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Michigan Fishing Reports

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WEEKLY FISHING REPORT 12/11/19

Reports are few this week, as temperature swings have once again hampered fishing conditions. Very few have been out with the extremely cold temperatures.  Strong winds have kept pier anglers at bay. While some ice may be forming in the Upper Peninsula, the Lower Peninsula is going to take a bit longer. 

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: The Metro Park launch is still open and has docks in. When they can get out, boat anglers caught walleye in Brest Bay when trolling crank baits. Those looking for panfish were using wax worms in the canals and marinas. 

Huron River: Anglers are still getting the occasional steelhead. Most were casting small spoons or spinners.     

Detroit River: Shore anglers have caught bluegills and some perch in the marinas. The perch action has been slow, but fish are slowly trickling in. Those fishing around Grosse Ile also have caught a few fish. 

Lake St. Clair: Had some encouraging walleye catches along the south end of the lake when trolling crank baits. Docks at the ramps will be removed soon. 

St. Clair River: Had a few boat anglers trolling or jigging for walleye just above and just below the bridge at Port Huron. Catch rates were slow. 

Southwest Lower Peninsula

As of this report, there is really no safe ice in the area. Most of the inland lakes had open water and if there is any ice, it is not safe ice.     

St. Joseph River: Walleye anglers are having some success, and the occasional steelhead may be found. The fall steelhead run is nearly done, as very few fish were observed at the fish ladders this week. 

The fish ladders will remain open throughout the winter; however, past research has shown that few fish move upstream after the water temperature drops below 40 degrees. The live fish cam at the Berrien Springs fish ladder is suspended for the winter and will be reactivated around the beginning of March when the spring steelhead run begins.

Kalamazoo River: Anglers have caught the occasional steelhead. 

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Water levels were up once again with increased flow. Steelhead fishing was spotty as water temperatures drop. Those using beads were still getting a few. Try fishing the deeper holes.    

Muskegon Lake: The docks have been pulled at the Grand Trunk launch, so boat anglers will need to bring waders. Schools of gizzard shad slowed the walleye bite; however, those trolling about 25 feet down along the ledges and along the south end near the Milwaukee Clipper have caught a few. Perch should be moving in for the winter anytime now. 

Muskegon River: Water levels were still high after the last rain. Catch rates were spotty; however, the occasional steelhead still can be found.   

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Very little to report, as most are now waiting for safe ice. 

Thunder Bay River: Had very little fishing activity below the Ninth Street Dam. The area is always worth a try this time of year for a possible steelhead. 

Au Sable River: Is producing the occasional steelhead and a few brown trout.    

Houghton Lake: Had no ice anglers as the ice was not safe. There is open water off the north shore and the Heights. The North Bay is wide open. Those fishing the open water at Reedsburg Dam caught a couple crappie. 

Lake St. Helen: A couple anglers fishing in shallow waters caught some bluegills, crappie and the odd walleye. Caution needs to be used.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

There is not much to report. The rivers were still high and harder to fish because of it.  A few steelhead were still being caught. There was no fishable ice on the inland lakes.    

Manistee River: Steelhead still can be found on the right day when using egg flies or beads. The occasional fresh fish also has been caught. 

Upper Peninsula

Ice conditions were still poor. While most of the inland lakes were covered with ice, recent snowfall of a couple inches has insulated it, resulting in very poor conditions.  Extreme caution needs to be used by those wanting to head out and do some ice fishing. There is no ice on Munising Bay or on any of the nearshore areas of Lake Superior or Lake Huron.    

Little Bay De Noc: Some anglers were ice fishing; however, they are in shallow waters only and not venturing out very far. Extreme caution needs to be used. 

Fishing Tip: Targeting walleye throughout the day

When anglers target walleye through the ice, they often experience different levels of activity as the day progresses. In early morning, around sunrise, the fish will be active, and you may want to use larger lures and more aggressive jigging. As time wears on, those fish will scale their intensity back – during that time you’ll want to select smaller lures.

When all activity seems to have dropped off, you’ll want to consider sitting tight and waiting for the fish to come to you. Then, as sunset nears, often their activity will pick up and you’ll want to revert to your early morning strategies.