the marina. Those jigging an orange and chrome 2 inch spoon tipped with a smelt head on the bottom did well. There was no yellow perch effort. Remember ice conditions are subject to change especially this time of year with the warm temperatures and changing wind directions.