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Michigan Fishing Reports

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WEEKLY FISHING REPORT 10/21/20

Poor weather conditions are keeping anglers off the water. Parts of the Upper Peninsula, including Marquette, saw snow this week, with some getting a couple inches 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: No word on perch; however, panfish activity picked up in the marinas. 

Detroit River: Had very limited walleye activity, with few fish being caught. Those targeting perch were getting a few in the lower river. 

Lake St. Clair: Walleye were caught in the shipping channel with a crawler harness and bottom bouncers. Perch were caught in the bays. 

St. Clair River: As water temperatures cool, fishing is starting to pick up. 

Port Sanilac: A couple steelhead and Atlantic salmon were caught straight out when trolling spoons 20 to 30 feet down in 40 feet. 

Saginaw Bay: Duck hunters are out in force, which was evident at area boat launches. Yellow perch fishing was slow. With the wind, the best spots to fish were a mile east of Spoils Island in 16 feet and the old shipping channel. A few fish were caught straight out from Quanicassee in 10 feet, but the numbers were not impressive. Very few perch were caught in the Quanicassee River, as a half-day’s fishing only produced five to eight keepers. Shore fishing from Sebewaing to Caseville was slow.    

Saginaw River: The lower river is starting to produce some walleye and yellow perch, including near Essexville, where walleye were taken on blade baits. 

Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph: Has had no activity from boat anglers due to the weather. When they could get out, a couple pier anglers had been trying for whitefish but had no luck.   

St. Joseph River: Had a few anglers targeting walleye in the lower river.    

South Haven: Wind, rain and wave action has kept anglers at bay.

Kalamazoo River: Salmon were caught on fresh spawn bags and yarn. 

Holland: The waves have prevented most anglers from getting out on the piers. When they could, some were jigging for walleye, but catch rates were slow. 

Port Sheldon: Boats had a difficult time getting out due to the wind. 

Barry County: Good bluegill action was reported on Jordan Lake when drifting in 15 to 30 feet. A good number of fish were taken on a black spider with rubber legs.    

Grand River near Lansing: Anglers were getting a few Chinook and coho at the Webber and Portland Dams.    

Muskegon: Pier anglers casting spoons for steelhead did not have much luck. 

Muskegon River: Salmon are being caught. Steelhead are also moving into the system and were caught on the gravel when using spawn. A few perch were caught. 

White River: Had a good number of Chinook salmon from the Y-Hole to the Hesperia Dam in Oceana County. The river is seeing a good run this year. Steelhead are trickling in, but no big numbers yet.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan River: Had three chutes open on the dam. Catch rates are slowing, but anglers were still getting a couple salmon when drifting spawn, skein and beads or when casting spinners and crankbaits. No word on steelhead being caught. 

Burt and Mullett Lakes: Walleye and perch anglers had mixed results. 

Alpena: Had no reports for the lake or Thunder Bay, as windy conditions have kept anglers off the big lake.   

Thunder Bay River: Those casting spoons and body baits caught mostly Chinook; however, many were foul hooked and must be released immediately. Those drifting fresh spawn or bead type baits also caught a few brown trout and a couple steelhead at the 9th Street Dam. Atlantic salmon should begin to show up anytime now, as the occasional fish was spotted. 

Hubbard Lake: Good-size perch were caught in the East Bay. 

Van Etten Lake: Was producing a fair to good number of walleye and perch. 

Oscoda: The occasional walleye and steelhead were caught by those trolling inside 60 feet. Pier anglers caught walleye, steelhead, lake trout and the occasional Atlantic or coho when casting spoons and body baits or floating and still-fishing minnows.  

Au Sable River: A couple steelhead, Chinook and Atlantic salmon were caught floating or drifting spawn bags and beads, casting spoons and spinners or swinging and stripping streamer flies. Most of the Chinook salmon were in poor condition. The occasional walleye and lake trout were caught at the mouth when casting jigs, body baits and spoons from shore. Brown trout were caught at the Mio Dam. 

Higgins Lake: Is still producing some nice rock bass along the drop-offs. Some are still getting the occasional nice yellow perch as well. Trout were found in shallow water. Try near the conference center. 

Houghton Lake: Fishing has been slow. Walleye continue to move into the canals and were hitting on fathead minnows. Bluegills were deeper and hitting on minnows. 

Tawas: Pier anglers caught walleye when casting body baits. Catfish and burbot were taken on crawlers. 

Tawas River: Salmon were seen jumping, but only one or two were caught. A couple walleye were caught at Gateway Park when casting jigs and body baits. Catfish were hitting on crawlers. 

Au Gres: A few perch were caught out near the shipping channel in 40 to 50 feet, between the Rifle Bar and the Pine River, and in front of Eagle Bay Marina in 5 to 15 feet with minnows. 

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Harbor Springs: Typically, this time of year boat anglers will start trying for perch; however, no boats had been out yet. 

Petoskey: Had no boats out. Pier anglers were casting and floating spawn for salmon, but no catches were reported. Fish could still be found at the mouth of the river, but catch rates were low. The Bear River had more Chinook and coho after the rain, but angler effort was low. 

Charlevoix: Perch boats usually start to go out this time of year. A couple anglers were trying the channel for smallmouth bass, but none were caught. No one was really trying for salmon near the cement plant, with the season winding down. 

Traverse City: In the West Bay, limits of perch were caught near Suttons Bay.

Boardman River: The weir has been officially pulled for the season. There were reports of a few salmon still in the river. 

Frankfort: Anglers trolling the shoreline were able to make it out this week, but catch rates were low. Pier and shore anglers are reporting good steelhead catches if the weather permits. Several young coho were also reported. 

Betsie River: Still had some salmon, but the run is winding down. 

Onekama: Shore anglers have picked up a couple steelhead but had to tuck in close to the north pier on certain days. 

Portage Lake: A few anglers were out trying for perch this week when using worms and wigglers. No big ones to report, but lots of small ones. Bluegills and rock bass were also caught.

Manistee: When boat anglers could get out, fishing was slow along the coast. Pier and shore fishing picked up, with a decent number of steelhead caught on the 5th Avenue pier and along the surf to the north. A few small coho, a couple lake trout and a couple whitefish were also caught. Spawn worked best, as those casting spoons had little luck.   

Manistee River: Is producing more steelhead in the lower river.    

Ludington: Bad weather has made fishing tough. Those out surfcasting had little luck.  Anglers at the state park reported slow fishing, with only a coho or two landed.  

Pere Marquette River: Had a good push of Chinook salmon on the South Branch in northern Oceana, southern Mason and western Newaygo County. 

Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay: Most boats are being pulled from marinas, as boat activity is slowing down. Shore anglers have caught a few here and there. Those fishing a few of the river mouths found some coho and a few splake. Still not much to report on splake in the marinas, but anglers are anticipating their arrival. 

Marquette: Fishing activity was on the upswing, with more boat anglers and shore anglers on the Carp and Chocolay rivers and the Lower Harbor breakwall. Boat anglers had better success taking a mix of brown trout, steelhead, coho and lake trout. Boats were trolling from the green can outside the Lower Harbor around the end of the breakwall and down toward the mouth of the Carp and Chocolay rivers. A couple lake trout were caught off the breakwall, and the action should only get better. Those trying for Menominee offshore were getting a few. The Carp River was producing a few coho along with the occasional steelhead when using spawn. On the Chocolay River, anglers were lucky to get one or two coho and the occasional brown trout per trip.    

Little Bay De Noc: Most walleye anglers fished the Kipling area and reported fair catches when trolling stick baits or a crawler harness in 15 to 25 feet. Fish were found south of the Ford River when trolling stick baits in 10 to 20 feet. Some nice perch catches were taken in the Gladstone beach area and in the “Narrows” when using minnows or crawlers in and around 20 feet. Bass were still stacked in deeper water off the Farmers Dock. 

Manistique River: The area up by the dam where anglers gain access has been gated and posted, denying access. This has pushed shore anglers downriver, where fishing was good. Most of the salmon are dark and rough-looking, but many large fish are still being reported. Steelhead are starting to show up in good numbers. There are still a good number of walleye throughout the river, with many being caught by salmon anglers using crankbaits.

Munising: Angler activity is winding down, with mainly locals fishing at this point. Boat anglers did manage to get a mix of coho and splake when trolling between Munising and Sand Point. The coho were a mix of male and female and were somewhat silver.  Pier and shore anglers reported slow catch rates, with only the occasional coho, splake or steelhead caught on Cleo’s, orange and silver spoons or spawn. 

St. Marys River: Those fishing off Raber reported good catches of walleye on the north end of Lime Island. Try trolling planer boards between Lime Island and Round Island with orange or chartreuse crankbaits. The mouth of Carlton Creek is producing some nice catches of walleye early morning or evening when trolling silver and black crankbaits just off the weed beds in 8 to 12 feet. Carlton Creek is located 2 miles south of the Raber boat launch. 

Lake George: Was producing a good number of walleye, pike and smallmouth.   

Detour: Those fishing up near Sweets Pointe reported good catches of walleye when trolling planer boards over the rocky shelves in 8 to 10 feet. Most were using silver and black crankbaits. Fish were also caught using slip-bobbers tipped with shiners two cranks off the bottom in 8 to 12 feet. Sweets Pointe and Sweets Bay are good places to target walleye on windy days. 

Drummond Island: A few catches of yellow perch were taken in Scott Bay.  Anglers should try the south side of Ashman Island in 10 to 12 feet, where the clear water meets the stained water, when using both worms and shiners. 

Cedarville and Hessel: Perch fishing has been slow throughout the Les Cheneaux Islands. Try drift fishing or jigging to locate schools of fish throughout the islands. Good pike catches were reported throughout Snows Channel when trolling a large 12-inch crankbait from Dollar Island east to Musky Bay in 6 to 10 feet. Hessel had no reports of yellow perch in the marina. 

Carp River: Those drifting spawn bags for steelhead did not have much luck.

Fishing Tip: Fall Great Lakes pier fishing for smallmouth 

Fall is a great time to target smallmouth bass with Great Lakes pier fishing, a tactic underutilized by many anglers. As the lakes and rivers cool, minnows will congregate around the piers. Large, educated river smallmouth migrating downstream in the fall often will drop their guard when gorging on minnows at the river mouth, allowing some very nice fish to be taken on minnows that otherwise would be very slow to bite.