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Where the fish are biting this week, June 27 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 were fishing the waters off Cordwood Point and Lafayette Point (northeast point of Bois Blanc Island). They reported using everything to bring a fish in. They were using spoons, flashers, dodgers and flies across the water column. The fish were scattered but, when found, anglers brought in lake trout and Chinook, pink, coho and Atlantic salmon. Good colors to use were reported to be silver, chartreuse/lime and silver, blues, yellows and pink/white. Bass anglers did not have any luck at Duncan Bay. Anglers fishing the river caught smallmouth bass with chartreuse and pink soft plastics and with nightcrawlers. A few freshwater drum were caught near the DNR field station. Several walleye anglers were going out at night and were fishing near bottom using leeches or nightcrawlers and orange/chartreuse nightcrawler harnesses.

Alpena: Fishing pressure was reported to be low. Walleye anglers had limited success between Whitefish Point and North Point trolling crawler harnesses and crank baits between 16 and 20 feet of water. High winds kept the fish scattered and water temperatures fluctuating, so anglers had to do a lot of searching to find active fish. The waters around Sulfur Island and Partridge Point were also productive at times when using crawler harnesses in 18 to 20 feet of water. A few fish were caught in 8 to 15 feet of water after dark when trolling shallow running crank baits. Scarecrow Island and South Point were reported to have good numbers of walleye. Smallmouth bass, freshwater drum and a few pike were caught while trolling the weed lines close to shore in 14 to 18 feet of water.


Thunder Bay River: The Thunder Bay River saw good numbers of catfish being caught below the 2nd Avenue Bridge and Mill Island. Anglers harvested a few walleye, pike and freshwater drum near the 9th Avenue Bridge and below the dam.

Rockport: Anglers caught good numbers of all species when the weather allowed. Lake trout were found from False Presque Isle all the way to Middle Island, all throughout the water column. Dodgers and Spin-n-Glos in white, chartreuse and green, as well as a variety of spoons, were productive. Chinook, coho, Atlantic and pink salmon, steelhead and the occasional walleye were caught in the top 50 feet in depths of 90 to 115 feet of water. Spoons in orange, gold, green and watermelon were all productive.

Rogers City: Anglers were scattering all over the place up the lake toward 40-Mile Point, straight out and/or south toward Swan Bay and Adams Point. The fish were reported to be scattered, and anglers were running wide spreads using downriggers, lead core, copper and dipseys throughout the water column. Spoons were the main choice, with regular-sized spoons and the smaller ones seeming to work well. Good colors were greens, blues, blue/silver, green/silver, yellow and oranges, and black/white glow stuff early and late. Brighter colors were best up high, especially in the top 20 feet of water for steelhead, coho salmon and Atlantic salmon. Anglers were fishing in anywhere from 50 to 120 feet of water, with 65 to 90 feet being best. Overall, anglers were catching a mixed bag consisting of lake trout, steelhead, Chinook salmon, coho salmon and Atlantic salmon, with an occasional walleye and pink salmon as well. Reminder that lake trout have to be 15 inches to keep, and you are allowed three per person. Lake trout were being caught on everything. The larger ones seemed to be caught both when trolling and on spoons. Dodgers and Spin-n-Glos also did well throughout the water column.

Hammond Bay: A couple anglers tried their luck this past week but did not have much success. Anglers reported that good places to try are the trench, Nine Mile Point or south toward the biological station. The best depths were approximately 60 to 120 feet of water, and deploying lines throughout the water column was reported to work well. Spoons seemed to be a good choice. Good colors were greens, blues, yellow, orange, black/white, and glow stuff early and late.


Tawas: Angling efforts remained low in Tawas Bay. Anglers who did make it out were able to bring home some walleye. Some of these walleye were caught on artificial baits, but most were caught on crawler harnesses, and anglers were going out deep to get them. Many catfish and freshwater drum were caught at Gateway Park near the mouth of the river.

Au Gres: Limits of walleye were caught in Au Gres using both artificial bait and crawler harnesses; however, in many cases, anglers were having to really look for them. The occasional yellow perch, northern pike, catfish, freshwater drum and white bass was also caught. Anglers going out from the Pine River showed similar results as Au Gres.

Oscoda: Coho and Atlantic salmon were reportedly being caught in low light conditions using spoons in 90 to 120 feet targeting the upper 20 to 25 feet of the water column. Pink salmon fishing remained good. Walleye fishing remained steady in the lower river and off the end of the pier. Boat anglers had success drifting crawlers with a spilt shot, single hook and whole crawler. Some walleye were caught casting deep-diving jerk baits off the end of the pier at dusk. Leeches under a deep slip bobber or off the bottom were productive for shore anglers targeting walleye. Smallmouth bass fishing picked up in the Au Sable River. Channel catfish were also being caught in decent numbers off the pier walkway using crawlers and cut bait.

Harrisville: Anglers fishing for lake trout were having to target deeper water to find good numbers of fish. A few steelhead and coho salmon were caught while trolling spoons in 70 to 100 feet of water using downriggers and lead core. There were a few walleye caught out of Black River when fishing the submerged rock islands with jigging raps. Bass and panfish were caught by anglers off the docks in the Harrisville marina.


Northwest Lower Peninsula

Manistee: A mix of Chinook salmon, coho salmon, steelhead and lake trout were caught along the shelf at various depths. Depths included 80 to 140 feet of water and out to 180 to 220 feet of water when fishing 45 to 120 feet down. Spoons, flasher/fly combinations and meat rigs all worked well. On the pier, bowfin and freshwater drum were caught inside the harbor with lures, alewife and crawlers. On the lake side, a couple steelhead were caught while using spawn. Early morning and late-night bites seemed to be best.

Ludington: A mix of small salmon, a lake trout or two, and a couple steelhead were caught straight out and south and northwest of town up to Big Sable Point in 70 to 100 feet of water and out to160 feet of water when fishing 60 to 80 feet down. Fishing was hit or miss; only a few large Chinook salmon were in the mix. The piers were reported to have been slow.

Frankfort: Anglers were starting to pick up a few mature Chinook salmon out front and trolling north to the point. Both blue and green spoons and green flies were reported to have worked best. Very good numbers and sizes of lake trout were reported in Platte Bay and Six Mile Hole by anglers trolling and jigging. There were reports of some small Chinook salmon in the area that are not tripping the releases, so make sure to check your lines often.

Charlevoix: Anglers fishing the piers had limited success targeting cisco and smallmouth bass. Consistent amounts of bait fish remained near the ends of the piers, staying shallow. Boat anglers had success both jigging and trolling for lake trout anywhere from 75 to 150 feet down using green, silver and blue lures. The occasional Chinook salmon was reported southwest of Charlevoix.


Little Traverse Bay: Bass anglers continued to report very steady numbers of smallmouth and the occasional largemouth. Casting jigs, twister baits and small jerk baits proved successful. Water temperatures hovered in the mid-60s fishing on the north side of the bay. Anglers targeting lake trout west of Harbor Springs near the refuge reported excellent numbers while fishing on the bottom.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Walleye anglers reported a tough bite, likely due to the presence of lots of bait such as alewives. Most anglers trolled crawler harnesses or crank baits; however, some also had success jigging. Bass anglers reported fair to good fishing. Some used reaction baits that resembled bait fish, while others used soft plastics that imitated gobies. Anglers found that most of the large bass moved out of the shallow spawning areas and were targeting deeper, cooler water. Anglers also reported encountering smallmouth bass feeding on alewives over deep water.

Manistique: Anglers targeting Chinook salmon reported fair to good fishing. Anglers were catching a variety of year classes. Fish were caught on both flasher/fly combinations and spoons. The typical salmon trolling spread, with a mixture of long lines, dipsy divers and rigger rods, was most prevalent.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers in both bays had success while trolling and jigging recently. Anglers who were jigging caught lake trout and lake whitefish. Whitefish were caught with bare hooks, while lake trout were caught with a mix of artificial and natural baits. Salmon were caught while trolling in the deeper areas of the bays. Most major salmon catches were during the later hours of the day.

Traverse Bay/ South Portage Entry Canal: Anglers fishing out of South Portage Entry reported catching lake trout consistently. Fish were caught while both trolling and jigging. While trolling, flies and spoons were the most common tackle that produced fish. Jigging trips were dominated by cut bait. Fish were caught all over the water column; however, they were found in shallower water during the mornings and went deeper as the day progressed.

Ontonagon River: Fishing on the river was limited over the past week, as frequent rain showers caused high turbidity in the river water. Walleye were reportedly being caught in low numbers. Anglers had the most luck when trolling in the early mornings.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: These ports saw average fishing efforts over the past week. Anglers were reportedly catching lake trout in respectable numbers. While these fish have been found at varying depths when trolling, most anglers have favored fishing deeper waters.

Black River Harbor: Angling efforts from the harbor were average over the past week. Reports show that those fishing were catching lake trout in respectable numbers. Fish were caught in varying water depths while trolling.

St. Ignace: Lake trout anglers were infrequently catching fish off Round Island or the north side of Mackinaw Island. They were relying on spoons that were pink and white, silver, and chartreuse in color. At the Carp River, pike were caught near the boat launch using baitfish. Leeches on slip bobbers were used for walleye. At the Pine River, the occasional pike and walleye were caught. Walleye boat anglers were trolling orange, gold and chartreuse nightcrawler harnesses. They were also jigging Rapalas at the mouth. Shore walleye anglers reported using leeches on slip bobbers. At both the Carp and Pine rivers, perch were being caught off the bottom with nightcrawlers.

Lex Cheneaux/DeTour: Poor weather limited fishing activity; however, when anglers got out, they brought in mixed bags of fish. In the Detour area, anglers were targeting hard-to-come-by Atlantic salmon but did well trolling with spoons in the flats for lake trout. The few who brought in Atlantic salmon were trolling around the lighthouse. There were a few Chinook salmon caught in that area as well. The smallmouth bass fishing around the island was decent, with a few anglers also trolling for walleye and having some luck upriver. In Les Cheneaux, anglers were struggling to get the perch in the marina to bite, but boat anglers did well fishing Marquette Bay. There were plenty of splake caught, as well as Atlantic salmon, Chinook salmon, lake trout and even a walleye. The Cora Dock in Cedarville produced some nice pike catches, and the herring bite was reported to have been on for a few days in McKay Bay.

Fishing tip: Fish deep for post-spawn bluegill

After spawning, bluegills will move to deeper water for the rest of the summer, and larger bluegills can be hard to locate. They can be found living near the top of the thermocline (the layer of water between the deep and surface water), where water temperatures approach 69 degrees. Depending on the lake, this depth usually will be somewhere between 12 and 18 feet.

To locate this depth, either use a lake thermometer, available at most larger tackle stores, or contact the nearest DNR office. If the lake has a public access site, fisheries biologists will have surveyed it and will have a temperature-oxygen profile of the lake. This chart will identify the depth with a temperature near 69 degrees.

Try fishing at this depth, where the 69-degree temperature is close to the bottom – usually at the deep edge of weed beds. Use light line (4-pound test or less) tipped with a white ice-fishing teardrop jig baited with a wax worm. Some anglers use slip bobbers, while others fish European-style, with very long fiberglass poles. Early morning and dusk are most productive.

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