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Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, Sept. 21 report

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 found success from North Bay to Thompson Harbor while targeting Chinook and coho salmon. Waters 40 to 70 feet deep were productive when running lines midway in the water column. Spoons in green, chartreuse, watermelon and purples were the most productive. Two- to four-color lead cores caught steelhead and Atlantics in waters 60 to 120 feet deep, while spoons in golds and oranges worked best. Lake trout were found straight out of the harbor in depths of 120 to 150 feet. Flasher/spin glows and spoons in white, yellows and greens caught the majority of the fish. Walleye anglers reported fishing as slow.

Alpena: Chinook, coho and a few steelhead were caught throughout the bay. Fish were reported to be scattered from the cement plant all the way to North Point in depths of 20 to 50 feet. Plugs and spoons in a wide variety of colors caught fish. Those trolling in 25 to 35 feet of water in the evenings reported a few walleye being caught on crankbaits. Purples, golds and black were the most productive. Pier anglers had success casting blue/silver and green/silver spoons early and late in the day. A few anglers had success casting glow spoons after dark. A handful of walleyes were caught by those who were casting crankbaits along the break wall to the yacht club.


Thunder Bay River: A few Chinook were caught while trolling the river mouth up to the walking bridge. Spoons, plugs and crankbaits were all productive. A few walleye were caught at the 9th Street Dam to Lamar Park by those who casted crankbaits after dark. Smallmouth bass were found throughout the river while using crawlers, leeches and spinnerbaits.

Rogers City: Chinook salmon staged off Swan Bay. The bite was on and off, with it being better some days than others. Fishing early in the morning or later at night seemed to yield the best results. Anglers were long-lining bombers and j-plugs off planer boards. The best depths were inside 40 feet of water. The fish were starting to turn dark, but anglers who did not want these salmon fished the bait and did decent catching younger Chinook, coho, steelhead, lake trout and walleye. These fish were in around 50 to 70 feet of water. Good colors to use were greens, yellows, blues and glow stuff early and late. Anglers also found success using downriggers, dipsys and lead core.

Au Gres: Anglers caught few decent walleye; however, those targeting perch did not have as much luck as they had hoped. In the general area of the Au Gres River mouth, anglers came back with a few decent-sized perch that were caught in anywhere from 20 to 50 feet of water. Around the Pine River mouth in the shallower waters, seemingly smaller perch were caught, but in higher numbers.

Cheboygan: Two gates opened at the dam, allowing for bobbers to be drifted more easily. Good numbers of salmon were at the dam, with mornings and, to a lesser extent, evenings being the best time to get a bite. Some anglers were casting lures, but spawn was the most effective bait by far. Boat anglers were targeting lake trout in deep water at the nearby reefs and points.


Tawas: Some walleye anglers reported catching a few, while others came back without seeing any. Chinook and coho were in deeper waters, with anglers catching a couple at the Tawas River mouth. Overall, fishing was reported as slow.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Charlevoix: Anglers who targeted salmon near Medusa had limited success catching Chinook. Casting spoons, floating spawn and drifting flies proved to be successful when the fish were biting. Fishing into Lake Charlevoix produced some numbers of coho and Chinook. Those targeting lake trout deep had very limited success.

East Grand Traverse Bay: Salmon fishing significantly slowed down. The few anglers who were targeting salmon caught one to two per trip on spoons, plugs or flasher/flies. Those targeting lake trout did well in 100 to 150 feet of water on spoons and spin-n-glows. Smallmouth bass fishing picked up as well, with most boats getting 10 to 25 smallmouth bass per trip in 10 to 20 feet of water.

West Grand Traverse Bay: A few Chinook were caught in the hole in front of the Boardman River along with the occasional coho. Lake trout fishing was good around “Red 6″ (red buoy near Marion Island).


Petoskey: Anglers targeting salmon in the Bear River had limited success bottom-bouncing and drifting spawn. Some anglers had success targeting smaller trout and salmon, with several small coho being landed. Those trolling on boats had the most success targeting salmon on the south side of Little Traverse Bay.

Frankfort: Fresh Chinook were still being reported out front in 40 to 60 feet of water, 20 to 30 feet down, with a very good evening bite just at sunset and plugs working well. Pier anglers casting spoons in the late hours landed Chinook and coho.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Northern pike anglers reported mixed results and encountered fish both in the shallows and deeper waters. Anglers targeting yellow perch were contacting a few schools, but fishing was slow overall. Anglers fishing near drop-offs or in shallow areas near aquatic vegetation had limited results. Anglers targeting walleye reported slow action but anticipated fishing to improve as walleye transition into their typical fall patterns. Some salmon were reported in the tributaries.

Big Bay de Noc: Smallmouth bass anglers reported tough fishing conditions that made it difficult to stay on a good bite. However, anglers who were able to find fish reported catching quality-sized fish. Yellow perch fishing was slow.


Fairport: Anglers reported some perch activity, but success varied day to day.

Carp River/Nunns Creek: Both the Carp River and Nunns Creek were producing fish, but Nunns Creek was more popular for fishing. Anglers used lures such as jointed crankbaits or spoons while wading at Nunns Creek, though fresh spawn was equally as effective. At the Carp River, lures were much less productive than drifting spawn. Many anglers saw lots of Chinook while wading the Carp River but struggled to get them to bite.

Marquette: Anglers reported that the best place for catching lake trout was near the northeast side of the White Islands. Warm weather seemed to push fish back out into deeper waters. Anglers who were trolling in 120 to 180 feet of water caught the most lake trout near the White Islands, while anglers who trolled for lake trout around Granite Rock had the most luck trolling or jigging at around 120 to 200 feet of water. Anglers reported catching Chinook and coho salmon in 100 or more feet of water. Watermelon, silver and red multicolored spoons, cow bells, and bright green and blue flasher flies were good lures for lake trout while gold spoons, lime or green crank baits, and moonshine glows were hot colors for salmon.

Au Train: Several anglers reported catching near their limit of lake trout. Fish were being caught in deeper water, with the best places for anglers to catch fish being near the northwest side of Au Train Island and out toward the Shelter Bay clay banks. Green spin and glows in around 80 to 120 feet were successful for lake trout by the clay banks. Anglers who were trolling or jigging in 70 to 120 feet of water or were trolling along the flats caught the most lake trout. Also, trolling cowbells in around 145 feet of water with sucker meat or smelt had good success for some anglers north of Au Train Island. Chinook and coho salmon were caught at around 70 feet of water while trolling at a slower speed of around 1.8 mph. Anglers reported that black/gold or orange spoons and a pink flasher fly was hot for the coho and Chinook.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers were mostly catching lake trout, with some salmon species caught but in fewer numbers. Angling pressure declined; however, those who caught fish were trolling mostly with artificial lures and fished through all hours of the day. Anglers found fish near the top and bottom of the water column!

Big Traverse Bay/South Portage Canal: Fishing pressure was down, but anglers were still catching good numbers of lake trout when targeting them. Anglers who trolled for lake trout and salmon caught less salmon compared to lake trout. Most fishing was done with artificial lures such as spoons and flies. Anglers reported the mornings as being the most successful time to fish, with fishing beginning to slow around 11 a.m.

Ontonagon River: Fishing on the river was somewhat slow. Some anglers had luck in finding a few walleye and the occasional yellow perch. Jigging and trolling yielded similar results for the majority of anglers. Successful trips occurred mostly in the morning hours, with the bite seeming to slow as the day went on.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: Fishing was good from these ports, with anglers bringing in mixed bags of lake trout, coho salmon and the occasional brown trout. Reports show that anglers had luck catching fish at all times of the day. Trolling artificial lures across a variety of depths was the key to success for many, as it seemed the fish were dispersed randomly throughout the water column.

Black River Harbor: Anglers had good luck fishing from the harbor, with good numbers of lake trout and an occasional coho or Chinook salmon being caught. Fish were caught by anglers in a variety of depths while trolling artificial lures. However, shallower waters seemed to yield slightly more success. Reports show that successful trips occurred at all times of day.

Munising Bay: Fishing pressure was low, with few boats making it out. Anglers had low success, with very few coho reported. Splake success continued to be low. Shore anglers off the Anna River and Bay Furnace reported poor success as well.

Grand Marais: Fishing pressure continued to be low. A few local boat anglers made it out, but success was very low for coho. Anglers did report catching a few lake trout.

Fishing tip of the week

Many anglers will tell you that, as fall rolls in, the fishing gets better and better. But why is this?

There isn’t much formal research to answer that question, but several factors could be contributing to this influx of angling opportunities: forage availability, dropping water temperatures, fish movement or oxygen availability.

Some say it could just be related to less fishing pressure and/or better angling techniques.

The bottom line is, if you don’t consider fall to be an ideal time to go fishing, you may want to rethink that sentiment. Some of the biggest crappie, muskellunge, walleye and smallmouth bass can be found in the fall – don’t you want to experience that?

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