Thanksgiving Fishing Report

Happy Thanksgiving


Very few fishing so reports are far and few. Hey anglers, too warm to hunt? Then grab your fishing gear and take advantage of some late fall and early winter action. Low, clear water in pretty much all the rivers is making steelhead fishing a bit more difficult, but the fish are there. Concentrate on the deeper holes and the lower stretches until we get some rain. Pier and surf anglers are getting steelhead and whitefish. Those fishing the inland lakes have caught bluegill and perch on wigglers.

Many of the perch lakes have had good perch bites but very few fishing, what people are fishing minnows and wigglers are there preferred bait. Steelhead fishing has been good but nothing like last Nov. when the rivers has lots of fishing following the salmon. Smallmouth bass fishing has been awesome with most using minnows as they are on a feeding frenzy before winter.

Certified Shiners(greys and blues) will be available in mid December as they are in quarantine for testing which takes 30 days and cost $1000.00 a pond.

Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

If fishing the inland lakes in the region for bluegill, perch, crappie, walleye, pike, and bass, anglers will want to try a variety of lures and baits such as spinners, rapalas, minnows, wigglers, crawlers, leaf worms, wax worms or leeches.

Boardman River: Is producing steelhead between the lake and Sabin Dam however the better fishing seems to downstream because of the low water levels.

Betsie River: Is producing steelhead. Try flies, spoons or spawn. A couple fish were taken on crawlers.

Manistee: Pier and surf anglers are catching a few fish.

Manistee River: Low, clear water is hampering steelhead fishing. Needless to say, the better fishing will be in the deeper holes or in the lower river. Try drifting or floating spawn or flies.

Ludington: Pier and surf anglers are catching a few fish. Early morning or late evening are best especially with the warmer temperatures.

Pere Marquette River: Has steelhead however low water levels continue to challenge anglers. Try back bouncing or drifting spawn and flies across the deeper holes. Some are using bright colored spoons or yarn.

Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Alpena: Has a good number of whitefish on the reefs in Thunder Bay. Two of the better spots to target are Partridge Point and the Grass Island Reef in the early morning or late evening.

Thunder Bay River: Has good whitefish action up near the 9th Street Dam at dawn and dusk. Steelhead anglers are urged to check their catch for the missing adipose fin. Many of these fish have a small coded-wire tag, which is implanted in the head of the fish however it is invisible to the naked eye. These fish are part of a study to help the DNR improve steelhead fishing.

Oscoda: Is producing whitefish for pier anglers.

Au Sable River: Is producing whitefish right along with the occasional steelhead or brown trout. Try floating spawn and wax worms or casting flies. Whitefish in the lower river were caught on wax worms or a single egg.

Higgins Lake: Anglers are reminded that this is the time of year to find whitefish in the shallows as they prepare to spawn or perch around the Sunken Island.

Tawas: Is producing whitefish off the state dock. Try a Swedish pimple with a single egg or wax worm just off the bottom in the early morning or late evening.

Au Gres River: The better steelhead fishing has been in the deeper holes and down near the mouth. Those fishing the East Branch have caught fish in the lower end of Whitney Drain and near the Singing Bridge. Some are surfcasting.

Upper Peninsula Fishing Report

Little Bay de Noc: Walleye catches slowed with the warmer weather. Those fishing at night did best when trolling stick baits in 10 to 23 feet of water along the reefs near Kipling. Catch rates were fair to good between Gladstone and the “Black Bottom” when trolling stick baits in 14 to 30 feet of water. Northern pike action was fair to good for those trolling large crank baits or spinners in the channel at the Escanaba Yacht Harbor. Perch reports were fair at best for those using crawlers or minnows in 8 to 14 feet of water around Butler Island.

Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Lake Erie: Walleye were caught by those trolling or drifting reef runners and husky jerks off Sterling State Park. Most were fishing 12 feet down in 20 feet of water. Good bluegill action at the Metro Park Marina. Try minnows or wax worms.

Huron River: Anglers have caught steelhead however most are still waiting for that big push of fish which could come by the weekend if it rains. For now, try the deeper holes between Huroc Park and I-75 when trolling flat fish in bright colors or floating jigs with wax worms.

Detroit River: Continues to produce perch for those using minnows or wax worms around the islands.

Lexington: Anglers have caught steelhead and brown trout on body baits, crawlers or minnows.

Harbor Beach: Still has one dock in at the boat launch.

Saginaw River: Walleye fishing slowed with the warmer weather. Look for better action by the weekend with rain and much cooler temperatures.

Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

St. Joseph: Is producing some whitefish for pier anglers. Try a wax worm or a single egg. Those casting small spoons, spinners or plugs caught steelhead.

St. Joseph River: Still has decent steelhead fishing from Benton Harbor up to Niles. There appears to be some steelhead in the lower river that have not moved up yet.

South Haven: Steelhead anglers are getting a few fish off the pier in the early morning or late evening. Try spoons, spinners or shrimp and spawn under a bobber.

Kalamazoo River: Anglers continue to catch steelhead below the Allegan Dam. Boat anglers were casting spinners and plugs or back bouncing with spawn. Shore anglers continue to use spawn, yarn or small spinners.

Grand Haven: A few whitefish are being caught off the pier at night. Anglers are using a single egg or wax worm on the bottom or jigging small spoons.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Water levels are still low so boat anglers looking to fish up past I-96 need to use extreme caution. Anglers will find decent steelhead fishing all the up to the Lansing area but rain would certainly help. Try bouncing spawn or back trolling with Hot-n-Tots. Those casting spinners have also caught fish. A few walleye were caught.

Grand River at Lansing: Is producing some steelhead at the Moore’s Park Dam, Portland Dam and the Webber Dam. Most are using spinners, crawlers or flies. For walleye, try below the North Lansing Dam, Moore’s Park Dam and the Smithville Dam near Eaton Rapids. The fish were hitting on leaf worms, leeches or spawn. Pike were caught on minnows at Moore’s Park. Good smallmouth bass action near the dam at Muir. Try minnows, crawlers or leeches.

Looking Glass River: Continues to produce pike for those fishing off Babcock’s Landing or wading upstream. Try orange and chartreuse spinners or minnows.

Muskegon: Night anglers are catching whitefish off the piers. Most are jigging small spoons or putting a single egg or wax worm on the bottom.

Muskegon River: Water levels are very low so steelhead fishing has become hit-or-miss. The better fishing may be downstream or in the deeper holes when floating spawn. Those fly fishing have done well with streamers.

Second Annual Hand Crafted Musky Lure Building World Championship

The Milwaukee Musky Expo in cooperation with Outdoors First Media and The National Professional Anglers Association is pleased to announce the Second Annual Hand Crafted Musky Lure Building World Championship that will be part of the 2013 Milwaukee Musky expo, February 15-17, 2013. The competition will highlight hand-crafted, hand painted original lures made by talented lure artisans from all over the world. There has been growing interest regarding custom lures in angling circles as well as internet forums, especially the unbelievable paint jobs which are worthy of being placed in art studios. The 2012 competition had over 20 original lures and raised over $1300 which was donated to help promote musky fishing education in association with the National Professional Anglers Association. These lures are created by the most talented craftsmen in the world, and not only do they have to craft a lure with enticing action they have to paint them to attract a musky, and appeal to the discriminating eye of today’s musky fisherman.

The lures will again be displayed at the Outdoors First Media Booth at the show where visitors can look at the lures up close and vote for their favorite one. Some changes will be made to accommodate additional lure styles and lure crafters, which will in-turn, raise more money for musky education. The competition will consist of 6 categories including: topwater, crankbait, glide/jerkbait, blade bait, soft plastic and repaint, along with an overall best of show winner. The competition will also consist of 2 divisions within each category including masters, and amateur for a total of thirteen winners, and each winner will receive a plaque and $50. Patrons entering the show will be given a judging form in which they can vote for their favorite lure. A panel of professional judges will also critique the lures and a combined patron and professional vote will decide the winners. New this year as well, the one of a kind lures will be tested in the musky tank which will show interested fishermen the designated action of each lure. A silent auction will also be set up this year and will allow more people to bid on the lures which will benefit musky fishing education in cooperation with the National Professional Anglers Association. Entrants interested in being part of the competition can obtain an entry form from the Milwaukee Expo website.

See below.

Southern Michigan hunters dispute ownership of 14-point deer

PERRY, MI — A massive 14-point deer took top honors at the Mid Michigan Buck Pole on Thursday, but it’s also caused a feud between two hunters who each say they brought the big beast down.

Ron Gruesbeck, 62, of Perry, won his local buck pole with the trophy deer, which he says he took down with a kill shot to the lungs in the woods on his property along Colby Road. But Cody Knauff says otherwise.

Knauff, 20, of Leslie, said his father, Tyrone, was the one who put the bullet through the buck’s lung. He said his dad and 15-year-old sister were on their property adjacent to Gruesbeck’s Thursday on opening day when his dad took the shot some 85 yards away.

Knauff said the deer was mortally wounded and took off toward Gruesbeck’s property. His dad, 42, of Pleasant Lake, called Gruesbeck and asked for permission to track the buck on his land. Gruesback initially was reluctant but ultimately agreed, Knauff said.

As his father and sister approached, they heard a single gunshot. Knauff said they found the buck dead at the feet of Gruesbeck and his two grandchildren.

Knauff said the only bullet wound to the buck was the one his father was responsible for. He said Gruesbeck fired a shot into the ground. His father was readying to take the massive deer when Gruesbeck said the beast belonged to him, then told Knauff’s father to leave his property before he called police, according to Knauff.

Ron Gruesbeck poses with the deer that won him the Mid Michigan Buck Pole. Another hunter disputes Gruesbeck’s ownership of the kill.
Courtesy WLNS
Gruesbeck said that is not what happened.

“I can show you where (Tyrone Knauff) hit the deer,” he said. “He hit it in the upper leg. It ran over onto my place and I shot it right through the lungs and killed it.

“The one who makes the killing shot gets the deer. The shot that he hit it with wouldn’t have bothered it.”

Knauff alleges Gruesbeck is lying, taking credit for something he didn’t do. It’s a bad thing to do to another hunter and another person, he said.

“It’s really crushing,” Knauff said. “My dad has passed up bucks for at least six or seven years to let them mature. The one chance he has, he does everything he should as a respectful hunter. He’s pretty much left out to dry. It’s just ruined for him.

“(Gruesbeck) is on TV, holding up my dad’s deer. To know that this guy gave my dad permission to come track it and then told him in front of my own sister and his grandchildren to get off his property and that he’s taking the deer, it’s crushing.

“That’s my dad’s deer that he won that buck pole with, that’s my dad’s mount that’ll be in his house, that’s my dad’s food that’ll be on his table. That’s messed up.”

Gruesbeck maintains the deer belongs to him and he’s willing to prove it.

“We tracked it. There was one drop of blood every 20 yards where (Tyrone Knauff) hit it,” Gruesbeck said. “Where I shot it, it was like blood was poured out of a five-gallon pail.

“I have the deer at my house. I’ve shown a lot of people and will show anyone.”

Regardless of the disputed ownership, both sides can agree the buck is a magnificent trophy.

“It’s immaculate,” Knauff said. “This is the largest deer we’ve ever seen as far as body and the antlers go. All around, this buck was so big that my dad wouldn’t have been able to move it.”

Gruesbeck has brought in more than 50 deer in his lifetime, and there’s no question where this one ranks.

“It’s my biggest deer,” he said.

Knauff said he has reached out to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources on the incident but has not heard back. He said he isn’t optimistic.

“This seriously is a heartbreaking story,” Knauff said. “That’s something right there that could ruin hunting for a guy.”

Huge Pike has been internet sensation for years

This monster pike has been a internet sensation for many years and got the name pikespam as it has been a state record everywhere.

I’m a little late to the party but though I would share the photos. The following photos, which have been making the rounds on the internet for the past years are incredible. They supposedly involve a guy who landed a 56-inch northern pike (55 pounds) — a fish that he landed after it attacked an already hooked 36-inch pike that he was reeling it in.

The headlines read “This is a new record Northern Pike in Michigan” .. It was caught on Big Bass Lake. For those of you who don’t know where Big Bass Lake is, it’s in Iosco County Michigan. It has been the state record of many states and provinces in Canada but it was not caught in North America

One unsubstantiated report has the fish being taken on the Winnipeg River by Seven Sisters, Manitoba.


This pike was caught on the 6th of March 2006 by Dutch fisherman Ewout Blom in a pretty big lake in the south of Holland, I know the name of the lake from where quite a number of 40 plus pikes were caught and released but promised not to mention the name to avoid too heavy fishing pressure.

“This pike had a length of 127 cm and a weight of 19,5 kilo and was caught trolling with a Rapala Super Shad Rap in perch colour and I have about 10 original digital pictures of this fish.

“For the metric-impaired (such as yours truly), 127cm and 19.4 kilos works out to right around 50 inches, and just barely shy of 43 pounds.”

DNR, local law enforcement help nab sturgeon poacher in St. Clair County

A cooperative effort between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Clay Township Police Department has resulted in the citation of Wadhah Noori Jabro, of Sterling Heights, for taking sturgeon during the closed season in St. Clair County.

DNR conservation officers Todd Szyska and Kris Kiel were on patrol, looking for illegal shining activity in Macomb County, when they received a call from the DNR Report All Poaching (RAP) line attendant that an anonymous citizen had reported the illegal activity. The citizen supplied a description of the suspect’s vehicle and license plate number.

The DNR conservation officers, who were 40 minutes away from the scene, called the Clay Township Police for assistance. Clay Township officers located the suspect and held him for the conservation officers.

The officers found Mr. Jabro in possession of a 61-inch sturgeon. He was fishing without a proper license, without a mandatory sturgeon tag and was taking a sturgeon during the closed season (an offense punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, restitution of $1,500 and a loss of fishing license for three years).

Mr. Jabro was arraigned yesterday, Nov. 13, in the 72nd District Court in Marine City. The magistrate reviewed the misdemeanor charges and determined the case was sufficient to be heard by a district court judge. The pretrial hearing is set for Nov. 28.

“Based on the tackle he was using, the suspect was obviously fishing for sturgeon,” said Szyska. “We wouldn’t have had this case at all if it weren’t for the RAP line and an alert citizen who called it in. And we really appreciate the Clay Township Police Department’s help, which made this case possible.”

Sturgeon are relatively rare Great Lakes denizens.

“The lake sturgeon population in the St. Clair system is a unique and valuable resource,” said DNR fisheries biologist Mike Thomas. “Fishing regulations have been designed to protect that resource. Poaching is a direct threat to the viability of the sturgeon population.”

Anglers, in possession of an all-species fishing license, are allowed to harvest one sturgeon per year, which must be tagged immediately. Sturgeon season on the St. Clair River closes Sept. 30.

Anyone who witnesses illegal hunting, trapping or fishing is encouraged to call the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) line at 800-292-7800.

Dave Richey awarded Jade of Chiefs Award

dave jade
Jim Low (right) presents the Jade of Chiefs Award. A humbling acceptance speech.
photos c. Tom Ulrich ©2012


CHENA HOT SPRINGS, ALASKA — OK, it’s true confession time. I have a mistress, and have had for 44 years. There, I feel better getting that off my chest.

She’s not some cute woman 25 years my junior. My wife knows about her, all of our  friends know this little secret, and they know I’ll do whatever she asks of me if it is possible. It’s been this way for more than four decades, and I’m actually proud of my actions.

Whoa! What’s up with this? Richey is publicly confessing to having a mistress. Well, yes, I am doing so and freely admit it.

All of this is just my reason for being what and who I am.

My mistress is an organization. Her nickname is OWAA, which stands for the Outdoor Writers Association of America. We began as just friends back in 1968 when I was much slimmer, had blond hair, and was more tidy than now.

I’d began writing outdoor magazine articles in 1967, and seemed to have a way with words. Magazines bought the first six pieces I wrote, and two went to Sports Afield. I figured this was so easy I should have started writing in high school.

The good times lasted as long as those first six stories, and then I smashed headfirst into the brick wall of magazine rejection slips. My first six stories were something of a tease, and despite the rejections, I felt head over heels in love.

Writing was all I could think about, and even though I had some natural talent, I had to learn how to write saleable copy. That took more time than I earlier believed was possible, and after several years, my reputation began to build. Magazines began to come to me, and sales increased.

My first three-year term on the Board of Directors as a great experience.

With increased sales, my reputation began to grow, and as time went on, I ran for the OWAA Board of Directors. I wasn’t nominated, but 20 people thought enough of me to sign a petition and in time I became a Board member. After three years, I got an Outstanding Board member award and was kissed goodbye.

I then ran for the Board again after a year off, and yet again had to gain 20 signatures to get on the ballot. Again I was elected a board member, and again three years passed, and then I said goodbye for another two years, and was re-elected as a Board member the third time, somethng that has happened only twice in OWAA history.

I served on my mistress’ Board of Directors for a total of nine years, ran for 3rd vice-president several times, but was never elected. It seemed my mistress had other plans for me, and over many years I served on many ad hoc and standing committees. If memory serves me right, I served on nearly 50 different committees over four decades.

Somewhere along the way, I was rocked to my sox by being awarded the J. Hammond Brown Award, for many years of continuous service to my mistress. With the Ham Brown comes a lifetime membership. She and other Board members thought enough of me to give me this award.

I was deeply honored, and nine years later she blessed me with the Excellence in Craft Award, which meant a great to me because I came to feel my mistress was again paying tribute to my work. Sometime shortly after, an article was written about me in OWAA’s Outdoors Unlimited newsletter, and it called me a Legendary Writer. Now, my friends, that’s some pretty heady stuff.

Other honors had a deep and meaningful effect on me.

After another nine years of service to my mistress, and after a long flight to Fairbanks, Alaska earlier this month, the angels smiled again. This time, dressed in jeans, baseball cap, jacket and scruffy beard, I hobbled up the podium steps while leaning on my stick, and was presented yet another prestigious OWAA award – the Jade Of Chiefs Award by Jim Low, a past recipient of the award and a past president.

If I’m correct, I am the 44th recipient of this award since it’s inception in 1958. It is not awarded every year, and in my wildest dreams, I’d come to believe that this award wasn’t to be. It isn’t given by OWAA, but given by other living OWAA recipients to honor a person by affirmation of OWAA adherence to, and support of, the principles of conservation. It is the highest conservation award among outdoor writer’s groups.

It puts me in with some pretty heady and influential past and present writers. Past recipients include such worthies as

  • Arthur Carhart
  • Henry P. Davis
  • Nash Buckingham
  • Roger Latham
  • Homer Circle
  • John Madson
  • George Laycock
  • Karl Maslowski
  • Ed Zern
  • George Harrison
  • George Reiger
  • Ted Williams (not the baseball star)
  • Joel Vance
  • Erwin Bauer
  • Leonard Lee Rue III
  • Charlie Elliott
  • Grits Gresham
  • Michael Furtman
  • Tony Dean
  • Greg Patterson
  • Rich Patterson
  • Chris Madson
  • Jim Low

and many others that I have known over the years.

These members had a terrific impact on how I approached conservation issues.

This award was granted for a wealth of conservation stories I had written for The Detroit News, and during my freelance career. A 13-part series on profit poaching in Michigan brought this problem to the forefront. Other stories including an 18-part series about the need for increased study on state black bear numbers, and more positive studies on this animal. I covered Indian Treaty Rights and negotiations from both sides, fought hard for a dove season that lasted only one year, and many other resource management stories.

My 44-year affair with my mistress, and 36 years with my lovely wife Kay, has brought me many highs in my lifetime. It hasn’t all been fun, and that’s one of the things about life we must accept, but I consider my life and career to be the best thing that has ever happened to me.

My long-term friendship with these and many other writers have been a joy to my life. I’ve mentored many beginning writers over the years in hopes they carry the literary torch for conservation in the future, and it’s all been a great and wonderful time.

My life as an outdoor writer has become the model for my professional career. Honestly, I must admit to being one of the luckiest and most humbled men men in the world. And I also admit that my wife, and my mistress, are greatly responsible to me being what I am today.

May God bless and smile kindly on all present, and all who have blessed me with their friendship. Your obedient servant. — David J. Richey

Catch Dave @

Michigan Fishing Report 11/15/12 Opening of Michigan Firearm Season

Most people are in the woods this week so little to report about but steelhead fishing has been good this week. Perch have been biting along with big smallmouth as they get ready for winter.

It is that time of year when fishing reports are harder to come by as most anglers turn their attention to deer hunting. Those heading out for the firearm season are reminded that late fall and early winter offer prime fishing on the inland lakes for hungry walleye, pike and bass. It is also a good time to catch big perch, bluegill and crappie. The main river systems offer steelhead, brown trout and even walleye. Pier and shore anglers can catch steelhead and whitefish.

Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Elk River: Is producing coho and steelhead. Try floating spawn and skein or casting small spoons and spinners.

Boardman River: Has steelhead all the way up to the Sabin Dam however the better catch rates were downstream because of the low water levels. Rain is needed to bring more fish in.

Betsie River: Is producing steelhead. Those fishing up near the Homestead Dam caught fish on spawn, spinners or small spoons. Some were fly fishing.

Manistee: Pier and surf anglers are catching steelhead.

Manistee River: Anglers are catching some steelhead however the lack of rain has led to low water levels which makes fishing more difficult. Find the deeper holes.

Ludington: Steelhead were caught in the surf and off the piers in the early morning or late evening.

Pere Marquette River: Low water levels continue to challenge steelhead anglers. Fish are being caught in the deeper holes. Most are drifting spawn or flies.

Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Alpena: As is the case when firearm deer season is starting, the whitefish are also beginning to hit in earnest. There are lots of whitefish on the reefs in Thunder Bay. The better spots to fish may be the Grass Island Reef and Partridge Point. Pier anglers are also catching fish.

Thunder Bay River: Has lots of whitefish being caught at dawn and dusk up near the 9th Street Dam. Fish were also caught down near the mouth.

Oscoda: Pier anglers are targeting steelhead and whitefish. Chinook salmon were still trickling in and are in good shape. Try small spoons, body baits and spinners off the pier. Walleye were also caught on crawlers or body baits.

Au Sable River: Schools of whitefish are moving up into the river. The best catches were off the breakwalls and at the mouth however they can also be found several miles upstream. Steelhead are also in with good numbers of fish caught from Oscoda to the Foote Dam. Early morning and late afternoon were best however fish were caught throughout the day. Most of them are chrome colored but you might get the occasional dark fish. All seem healthy and good size. Chinook salmon can still be found. They were hitting on spawn or wax worms. Walleye are starting to make their way into the river.

Tawas: The whitefish catch from the breakwall will peak this week and next.

Upper Peninsula Fishing Report

Marquette: Anglers are picking up whitefish and trout off the breakwall in the Lower Harbor. Most are using eggs.

Fall’s River: Is producing steelhead for those casting spoons and spinners or drifting crawlers and spawn bags.

Little Bay de Noc: Perch fishing was fair. Off Kipling, anglers fished crawlers in 8 to 25 feet of water but most of the fish were small. Those fishing Gladstone Beach, the mouth of the Escanaba River and the Escanaba Yacht Harbor had the same results. Walleye catches were down except for those night fishing. They did well when trolling stick baits in 10 to 28 feet of water along the reefs near Kipling or 12 to 25 feet near the Black Bottom. Some nice walleye were caught near the Escanaba Lighthouse when jigging minnows in 20 to 35 feet of water. Northern pike have been very active and were caught by those trolling for walleye.

Tawas River: Has a fair to good number of steelhead being caught between the mouth and the park. Most are floating spawn or wax worms.

Au Gres River: Continues to produce chrome colored steelhead closer to the mouth. Fish were still being caught in the lower end of Whitney Drain and near the Singing Bridge. Try floating or casting spawn, small spoons or plugs.

Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Lake Erie: Calm weather and no winds have led to an increase in walleye angling. Most fish were caught in Brest Bay. Look for bluegill and crappie off the Metro Park Marina.

Huron River: Anglers are catching steelhead however low water levels continue to effect catch rates. Anglers may be able to use a drift boat or a flat bottom boat. A large number of shad could be seen at Flat Rock.

Detroit River: Those hand-lining or trolling have caught a couple walleye in the lower Trenton Channel. For bigger perch try 8 to 12 feet of water around the southern end of Grosse Ile, Sugar Island or Celeron Island.

Lake St. Clair: Is producing some perch near the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, the Delphine Channel. Some did well in Canadian waters.

Saginaw River: Walleye are being caught near Bay City as well as up near the Tittabawassee and the Shiawassee River. Try jigs and Swedish Pimples with minnows, wax worms or even a single egg.

Tittabawassee River: Is also producing some walleye.

Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

St. Joseph: Is producing some whitefish for pier anglers. Try a wax worm or a single egg. Those casting small spoons, spinners or plugs caught steelhead.

St. Joseph River: Fishing has slowed because of the low and clear water conditions. Walleye fishing has picked up at Berrien Springs. A few lake trout were caught.

South Haven: Pier anglers caught steelhead or brown trout in the early morning or late evening. Most are floating spawn or wax worms. Whitefish are showing up.

Kalamazoo River: Boat and shore anglers have caught steelhead below the Allegan Dam. Boats are casting spinners and plugs. Shore anglers are using spawn, yarn or spinners. The occasional catfish or walleye were also caught.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Water levels are low so boat anglers looking to fish up past I-96 need to use extreme caution. Steelhead are still being caught and fresh fish are moving in. Anglers are back bouncing spawn, back trolling with Hot-n-Tots or casting spinners. Good steelhead action off the Fulton Street Bridge for those back bouncing spawn or using Hot-n-Tots. Walleye were caught on bucktail jigs, shiners and twister tails off the east wall or jigs and wax worms near the Post Office. Bluegill and crappie were caught at Riverside Park and Millennium Park.

Grand River at Lansing: Steelhead have arrived. Anglers have caught a few fish over by the Moore’s Park Dam. A few walleye have also been caught. Northern pike anglers have done well below the North Lansing Dam, near Portland and Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge.

Muskegon River: Has steelhead but the low water levels are not helping. Anglers are floating spawn or wax worms under a bobber, casting spoons or plugs and fly fishing.

Michigan Fishing Report 11/8/12



We are thinking of Ice Fishing

Water levels are low and clear in the rivers and streams. Cold weather pushed steelhead up into the rivers however warmer temperatures by the weekend could slow the bite. Walleye are moving closer to shore. Those fishing the inland lakes for large and smallmouth bass have caught a good number of fish.

A few perch are biting on Big Glen, Crystal, Lake Charlevoix, Skegemog, Manistee Lake, Lake Cadillac, most are getting ready for deer season and we are hoping for early ice.

Northwest Lower Peninsula 

Petoskey: Pier anglers are out and trying for coho, chinook or pink salmon with spawn, small spinners or small spoons. Try orange, pink or chartreuse.

Bear River: Anglers are now catching more steelhead. Try spawn, skein or yarn. Some are fly fishing.

Elk River: Is producing coho and steelhead. Try floating spawn and skein or casting small spoons and spinners.

Boardman River: Is producing coho and steelhead even with the lower water levels. Fish the deeper holes for now.

Frankfort: Steelhead have been caught in the surf and off the piers.

Betsie River: Is producing steelhead. Those fishing up near the Homestead Dam caught fish on spawn.

Manistee: Is producing some steelhead for those surfcasting as well as those fishing off the piers. Try early morning, late evening or during the day when the weather is nasty.

Manistee River: Water levels are low and clear again which makes steelhead fishing somewhat difficult. Conditions like this require light leaders and small stealthy presentations to get them to bite.

Ludington: Steelhead were caught in the surf and off the piers. Fish early, late or when the weather is nasty.

Pere Marquette River: Water levels were low and clear and could stay that way for a while. The low and clear water conditions require light leaders especially if fish are on the gravel. For now, try fishing the deeper holes.

Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Cheboygan River: Leftover salmon were still being caught up near the dam. The better fishing for steelhead was early morning or late evening with spawn, yarn, small spinners or small spoons. Good colors are blue and silver, orange and silver, pink, and chartreuse.

Rogers City: Pier anglers should find brown trout when casting cleo’s, bombers or small spoons.

Thunder Bay River: More steelhead were moving in as temperatures dropped. Most are floating spawn or casting rapalas and small spoons up near the dam. Good colors were orange, chartreuse, pink or silver.

Oscoda: Pier anglers targeting steelhead will want to try spoons or body baits.

Au Sable River: Steelhead coming in from the lake can be found all the up to Foote Dam. The numbers are increasing and the fish are good size. Spawn or small spoons have caught fish in all areas of the river.

Higgins Lake: This can be a good time of year to find perch. Try 25 to 40 feet of water around the Sunken Island or just off Big Creek.

Houghton Lake: Look for large and smallmouth bass in the canals. Those looking for walleye could try floating minnows or drifting crawler harnesses.

Tawas River: Still has a few leftover salmon. More steelhead were moving up into the river. Try spawn or wax worms.

Au Gres River: Should still have some good action for steelhead, brown trout and Atlantic salmon. The better action has been in the lower end of Whitney Drain and for those surfcasting near the Singing Bridge. Try spawn, spoons or plugs.

Upper Peninsula Fishing Report

Keweenaw Bay: Salmon and lake trout are still out there for those that have not put their boats away.

Fall’s River: Is producing coho and steelhead for those casting spoons and spinners or drifting crawlers and spawn bags.

Menominee River: Is a good spot to target walleye, steelhead or brown trout. Try drifting fresh spawn, small spoons or rapalas.

Little Bay de Noc: Walleye catches are getting better every week as water temperatures drop below 50 degrees. The fish are in so there is no better time than now. Fish were caught during the day but the better reports are still coming by those fishing at night. During the day, the best catches were taken between the Second and Third Reefs by those trolling stick baits in 25 to 30 feet of water. Night anglers reported good catches between the Center Reef and the Black Bottom. Most were trolling crank baits or stick baits in 10 to 28 feet of water. The fish were averaging 21 to 23 inches. Perch action was fair for those using minnows or crawlers in 10 to 25 feet of water off Kipling.

St. Mary’s River: This is a good time of year to target smallmouth bass. Try fishing around the points and the islands.

Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Lake Erie: Is producing a few walleye for those trolling perch rigs in the early morning or late evening. For bluegill, perch and crappie, try the docks at the Metro Park Marina.

Huron River: Is producing steelhead downstream of Flat Rock. Those fishing below the dam are drifting spawn and wax worms or bouncing flies.

Detroit River: Perch were caught in the lower river. Try fishing near Sugar Island, the north end of Celeron Island or the Trenton Channel with shiners on perch rigs.

Lake St. Clair: Should still have some good perch fishing even though fishing usually drops off this time of year as most anglers have put their boats away.

St. Clair River: Was muddy after the rain and strong winds so it may take a few days for the water to clear up.

Harbor Beach: Still has one dock in for those that may want to fish for walleye or brown trout behind the Edison Plant.

Saginaw Bay: The walleye are moving in closer to shore so those trolling or drifting will want to fish shallow or near the mouth of the rivers especially at night.

Saginaw River: Walleye are being caught near Bay City. Some are fishing up near the confluence of the Tittabawassee and the Shiawassee River. Shore anglers caught perch in the lower river.

Tittabawassee River: Has walleye however boat anglers will need to watch for low water levels.

Kawkawlin River: Has walleye. Anglers may have to put in some time but they should catch some fish.

Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

St. Joseph River: Continues to produce steelhead for those drifting spawn bags or casting plugs. Fish the deeper holes if it warms up. A couple brown trout were caught between Shamrock Park and the Berrien Springs Dam.

South Haven: Pier anglers caught steelhead in the early morning or late evening. Most are floating spawn or wax worms.

Kalamazoo River: Is producing steelhead all the way up to the Allegan Dam. Anglers are using spawn, spinners, plugs or yarn.

Grand Haven: Pier anglers and those surfcasting continue to target steelhead. Not much on whitefish as catch rates were slow.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Has a good number of steelhead. Off the east wall, try white jigs with a couple wax worms about three foot down or small spawn bags on a #10 or 12 hook. Some were also casting wobble glows. White jigs and wax worms caught fish near the Post Office. Off Fulton Street, try Hot-n-Tots or back bouncing spawn with bait casters. Walleye were caught off the east wall by those using bucktail jigs and three inch white twister tails.

Grand River at Lansing: Is producing the occasional steelhead but no big numbers yet. Walleye were caught near the Waverly Bridge by those using golden shiners or crawler harnesses.

Looking Glass River: Pike are being caught off Babcock’s Landing. Anglers are using shiner minnows or bluegills.

Muskegon River: Has more steelhead moving up into the river even though water levels are low. Anglers are floating spawn and wax worms, casting small spoons or fly fishing.

Perch Fishing Hotspots for Winter Perch In Northern Michigan

Perch Fishing Hotspots for Winter Perch In Northern Michigan




A popular sport fish, yellow perch, also known ­as lake perch, can be found in the lakes, rivers and streams of almost all fifty states and most of the Canadian provinces.

That abundance — not to mention their tasty, firm meat — might explain why many ­anglers are hooked on catching the fish that has become a popular main course at Friday night fish fries. Perch feed year-round, so they can be caught year-round, which adds to their popularity.

Luckily­, perch are not picky eaters, especially when they’re in a feeding frenzy. If you like to use live bait to attract fish, your choices are many:  minnows, some like to use big blues along with spot-tails to get the bigger perch, wigglers, wax worms, mousee’s and spikes. When using minnows, try hooking them through the tail rather than through the mouth; they’ll provide more action, and that’s what you need to attract the big guys. Hali Jigs tipped with live bait are a sure fire in the winter.

Look for areas with natural structures: weeds, dams, submerged objects, isl­ands, inlets, rocks, reeds and bridges — any place where plants can grow. Plants attract bait fish and bait fish attract sport fish, so those are the areas you want to look for perch.

Perch school by size, so big perch swim together in deeper water and small perch hang together in shallower water. Catching one perch means there are more in the area.



Portage Lake, located in western Manistee County in the northwestern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, offers muscle-building fishing for yellow perch. If you’re lucky and cast your line in the right spot on the 2,110-acre lake, you may even catch a perch more than 12 inches in length. Fish for the tasty species year round, including ice-fishing in the winter. For added outdoor exercise, hike on one of the trails that take you around the lake.

You can fish from the banks of Portage Lake, or launch a boat from one of the area’s two public boat launches. The village of Onekama offers one of the boat ramps, located in town. The other ramp is managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and is located on the northwest side of the lake. In the winter, you can access the lake by walking onto the frozen water.The type of perch caught in Portage Lake consist of yellow perch ranging in size from 5 to 8 inches in length. Some yellow perch grow up to 12 inches in length, so it’s possible to catch an above-average-size fish. Surveys completed several decades ago suggested the lake was not nearly as abundant with yellow perch as surveys done just 10 years ago. Many of the Portage Lake’s yellow perch may move to or from Lake Michigan during their year, with many coming in late fall.

Call Osborn’s Sport Shop (231) 889-3775

Mullet Lake

Being a huge lake (17,360 acres) the fishing in Mullett is good for perch but so-so for walleye. Many blame the indian spearing in the spring for the depleting walleye population The state is also stocking trout, sturgeon, and walleyes to improve the fishery but those efforts have yet to take hold. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including bluegill, splake, northern pike, rock bass, yellow perch, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, carp, crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish, bullhead, walleye, sturgeon, white bass and sucker here.

Most Mullet lake fishing was done on the north end. From the state park (aloha) on the east shore across to Dodge point on the west shore. Try the 20-25ft depths west of Dodge point.

This is Michigan’s fifth largest inland lake. Enjoy ice fishing on this deep lake.

Call Mullet Lake Party Store (231) 627-4644


Even though Little Glen and Big Glen lakes are connected, they’re different like night and day.

Big Glen Lake, at 4,865 acres, is nearly four times as big as Little Glen Lake at 1,400 acres. Little Glen has a maximum depth of 13 feet, while Big Glen has water as deep as 130 feet. But what they do have in common is they are both excellent winter perch fisheries.

“Usually, Little Glen freezes up right about deer season,” said avid ice-angler and guide Dave Rose. “It’s usually Christmas before Big Glen has good ice on it. Both are hot for jumbo perch on first ice.”

Rose said to expect fast action in 8 to 9 feet of water on Little Glen as soon as you can get on the ice. A hotspot is where Little Glen narrows as it connects to Big Glen, but use caution when fishing near this area early in the season. Rose said jumbo yellow-bellies in the 10- to 15-inch range are not uncommon then. Rose claims that a lot of the jumbo perch residing in Big Glen migrate into Little Glen in late fall and early winter. First ice usually produces a hot bite.

Because Big Glen Lake is so deep, it’s slow to freeze. It also doesn’t have a lot of structure. Key to finding good numbers of perch on first ice is to locate weeds adjacent to the first drop-offs in 15 to 20 feet of water, according to Rose. Prime first-ice hotspots are near the narrows in 5 to 25 feet and in the northeast corner of the lake. Later as winter deepens and the ice becomes safe, perch schools roam the 35- to 50-foot depths. The best tactic is to punch a lot of holes and keep moving until you locate the schools. Walleye-sized shiner minnows are the ticket for jumbos that will occasionally top 15 inches.

Access to both lakes can be gained at the public ramp located near the narrows on the east shore of Little Glen Lake. Anglers can also access the lakes via numerous road ends.

For more information on bait shops, lodging and amenities in the area, contact the Leelanau County Chamber of Commerce at (231) 271-9895, Mc Sports (231) 933-6158  or  Sportsman-Shop 231-334-3872, and  FishHook2  231-256-9496 


“The winter perch fishing on Crystal Lake is always good,” stated Dave Niewiadomski of the Backcast Fly Shop in Benzonia. “It’s just a question of how much sorting you want to do. There’s no shortage of perch in the lake, but you need to do some searching to find the good ones.”

“Good ones” in this case are perch routinely measuring in the 12- to 14-inch range.

“I’ll tell you one of the secrets to catching big perch in Crystal Lake is to use big minnows,” Neiwiadomski claimed. “The bigger walleye-sized minnows seem to catch the bigger perch. You can use wigglers and you’ll catch a lot of perch, but you won’t catch many big ones.”

Benzie County’s Crystal Lake is big at 9,711 acres and deep, with spots in excess of 175 feet, so it’s slow to freeze. Some of the best winter perch action takes place on the east end off the town of Beulah. This is the first area of the lake to freeze, and anglers do well there in 15 to 25 feet of water on first ice. As ice conditions improve, anglers venture farther out. A midwinter perch hotspot then is off Railroad Point on the lake’s south shore. Anglers take some real jumbos there in water as deep as 70 feet. Again, big minnows seem to catch the biggest perch.

For live bait, tackle and lake maps, contact MC Sports at (231) 933-6158 or Tag Limit Outdoors (231) 225-0278 For information on lodging and other amenities in the area, contact the Benzie County Visitors Bureau at 1-800-882-5801, or online at


Kalkaska County’s Skegemog Lake is famous for its big Great Lakes muskies, but it’s also home to some outsized perch.

“It’s not uncommon to see perch of a pound or more coming out of Skegemog,” said Michael Sanders of Jack’s Sport Shop in Kalkaska.

Sanders said a 13 3/4-inch Skegemog Lake perch was leading their open-water fishing contest as of this writing, but some of the biggest specimens are taken through the ice.

“Perch in the 10- to 11-inch range are fairly common,” claimed Sanders, “and perch up to 15 inches aren’t unheard of on Skegemog.”

Even though 1,460-acre Skegemog Lake is relatively shallow with only one spot approaching 30 feet, the lake is slow to freeze because of currents running in from the Torch River and out to Elk Lake. Most years, it’s late January before anglers can venture safely onto the ice.

A good place to prospect for perch is right off the south shore access off Baggs Road. Anglers can turn north and find some of the lake’s deepest water or go west to a 15-foot flat that harbors schools of winter perch. According to Sanders, a teardrop and wiggler is the best medicine for numbers of perch on Skegemog, but to target the real jumbos, go armed with some big shiner minnows.

For information on ice conditions, live bait and tackle, contact Jack’s Sport Shop in Kalkaska at (231) 258-8892. For information on lodging and accommodations in the area, contact the Kalkaska Chamber of Commerce at (231) 258-9103, or online at

Fife Lake

Fife Lake in Grand Traverse County is a local secret for jumbo perch first ice. This bite does not last long but it is hot for a couple weeks.

Call Jack’s Sport Shop at (231) 258-8892 or Lakeside party Store at (231) 879-3341

Higgins Lake


There are dozens of incredible lakes for ice fishing in Michigan, but for a true cold water ice fishing experience you need to head on over to Higgins Lake. The waters here are much deeper, supporting more cold water fish than you ever dared dream.

One big draw in Higgins Lake is winter perch. Upwards of 100 shanties can be seen on Higgins on winter weekends, and many anglers are after tas
ty yellow perch. Higgins’s perch don’t run large. Most will be 8 to 10 inches. Most anglers will tell you that those are perfect “eaters.” What they lack in size they more than make up for in numbers. Fifty-fish limits are common.

Hot first-ice perch action takes place on both the north and south shores of Higgins in 20 to 40 feet of water, according to Higgins Lake regular Jack Murlick. Murlick said that a standard two-hook perch rig baited with spikes or wax worms works well on perch. Minnows and wigglers are good bets, too. Around the sunken islands in the lake are some good perch locations.

Proceed with caution at Higgins Lake. The lake does freeze, but slowly, so ice fishing isn’t usually safe until mid to late January. Watch out for yellow perch on both the northern and southern shores with lake trout towards the deeper centers.

Of course, testing the ice is essential, no matter where you decide to fish. Never take a flying leap out onto the ice without looking at where you’re going first. Ice near the shoreline of any body of water will always be thinner than further out, so make sure you take a deep enough step onto the ice to get started. Poke holes in the ice every few yards to test the thickness before moving forward as well. Ice fishing is a tremendous sport but is best done with a buddy so that one can act quickly if there is ever an ice-driven emergency.

Once you’ve found a safe place and taken all of the necessary precautions you can start fishing. Enjoy, and good luck!

For info on Lake call Sports Barn 989-821-9511 Phoenix Park (989) 821-7220 Higgins Lake Hardware (989) 821-6677, Silver Dollar Express (989) 821-6227


Mason County’s Hamlin Lake has a reputation as being one of the best winter bluegill lakes in the state, and deservedly so, but because of that, its productive winter perch fishery goes nearly unnoticed.

“You have to move around until you find the schools, and even then you’ve got to do some sorting, but if you work at it, you can usually come up with a pretty good mess,” claimed Hamlin Lake regular Josh Delbarker. “A lot of the perch are going to be 8 to 10 inches, but you can get into a school of perch that will be 12 inches, too.”

Most of the best winter perchin’ on 5,000-acre Hamlin Lake occurs on the lower lake. While the upper lake is shallower with many weeds, the lower lake reaches depths of up to 80 feet. The lower lake features steep contours in many locations. Key to finding perch is to locate flats in 25 to 45 feet of water.

Hamlin has a rich food supply. Often, the perch are regurgitating wigglers when you bring them up, but like most places, big perch in Hamlin like meat — big walleye-sized shiner minnows. The best tactic is to use a 1/2-ounce bell sinker on the bottom to get down quickly, two small treble hooks connected to the mainline with Bear Paw Connectors and a slip-bobber. Jigging spoons, lures and teardrops will work, too.

Anglers can enjoy hot perch action right into March on Hamlin, but the perch often move much shallower then in a pre-spawn migration. On last ice, the biggest yellow-bellies can often be found in as little as 5 or 6 feet of water.

For live bait, tackle and information on guides, contact Hamlin Grocery  (231) 843-2058



Burt Lake has a bounty of forage, even though the lake has few weedbeds. The pristine water produces plenty of mayfly larva, other aquatic insects and minnows that perch and walleyes can grow fat on. At 17,260 acres, perch in Burt Lake have plenty of room to roam, and moving and cutting holes is key to finding them and staying on top of them. Prime winter locations include the mouth of Maple Bay, off Kingsley Beach, off Resort Road and on the flats west of Greenman Point.

Like most places, Burt Lake’s biggest perch have an affinity for big minnows. The big shiners also appeal to the lake’s walleyes.

For live bait, tackle and lake maps, contact Young’s Bait at (231) 548-5286 or Mullet Lake Party Store (231) 627-4644

For information on accommodations and lodging in the area, contact the Boyne Country Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-845-2828, or online at


Alcona County’s Hubbard Lake is famous for its perch

“Hubbard Lake produces some jumbo perch up to 15 inches,” said Department of Natural Resources’ Northern Lake Huron fisheries biologist Tim Cwalinski. “The perch numbers tend to be cyclic, but there’s a fair number of medium-sized perch in the lake, too.”

Cwalinski added that Hubbard Lake has a good population of shiners, minnows and other invertebrates that provide excellent perch forage. Most perch caught through the ice on Hubbard average a solid 10 inches.

Finding the perch schools on expansive 8,850-acre Hubbard Lake is the difficult part. A shantytown develops each winter on the north and south ends of the lake in 30 to 50 feet of water. Perch schools take up residence there during midwinter and offer consistent action. Try the usual assortment of baits, including wax worms, wigglers and minnows. Hotspots on first ice include the areas around the weedbeds in East and North bays. Early and late in the season, ice-anglers congregate out from Churchill Point and Harwood Point.

Public access to Hubbard Lake can be gained at Backus Beach, on East Bay and at North Bay.

For information on accommodations, bait shops and guides in the area, contact the Alpena Convention & Visitors Bureau at (989) 354-4181, or online at


Luce County’s North Manistique Lake — also called Round Lake — is one of the U.P.’s premier winter perch lakes. The 1,722-acre lake produces consistent perch catches for winter anglers, with some of the biggest specimens pushing 14 inches.

Located near the town of Curtis, North Manistique Lake has depths of up to 50 feet, which is where you’re likely to find the perch once winter sets in. On first ice, probing around the artificial reefs found on the west and north shores can pay big dividends. The lake’s bottom is mostly sand with some gravel, and with sparse weed growth, any type of structure is likely to attract schools of perch. A good starting point is right off the Luce County Park located on the lake’s south shore.

Most of the perch you’ll encounter will be 8- to 10-inch “eaters,” but the lake also gives up some foot-long jumbos with regularity.For more information on bait shops and accommodations in the area, contact the Curtis Area Chamber of

Commerce & Tourism Bureau at 1-800-652-8784, or go online to


If you want to get a jump on the perch ice-fishing season, head to Lake Gogebic in the western U.P. Actually, you can probably head out for some ice-fishing on this lake after you finish your Thanksgiving dinner! Winter comes early to this part of Michigan.

Some of the best perch action of the year on Lake Gogebic is on first ice. The fish are relatively shallow then and actively feeding. Good places to prospect are on either end in 10 to 20 feet of water, and around the abundant fish shelters placed around the lake. As winter deepens, the perch schools concentrate in the deeper water in the center of the lake.

Wigglers are a favorite food of Lake Gogebic perch, and they have been known to follow foraging schools of suckers that stir up the bottom and expose the wigglers. But don’t forget to try a good-sized minnow when wigglers aren’t producing. Expect to catch plenty of yellow-bellies up to a foot long, plus some bonus walleyes.

For more information on perch ice-fishing opportunities on Lake Gogebic, contact Nine Pines Resort at (906) 842-336


Pentwater Lake, Muskegon Lake and White Lake also have a great winter bite when the ice freezes.

White Lake is a great location for ice fishing, and every winter hundreds of shanties dot the lake. Perch, walleye and pike are just some of the fish caught through the ice. Duck Lake is also good for ice fishing.

If you’re just getting started the West end of Both Muskegon and White Lake are good places to start looking. The nice thing about Perch fishing there is usually some up to date info from the local bait shops to help you narrow down you’re search.

For White Lake I would call Johnson’s Great Out Doors.
For Muskegon Lake you can call Adam’s Angler Archer.

Make sure to bring the following bait as Perch can get awful picky . Minnows, Spikes, Mousies and Wigglers if you can get them. You should also bring #6 Gold Hooks for the minnow and a variety of tear drops for the smaller baits. I often fish with #14and #16 Bluegill tear drops. Many times it’s the smaller the better. Just make sure you’re prepared.

Ice fishing posses it’s own challenges. The first thing to remember is one whole ten feet away can produce where the other won’t. There are things on the bottom that the Perch relate to as structure that cause them to move through a given area and not another. Excepting this and staying mobile until you find the fish is most crucial.

Many fisherman just getting into targeting these migrating Perch don’t realize it but Perch are all about good day light. You may want to get started and set up for several reasons but don’t’ expect the action to be fast until good light has come around.

When Fishing Muskegon lake through the ice don’t forget that we have a ice cutter come through several times though out the Ice Fishing Season. You can find the schedule posted in the Muskegon Chronicle. Many times the Bait shops have the schedule as well.

Note that the ice cutters run from the Muskegon Channel at the West end of the lake and make their way through the center of Muskegon Lake to the far East end of the lake. Depending on when you’re fishing in comparison to when a boat has come through this path can be very unsafe ice. Crossing Muskegon Lake without knowing when the ice was last broken is not a good idea. Many times this path can be very visible but with snow that’s not always the case.

Call Pentwater Angler at (231) 869-5357 for Pentwater Lake and Johnson’s Outdoors for White Lake (231) 869-5357

Top 10 Michigan Walleye Lakes

Top 10 Michigan Walleye Lakes

Top Ten Walleye Lakes in Michigan

Lake Gogebic

 The lake holds a healthy population of non-stocked walleye that maintains itself.

Walleye in this lake characteristically hold close to weedbeds, dropoffs, and especially in areas with both features.  They are usually in shallow water during the post-spawn period and move towards the edge of deep holes as the water warms.  The hungry post-spawn walleye respond to a variety of baits and methods, while jigging along edges becomes one of the most popular techniques later in the season.  Try ¼ oz jigs with minnows early in the year, and leeches later in the year.

Portage Lake

 Portage Lake is a consistent producer of big walleyes that remain active throughout the summer, partially because it can be tricky to pull fish out of the dense vegetation and structure of this shallow lake.  This lake provides enough protection from anglers and other fish, as well as a plentiful food source, to allow many of them to reach trophy size.

Jigging (¼ oz jigs, 1/8 oz jigs, 1/16 oz jigs) is the just about the only way to get a hook in front of Portage Lake walleye once the vegetation comes in.  The best setup is a long rod, sensitive, but with a strong backbone to jerk those wall hangers above any weeds and brush they could use to snap your line.

Pitching a jig tipped with a worm or leech into a weed pocket and twitching it until it settles to the bottom is one effective technique.  Keep twitching it, on and off, for a few minutes before moving on.

Mullett Lake

This lake holds a lot of walleyes, and they don’t tend to be on the small side, with 6-10 pounders being fairly common.  This, combined with structures well-suited for trolling, make it easy to locate and catch big walleye.

The depth and variety of terrain make downriggers and planers invaluable on this lake.

At the beginning of season, target gravel bottoms near drop offs.  The warmer the water gets, the deeper the fish go, holding to reef areas across the lake. Several good reefs are on the west end of the lake, averaging about 12 feet deep and surrounded by areas that drop to 40-60 feet.

Casting or trolling crankbaits across the reefs is a good way to hone in on active fish, starting close to the bottom and working towards the surface.

If the walleye are not aggressive, a worm or leech on a split shot rig, placed in the reef, can draw a strike.

Single blade spinners are often effective as well.

During the summer months, fish suspend in the water, making them difficult to locate.

Houghton Lake

This is Michigan’s largest inland lake and despite fishing pressure and recreational boating, it still provides the opportunity to catch a lot of walleye.

Weeds and small drop offs are the only structure this lake has to offer, causing walleye to collect in dense pockets.

In the spring, before there are many weeds, trolling the shallows with crankbaits provides the most bang for your buck.  The shallows on the east side of the lake, around the Cut River, are supposed to be good this time of year.

After the weeds get thick, pitching a jig (¼ oz jigs, 1/8 oz jigs, 1/16 oz jigs) orslip bobber tipped with a leech into weed pockets is your best bet.  Try the weed pockets close to M-18 and M-55 in Prudenville at this point in the year.

Hubbard Lake

Even though this isn’t a lake that is known for big walleye, it is still a good place to fill your livewell.

Jigs (¼ oz jigs, 1/8 oz jigs, 1/16 oz jigs) with livebait are good in the post-spawn, particularly around Churchill Point and Doctor’s Point.

During the summer, trolling with crankbaits is productive, especially when using planers to avoid spooking the fish.

At night, drifting with a slip bobber and leeches can be effective.

Holloway Reservoir

Experts suspect that the flowing waters of Holloway Reservoir hold more walleye per surface acre than anywhere else in Michigan.

The best time to fish Holloway is at the beginning of season, trolling withcrankbaits and inline planer boards. Working light jigs (¼ oz jigs, 1/8 oz jigs,1/16 oz jigs) along the flats has also been known to be productive early in the season.  Vertical jigging the river channel that runs the length of the lake can also provide steady action.

Other hot spots include places with circulating water, like the Mt. Morris RoadBridge.  Baitfish are attracted to the water movement, which draws large, aggressive walleye.

Kent Lake

Despite being one of Michigan’s most heavily fished lakes, it continues to produce considerable numbers of walleye, partially because a speed limit for boats helps keep walleye calm and relaxed.

This lake also has a natural river channel, which holds a lot of walleye.  Use a depth finder to locate outside bends in the current, and drop a minnow-tipped jig (¼ oz jigs, 1/8 oz jigs, 1/16 oz jigs).

Later in the season, worms and spinning rigs, with a split shot about 18 inches up, are very successful when drifting.  Use metallic spinners early on, and experiment with bright colored blades as the water warms.

 Gun Lake

Although it’s known as a recreational lake, it’s still possible to catch a lot of walleye if you adjust for the activity of non-anglers.

Beat the boaters out in the morning and hit big dropoffs, like those around Murphy’s and Hasting’s Points, near the middle of the lake.  A deep hole inRobbins Bay, in the southwest portion of the lake, holds walleye throughout the middle of the day.

Night fishing is another good way to find relaxed walleye feeding.  They are likely to be in the shallows, making them vulnerable to casting and trolling with shallow running crankbaits and spinners.

North Lake Leelanau

 This lake has a surplus of protein rich forage, allowing walleye to grow big quickly.

One popular place on this lake is the slopping flats on the south side of the lake.  Trolling with spinners and worms behind 1 to 2 oz. bottom bouncers is usually productive, but vertical jigging (¼ oz jigs, 1/8 oz jigs, 1/16 oz jigs) with minnows can be effective once you find a pocket of walleye.

North Manistique Lake

This location is not to be confused with Big Manstique Lake.  Due to minimal pressure, this lake has become a great place for walleye fishing.

The lake’s formerly barren featureless bottom is now populated with manmade cover and structure like brush and logs the locals have sank to give the walleye and anglers someplace to go.

Locate depressions and manmade structure and experiment with crankbaitsand jigs (¼ oz jigs, 1/8 oz jigs, 1/16 oz jigs)  depending on the time of day and season.