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Michigan Fishing Reports

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WEEKLY FISHING REPORT 10/10/19

All the big waters were stirred up after the rain and strong winds, so fishing was a little more difficult. The inland lakes were producing bass, pike, panfish and walleye. October is a good time to head out on the inland lakes. Many anglers have now switched to hunting so you could have the whole lake to yourself!

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

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: With the lake stirred up, floating weeds were making it difficult for boat anglers to troll. Those heading out for walleye caught mostly sub-legal fish. A decent catch of yellow perch was taken just east of the River Raisin Buoys 1 & 2 in 23 feet. Freshwater drum, white perch and white bass were caught by perch and walleye anglers. Catfishing in the Hot Pond was fair. The largemouth bass bite was good in the canals and marinas around Brest Bay and smallmouth bass were caught by those casting near the Dumping Grounds. Largemouth bass were caught from the south dike at Pte. Mouillee when casting large spinners.

Detroit River: Yellow perch were hitting along the weed beds around the islands. Most were using shiners. Perch were caught in the canals near Gibraltar, but anglers were sorting through the small ones to get some keepers.

Lake St. Clair: Windy conditions limited boat anglers. Pike action was good in Anchor Bay and near Strawberry Island. A small number of perch and a few largemouth bass were caught near the North Channel. The muskie bite slowed but anglers were still catching them near the spillway. Not a lot of smallmouth were being caught right now.

Lexington: Atlantic salmon were showing up in the harbor and a few were caught from the pier, docks and the shore when casting small spoons or spinners.

Harbor Beach: Boats trolling downriggers and lead core with spoons caught steelhead and lake trout. The fish were scattered in 30 to 100 feet.

Port Austin: Pike were caught from the fishing platforms along Bird Creek when using crawlers.

Saginaw Bay: Walleye and some perch were caught near the Saganing and Pinconning Bars in 15 to 20 feet. Shore anglers at Quanicassee caught some perch on minnows although they were doing a lot of sorting. A few northern pike were also caught. The tributaries at Fish Point had very little fishing pressure. At Sebewaing, the river was high and dirty after all the rain. At Geiger Road, perch were caught with minnows in 5 to 6 feet about 200 yards offshore. Off Bay Port, smallmouth bass and the occasional walleye were caught outside of North Island when casting artificial baits.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

Overall: Rivers were still a bit high and turbid however levels should recede this week. Anglers will find a good number of salmon and steelhead in the rivers. Those fishing the inland lakes reported good catches of panfish.

St. Joseph: A few boats were out this week however those trolling near the river and around the piers reported slow catch rates. Perch fishing was also slow. Pier fishing was slow for steelhead and whitefish, but anglers did catch a couple catfish and freshwater drum.

St. Joseph River: A good number of fish were reported in the fish ladder at Berrien Springs. Mostly coho along with a fair number of steelhead and Chinook.

South Haven: Salmon anglers trolling around the pierheads reported slow fishing. A few lake trout were caught in 80 feet. Perch fishing was inconsistent as anglers reported excellent catch rates one day then very slow the next. Pier fishing was slow.

Kalamazoo River: Is producing salmon up near the Allegan Dam.

Grand Haven: Boat anglers were catching lake trout and the occasional salmon in 110 to 180 feet. Lake trout were taken with green and yellow spin-glo’s on the bottom. Caution: High water levels continue to cover the Harbor Island boat launch parking lot.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Water levels were receding. Salmon and some steelhead were caught up near the dam. Those targeting the Rogue River caught the occasional salmon. Bass anglers were finding fish early morning and evening.

Grand River at Lansing: Salmon numbers have dropped especially in Ionia County. Bass anglers were getting smallmouth.

Muskegon: Boat anglers reported slow catch rates for salmon. A couple pier anglers looking for steelhead had no success. The south breakwall is closed for repairs.

Muskegon Lake: Had good smallmouth action from the channel wall when using leeches and crawlers or jigging baits. Look for walleye in 12 to 16 feet near Muskegon State Park. A few perch were caught in the marinas.

Muskegon River: Though water levels were still high and fast, water clarity has improved. The salmon runs continue with fish being caught up near the dams. Steelhead were slowly starting to trickle in. Croton and Hardy Dam Ponds were producing panfish including some perch.

White River: Water levels were receding and those targeting salmon found fish when drifting spawn or casting flies below Hesperia.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan River: Chinook salmon moved in after the rain, but anglers had a hard time getting them to bite. A few were caught at the dam with spoons and crank baits or when drifting skein by shore anglers. Boat anglers were casting near the dam or trolling crank baits downriver. Most of the fish were dark. Pike and undersize smallmouth bass were also caught on crank baits near the mouth.

Rogers City: Windy conditions limited access to the lake. Most put the boats away and were focusing on hunting.

Alpena: A few walleye and steelhead were caught when trolling spoons and body baits in 20 to 80 feet. Smallmouth bass were caught when casting Ned rigs, jigs, or crank baits in Squaw Bay. Look for areas with warm water or minnow concentrations.

Thunder Bay River: Those targeting salmon caught a couple Atlantics along with a few Chinook when floating skein, casting spoons, or drifting spawn and flies. The Atlantic bite was slow, and the numbers were still low. Smallmouth bass and a couple pike were caught when casting jigs or crank baits. The occasional channel cat and smallmouth bass were also taken on skein.

Oscoda: Angler effort on the lake was low. Those casting body baits and jigs caught a couple walleye and a good number of smallmouth bass around the pierheads when using baits that imitate minnows.

Au Sable River: A couple darker Chinook were caught by those drifting flies or casting spoons. A few Atlantic salmon were present but very slow to bite. Anglers stripping and swinging streamers or casting crank baits caught a few decent smallmouth bass and the occasional northern pike in the holes and near the mouth.

Higgins Lake: The few boat anglers heading out were targeting lake trout however they had a hard time as the fish were scattered throughout the water column.

Houghton Lake: Was producing a few walleye in the North Bay using a flicker shad. Crappie and bluegill were found in the canals with fathead minnows.

Tawas: Windy conditions slowed fishing activity but a few walleye were caught near the boat launch when casting body baits or jigs tipped with plastic minnows.

Tawas River: A few Chinook were caught at Gateway Park when casting body baits. Walleye were caught when casting body baits or still-fishing with small perch and minnows.

Au Gres: Had windy conditions. When they could get out boat anglers caught some walleye and perch south of Eagle Bay Marina near the Saganing Bay in 15 to 20 feet.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Petoskey: A few Chinook were caught near the mouth of the river in the “Bobber Hole” and the D Pier when floating spawn under a bobber or casting spoons and crank baits.

Bear River: Water levels have gone down but were still flowing at a good rate. Angler activity and catch rates were slow at the dam with only a couple Chinook and coho taken. Most were using spawn, artificial eggs, yarn and flies.

Charlevoix: Those jigging for salmon near the cement plant had no luck. There were still some anglers wading near the cement plant and freighter slip but very few salmon were caught. Smallmouth bass were caught in the channel when using crawlers.

Traverse City: Anglers are reminded the lake trout season is closed in both the East and the West Bay. Those targeting cisco in the East Bay had good catches when trolling or jigging however the bite did slow. Fish were found along the peninsula in 100 to 130 feet, at Deepwater Point in 70 to 120 feet or between Deepwater Point and Elk Rapids in 60 to 80 feet. Bass were caught deeper in 30 to 40 feet in the south end of the bay. In the Elk River, fishing picked up with Chinook, coho and trout taken up near the dam when using spawn in the early morning. In the West Bay, perch fishing was spotty, but a few were found in the Bowers Harbor. Suttons Bay was very slow. Fishing on the Boardman River remained slow.

Long Lake: In Grand Traverse County had slow perch fishing. The fishery is usually strong this time of year however unstable weather is no doubt the reason for the slow start. Those targeting walleye have done well.

Crystal Lake: In Benzie County was producing coho and steelhead in the early morning hours for boat anglers trolling spoons and shore anglers using spawn.

Betsie River: Still had Chinook salmon up near the Homestead Dam though the number of fish continues to drop. Coho have been caught.

Manistee: Surface temperature readings were about 61 degrees. The fish cleaning station is now closed for the season. Few were out but shore and pier anglers were getting small coho 10-15 inches with spawn. Those targeting steelhead were surfcasting or fishing from the piers.

Manistee River: Anglers were catching Chinook and steelhead. Chinook could be found throughout the system with lots of fish spawning in the upper river. The run could peak this week. Try spawn, yarn or flies. Anglers were starting to catch steelhead on spawn or beads in the lower river.

Ludington: Surface temperatures were about 62 degrees. Coho were starting to show up at Ludington State Park.

Pere Marquette River: Water levels were still high but receding. The salmon run could peak this week. Salmon have been caught in the Big South Branch as well. A good number of large fish have been reported but most were turning dark. Look for steelhead which follow the salmon and usually hit on spawn or beads.

Pentwater River: Was producing some salmon.

Upper Peninsula

Copper Harbor: Had very few boats out. Pier anglers caught splake, but many were undersize. Most were using spawn, worms and smelt as well as spoons, spinners and crank baits. All methods had moderate catch rates but finding legal size fish took time. Eagle Harbor had no boat anglers. Those fishing off the wall caught nothing.

Keweenaw Bay: Was producing salmon, lake trout and splake for boat anglers fishing in shallower waters. The number of fish in the Falls, Silver, and Huron Rivers is low with the warmer weather. Look for more fish as temperatures cool and after it rains.

Marquette: Few anglers were out. With the cooler temperatures and rain last week, local rivers saw a good push of salmon, but the run was short lived. A decent number of coho along with some steelhead and brown trout were picked up in the Carp and Chocolay Rivers and a few Chinook and coho were caught in the Dead River. More rain should bring more salmon.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye anglers reported fair catches at the “Black Bottom” when trolling stick baits in 20 to 28 feet and off Kipling when trolling or jigging crawlers and stick baits in 14 to 30 feet between the First and Second Reefs. Perch fishing was fair around Butler Island with crawlers and minnows in 6 to 19 feet. Creel numbers were low, but some nice jumbo perch were caught. Salmon were seen near the mouth of the Escanaba River earlier this fall, but no catches were reported and there has been little fishing activity.

Manistique River: The fall run here has been better than expected. Very little in the way of coho and pink salmon but the steelhead, brown trout and Chinook numbers have been good. While brown trout have been caught since early spring, the steelhead just showed up last week. Most were fishing between the bridge and the lower dam while casting spawn, beads, crank baits or yarn. Last week ended strong and this week could be the peak so anglers should get out there or you could miss it.

Munising: A few boats were trolling between the Anna River and Sand Point however the only fish caught were small splake. Water temperatures were still in the low 50’s. Anglers targeting the thermocline and fish that were suspended had no luck. Shore anglers fishing Bay Furnace caught coho, splake and steelhead predawn when using spawn. Pier anglers at the Anna River caught coho and splake. The fall colors were at their peak this week.

Grand Marais: Had few boats but shore anglers were surfcasting with spawn. Those fishing near the mouth and up into the Sucker River reported slow catch rates with only a couple steelhead and coho taken.

Two Hearted River: The coho salmon run picked up a bit. The heavy rains a week ago helped bring more fish into the river. Water level should be recede this week.

Sucker River: Had a very light salmon run. The action was slow out from the mouth on Lake Superior as well.

Raber Bay: Walleye fishing was good at Carlton Creek located 3 miles south of the boat launch. Fish the mouth of Carlton Creek and the weed beds. Target 8 to 12 feet with orange and chartreuse crank baits in the early morning or late evening. Excellent northern pike action when trolling the north shore of the bay and east to Point Auxfrens with chrome or copper spoons with a red eye.

Drummond Island: Anglers reported good catches of yellow perch. Best areas to fish were in Scott Bay between Rutland and Peck Island. Perch were taking both worms and shiners two cranks off the bottom in 15 to 18 feet. Good smallmouth action on the north side of Burnt Island with orange and brown tube jigs off rocky points in 8 to 12 feet.

Detour: The fall colors were plentiful but there has been little fishing effort.

Cedarville and Hessel: The public boat launch on Meridian Road was open once again. There were no reports of perch caught in Cedarville Bay however the smallmouth action was good when casting double bladed leaf spinners, chrome or gold blades, in and around the docks. The Middle Entrance was reporting good catches of northern pike with creek chubs in 12 to 20 feet. Hessel had no reports of yellow perch caught from the finger docks at the marina. Good northern pike action in Mismer Bay with creek chubs just off the weed beds in 8 feet. Fish early morning or late evening.

Fishing Tip: How to catch muskellunge when others can’t

For many anglers muskellunge can be quite elusive but having a few tips in your back pocket can make your trips more successful.

The first thing to consider is the type of lure you might use. Many experts recommend using a jerkbait-style lure to trigger vertical follows.

The next item to consider is where you might look for muskellunge. Always be looking for cover, including weed patches or downed trees – these are prime spots for them to linger.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to focus your fishing time to late afternoon/early evening. These hours can produce some quality opportunities.