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Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, June 20 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

Cheboygan: Anglers targeting lake trout found fish just south of Reynold’s Reef trolling Spin-n-Glos between 15 and 25 feet of water. Good colors used for Spin-n-Glos were pink/white and purple/chartreuse. Steelhead, coho salmon, Atlantic salmon and pink salmon were all caught within the top 25 feet of water using spoons that were orange, pink, silver or chartreuse. Keeper-sized pike were caught off the first lighthouse from the mouth of the Cheboygan River. Smaller pike, between 10 and 18 inches, were found off the Cheboygan pier. Smallmouth bass and rock bass were being caught all throughout the Cheboygan River. Some keeper-sized smallmouth bass were caught across from the DNR field station and below the dam. A couple drum and carp were caught as well. Most anglers reported using night crawlers.

Alpena: Walleye fishing remained hit or miss near shore in Thunder Bay. High winds and fluctuating water temperatures caused fish to scatter. A few fish were caught in 14 to 18 feet of water near the cement plant and Grass Island on crawler harnesses and deep-diving crank baits. Catfish, freshwater drum and a few northern pike were also caught. Sulfur and Scarecrow Islands were productive, with most fish being caught after dark on crank baits. Purples, chartreuse and blue/silver were the most productive colors. Walleye and smallmouth bass were found along North Shore to North Point. Blade baits and jigging plastics were good for bass around the rocks in 8 to 12 feet of water, while deep-diving crank baits and spoons produced walleye in 16 to 25 feet of water. Those targeting the 60- to 90-foot depths found good numbers of lake trout as well as Atlantic salmon, Chinook salmon and steelhead. Flashers and Spin-n-Glos in chartreuse worked well for trout near the bottom, while salmon and steelhead were found in the top half of the water column. Standard-sized spoons in green, gold and orange were most productive for silver fish.


Thunder Bay River: The Thunder Bay River was producing catfish, freshwater drum, smallmouth bass and the occasional walleye. Crawler harnesses fished near the bottom caught the majority of the fish throughout the day.

Rockport: Good numbers of steelhead, salmon and lake trout were caught by anglers. Fish were scattered top to bottom from Middle Island to Stoneport. Flashers/Spin-n-Glos caught lake trout near the bottom while chartreuse, watermelon and gold/orange spoons saw the best results in the middle of the water column. Anglers found fish in anywhere from 30 to 90 feet of water. A few bonus catches of walleye and pink salmon were reported from lines run at 20 to 35 feet down in 50 to 70 feet of water.

Rogers City: Anglers who targeted the 40-Mile Point area reported catching a mixed bag. Good numbers of lake trout were caught, along with an occasional steelhead, Atlantic salmon, coho salmon, pink salmon and Chinook salmon. The steelhead, coho salmon and Atlantic salmon were most commonly found in the top 25 feet of water. Regular-size spoons in bright and flashy colors worked well. Lake trout were caught all throughout the water column. Flashers with Spin-n-Glos did better near the bottom. Chinook salmon catches came early and late, with a few midday as well. Anglers fishing early and late were using spoons that glow for best results and were catching them around the middle part of the water column. Good colors were reported to be greens, blues, white and black, and oranges. Anglers fishing south between Swan Bay and Adams Point were fishing similar stuff.

Tawas: Shore anglers at Gateway Park were able to catch a few largemouth bass, bluegill, rock bass and some throwback perch.


Au Gres: Some boats came back with their limit of walleye, along with a perch here and there, while others only managed to get a couple fish. Limits were caught going south past the nets in about 30 feet of water on crawler harnesses. Fishing out from the Pine River was reported to have been spotty. Walleye were caught on both crawler harnesses and body baits, along with a handful of freshwater drum, white bass and the occasional perch. Largemouth bass were also being caught.

Oscoda: Walleye fishing in the lower Au Sable River seemed to slow down. A few were still being caught drifting a crawler on a single hook under split shot or trolling crawler harnesses and crank baits. Lake trout were still being caught offshore out of Oscoda on spoons. Pink salmon were reported to have been picking up, with good reports coming from 80 to 100 feet of water, targeting the upper 20 to 25 feet of the water column on spoons or Spin-n-Glos.

Au Sable River: The hex were reported to have started emerging throughout the Au Sable River.

Harrisville: Lake trout fishing remained decent, with anglers beginning to target deeper water. A few Atlantic salmon and steelhead were reportedly caught offshore trolling spoons on lead core and downriggers. Walleye fishing remained slow.


Northwest Lower Peninsula

Manistee: Mostly small Chinook salmon and lake trout were reported from the shelf in 150 to 200 feet of water. Fishing was generally slow; however, in the mix came a couple large Chinook salmon. Early morning and late-night bites were reported to be best.

Ludington: A mix of small Chinook salmon, lake trout and a couple steelhead were caught straight out and toward Big Sable Point. Fishing was hit or miss. The piers were slow; however, some smallmouth bass were reported from the harbor. Early morning and late-night bites were reported to be best.

Frankfort: Anglers were reporting catches of Chinook salmon (mostly small ones) and lake trout in 130 to 150 feet of water when trolling the top 40 to 80 feet. Both blue and green spoons seemed to be the best colors, and the morning bite was reported to be a bit better than the rest of the day. Anglers who headed north to the 6 Mile hole reported good numbers of lake trout throughout the day.

Onekama: Anglers were heading out deep to 140 to 200 feet of water. Reports show that working the top 80 feet did best with spoons. To finish the trips, anglers were bottom-bouncing through the “Barrel” with cow bells.


Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Smallmouth bass anglers were catching quality fish. They also noted that most of the fish had moved off beds. Anglers reported catching fish both in the shallows and deeper near bait, although fish were harder to entice due to the mayfly hatch earlier in the week. Additionally, some anglers had success targeting bass in open water, where they were feeding on alewives. Walleye anglers reported a tough bite, as walleye are also feeding on the plentiful supply of alewives. Minneapolis Shoals and “black bottom” offered some action, although overall anglers were struggling.

Manistique: Anglers reported some bait showing up. However, the bite was tough, and there were only a few reports of Chinook salmon being caught. Flasher/fly combinations or spoons were the preferred lures anglers used when trolling.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers who were able to get out in the last week found plenty of lake trout while jigging and trolling, but the catch on salmon slowed down from previous weeks. Reports indicated that the fish were holding near bait balls, and fish were biting soft while trolling and jigging. Lake trout were found throughout the water column and during all times of the day, but a majority of the fish were caught during the mornings. Most large salmon were reported to have been caught during slightly windy days before noon.

Traverse Bay/South Portage Entry Canal: Anglers were having successful fishing trips while both trolling and jigging, with the focus being on salmon. Jigging produced more fish when anglers were using cut bait of either smelt or sucker; however, lake trout were biting on both natural and artificial presentations. Trolling trips produced lake trout mainly, with plenty of good-sized fish being caught. Some anglers also targeted northern pike in the nearshore water in former weed beds with some luck.

Ontonagon River: Fishing was tough over the past week, as recent storms caused high turbidity in river waters. Some walleye were still being caught, most successfully in the early morning hours. Trolling artificial lures has recently been the best reported method used.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: These ports saw somewhat low fishing efforts over the past week, with inclement weather being a primary cause. Reports show that anglers were catching lake trout in average numbers. These fish were found at varying depths while trolling.

Black River Harbor: Angling efforts at the harbor were limited by weather conditions over the past week. Those who got out on the lake reported catching lake trout in average numbers. Angler reports show that the fish being caught while trolling are in varying water depths.

Le Cheneaux/De Tour: Anglers in Detour had luck catching plenty of lake trout when trolling with spoons in the flats. Lake trout were also reported to have been caught when jigging in 80 to 100 feet of water. There were a few Atlantic salmon caught when trolling around both the lighthouse and the green can area in approximately 45 feet of water. In Hessel, high numbers of perch were reported to be present; however, anglers were unable to get them to bite. Leaches, minnows, wax worms, leaf worms and wigglers were all reported to have been used to try and catch the perch. There were a few splake hanging around the area. A few anglers were lucky enough to pick some of them off using single eggs or casting stick baits. There were also some nice smallmouth bass spotted swimming along the concrete wall. Boat anglers caught a few pike and smallmouth bass within Mismer, Hessel and Musky bays. There were also perch reports in Moscow Channel.

St. Ignace: Lake trout anglers caught fish trolling spoons in 40 feet of water between Bois Blanc and Mackinac islands. Good spoon colors to use were reported to be pinks, whites and chartreuse. At the Carp River, a pike was caught near the boat launch using baitfish. At the Pine River, there were smaller walleye caught using night crawler harnesses with orange, red and white, and gold colors on the blades.

Fishing tip: Using a float while fishing

Floats can be a useful tool for anglers looking to find bigger fish while also enjoying a relaxing fishing opportunity, sitting back and letting the gear work its magic.

Using a float, such as a traditional bobber, classic teardrop or oval-shaped option, will allow fish to have time to check out your bait up close and decide if they want to take a bite.

Anglers will also need to decide between using a spring-type fixed bobber or a slip bobber. A slip bobber offers you more flexibility because it can move up and down the line – depending on where you put a stopper.

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