Here’s how fishing looks this week in the Northwest Lower Peninsula, Northeast Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula, according to the latest report from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Presque Isle: Anglers reported fish scattered in depths of 90 to160 feet of water with water temperatures in the mid-60s to 70 degrees. Lake trout were taken straight out of the harbor to the new lighthouse when fishing close to bottom with flasher/spin glows and spoons. A few Chinooks, coho and walleye were taken while fishing the middle of the column in 90 to 140 feet of water. Walleye were found from North Bay to Black Point in depths of 50 to 70 feet of water. Best results came from crankbaits ran at 20 to 40 feet down.
Cheboygan River/Lake Huron: The salmon run came earlier than expected in Cheboygan this year. Boat anglers caught them within the Cheboygan River channel as well as farther offshore. Salmon were also found off the pier and at the dam, though the pier tends to be more productive during this early part of the run. Pier anglers can also expect to catch northern pike on salmon lures. Time of day can make a big difference on whether salmon bite. Early in the morning (before sunrise) has been the best in Cheboygan.
Rockport: Anglers reported fair catches of walleye from false Presque Isle to Middle Island. Spoons and crankbaits were productive 15 to 25 feet down over 50 to 70 feet of water. Lake trout fishing was good from 60 to 110 feet of water while running flasher/spin glows and spoons. Spoons run at 20 to 50 feet were producing steelhead, Atlantics and a decent number of Chinooks. Early and late in the day was most productive for Chinooks, with green, chartreuse and watermelon spoons working best.
Alpena/Thunder Bay River: Those targeting catfish had hit-or-miss results late evenings from 9th Avenue Bridge to Mill Island Park. Pier anglers reported fishing as slow. A few bass, pike and panfish were caught using crawlers and crankbaits. Walleye in the bay were difficult to find, with the most results coming from North Point and the deeper waters around Scarecrow Island. Weather permitting, the waters around Thunder Bay Island to the humps were giving up lake trout, Chinook, coho, steelhead and Atlantics. Fish were widely scattered, so running lines at all depths had the best results. Anglers reported a few Chinooks had made their way inside the bay, with spoons, plugs and flies catching a few fish.
Tawas: Anglers fishing in 60 to 70 feet of water caught about half the limit of walleye, three to five fish, with reports of a couple steelhead being caught while fishing for walleye as well. Yellow perch were targeted more and caught in good numbers around structure in the bay. Anglers fishing for catfish from shore at Gateway Park had a little bit of luck and reported catching largemouth bass there.
Oscoda/Au Sable: Anglers reported catching smallmouth bass with the occasional walleye.
Rogers City: Chinook salmon started to stage off Swan Bay. Due to warm water, fish were not biting well. Anglers reported catching a few very early, before daybreak, and a few after dark. Anglers were running lines throughout the water column for best results. Spoons, flashers with flies, squids or meat rigs with flashers were catching the fish. Anglers reported using downriggers, dipseys, lead core and copper off boards. The best depths were anywhere from 20 to 120 feet of water. There were quite a few walleye taken incidentally from anglers targeting salmon. When cold water comes in, the fishing is better, so pay attention to the winds and plan to fish then for better results. Anglers reported very few other species taken lately, as most anglers focused on salmon. Lake trout were reported to be caught out deep in 120 feet of water or more. Fishing close to the bottom with big flashers and spin glows or green spoons has given anglers success.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Grand Traverse bays: Lake trout moved to deeper water, and Chinook salmon were caught off the north end of the bays.
Charlevoix: Fishing pressure was low due to bad weather conditions with high winds. Anglers fishing early morning found the most success, looking for the temperature break. Fishing anywhere between 75 to 150 feet of water produced some results for Chinook and coho salmon. Those fishing the piers had very low success targeting smallmouth bass. The occasional channel catfish and coho salmon were reported while fishing off the ends of the piers.
Petoskey/Harbor Springs: Salmon anglers fishing in Little Traverse Bay had their best luck fishing the southern half of the bay. Darker Chinook salmon were reported in higher densities fishing from boats, while those fishing the Bear River reported a slow increase of fish activity. Lake trout anglers fishing the north line of the refuge continued to have very good success.
Frankfort: Anglers reported good catches of Chinook salmon, with the early morning bite producing the best catches. Using spoons and lead core worked well, with the meat bite landing the biggest catches using eight-color with meat or flies. Best results were in 120 to 200 feet of water and trolling 70 to 90 feet down. Coho salmon were reported to be caught as well, especially in Platte Bay, where anglers reported bites while trolling and jigging.
Manistee: Salmon fishing on Lake Michigan was steady, as the fish move closer to spawning season.
Onekama: The Barrel is still producing good catches of Chinook salmon in the morning and at sunset. Anglers who worked the top 60 feet of water with spoons and plugs reported the best results.
Little Bay de Noc: High winds had a significant effect on fishing pressure. Anglers reported the start of improved perch fishing, although they anticipate further improvement over time. Those fishing out of Kipling had fair results when still fishing or drifting. Walleye anglers reported good fishing. Some fish were caught near the narrows, “black bottom” and areas by the mouth of the Ford River.
Big Bay de Noc: Anglers targeting smallmouth reported fair to good fishing.
Fairport: Angler pressure was down. Windy conditions limited the number of fishable days. Anglers reported some remaining salmon; however, many adults left the area and started heading toward river mouths.
Marquette: Anglers who made it out reported the best places for catching fish were near the northwest side of the White Islands and trolling out toward Granite Island. Anglers trolling around 120 to 160 feet of water harvested the most lake trout near the White Islands. Reports of several Chinook and coho harvested this week as well at around 100 feet of water. Anglers trolling for lake trout around Granite Rock had the most luck at around 120 to 150 feet of water. Yellow tails, silver and pearl multicolored spoons, cow bells, and green and blue flasher flies were good lures for lake trout, while gold spoons and lime green crank baits were good for Chinook and coho salmon near the White Rocks. Mostly lake trout were harvested out by Granite Island.
Au Train: Anglers who made it out seemed to catch near their limit. The best places for anglers to catch fish were nearby the northeast side of Au Train Island. Anglers trolling or jigging around 160 feet of water or trolling along the flats were harvesting the most lake trout. Also, trolling cowbells around 145 feet of water with sucker meat or smelt had good success for some anglers. Trolling or jigging bright green/silver spoons, or cow bells with sucker, smelt or white fish bellies were common baits.
Les Cheneaux/Detour: In the Hessel area, anglers trolled for Chinook salmon and lake trout in the west entrance and had some luck. Due to strong winds and poor weather, there wasn’t much fishing activity. Anglers also reported catching a few perch in the Cedarville area along with smallmouth along the wall at the Hessel marina. The first splake of the fall run was caught off the wall in Hessel with a little cleo. In Detour, anglers started to pick up a good number of pink salmon, along with lake trout and a few Atlantics and steelhead mixed in as well.
Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers reported catches of lake trout and coho during successful fishing trips. These anglers focused their pressure during the morning hours and used almost exclusively artificial baits. Varying reports came off the water of whether spoons or flies were more effective. Most fishing trips were completed and successful in 150 feet of water or less. Fish were found throughout the water column in these areas. Try fishing in the mornings and look forward to cooling water temps meaning salmon returning to the bays.
Big Traverse Bay/South Portage Canal: Anglers caught a variety of fish during their trips. Most of the catch was lake trout, with increased numbers of pink salmon being seen. Other species that were caught during these trips were Chinook and coho salmon. Most, if not all, fishing trips were more successful during morning trips while using artificial baits such as spoons and flies. Anglers reported successful fishing in a range of depths from 40 to 150 feet of water. Try fishing in cooler waters early in the mornings to find salmon moving back into the bays as the water cools.
Ontonagon River: Fishing on the river was somewhat slow, with anglers reporting catches consisting of walleye in low numbers. The slow bite may have been partially influenced by recent rains causing poor water clarity. Both trolling and jigging yielded similar levels of success.
Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: Anglers had luck in catching good numbers of lake trout and the occasional coho salmon. They reported that trolling artificial lures across a variety of depths was the key to successful trips. Early morning trips seemed to be the most popular, as anglers were trying to beat some of the recent strong winds off the lake.
Black River Harbor: Fishing from the harbor was good, with catches consisting of respectable numbers of lake trout. Reports show that occasional coho and Chinook salmon were caught randomly and in low numbers. Anglers found fish at variety of depths and at all times of day. Successful trips typically occurred in morning hours and involved covering a lot of water while trolling artificial lures.
Carp and Pine rivers: Most anglers were targeting salmon. Some walleye are still available in the Pine and Carp rivers, but the bite was slow. The Carp River was reported to be producing mostly Chinook salmon. Fishing from the concrete walkway or wading was the most popular way to reach the fish. The boat salmon anglers were not very successful. Saint Martin’s Bay is popular for trolling when the salmon are running the nearby rivers. Fishing upstream can be very effective as more salmon enter the river.
Fishing tip of the week
One tactic that can be particularly useful when targeting Chinook is fishing with glow lures. This species often can be caught near the surface in low-light conditions, and glow lures make that opportunity even more appealing.
In particular, glow lures work well in the early morning hours before the sun comes up or at night. Many believe this type of lure attracts salmon because it can be seen in the dark from longer distances and encourages them to strike.