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Michigan Fishing Reports

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WEEKLY FISHING REPORT 7/30/20

If you’re headed out fishing, please do your part to keep yourself and others safe by following COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines. Go fishing only if you’re feeling well. Practice proper social distancing, at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live in your household. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer.

Anglers are targeting bass and bluegill with limited success. The warm weather forced fish to deeper water and decreased their feeding activity. Using live bait in the morning and evening has produced fish. Bluegill and crappie were caught in 12 feet or more.    

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

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Walleye fishing was tough as the fish were deep in 25 to 30 feet and were on the bottom or 5 feet off the bottom. Some did well when targeting those 5 feet off the bottom because it decreased the number of freshwater drum they caught. More anglers are perch fishing and had success in the Luna Pier area, which was the hot spot in 16 to 19 feet and south of Bolles Harbor. Fair smallmouth action near Point Mouillee.   

Detroit River: Smallmouth bass were caught around the islands, including Celeron, Grosse Ile near the cross-dike, Powerhouse and on the north side of Stoney Island. A few perch were caught on the south side of the cross-dike.       

Lake St. Clair: The walleye bite remains strong out near the shipping channel. Most are trolling harnesses with bottom bouncers. The smallmouth bite is starting to pick up again, with fish caught in 18 to 20 feet straight out from the Clinton River Cutoff ramp and for those trolling crank baits in 14 feet in Anchor Bay. Limits of bluegill and a fair number of perch were caught in front of the raft near the buoys out from the marina in Bouvier Bay. Musky anglers did better in the St Clair River channels than the lake. 

Saginaw Bay: Off Linwood, yellow perch fishing started to pick up out near Sailboat Buoy B. Average was 9 to 11 inches. Walleye are starting to head out deeper past buoys 1 and 2 in 30 feet or so. Catch rates in the inner bay were starting to slow. Windy conditions limited activity on the east side. Quanicassee to Sebewaing was slow overall, with only a few walleye caught in the Slot in 15 to 18 feet, along the edge of the Coryeon Reef or between Sand Point and Caseville in 20 to 30 feet and Oak Point in 30 to 40 feet. Catch rates were not consistent, and anglers had to cover a lot of water to find fish. Most were using a crawler harness, flicker shad or spoons. Switch up baits and change trolling speeds if needed. 

Port Austin: A few walleye were caught, but they are scattered in 20 to 40 feet around the lighthouse and to the west toward Caseville. Those trolling in 90 to 110 feet picked up a couple lake trout, steelhead and coho, but the action was slow. 

Grindstone City: Lake trout were found in 100 to 130 feet northwest of the harbor. Walleye were scattered in 15 to 30 feet. Artificial and live crawlers worked best. 

Harbor Beach: Walleye were caught trolling straight out to waters between 42 and 100 feet deep. No limits, but they are picking up a few as the fish are scattered. A couple steelhead were also caught straight out and 50 feet down in 85 feet with spoons. 

Port Sanilac and Lexington: Fishing was slow. A few salmon were caught northeast of Port Sanilac in 100 feet. 

Genesee County: The largemouth bass bite was good in the evening on Lobdell Lake.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph: Very good perch fishing continues. The only problem was rough lake conditions. Fish have been caught both north and south of the piers in 19 to 30 feet.  Salmon fishing was slow, but the lake trout action was decent in 100 feet. Pier fishing was slow for all species.

St. Joseph River: Was producing a couple steelhead. 

South Haven: Salmon anglers were still catching lake trout in 100 feet or so. A couple boats fishing deeper found a few salmon. Perch fishing was slow, with only a few taken south of the pier in 25 feet. 

Holland: Pier anglers caught freshwater drum while casting spoons. 

Lake Macatawa: The DNR boat launch is closed due to high water.

Port Sheldon: Salmon and trout action was hit or miss. Salmon were found 45 to 120 feet down in 80 to 160 feet with green meat rigs and flies. Lake trout were taken on spin-glo’s along the bottom. 

Grand Haven: The Harbor Island boat launch remains closed. 

Grand River near Grand Rapids: Slow walleye fishing, but a few smaller fish were caught on minnows in the Belmont and Saranac area. Smallmouth bass were caught on minnows. A few big catfish were caught below 6th Street and near Johnson Park. A few limit catches of bluegill were taken in the flooded timber near Bruce’s Bayou.

Grand River near Lansing: Catfish were caught with live bluegills on the bottom at Moores Park and below the Portland Dam. Both live and cut bait worked as well as minnows and leeches. Those fishing off the island at Grand Ledge caught lots of bullhead after dark with leeches and shrimp.

Morrison Lake: Was producing a good number of nice crappie. 

Muskegon: A few salmon were caught 50 to 100 feet down in 70 to 150 feet with green and yellow meat rigs or white flies. Pier anglers caught freshwater drum. 

Muskegon Lake: Was producing some perch, walleye and bass. 

Muskegon River: Has fair to good smallmouth action for those using topwater flies.  Hardy Dam Pond continues to produce smaller walleye and a few smallmouth bass. 

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan: Lake trout, steelhead and Chinook were caught off Lafayette Point and Lighthouse Point on Bois Blanc Island when trolling spoons, meat rigs and spin-glo’s.  Anglers were fishing in 40 to 60 feet, but some days were in 100 to 120 feet depending on wind and water temperature. 

Cheboygan River: Walleye fishing is still doing well, with anglers harvesting some fish between 15-25 inches while drifting, bottom bouncing or casting worms between the walk-over bridge and the DNR station. Smallmouth bass, rock bass, channel cats and freshwater drum also were caught.   

Rogers City: A strong mixed-bag fishery continues with lake trout, steelhead, pink salmon, walleye, coho, Atlantic and Chinook salmon. Fish throughout the water column while focusing on where the thermocline is located. The best depths seem to be 40 to 90 feet. Watch the wind, as a northwest blow will push cold water out of the area, leaving warm water top to bottom. Most are using spoons, cut bait, dodgers and flies or squid. Hot colors were green, blue, orange, black and white, or glow early and late.  Chinook were caught early morning or late evening. Fish were eating 3- to 4-inch smelt so use lures that resemble them. 

Presque Isle: Also has a very good fishery taking place with trout, salmon and walleye being caught. The shallow water was cold, and anglers were marking baitfish. Try 40 to 90 feet and scatter lines throughout. Spoons worked best, but try dodgers, flies, squid and spin-glo’s. 

Alpena: Lake trout, steelhead, pink salmon and the occasional coho were caught when trolling spoons and spin-glo’s off the Nordmeer Wreck and Thunder Bay Island in 70 to 140 feet. Fish were found mainly in the top 70 feet. Those trolling crankbaits took a few walleye and brown trout inside of the bay. The walleye bite was best at night. 

Thunder Bay River: Anglers caught a few smallmouth bass, freshwater drum, rock bass, channel cats and the occasional walleye when drifting and floating crawlers or casting and trolling crawler harnesses and crankbaits. 

Fletchers Pond: Anglers are catching largemouth bass and northern pike.   

Oscoda: Was also producing lake trout, pink salmon, steelhead, walleye and the occasional coho when trolling spoons and spin-glo’s in the top 70 of waters 80 to 140 feet deep. There have been plenty of pink salmon to be found. A few walleye were found in shallower water. Hot colors were blue, chrome, yellow, orange and purple. Pier anglers caught rock bass, smallmouth bass and freshwater drum when floating crawlers. 

Au Sable River: Anglers caught a few smallmouth bass and rock bass when floating or drifting crawlers. A couple smallmouth bass and small pike were caught when casting spinners and crankbaits.   

Higgins Lake: Those targeting lake trout did best when jigging in 90 to 110 feet and using kastmasters, sand kickers or small spoons. Perch anglers were sorting through the small ones but did find a few keepers in 20 to 25 feet. No word on brown trout. Good action for rock bass continues. 

Houghton Lake: Fishing was slow, but anglers still were getting a few walleye in the East Bay when trolling a purple harness with crawlers or leeches in 14 feet. Bass have been caught, and a few pike were taken here and there. Bluegills were found off the weed beds in 8 feet or so.   

Lake St. Helen: Panfish and bass are being caught along the weed beds.

Tawas: Walleye were caught straight out from the Tawas River in 30 to 70 feet with a crawler or body bait and inside the bay near the weed beds in 15 to 25 feet with a lindy rig and crawlers. There was a large mayfly hatch with the warm muggy weather, which may have slowed the bite. Steelhead, lake trout and pink salmon were caught out towards Au Sable Point in 80 to 100 feet with spoons and dipsey divers. 

Au Gres: Walleye were caught with crawlers and body baits in 15 to 40 feet north of the bell buoy to south of Eagle Bay when using crawlers and body baits. Largemouth bass were caught near the weed beds in Wigwam Bay and in front of Eagle Bay Marina when casting lures. 

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Harbor Springs: Boat anglers did well for lake trout and the occasional salmon. Most were fishing up around Harbor Point with spoons, spin-glo’s and peanuts. Salmon tend to hit spoons and meat rigs. Lake trout were 75 to 100 feet down in 100 to 130 feet while the salmon were up higher.     

Petoskey: Most boat anglers were fishing the Harbor Springs side of the bay. Charter boats were starting to pick up a couple salmon. The Bear River had good water levels but few anglers up at the dam. Slow fishing at the Bobber Hole near the mouth. Those using crankbaits, worms and minnows found the occasional rock bass or bullhead. Pier anglers may find smallmouth bass along the rocks. 

Charlevoix: Anglers continue to target smallmouth bass in the channel, though success was spotty. Freshwater drum and rock bass were caught. Most are using live or artificial crawlers and leeches. 

Lake Charlevoix: Walleye were caught off Young State Park and in the South Arm when trolling. 

Traverse City: The East Bay was producing a few smallmouth bass near Elk Rapids.  In the West Bay, a couple lake trout were caught when trolling or jigging. 

Leland: Lake trout and salmon were caught between here and North Manitou Island.

Lake Leelanau: Walleye were caught in the South Lake, south of the narrows. 

Platte River: Is producing a few smallmouth bass. The trick is to wade upstream and cast down near the weed beds. 

Frankfort: The number of Chinook taken was on the low side; however, the ones caught were 25 pounds or more. Most were found 50 to 90 feet down in 120 to 200 feet.  Lake trout numbers remain steady.

Portage Lake: Warm weather continues to raise water temperatures, and the recent rain sparked yet another mayfly hatch. Anglers working the drop-offs in 16 to 24 feet picked up a few bluegill, perch and bass. 

Manistee: A few salmon were caught 40 to 70 feet down in 120 to 150 feet along the shelf and slightly north in deeper water with spoons and meat rigs. Lake trout were straight out and near the bottom in 100 to 130 feet. Those on the stub pier caught rock bass using crawlers.

Manistee River: A couple steelhead were caught on spawn, beads or a jig and wax worm near Suicide Bend. Brown trout were caught on spinners or crank baits. Bass and pike have been caught throughout the river.   

Ludington: Fishing was slow, and windy conditions made it hard for boat anglers. A couple salmon, lake trout and steelhead were caught straight out in 110 to 150 feet. 

Pere Marquette Lake: A couple salmon were caught by boat anglers.

Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay: Recent storms and wind had the bays all mixed up. Anglers still were getting a fair number of lake trout along with a few salmon; however, they were putting in a lot of time trying to find them. Jigging for lake trout seemed to work best.   

Little Bay De Noc: The best walleye action was from Breezy Point south to Round Island trolling a crawler harness or stick baits in 14 to 25 feet both early and late. Fair to good smallmouth action in the grassy areas around the mouth of the Tacoosh River when casting plastics or near the mouth of the Ford River, but the fish were smaller.  Perch fishing was fair near Kipling in 12 to 30 feet with crawlers. Salmon anglers have reported very few catches in the area this season. Those with large boats have been heading to Green Bay waters or over to the Summer Island area for better fishing. 

Manistique: When salmon anglers could get out, catch rates were few. Those after lake trout reported fair to good catches southeast of the buoy in 120 to 180 feet. River anglers should be looking for early salmon as they start to show up the end of July. 

Indian Lake: Was producing some walleye. 

St. Marys River: Fishing was good for most. A decent number of Atlantic salmon and whitefish were caught behind the powerhouse. Those fishing the lower river caught walleye, pike and smallmouth bass. 

Raber: Had fair to good walleye action when trolling Raber Bay in the early morning.  Troll south of the boat launch along weed beds with shad-colored crankbaits in 8 feet. 

Detour: Walleye anglers heading out from the DNR launch reported good catches of walleye up at Swedes Point. Try planner boards with 6-inch, shad-colored crankbaits in the early morning or late evening. Walleye anglers had success using crawlers or minnows with a slip-bobber in 8 to 12 feet. 

Drummond Island: Cisco are still being caught at Little Trout, Big Trout and Burnt islands when jigging a brown or red teardrop with wax worms in 25 feet.   

Cedarville and Hessel: Yellow perch are being caught at the Island #8 Bridge with worms or minnows off the weed beds in 6 to 8 feet. There are reports of perch being caught at the east end of Snows Channel, at Connors Point. Try close to the weed beds when casting a small white or pink twister tail jig in 4 to 6 feet. Middle Entrance to the Les Cheneaux Islands is producing yellow perch at the mouth of Peck Bay in 4 to 8 feet with small worms or shiners. Hill Island Road, located 1 mile east of Cedarville off Highway M-134, has been good for young anglers catching sunfish, rock bass, perch, smallmouth bass and even a few nice largemouth bass. For Hessel, anglers reported good northern pike fishing in the early morning with large minnows and creek chubs under a bobber or when casting black and chrome crankbaits in 8 feet outside the pier.  Yellow perch are still being caught around the finger docks.    

St. Ignace: Those trolling spoons and flies in 120 to 140 feet on the backside of Mackinac Island had no luck. Nearby, walleye were caught on the Pine River when trolling a crawler harness from the boat launch to the rapids. A couple pike also were caught. On the Carp River, walleye and perch were caught when drifting and bottom bouncing worms and leeches at the sea wall.

Fishing Tip: The basics of using downriggers

Are you familiar with using downriggers? This tool, which places a lure at the desired depth, is ideal when fishing the Great Lakes as it allows for controlled-depth fishing and targeting species suspended in the water column.

Three things to keep in mind if you’re considering using a downrigger:

  • Manual vs. electric
  • Making a choice between manual and electric depends on how much you want to spend, how often you fish and how big your boat is. Manual downriggers are less expensive than electric but require more work on the part of the angler.
  • Cannonballs
  • This is the weight lowered by the downrigger that is attached to your lure. These weights usually range from 4 to 14 pounds, so make your selection based on how deep you intend to fish (the deeper you go, the more weight you need).
  • Leads
  • This is the amount of line between your cannonball and your lure. It also determines how your lure acts in the water. The deeper you fish, the shorter the lead needs to be.