DNR Weekly Fishing Report

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Weekly Fishing Report – August 1, 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


Windy conditions have made big water fishing a little more difficult, plus warmer water temperatures in many parts slowed activity down. But anglers are still catching fish with Chinook, lake trout, smallmouth bass and walleye being the more active species.

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

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Has not had a lot of fishing due to strong winds and the algae bloom. Overall, the walleye bite on the Michigan side has slowed. The few that were caught came from waters north of Stony Point, near Fermi and the Dumping Ground. Those trolling also caught freshwater drum, white bass, white perch and channel cats. A few yellow perch were caught off the River Raisin when using minnows but no limit catches.

Lake St. Clair: Walleye and smallmouth bass action continued to be fair. Water in front of the Metropark and Masonic Park seemed to be best for walleye. Anglers were also catching drum and rock bass. Smallmouth bass action was fair along the mile roads and near the Metropark in 18 to 21 feet of water. Northern pike were caught there as well. Muskie action was good around the Dumping Grounds and near the Clinton River. A fair number of yellow perch were taken from the shipping channel by those trolling with perch and walleye harnesses.

Lexington and Port Sanilac: Most of the boating activity at Lexington was pleasure boats. At Port Sanilac, the yellow perch were scattered so anglers were not having much luck.

Harbor Beach: The fish were scattered. Lake trout were taken in 200 feet or more when trolling dodgers and spin-glo’s or spoons. For steelhead, try straight out and north of the harbor with bright colored spoons. Walleye were caught straight out and north of the harbor in 35 to 75 feet with Hot-n-Tot’s or a crawler harness and offshore boards. Bass were caught close to shore when casting small spoons and body baits.

Port Austin: Had reports of walleye being caught around the lighthouse when trolling a crawler harness.

Saginaw Bay: Walleye were caught when trolling crawlers near the State Park in 10 to 12 feet and near Sailboat Buoy-F with crawlers and spoons.

Saginaw River: Shore anglers in the lower river near Smith Park caught smallmouth bass, channel cats, freshwater drum and the odd walleye when floating worms.

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph: Perch fishing was pretty good this past week, although fish were scattered. The most productive water was around 35 feet. South of the piers seemed to produce more fish than the north. Boat anglers caught lake trout in 120 feet of water. Pier anglers caught lots of catfish and a few steelhead. 

South Haven: Poor weather and rough waves hampered fishing. A few salmon anglers caught lake trout and the occasional steelhead. The most productive depth was around 80 to 90 feet of water. Pier anglers caught steelhead, but lake temperatures warmed and the fishing slowed. Perch fishing remained steady in 40 feet of water.

Grand Haven: Boats were starting to see an increase in salmon numbers with the best action found 40 to 120 feet down in 110 to 180 feet of water. Glow spoons worked well, along with green or blue meat rigs. Lake trout were caught off the bottom with yellow spin-glo’s, Pier anglers caught largemouth bass on worms and gobies. Steelhead action slowed due to warmer water temps.

Morrison Lake: Was producing limit catches of panfish.

Muskegon: A mix of trout and salmon were caught at 45 to 125 feet down in 100 to 180 feet of water. Meat rigs worked well in green, red and blue. Lake trout were caught on yellow spin-glo’s.

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan: Anglers caught Chinook, lake trout and walleye when trolling spoons and meat rigs off Lafayette Point on Bois Blanc Island. The thermocline was 40 to 60 feet down depending on the wind. The lake trout averaged six pounds while the Chinook were about eight pounds.

Cheboygan River: Those drifting leeches and worms caught walleye. Most were 15 to 19 inches long. Anglers caught smallmouth bass, catfish and freshwater drum.

Rogers City: Had days where a nice mixed bag of Chinook, lake trout, steelhead, walleye and the odd Atlantic salmon came in when fishing throughout the water column in 60 to 150 feet. Find the thermocline for salmon or fish the bottom 15 to 20 feet for lake trout on dodgers and cowbells with spin-glo’s or spoons. Steelhead were up higher near the bug slicks and hitting bright colored spoons. Most of the Chinook were coming and hour to two before sun-up or after sunset with glow spoons or dodgers with flies, squid or cut bait. Good colors were green, blue, white and black, white and red or glow early and late.

Presque Isle: Was producing Chinook, lake trout, coho, pink salmon, walleye and the odd Atlantic salmon in 55 to 150 feet or deeper. Run lines throughout the water column and look for steelhead and walleye up higher. Salmon were found near the thermocline and lake trout were near the bottom. Try spoons and flashers with squid, flies or cut bait.

Alpena: Anglers found lake trout, steelhead, pink salmon and the odd coho when trolling spoons, spin-glo’s and meat rigs in 90 to 180 feet along the humps off Thunder Bay Island and near the Nordmeer Wreck. Lake trout were both high and low in the water column while coho, pink salmon and steelhead were in the top half. Brown trout were caught by those trolling body baits in the bay. Walleye were caught when trolling a crawler harness or body bait in 20 to 45 feet off the north shore, near the channel, off North and South Points as well as near Scarecrow Island and Sulphur Island. Walleye were also taken on spoons and lead core in deeper water.

Thunder Bay River: Walleye fishing was slow with a few caught in the evening when still fishing or drifting crawlers. Freshwater drum, rock bass, channel cats, bullhead, along with sublegal smallmouth bass, and northern pike were taken on crawlers. A few crappie and bluegill were caught on leeches in the harbor.

Oscoda: Lake trout, steelhead and a couple pink salmon were caught in 90 to 120 feet or deeper at 140 to 190 feet. Lake trout were taken on spoons and meat rigs with attractors in the bottom 25 feet, but a few were up higher. Steelhead, pink salmon and a couple suspended walleye were taken above the thermocline on orange, chartreuse, chrome or black spoons. Pier anglers caught walleye in the early morning or evening when casting body baits or still fishing crawlers. Freshwater drum, smallmouth bass, rock bass and a few decent channel cats were also taken on crawlers.

Au Sable River: A couple walleye were caught in the holes and below Foote Dam when drifting crawlers. Channel cats, smallmouth, rock bass, yellow perch and freshwater drum were also caught. In Foote Pond, a couple walleye were caught when vertical jigging soft plastic in the main basin. A few yellow perch were caught on crawlers under a bobber in deeper water near the edge of the weed line.

Tawas: Walleye anglers were trolling crawlers, crank baits and spoons out past Tawas Pt. and south to the Charity Islands in 20 to 35 feet. Most are getting fish including some limit catches. A few lake trout were taken on spoons in 60 to 70 feet. Pier anglers caught walleye and smallmouth bass when casting body baits.

Tawas River: Those still-fishing with crawlers caught some catfish.

Au Gres: Some limit catches of walleye were taken by those trolling crawlers and crank baits in 18 to 30 feet straight out of the river mouth and anywhere between Pt. Lookout and Pt. Au Gres. Pier anglers caught rock bass and catfish on crawlers. Those trolling crawlers and crank baits in 15 to 25 feet off the Pine River and Eagle Bay Marina caught a good number of walleye.

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Wilderness State Park: Continued to produce a few smallmouth bass for those casting spinners or tube baits. The fish were 12-14 inches.

Harbor Springs: A few lake trout, some of decent size were caught. Most fish were found at 125 feet down.

Petoskey: Boat effort picked up, but catch rates still weren’t great. Most boats came in with one to two lake trout, all on the smaller side. One boat got a small Chinook. Lake trout were being caught deep, between 120 and 125 feet down, close to the bottom. Most did well with spin-glo’s, spoons and flies.

Bear River: Was flowing higher than usual for mid-summer. Not many anglers were fishing the dam. A few anglers were fishing from shore near the mouth. Smallmouth and rock bass, chubs and the occasional small perch were caught, most on worms.

Charlevoix: Many anglers were fishing the channel over the last week, mostly targeting smallmouth bass. A few nice keeper size fish were caught, along with many small ones. A few drum were caught inadvertently. Anglers were using worms, leeches and minnows.

Traverse City: Smallmouth were caught in the East Bay in deeper water, in 25 to 35 feet, on soft plastics and crank baits. A few were caught down at the south end of the bay, but fishing seemed better north of Willow Point on the west side and north of Deepwater Point on the east side. No cisco or salmon showed up, but plenty of bait and fish were marked around Deepwater Point. Lake trout were caught in 45 to 80 feet outside of Old Mission and trolling along the West Bank. On the Elk River, bass were caught at the end of the walkway using tubes and near the dam using crawlers. On the West Bay, perch fishing wasn’t great but anglers found a few in 30 to 40 feet in various spots. In Northport, some rock bass were caught off the pier along with walleye. The Boardman River had a few panfish caught at the dam. Lake trout were caught north of the peninsula jigging and near Lee Point.

Frankfort: Chinook salmon were starting to move into Betsie Bay and those jigging reported good action off the bottom just inside the channel. Those trolling 80 to 150 feet down in 150 to 225 feet caught Chinook and lake trout.

Portage Lake: A fair number of largemouth bass were caught by those working the drops and around docks. Fewer smallmouth bass were caught. With the recent rain, the lake levels are higher and those targeting panfish reported slow catch rates.

Manistee: Surface temperature readings were at about 70 degrees. Chinook were starting to show back up. The best fishing was found in 150 to 200 feet of water, 80 to 100 feet down. Meat rigs and flies were most successful. Lake trout were caught off shore in the same depths while bouncing the bottom. Pier fishing was slow.

Ludington: Surface temps were at about 70 degrees. The current was still very strong at Sable Point and the beach area is still closed for safety reasons. The north pier is always closed if there’s any wind over 10 mph. Chinook were starting to show up with the best fishing found off shore in 120 to 200 feet of water, 70 to 90 feet down. Meat rigs and flies were most fruitful. Lake trout were caught off shore while bouncing the bottom.

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Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers did well bobbing and trolling for lake trout. A few Chinook and coho were caught trolling spoons and flies, but most fish were lake trout.

Marquette: Fishing picked up with some boats doing well bringing in four or more fish. Many were fishing for lake trout in anywhere from 140 to 200 feet of water with many fish taken from right off the bottom.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye anglers reported fair catches from the Gladstone area north, but a lot of the fish were undersize. The better fishing was in the evening when trolling a crawler harness in 14 to 30 feet. Fish were found near the “Black Bottom” and the east bank when trolling stick baits in 22 to 35 feet. Fair to good smallmouth bass catches around the Garth Point when casting plastics around the rocks and weedy areas in three to six feet. Several large bass were caught near the mouth of the Escanaba River with spinners and plastics along the weeds. Northern pike were active, but many were undersize. Perch fishing slowed some however fish were caught near Kipling in five to 10 feet with crawlers.

Manistique: Although salmon catches were down bigger fish have been caught including many over 20 pounds. Most were 10 to 16 miles out past the buoy and just south of Point De Tour and fishing 60 to 80 feet down in 80 to 150 feet. Lake trout were caught just off the bottom in 110 to 130 feet.

Manistique River: Reported fair to good catches of walleye with the best area up by the “spill over” and where the fast water meets the slower water. Some were casting jigs with plastics or crawlers and some used a crawler harness. Shore anglers caught walleye and smallmouth bass up in the “Bass Hole” when casting or drifting crawlers in the current.

Munising: Some lake trout were caught out towards Wood Island Reef and the White Rocks area when fishing along the breaks in 120 to 150 feet. Shore anglers caught a few splake however most were undersize.

Grand Marais: Boat anglers did well for lake trout near Five Mile Reed and Au Sable Point.

Detour: Those targeting Chinook, Atlantics and lake trout found all three around the Detour Reef and lighthouse. Dipsey divers and flashers 18 to 45 feet down caught salmon on purple and black spoons. Atlantics were hitting two miles straight south of the lighthouse along the 90-foot flat. Try an orange and chartreuse or orange and gold slender spoon with a black ladder back. More lake trout were reported at the far southwest end of the 90-foot flat. Lake trout seemed to like flashers with chartreuse and white or orange and white spin-glo’s. Seymour Creek one mile west of Detour Village was good for smallmouth bass. Boat and shore anglers did well casting a dark brown and orange tube jig or floating worms in four to six feet both early morning or late evening.

Drummond Island: Cisco were still being caught. Try jigging a teardrop tipped with a wax worm or natural fly in 23 feet near Andrews Island. Some lake whitefish were also caught.

Cedarville and Hessel: No cisco were reported in Prentiss or McKay bays. Walleye were caught casting orange and chartreuse crank baits in Club Cut which runs between Cedarville Golf Course and Marquette Island. Try the weed beds 50 yards east of Buoys 18 & 19. Young anglers had fun catching smallmouth bass, rock bass and sunfish off Hill Island Road where two fishing docks are available or fish from the bridge. Use small worms, shiner minnows or crank baits. At Hessel, yellow perch were caught from the finger docks in the marina in the early morning with shiners and small worms. Fair pike fishing with creek chubs 18 inches off the bottom in eight feet off the pier. Splake were caught at Haven Island and in Wilderness Bay located on the west side of Marquette Island when trolling a crawler harness and bottom bouncer three feet off the bottom in 18 feet. Fish were also caught just off the bottom when trolling an orange and chartreuse crank bait in 20 feet.

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Fishing Tip: Catching the elusive walleye

We bring you this oldie, but goodie fishing tip from 2014. Courtesy of Seth Herbst, the Aquatic Species and Regulatory Affairs Manager out of Lansing.

In many of Michigan’s lakes walleye can be a rather elusive sport fish, making the quest for their tasty fillets difficult at times throughout the year.

Walleye are predators that eat a wide range of small baitfish like yellow perch and various minnows, which logically has many anglers targeting these fish with minnows and crank baits. However, walleye also feed on aquatic insects when they are available and using crawlers on crawler harnesses can be an effective technique for working towards a limit.

Mid-summer is a time of year when walleye in many lakes will typically be in depths ranging from 20 to 35 feet where they are feeding on insects or baitfish. During these feeding periods many walleye will be suspended in the water column and trolling a crawler harness at low speeds can be an effective way of hooking these elusive fish.