Skip to Main
Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, May 9 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

Oscoda/Au Sable River: Atlantic salmon were caught off the end of the pier and throughout the lower river. Most fish caught came off minnows or casting spoons in blue/silver and orange/gold. Some walleye were caught by pier anglers throwing deep crank baits, with dawn and dusk being the most productive times. Fire tiger and black/gold crank baits seemed to produce the best results. Boat anglers managed to pick up a few walleye and did well on lake trout and Atlantic salmon when using spoons in 30 to 50 feet of water. Downstream of the Foote Dam, steelhead fishing seemed to slow; however, there were still fish landed off of the gravel. Anglers had the most luck when bottom-bouncing beads, spawn bags or flies. Anglers float fishing also had luck with beads and flies.

Cheboygan: Walleye anglers were successful when using body baits and curly tail grubs on jig heads. Successful colors were reported to be chartreuse, whites and pinks. A few steelhead were caught when using bottom-bouncing beads and spawn bags. Suckers were reported to be dense by the drawbridge up to the dam. Smallmouth bass were caught throughout the same areas as the suckers. Lake trout anglers were coming in with bag limits. Those who were successful trolled cowbells with spoons in about 50 feet of water. Good colors were reported to be pinks, blues and chartreuse.


Harrisville: Boat anglers did well when fishing for lake trout in 25 to 40 feet of water while trolling spoons using lead core and downriggers. Orange and chartreuse spoons yielded the best results. Deep-diving body baits also produced lake trout. Boat anglers were catching a few Atlantic salmon and some coho salmon when fishing spoons in 30 to 50 feet of water.

Thunder Bay River: A decent number of steelhead were still reported to be in the river, with a few fresh fish still showing up. Spawn, beads and spinners seemed to catch the majority of fish near the 9th Street Dam. Anglers targeting walleye found success from the 2nd Avenue Bridge up to the 9th Street Bridge early and late in the evenings. Shallow-running crank baits and jigs caught many fish. Smallmouth bass and northern pike were caught throughout the river on spinner baits and tube jigs, with white and chartreuse being the most productive.

Alpena: Anglers fishing the pier and from shore near the yacht club caught walleye, smallmouth bass and northern pike. Shallow-running crank baits and natural-colored swim baits worked well throughout the day. In Thunder Bay, boat anglers had success trolling crank baits for walleye early and late in the day. Fish were scattered from the pier head to Sulfur Island. A few brown trout and northern pike were also caught in the same waters from 12 to 18 feet deep. Weather permitting, those fishing offshore near North Point and Thunder Bay Island caught good numbers of lake trout in 30 to 60 feet of water. A few Atlantic and Chinook salmon were caught in 50 to 80 feet of water. The most productive colors were reported to be watermelon, chartreuse and orange. With cooler water temperatures, fish were scattered all through the water column.

Rockport: Weather permitting, boat anglers found good numbers of lake trout and a few Atlantic salmon; 40 to 70 feet of water held the majority of fish, scattered from 15 feet to the bottom. With water temperatures in the high 40s, slower speeds worked well, with watermelon, golds and greens being productive colors. Warmer water temperatures were reported near Stoneport, where anglers found a few coho and Atlantic salmon mixed in with lake trout. Short lead cores and dipsies on shallow sets were most productive.


Tawas: Anglers fishing for walleye reported the bite to be sparse, likely due to the wind.  A couple northern pike were reported to be caught in the bay. Smallmouth bass and freshwater drum were caught at the mouth of the Tawas River by shore anglers.

Au Gres: Boat anglers reported marking fish but did not have much luck getting them to bite. The Pine River launch was seeing more boat activity, but the walleye were reported to be hit or miss. Northern pike were reported to be caught from both the Pine River and Eagle Bay.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

East Grand Traverse Bay: Anglers fishing just below the dam in Elk Rapids found the fishing to be slower. The southern part of the bay saw better fishing for yellow perch, bass and cisco. A few anglers were successful in finding cisco in 80 to 100 feet of water.

West Grand Traverse Bay: Anglers launching out of the southern ports were reported to head north in hopes of finding cisco and lake trout. Anglers found some success with smaller lake trout and cisco in deeper waters.


Frankfort: Alewives were reported to have arrived in good numbers, with anglers reporting good-sized bait markings throughout the area. Several 15-plus-pound Chinook salmon were landed out front and in the Herring hole. The late morning bite seemed to be a bit more productive on spoons and trolling in deeper waters, 120 to 180 feet of water, and setting up 60 to 90 feet down. Good numbers of lake trout were also reported in the same areas. Multiple brown trout and a few young Chinook salmon were reported in between the pier heads in the early morning hours. Overall, UV spoons seemed to work best.

Charlevoix: Dredging near the end of both piers, as well as within the pier heads, continued, which kept pier anglers to a minimum. The fish cleaning station at the Ferry Beach boat launch is now open to the public. The skid pier at Medusa Creek has also been pushed into place at the launch.

Petoskey: Anglers targeting steelhead in the Bear River reported decreased numbers of steelhead. Darker steelhead and suckers were primarily caught when bottom-bouncing flies and beads. Those targeting steelhead and northern pike off the break wall found limited success fishing near the bottom of the channel.

Manistee: Good numbers of Chinook salmon were caught along the shelf in 120 to 180 feet of water while fishing 60 to 80 feet down. Green and orange spoons seemed to work well. Areas included straight out, south and toward Big Sable Point. A few lake trout and steelhead were reported to be caught as well. The piers were slow, and those trying to catch alewife for bait had no luck.


Onekama: Anglers casting from shore and trolling the channel both reported moderate numbers of walleye in the channel well after dark.

Ludington: Great numbers of Chinook salmon were caught at Big Sauble Point in 80 to 180 feet of water while fishing 50 to 80 feet down. Green-colored spoons and bloody nose pattern worked well. A couple suspended lake trout and steelhead were caught by anglers as well. Those fishing with spawn and casting spoons on the piers had no luck.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Perch fishing near the narrows was reported to be fair. Anglers caught fish near the drop-offs in the narrows, using perch rigs baited with worms. Some success was also had when using minnows. Smallmouth bass fishing near the head of the bay, as well as the Ford River, was good.

Manistique: Angers targeting steelhead had some success when drifting spawn or beads. Anglers reported catching a few small trout and steelhead, as well as suckers.

St. Ignace: There were suckers and steelhead being caught in the Carp River. In general, the steelhead did not seem to be picky when it came to which type of bait was used. Lake trout anglers were either trolling cowbells with spoons or Spin-N-Glows. Anglers were successful around 100 feet off Mackinac Island.

Ontonagon River: Fishing pressure was low on the river, as high turbidity limited effective fishing efforts. Reports suggest that few to no fish were caught.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: Reports show that boat anglers were catching coho salmon and brown trout. Anglers also reported a slow bite, with most fish being caught when trolling shallow waters.

Black River Harbor: Fishing from the harbor was reported to be good, as anglers had luck in finding coho salmon, Chinook salmon, brown trout and lake trout. Coho salmon were caught in low numbers by those fishing from shore. Reports show that fish were caught by those trolling shallow waters.

Marquette: Boat anglers who made their way out on the lower harbor saw declining catches of coho salmon. Increased numbers of Chinook salmon were caught in the lower harbor when trolling in 8 to 20 feet of water and closer to the south shore between the rivers. Trolling orange moonshine glow lures was reported to work well for the Chinook salmon. Trolling at lower speeds, around 1.8 mph, seemed to be good for salmon as well.

Au Train: The smelt were still moving up the rivers but in dwindling numbers. There were decent numbers of coho salmon, steelhead and Chinook salmon still being caught when both trolling and casting. Lake trout fishing started to pick up nicely. Most fish were caught in 8 to 20 feet of water and closer to shore, apart from lake trout, which were at a depth of approximately 100 feet. Fire tiger or bright orange and gold Rapalas worked well for brown trout and steelhead out by the northwest side of the island and close to shore by the river mouths. Also, monkey puke and bright yellow banana were good for lake trout in around 100 feet of water by clay banks. Trolling at lower speeds, around 1.8 mph, seemed to be good for catching salmon.

Munising: Fishing was reported to be relatively slow. Some anglers reported catching lake trout and a few Chinook salmon. Popular methods were jigs and spoons.

Grand Marais: A few boats were able to catch their limit of coho salmon. There were reports of steelhead being caught out from the mouth of the Sucker River. Popular methods included trolling Rapalas and spoons.

Lex Cheneaux/Detour: Anglers caught a few splake off the pier in Hessel, with most caught on smelt. The Atlantic salmon made their way into the marina but were reported to be very tricky to catch. Anglers are also reported getting a few splake while trolling in Wilderness Bay. Anglers who fished the Hill Island Bridge caught a few bass and plenty of suckers. In Detour, there were a few lake trout caught as well as a couple of Atlantic salmon, but overall, the fishing pressure was slow. Try early to mid-May for splake in the nearshore regions of the Les Cheneaux Islands, particularly around the towns of Cedarville and Hessel. Fish can range up to 30 inches, but most are 15-25 inches. Casting with spoons is practical, but live bait can be used as well.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers had luck fishing both from shore and from boats. Shore anglers found most of their fish using natural/live baits and letting them sit close to the bottom. Splake and rainbow trout were the main catches from shore. Boat anglers were successful during trolling and jigging trips, with jigging trips producing more lake trout and the trolling trips producing more salmon. Jigging trips were successful with both cut bait and plain hooks, while trolling was entirely done with plain hooks and artificial baits. Try getting on the water early and trolling near shore for those morning trout and salmon!

Traverse Bay/South Portage Entry Canal: Anglers had successful fishing trips when both trolling and jigging, with the focus being on salmon. These fishing events produced many more lake trout than salmon; however, a few coho and Chinook salmon were caught. Lake trout were found primarily in waters 100 feet and above but were sluggish in the earliest of morning hours. Lake trout were biting on both natural and artificial baits and were full of smelt at the surface. Following bait in the water column and fishing just off where you find them will result in the best lake trout fishing!

Fishing tip: Taking great catch-and-release photos

Are you an avid catch-and-release angler? Do you like to take photos of the fish you catch, prior to returning them to the water? Do you know the safest way to take these photos so you ensure the fish can live to be caught another day?

1. Wet your hands before you handle the fish – that way you won’t remove any of the protective mucus (aka slime) the fish has coating its body.

2. Remember fish cannot breathe out of water, so they will become uncomfortable rather quickly. Keep the fish in the water until your camera is ready to take the shot.

3. Take the photo with the fish close to the water, that way if it squirms out of your hands it will land in the water – not on a hard surface.

4. While holding a fish, do not pinch or squeeze it, and do not stick your fingers in its gills.

5. Be mindful of the different kinds of fish that have teeth and/or spines that could stick you.

Local Trending News