DNR Weekly Fishing report

Inland lakes producing some bluegill, crappie, bass; walleye caught during low light

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Weekly Fishing Report – August 15, 2019

fishing map

Southwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Southeast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Northeast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Northwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Upper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report


Inland lakes are producing some bluegill, crappie and bass, but you may have to fish deeper and target the weed beds when it is very hot. Walleye were caught during low-light periods. Salmon are slowly starting to head toward the rivers.

All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: The walleye bite picked up and limit catches were taken north of Stony Point and off Fermi in 21 to 26 feet. Most did well on bottom bouncers with harnesses however those using hard baits, inline weights, and other methods also did well.  White bass, white perch, catfish and freshwater drum were also caught. A fair number of yellow perch were caught off Fermi, north of the E-Buoy and about three miles straight out from the Edison stacks in 24 feet. Good catfish action in the Hot Pond with crawlers. Some pike were caught when casting chatter baits around the islands near Pt. Mouillee.    

Detroit River: Walleye fishing slowed considerably. A few were taken in the shipping channel. Smallmouth bass were caught in the rocky areas. Perch fishing was slow.

Lake St. Clair: The lake is relatively warm. Fishing slowed a bit however walleye were still being caught in the early morning or late evening with bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses. A fair to good number of smallmouth bass have been caught. 

St. Clair River: Had decent walleye fishing. Yellow perch were caught near the weed beds in the Middle Channel. 

Lexington and Port Sanilac: Conditions were rough the beginning of the week. At Lexington, those trolling for trout and salmon did not have much luck. At Port Sanilac, those looking for yellow perch had no luck. 

Harbor Beach: Lake trout are still scattered, but some were taken out in 200 feet or more on dodgers with spin-glo’s or spoons. Walleye were caught in 30 to 70 feet when trolling small spoons, body baits or a crawler harness with offshore boards. Bass are close to shore and hitting small spoons and body baits.

Grindstone City: A couple walleye were taken on a crawler harness and plastics. 

Port Austin: Was also producing a few walleye.    

Saginaw Bay: A nice catch of yellow perch was recorded down near the Saganing and Pinconning Bars in 17 feet with minnows. Perch were also caught near Sailboat Buoys A & F or the old shipping channel in 17 feet with worms. Walleye were found near Buoys 1 & 2 in 25 to 30 feet, the Spark Plug in 22 to 25 feet or the Callahan Reef in 14 feet when trolling crawlers. The action from Quanicassee to Fish Point was starting to drop off. Those off Quanicassee, Sunset Bay and Sebewaing were fishing the Slot, the Bar, the shipping channel and the middle of the bay in 30 feet plus but had a hard time locating active fish. Most boats were 0-6 walleye. Try a crawler harness or body baits.   

Saginaw River: Shore anglers fishing the lower river near Essexville caught channel cats and freshwater drum at Smith Park when using worms.

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph: Had good perch fishing in 45 to 50 feet, but a few good catches were also taken in 30 feet. Salmon anglers are catching lake trout in 80 to 100 feet. Pier fishing remains slow except for freshwater drum hitting on crawlers. 

St. Joseph River: Panfish were caught in Union City. Catfish were hitting worms and small bluegills at night. 

South Haven: Perch fishing here was a little inconsistent, but overall there were still good numbers of fish being caught. The best depth seems to change from 30 to 35 feet or as high as 50 feet. Salmon anglers managed to get a couple fish well past 120 feet however most were getting lake trout in 80 to 100 feet. Pier fishing was slow. 

Lake Macatawa: A couple nice flathead catfish were taken by those still-fishing with crawlers at night. 

Grand Haven: The Harbor Island launch parking lot is still underwater. Catch rates slowed however a mix of trout and salmon were taken 40 to 110 feet down in 100 to 200 feet with green, orange and glow spoons or plugs. A few salmon were also taken on green and red meat rigs. Pier anglers caught largemouth bass on gobies and tube jigs. 

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Did not have much action except for a few catfish taken mostly at night. 

Grand River at Lansing: Continues to produce bass in the early morning. Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge was the hot spot for bass, bluegills and catfish. Good numbers of pike were reported in Jackson County. 

Lake Ovid: Was producing bluegills and a few bass. 

Maple River: Anglers caught bluegills, small bass, bowfin and the occasional pike. 

Muskegon: The salmon and trout action was slow, but the better fishing was 45 to 120 feet down in 130 to 200 feet with green, blue and orange spoons. Glow spoons and plugs work well in low-light conditions. 

Muskegon River: Perch and walleye have been caught at both Croton and Hardy Ponds. Perch fishing was good near Big Bend Park on Hardy. Walleye and panfish ere caught below Rogers Dam. A few salmon are moving into the river below Croton Dam. 

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan: Boat anglers are catching walleye, Chinook, coho and lake trout on spoons and meat rigs. Fish Bois Blanc Island off Lafayette Point, Round Island and Mackinac Island.   

Cheboygan River: Shore anglers drifting, and bottom bouncing worms caught walleye. Smallmouth bass, rock bass, bullhead, pike and a couple freshwater drum were also caught when bottom bouncing with worms.   

Rogers City: The better fishing was about 70 feet down in 90 to 100 feet where Chinook and lake trout were caught. Deploy lines throughout the water column and focus near the thermocline with spoons. Anglers are starting to use attractors with flies, squid and cut bait. Good colors were green, blue, black and white or glow early and late. Fish caught very early before sunup or after sunset. 

Presque Isle: The water was very warm, so anglers had to go out to 120 feet or deeper. Lake trout were found near the bottom. The occasional Chinook, coho and steelhead were also caught. Once the cooler temperatures return with a east/southeast wind, fishing should improve. Salmon were hitting orange spoons up high while the lake trout were hitting flashers with spin-glo’s, cut bait and spoons.

Grand Lake: Had good smallmouth bass fishing. 

Long Lake: Walleye fishing was fair. 

Alpena: Salmon and trout anglers found lake trout, walleye, and a couple steelhead when trolling spoons, meat rigs, and flies in 80 to 150 feet along the “Humps” off Thunder Bay Island and around the Nordmeer Wreck. Lake trout were near bottom and the thermocline while the steelhead and walleye were at the thermocline and higher. Walleye were caught trolling crank baits or harnesses in 25 to 60 feet off North Shore, North Point, Thunder Bay Island, Sulphur Island and Scarecrow Island. 

Thunder Bay River: The walleye bite was slow. Those casting crank baits caught a few pike, smallmouth bass and odd walleye. Those using crawlers caught smallmouth, rock bass and channel cats. 

Van Etten Lake: A few walleye and pike were taken when trolling a crawler harness and bottom bouncer just off the weed beds in the main basin. Those casting spoons caught pike. Yellow perch were taken when floating a jig with minnows or crawlers.   

Oscoda: Those trolling caught salmon and trout on spoons, meat rigs and flies. Blue, chartreuse, yellow, orange, and purple were good colors. Most were taken in 120 to 180 feet, but a few were as shallow as 80 feet. Lake trout were found in the bottom 25 feet and the Atlantics, coho and steelhead were near the thermocline. Pink salmon and walleye were at the thermocline and above. Try running lines with or without attractors throughout the column. Pier anglers caught a couple very nice channel cats, rock bass, smallmouth bass and the occasional crappie on crawlers.  The catfish bite was best after dark. Walleye were slow, but a couple were taken on crawlers or crank baits in the evening. 

Au Sable River: Smallmouth bass, rock bass, bowfin, freshwater drum and a couple nice channel cats were caught near the mouth when drifting crawlers. Pike were caught when casting crank baits in the deeper holes. Walleye, smallmouth and rock bass were caught near Foote Dam when drifting crawlers. 

Higgins Lake: Those trolling were still taking some lake trout near the bottom in 80 to 100 feet. Perch were caught along the south end or northwest side of the Sunken Island in 35 to 40 feet however anglers are still sorting out the small ones. Rock bass are everywhere. 

Houghton Lake: Fishing was slow. The fish are up in the weeds as they search for cover especially on the hot sunny days. A few walleye were caught in 8 to 12 feet when drifting a crawler harness or leeches. The panfish bite was slow; however those caught in 6 to 12 feet or so have been some nice fish. 

Lake St. Helen: Was producing some bass along with a few panfish. 

Tawas: Those trolling spoons caught Chinook, and Atlantic salmon along with brown trout, lake trout and walleye in the top 40 of waters 80 to 90 feet deep. Inside the bay near Buoys 4 and 6, walleye were caught on crawlers and body baits. Pier anglers also caught a few fish when casting a crawler harness or lure.   

Au Gres: Walleye fishing slowed between Pt. Au Gres and Pt. Lookout; however anglers were still getting few on crawlers or crank baits in 25 to 35 feet. The better fishing was north of Big Charity Island in 30 to 35 feet with crawlers and body baits. A few very small perch were caught off the docks at the access site. Walleye fishing slowed near the Pine River with only a few taken on crawlers in 13 to 18 feet. 

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Harbor Springs: A few lake trout were caught around Harbor Point and a couple salmon were reported between Harbor Point and Five Mile Point. 

Petoskey: Most boat anglers were targeting salmon but catch rates were a bit slow with only a couple fish taken 75 to 140 feet down with spoons, flies and meat rigs. Lake trout were 95 to 120 feet down. 

Bear River: Had lower flow however a couple small rainbow trout were caught at the dam. Down near the mouth, catch rates at the “Bobber Hole” and D Pier were slow.    

Charlevoix: Catch rates for lake trout were not great but many are targeting salmon instead. Lake trout were caught 100 to 125 feet down at both North and South Points. Catch rates for Chinook were slow with only a few taken about 40 feet down in 70 to 80 feet. Smallmouth bass action was good in the channel however few were keepers. Try real or artificial worms and leeches on the bottom.    

Lake Charlevoix: Smallmouth bass action was better as some were getting limit catches.

Lake Bellaire: Was producing some walleye and bass. 

Traverse City: Fishing slowed on the East Bay. Boats caught very few trout and no salmon. On the Elk River, anglers caught a couple rock bass, smallmouth bass and the odd sunfish on crawlers. On the West Bay, salmon fishing was hit-or-miss in the early morning and evening along the south end. Bass were caught in deep water around Power Island or south of Bowers Harbor. The rare whitefish was caught when jigging near Lee Point. At Northport, pier anglers caught smallmouth and rock bass. Fishing was very slow on the Boardman River. 

Lake Leelanau: Walleye were caught at the south end of South Lake Leelanau with crawlers or crank baits. 

Frankfort: Chinook salmon were becoming more active in the evening as the sun is setting and were found in the top 60 to 90 feet of waters 120 to 160 feet deep. Most were trolling spoons, but J-plugs were also taking fish. Lake trout were still hitting spin-glo’s just off the bottom at the Six Mile Hole. Coho were off the point in Platte Bay.   

Onekama: Those trolling straight out and north to Arcadia Bluff in 150 to 220 feet caught Chinook in the early morning or evening on green or blue spoons. 

Portage Lake: Bass anglers reported moderate catches along the drop-offs in 15 to 18 feet. With the high water, only a few panfish were caught near the buoys. 

Manistee: Surface water temperatures were up near 70 degrees. Big, healthy Chinook salmon continue to come in including many over 30 pounds. The fish were scattered. Chinook and steelhead were taken 40 to 60 feet down in 100 to 300 feet as well as 50 to 80 feet down in 500 feet or more. Some reported a mixed bag of Chinook, coho and steelhead. Spoons and meat rigs caught the most fish. Pier fishing was slow. 

Hamlin Lake: Fishing was still tough because of the warm water and weeds. Some did manage a couple walleye per trip in 20 to 40 feet with a crawler harness or body bait. Bass anglers did fair. Some found fish in shallow water near shore when it was calm, while others found them in 15 to 20 feet. Most were largemouth, but a couple nice smallmouth were caught in front of the dunes and on the east side of Lower Hamlin.

Ludington: Surface temperature readings were near 72 degrees. Though the fish were a bit scattered, big Chinook salmon are coming in. Most were 50 to 80 feet down in 400 feet or more. Chinook, steelhead and a small number of coho were 40 to 60 feet down in 90 to 300 feet. Meat rigs and spoons worked best. Chinook are also being caught around the piers.    

Pere Marquette Lake: Anglers are catching Chinook salmon in the channel and the lake. Those trolling were using J-plugs. 

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Upper Peninsula

Portage Lake: Walleye anglers were getting fish. Target the drop-offs and weed lines.  Shore anglers may find a few fish at night near the bridge. 

Keweenaw Bay: Good numbers of lake trout were caught by those trolling or jigging. Anglers were starting to see Chinook and coho as well. Fishing depths and tactics are still sporadic, but if you find significant changes in water temperatures, drop some spoons and put in a little time; you just might catch some fish.   

Marquette: Lake trout fishing was still hit-or-miss as lots of fish were marked but they did not want to bite. Boats had better luck near Granite Island in 120 to 170 feet where the fish were in the bottom 60 feet. No reports of salmon, but we should start seeing some fish anytime now. 

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye action picked up for those trolling or jigging in 14 to 30 feet along the reefs. There are still a lot of undersize fish in the area. The best catches were near the “Fingers,” Minneapolis Shoals in 18 to 26 feet or near Round Island in 10 feet when trolling crawlers and stick baits. Fair perch catches near the Second Reef with crawlers in 10 to 14 feet and off Gladstone Beach in 18 feet. Pike were caught throughout with the best catches taken near Kipling along Butler Island, near the coal docks and between the mouth of the Escanaba River and the Municipal docks with spinners and crank baits. Smallmouth bass slowed; however the better catches were up near Garth Point and along the banks of the rivers when using plastics. Salmon anglers were having a tough year, but some were still trying. Salmon along with baitfish were marked just north of the Ford River Buoy in 50 feet, but no fish were caught. 

Big Bay De Noc: Bass fishing picked up. 

Manistique: Salmon anglers reported very few catches. Many are starting to check the staging areas north of the Buoy and closer to the launch. Northern pike anglers reported excellent catches near the mouth of the river when trolling spinners or crank baits along the breakwalls. Shore anglers casting crank baits were also taking fish. 

Manistique River: The walleye action slowed; however a few fish could still be found up near the Paper Mill when casting jigs with a crawler. There were reports of a Chinook salmon caught in the river, so the early stages of the run are beginning. 

Munising: Fewer anglers were out as lake trout fishing was slower. Target the White Rocks, Wood Island Reef and Grand Portal. Those heading out towards Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore will want to keep a safe distance from the cliffs, especially after a massive section of the cliff fell into Lake Superior recently. It happened between Miners Beach and Mosquito Beach, where the cliffs are 200 feet high.    

Grand Marais: Fishing pressure has been low. Surface water temperatures within the marina were in the upper 60’s. Those targeting lake trout reported fair catches from Five Mile Reef to Au Sable Point. 

St. Marys River: Was producing Atlantic salmon and whitefish behind the Cloverland Powerhouse. Walleye have been caught throughout the river. 

Detour: When the weather cooperated, anglers caught Atlantic and Chinook salmon within 300 yards of the lighthouse. Chinook were caught near Fry Pan Island. The thermocline at Detour Reef was at 45 feet in 80 to 100 feet. Atlantics prefer a 4-inch spoon in orange and chartreuse or pink and white, while the Chinook were hitting 5-inch spoons in blue and chrome or purple and black with a white ladder back. 

Cedarville and Hessel: Pike anglers reported fair catches when trolling in Snows Channel and from Dollar Island to Connors Point with large bucktail spinners with yellow spotted blades in 6 to 8 feet. A chrome spoon with a red eye did well just off the weed beds in 4 to 6 feet in the early morning. Fish were also found between Little La Salle Island and Peck Bay in 18 to 20 feet with creek chubs or large minnows. Some nice large and smallmouth bass were caught when casting spinners and crank baits around the docks throughout the Les Cheneaux Islands. Hessel had reports of yellow perch moving into the finger docks in the marina. Fish 8-10 inches were caught on worms and shiners. A few lake trout and Chinook were caught at Goose Island.  Good bass fishing for large and smallmouth in Mackinaw Bay. Also try around Echo Island and Lone Susan Island. 

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Fishing Tip: Understanding water temps & their impact on fishing

We bring you this oldie, but goodie fishing tip from 2014. Courtesy of Suzanne Stone, the Program Support Section manager out of Lansing.

As Michigan’s inland lakes warm up in mid to late summer, knowledge of a water body’s temperature stratification becomes helpful for fishing. Seasonal temperature influences in lakes form different zones, and as a result, different temperature ranges and oxygen levels are associated with these layers. Knowledge of these layers or zones can lead to increased angling success.

The warm surface zone is called the epilimnion and has an abundance of oxygen. The bottom zone is called the hypolimnion and is typically cold and depleted of oxygen. The middle zone is the thermocline and the point at which warm oxygen rich top water is separated from the cold, oxygen depleted water below. The thermocline may prove to be a great depth at which to fish due to the abundance of oxygen and temperature found “in between” very warm and very cold. This ideal zone in most Michigan inland lakes typically will be between 10 to 30 feet, depending on lake size and depth. Just like us humans, fish need oxygen to breath and many don’t particularly like to be too warm or too cold.

If fishing in shallow water bodies, look for shaded areas provided by large floating vegetation, overhanging vegetation, submerged logs, or other woody debris which provides water that is a little cooler and cover, where many fish species prefer to spend their time. Also don’t forget to try fishing at night during the summer “doldrums” when water temperatures reach seasonal highs. Many fish species become active at night with relief from the daytime sun and heat.

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This report is intended to give you an idea of what is going on around the state. Updates come from Fisheries staff and conservation officers. With more than 11,000 inland lakes, the Great Lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams, not all locations can be listed. However, it is safe to say if a species is being caught in some waters in the area, they are likely being caught in all waters in that section of the state that have that species