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Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, July 5 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, Lafayette Point and Reynold's Reef. A good depth at Reynold's Reef was reported to be between 35 and 60 feet of water. Anglers were trolling cowbells and spoons, and flasher flies. Lucky anglers were primarily bringing in lake trout. Chinook salmon, coho salmon, Atlantic salmon and steelhead were all reported to be in the area. Chartreuse, silvers, blues, yellows and whites seemed to be the best colors. Anglers were catching pike near the river's mouth using large swim baits and spoons. Walleye anglers were fishing at night using nightcrawlers and leeches with slip bobbers near the drawbridge. Smallmouth bass and rock bass continued to be caught all along the river using soft plastics or nightcrawlers.

Alpena: Those fishing Thunder Bay reported good numbers of walleye, with some limit catches being taken. Crawler harnesses as well as crank baits were productive. Fish were found from Sulfur Island all the way to North Shore in 12 to 25 feet of water. Fish were scattered, so lines run through the water column had best results. Purple, green and chartreuse baits saw the best results.


Thunder Bay River: A few walleye were caught near the 9th Street Bridge when drifting leaches and crawlers. Those trolling had some success trolling harnesses and deep-diving crank baits. Good numbers of catfish were caught near the walking bridge and below the 2nd Street Bridge using crawlers and leeches.

Rockport: Due to high winds, fishing pressure was low. Those who did make it out found lake trout in waters 80 to 120 feet deep. Dodgers/Spin-n-Glos and spoons worked well, with chartreuse, white and greens being the best color choices. Anglers fishing 30 to 60 down in 100 to 200 feet of water caught Chinook salmon, coho salmon, pink salmon and the occasional walleye. Fish were scattered from Stoneport to as far south as the Nordmeer wreck. Walleye anglers targeted 30 to 50 feet of water around Middle Island and False Presque Isle. A few fish were caught on crank baits and smaller spoons trolled 15 to 40 feet down. Orange, greens and natural colors saw the best results.

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, so anglers were having to search for them. Anglers were running wide spreads using downriggers, lead core, copper and dipseys throughout the water column. Spoons were the main choice, with both regular-sized spoons and the smaller ones working well. Good colors have been greens, blues, blue and silver, green and silver, yellow, oranges, and black and white glow stuff. Brighter colors up high, especially in the top 20 feet of water for steelhead, coho salmon and Atlantic salmon, also did well. Anglers were fishing in anywhere from 50 to 120 feet of water, with 65 to 90 feet seeming to be the best. Anglers reported catching a mixed bag consisting of lake trout, steelhead, Chinook salmon, coho salmon and Atlantic salmon, with the occasional pink salmon and walleye also mixed in.

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.


Oscoda: The wind was a challenge this past week for offshore fishing; however, those who made it out did well. Anglers fishing in 90 to 120 feet of water using spoons and three-five-color lead core and/or downriggers targeting 20 to 30 feet down had success catching Atlantic salmon, coho salmon and pink salmon along with a good number of steelhead. Walleye fishing in the lower Au Sable River was reported to have been great. Anglers pulling crawler harnesses with 1-ounce bottom-bouncers or drifting whole crawlers with split shots had success catching walleye, with a few anglers taking their limit. Drifting slip bobbers set at 13 to 15 feet with a crawler also produced walleye for pier anglers. The catfish and freshwater drum were abundant in the lower river and were caught off the pier using a pyramid weight and crawlers.

Harrisville: Anglers who were able to get offshore this week had success catching Atlantic salmon, coho salmon and steelhead, with a few Chinook salmon mixed in. Anglers fishing in 70 to 90 feet of water using five-seven-color lead and downriggers targeting 25 to 30 feet down near Sturgeon Point had the most success. Orange and silver, red and silver, and blue and silver spoons yielded the best results. A few pink salmon also were caught. A couple lake trout were caught out of the Black River as well.

Tawas: Winds kept many anglers off the water. Shore anglers at Gateway Park were trying to find fish but did not have much luck.

Au Gres: Anglers reported marking fish, but many were not able to get them to bite. There were a few groups able to bring some walleye home when trolling crawlers around the Charities. Anglers catching their limits seemed to be few and far between the last few days.


Northwest Lower Peninsula

Manistee: Windy weather limited boating activity this past week. However, on days anglers were able to make it out, Chinook salmon of all sizes, coho salmon, lake trout and steelhead were caught straight out from town and to the south in 150 to 200 feet of water when fishing 50 to 80 feet down. Spoons, flasher/fly combinations, and meat rigs all worked well. On the pier, freshwater drum, bowfin and smallmouth bass were being caught with live bait and lures. On the lake side, steelhead action slowed down following the winds.

Ludington: Windy weather limited boating activity this past week. Chinook salmon were caught northwest of town up to Big Sable Point in 70 to 160 feet of water when fishing 60 to 80 feet down. The piers were reported to be slow.

Frankfort: Larger Chinook salmon were starting to show up on a regular basis. Anglers were reporting catches in 120 to 180 feet of water while trolling the top 80 feet with a temperature break around the 50-foot mark. Good numbers of lake trout were reported from anglers trolling and jigging in the Platte Bay and Six-Mile Hole area.

Onekama: Anglers heading straight out to 130 to 200 feet of water and trolling north were reporting moderate numbers of Chinook salmon and lake trout in the top 60 feet of water, with spoons and flies seeming to work best. Bottom-bouncing cowbells was also reported to work well for catching lake trout.


Charlevoix: Boat anglers targeting salmon found slow but steady numbers of mature Chinook salmon anywhere from Fisherman's Island to North Point. Anglers were trolling 80 to 150 feet of water with lines set around 60 feet down. Anglers targeting lake trout found the most success fishing between Fisherman's Island and Point Medusa. Anglers have reported steady volumes of bait fish scattered throughout the water column.

Little Traverse Bay: Anglers reported slow numbers of summer steelhead making their way into the Bear River. Fishing spawn and flies while bottom-bouncing seemed to produce the most consistent results. Those targeting salmon also picked up the occasional steelhead while trolling. Those trolling for salmon west of the bay reported slow but steady numbers of Chinook salmon, the occasional coho and slow numbers of lake trout. Anglers fishing near the lake trout refuge reported steady numbers in 65 to 100 feet of water. Fishing green, silver and blue spoons and flasher flies have produced the best results.

Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers were reporting steady catches of lake trout, along with some salmon in fewer numbers, during trolling trips in Keweenaw Bay. In Huron Bay, early mornings proved to be great opportunities for whitefish jigging. Whitefish were biting on either small jigging spoons or baited lures. Anglers were mostly trolling shorelines and drop-offs during their most successful days, and fish were biting on all types of artificial presentations. Anglers who were trolling in water 60 to 120 feet from the surface found both salmon and lake trout suspended in the water column.

Traverse Bay/South Portage Entry Canal: Anglers reported many successful trips this past week, especially when trolling and jigging. While jigging, anglers found lake trout when using cut bait and lures such as jigging spoons. These fish were caught on the bottom as well as suspended in the bottom third of the water column. Most of these fish were caught in the morning; however, anglers did still get them to bite throughout most of the day. During trolling trips, anglers were able to find salmon and lake trout. Some Chinook salmon were caught north from Portage Entry, and loads of lake trout were found with them. Most trolling was successful in the top half of the water column.

St. Ignace: Lake trout anglers were trolling flasher flies and dodgers in 45 to 50 feet of water along the northeast side of Mackinac Island. Good colors to use were reported to be chartreuse, whites and silvers. Pike were caught in St. Martin's Bay near the Carp River's mouth using chartreuse and silver spoons. The occasional walleye was caught at the Pine River using chartreuse soft plastics and nightcrawler harnesses with orange or chartreuse colors.

Fishing tip: Fishing with crankbaits

Many anglers love to fish with crankbaits (also known as plugs), a type of hard-bodied fishing lure. Here are some criteria to think about when selecting a crankbait.

Body shape

Fat-bodied crankbaits that are shorter will displace more water and create more vibration. Many anglers prefer this type of crankbait when fishing in dark water or at night.

Thin-profile crankbaits glide through the water with minimal resistance. This option is great when fishing clear water and targeting species that are sight feeders.


Crankbaits with less buoyancy are better suited for water with minimal cover and clean bottoms, while those with more buoyancy are better for fishing around cover.

Crankbaits can be a great lure option when targeting walleye, bass or muskellunge (among other species). Consider trying one out during your next fishing trip!

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