Spring fishing is off to a slower than usual start, but catch rates will improve once the weather stabilizes, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Steelhead fishing continues to build as we move further into spring, the department said Wednesday in its weekly fishing report.
Marquette: Catch rates improved for coho but only a light number of splake and brown trout were caught. Both harbors are ice free so anglers can use the boat ramps. Those trolling did better in 10 to 20 feet of water between the Lower Harbor and the Chocolay River. A few coho and splake were caught off the power plant breakwall. Shore anglers did best in the early morning using a single egg, crawlers or Cleo's. Water temperatures range from the upper 30s to 40 degrees near shore.
AuTrain: Had good steelhead fishing along with the occasional coho. Try early morning off the mouth of the Rock River or the AuTrain River with spawn. Steelhead averaged 20 to 30 inches while coho were a bit smaller at 15 inches. Ice has finally left the bay except for some areas along the shoreline. Docks were not in yet at the Brownstown launch.
Munising: The ice has since broken up and for the most part moved out of the bay. Floe ice remains in the east channel and around Grand Island. The docks at the city launch are in and the small-craft launch at the mouth of the Anna River is also being used since water levels are up. The first of the boat anglers have only caught a few steelhead. Coho action was slow. Shore anglers are seeing rainbow trout, but most were on the small side.
Grand Marais: Ice has moved out of the bay. The launch has been dredged and should be ready for use as long as floe ice does not move back in. The snow and ice buildup on the pier should be gone soon. Some were surfcasting for steelhead and coho but catch rates were slow.
Lake Gogebic: Ice fishing is done. Anglers are advised to stay off any remaining ice due to the honeycomb effect. Some boats were fishing out of Silver City but no reports have come in yet.
Menominee River: The bay still has ice so boat anglers are fishing the river between the mouth and the Hattie Street Dam. Try jigging minnows in the deeper holes. Those wading near the dam and Stephenson Island have caught light numbers of steelhead and brown trout. Walleye fishing was hit or miss. All the boat launches are open except for the one at the lighthouse.
Little Bay De Noc: Has open water. The rivers are flowing high with little or no ice. The Ford and Rapid River launches are usable but no docks are in yet.
Big Bay De Noc: Is pretty much open water except for the unstable ice in the bays. All the launches appear to be usable except for Fayette because of the ice. The only dock in was at Ogontz. The rivers are open, look for steelhead and smelt.
Manistique River: Steelhead fishing at the first dam has picked up. Anglers drifting peach colored yard did well while those using spawn bags reported fair catch rates. Boat anglers trolling spoons were not having much luck.
DeTour: Steelhead anglers are fishing the rock pile near the mouth of Albany Creek. Try casting stick baits or floating spawn bags.
Cedarville and Hessel: Ice fishing for perch is done, but boat anglers should continue to do well in 10 to 12 feet of water.
Nunn's Creek: Has started producing some smelt.
Carp River: Steelhead were starting to show up near the mouth. Smelt runs were under way with good catches reported.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Ocqueoc River: Recent rain should get the steelhead moving. The few fish caught were taken on spawn bags under a bobber. No luck with spinners or body baits.
Rogers City: Should be fishable soon, especially for boat anglers. Shore anglers should try casting small spoons or body baits off the breakwall. Good colors are chartreuse, green or blue with silver or fire-tiger. Fish the stained waters which are slightly warmer for Atlantic salmon and brown trout.
Rockport: Anglers are fishing off the old pier but no fish were caught. Atlantic salmon should be moving in soon but it appears that it is still a bit early. The launch is still iced but it is breaking up. One boat went out and did manage to catch a brown trout when trolling body baits along the shoreline.
Thunder Bay River: The launch on the marina side was still iced in but the river is open so boats are launching behind the Post Office. Shore anglers caught steelhead and brown trout using pink and white flies, artificial lures or spawn.
Higgins Lake: Has open water one quarter mile out from shore. Any remaining ice is not safe. Boat anglers are launching from the North State Park and the west launch. They are trolling along the drop-off for lake trout, brown trout and rainbows.
Houghton Lake: The ice blew off and is piled along one side. The canals are opening up so crappie fishing should start soon.
Harrisville: Ice in the harbor is gone, one skid pier is in and the boat launch is open. A few boats are targeting walleye with body baits, crawler harnesses or small spoons.
Oscoda: Steelhead were caught off the mouth of the river by those casting spoons or body baits. Walleye are in 20 to 30 feet of water.
Au Sable River: Steelhead are making their way up the river. Fish range from 5 to 12 pounds and were hitting on wax worms.
Tawas: Pier anglers caught a few lake trout and walleye. Boat anglers were not doing very well for walleye.
Au Gres: A lot of boats are heading out for walleye but catch rates were slow. The fish are still in the river for spawning and will move back to the lake soon.
Au Gres River: A couple steelhead were caught in the surf near the Singing Bridge. Walleye are still up in the river however anglers are reminded that walleye season on the inland waters is closed until the last Saturday in April. Cold water temperatures will most likely push the smelt runs back a week or so.
Rifle River: Is producing a good number of suckers and steelhead.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Elk River: Had fair to good steelhead action for those floating wigglers and crawlers off the bottom near the power dam.
Traverse City: The West Bay was producing some lake trout along the east side in 100 to 130 feet of water. Perch fishing in front of the Boardman River was slowed.
Boardman River: Had a good number of steelhead at the Union Street Dam.
Frankfort: Boats trolling north to the point caught lake trout and brown trout in 50 to 75 feet of water. Anglers caught fish off both piers before first light.
Onekama: A few nice walleye were caught off both piers after dark.
Portage Lake: Is ice free. Anglers were out trying for perch but the bite was slow.
Lake Cadillac: Ice fishing season is over and any remaining ice is not safe.
Manistee: Boat anglers caught the occasional steelhead, brown trout or lake trout when trolling the shoreline with small spoons or body baits. Pier anglers were using fresh spawn.
Manistee River: Is producing steelhead between the mouth and Tippy Dam.
Ludington: Boat anglers trolling in the channel and around the piers have caught brown trout on body baits in natural patterns. Steelhead and brown trout were also caught by surf and pier anglers.
Pere Marquette River: Those fishing below the M-37 Bridge in the flies only section have found a good number of steelhead on the gravel. Fish were hitting on spawn bags between Rainbow Rapids and the Walhalla Bridge. Sucker runs are just getting started and fish were caught off Scottville Park.
Pentwater: Steelhead action was still a bit slow however those fishing the channel have caught some nice brown trout.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: The daily possession limit for walleye in the Michigan waters of Lake Erie will be as follows: April 1 through April 30, 2011, the limit will be five walleye. Beginning May 1, 2011, through April 30, 2012, the limit will be six walleye. Rain did decrease water clarity but increased water temperatures. Crappie, perch and bluegills were in the Metro Park Marina however it closes to fishing on April 15. A few walleye were caught by those trolling in Brest Bay, but the better action was near Turtle Island when using jigs and blade baits.
Huron River: Steelhead are being caught along the entire river including up near the Flat Rock Dam. Most are using jigs and wax worms or flies, but a few were using spawn. No word on crappie yet. Reminder: Walleye season is closed.
Detroit River: Had fair to good walleye fishing for those using a jig and minnow, but those using stinger hooks caught more fish. Perch are still being caught however the number is starting to wind down. Try the mouth, border waters or the back bays.
Clinton River: Is producing steelhead and suckers.
Lexington: Boat anglers have caught good numbers of coho, chinook, steelhead, brown trout and lake trout when trolling body baits in 5 to 15 feet of water just north of the harbor. Pier anglers are taking a few perch and the occasional lake trout.
Port Sanilac: Boats are getting out but the bite was still slow.
Saginaw Bay: Had excellent perch fishing off Pine River and Palmer Roads. The bite was good one day but shut down the next. Boats were fishing around the commercial nets and taking 50 to 60 fish per boat on the good days. Perch were caught at Sebewaing, be ready to sort out the small ones. Pier anglers at Caseville caught perch, walleye, brown trout or lake trout. Nothing at Port Austin as Bird Creek was still high and turbid. Suckers are starting to run in most of the rivers in the Thumb area.
Saginaw River: Is producing some perch in the lower river.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
St. Joseph: Boats are likely still going out however we have no report for this week.
Grand Haven: Pier anglers caught brown trout, steelhead and the occasional coho on spawn. Catch rates are good one day and slow the next. Boat anglers trolling the shoreline caught steelhead and brown trout on gold and black stick baits. Some are trying for perch off the State Park however water temperatures are still pretty cold.
Grand River at Lansing: Steelhead can be found over at the Moore's Park Dam. Try crawlers, spawn bags or spinners. Those casting spoons at the point where the Grand meet the Red Cedar caught steelhead. Prairie Creek in Ionia is producing good numbers of steelhead. Catfish action has started to pick up at the North Lansing Dam and the Moore's Park Dam.
Muskegon: Pier anglers are still trying for steelhead and brown trout however catch rates were slow. Boats fishing north of the State Park had no luck.
Whitehall: Pier anglers using spawn bags caught some steelhead and brown trout. A couple walleye were caught were caught in the big lake.
White Lake: A few perch were caught along the west side near Indian Bay and the old post office. Some nice bluegills were caught off the pier in the marina.