Saturday marks the opening day of the general trout season, as well as the walleye, northern pike and muskellunge opener on inland waters of the Lower Peninsula, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday in its weekly fishing report.
The catch-and-release bass season for the Lower Peninsula will also open Saturday, the department said.
Trout anglers are going to have a hard time this weekend as heavy rains have washed all kinds of bugs and worms into the rivers, the DNR said. It said anglers might be advised to seek out natural inland lakes where the heavy rain will have less effect compared to the rivers and impoundments.
Marquette: Catch rates have been scattered. A couple of nice steelhead were taken in the Lower Harbor near the Chocolay River. Splake and whitefish were caught off the coal docks when using a single egg. Shore anglers targeting coho caught no fish. Those trolling for lake trout caught no fish but those jigging in 130 feet of water near the White Rocks did. Water temperatures remain in the 30s.
AuTrain: Coho fishing was very slow for those trolling between the Rock River and AuTrain River. Those casting toward the Rock River did catch a couple of steelhead on spawn or brown trout when casting crank baits. Anglers are hoping the dock at the Brownstone Launch will be in by this weekend.
Keweenaw Bay: Had good coho action for those trolling body baits, spoons or dodgers with flies. Anything with orange was the hot bait and some limit catches were reported. Chinook, steelhead and brown trout were also caught. Those fishing off the rock pier in L'Anse also caught coho and trout. Smelt were caught in some area rivers.
Fall's River: The steelhead bite has been hit-or-miss, but a few fish have been caught everyday. Water levels are up but the river is fishable.
Menominee: Boat anglers are fishing just off the mouth of the river and beyond the breakwalls. Catch rates for perch were fair when jigging minnows.
Menominee River: Shore anglers and those wading are catching walleye and suckers from Stephenson Island upstream to the Hattie Street Dam. Most are casting crank baits and rapalas but a few were drifting yarn for trout with no success. Catch rates for walleye were good near Stephenson Island and fair to good upstream from the island. Lots of shore anglers on both sides of the river.
Little Bay De Noc: Water temperatures are still very cold from 36 to 40 degrees in both bays. Perch anglers are fishing the Narrows but catch rates were slow. Try jigging minnows in 20 to 30 feet of water.
Whitefish River: Is producing good numbers of steelhead.
Day's River: Had good steelhead fishing between U.S. 2 and the golf course. Several anglers pursued perch at the mouth but catch rates were spotty.
Ford River: Is producing some nice steelhead.
Big Bay De Noc: Had more perch anglers than Little Bay but catch rates were still slow due to cold water temperatures. Most are fishing Garden Bay either over by the fishery or out by Ansell's Point. Some 8- to 10-inch fish were caught off Vans Harbor.
Manistique River: High water levels are making steelhead fishing quite difficult.
DeTour: Anglers fishing Scott Bay and Maxton Bay off Drummond Island are catching yellow perch with minnows in 2 to 6 feet of water. Bluegills are hitting on red worms and small pieces of crawler. Fish the shoreline near the cattails.
Cedarville and Hessel: Splake can be seen around the pier at Hessel; however, the season does not open until Sunday. The lake trout and splake regulations for MH-1 have been modified: The minimum size limit for lake trout and splake shall be 10 inches and the maximum size limit shall be 24 inches, except that the daily possession limit shall not include more than one lake trout or splake 32 inches or greater. Pier anglers trying for perch had no luck.
Nunn's Creek: Was producing limit catches of smelt.
Carp River: Was producing limit catches of smelt along with a couple steelhead even though there is a strong current.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Ocqueoc River: Water levels are high and stained which has hampered trout fishing. A couple steelhead were caught when drifting spawn under a bobber or using artificial plugs and spinners.
Rogers City: Local rivers are high. Pier fishing is slow. Try casting small spoons or body baits that look like gobies or smelt. When fishing the stained waters, use bright colors like orange or chartreuse with silver.
Rockport: Few boats have been out as the docks are not in yet. Pier anglers are trying for Atlantic salmon but no fish were caught.
Alpena: Boat anglers have been going out but no fish were caught.
Thunder Bay River: The gate at the Ninth Street Dam is wide open and the backwaters are still near flood stage. Boat anglers say the fish have been pushed back by the heavy current and are staged behind the old paper mill, approximately a quarter mile upstream. A couple steelhead were caught by those drifting orange and yellow flies. Walleye were also hitting on spawn and flies however the season does not open until Saturday. Suckers have started to move up into the river.
Harrisville: Those able to get out on the lake have caught a limited number of steelhead and walleye. Most are trolling body baits, spoons and crawler harnesses.
Oscoda: A few walleye were caught in 20 to 30 feet of water straight off the mouth of the river.
Au Sable River: Catch rates for steelhead were slow as water temperatures were still in the high 30's and low 40's. The holes were empty. Try spawn and wax worms in the river or spoons and body baits at the mouth.
Tawas: Pier anglers are taking a few brown trout, steelhead, whitefish or lots of small yellow perch. The harbor is filled with small emerald shiners. Boat anglers are not doing well. Shore anglers casting rapalas off the mouth have caught walleye.
Au Gres: Those trolling with body baits have caught some walleye in 10 to 15 feet of water off Point Lookout. Smelt were taken along the shoreline and around Point Lookout.
Au Gres River: Fishing is slow as the river is high and muddy, pretty much like every other stream in central Michigan right now. Near the Singing Bridge, shore anglers are casting rapalas at night for walleye.
Rifle River: Water levels are high and muddy. The sucker runs are winding down.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Traverse City: In the East Bay, a few lake trout and whitefish were caught in front of the Center Road launch when jigging. Those surfcasting near Mitchell Creek caught steelhead in the early morning. Fish were also caught in front of the power dam and in the bypass pond. Try wax worms or wigglers on a bright colored jig. In the West Bay, lake trout and steelhead were caught off the Maritime Pier and lake trout were caught by those jigging in 130 feet of water on the south side of the island. Perch are late this year and have not come into Suttons Bay yet.
Boardman River: The number of fish remains about the same however most of fish caught were taken at the mouth or the Union Street Dam.
Frankfort: Boats trolling between the breakwalls in the early morning are still catching some nice brown trout. Try spoons or plugs with a rattle and red head.
Onekama: Those trolling the shoreline have caught a few brown trout on body baits.
Portage Lake: Has good perch fishing with several reports of fish ranging 10 to 12 inches caught. Some are using minnows but those using wigglers with colorful hooks were catching the bigger fish just off the bottom near the mouth.
Lake Cadillac: A few boats were out fishing the open water for perch and crappie. No word on catch rates.
Manistee: Boat anglers trolling the shoreline have caught chinook and steelhead. Hot colors were green and blue. Pier anglers are also catching a few fish on spawn. No reports on perch.
Manistee River: Steelhead fishing is still going strong, but should start winding down soon. Some nice chrome fish have been caught up at Tippy Dam. There should still be some fish for the trout opener this weekend though high water levels will certainly cause muddy water for the opener. Bait anglers will score best when using crawlers.
Ludington: Boats trolling the shoreline are catching fish. Pier action was slow.
Pere Marquette River: Water levels were up but still manageable. Steelhead fishing slowed as many fish have left the gravel and are falling back. Anglers should be aware that from the Last Saturday in April through August 31st, the section between Gleason's Landing and Rainbow Rapids is artificial lures only. Reference the fishing guide for further details.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: From Sunday through April 30, 2012 the limit will be six walleye. Fishing remains poor and the weather has made the lake very muddy. A few anglers caught some walleye off the mouth of the Raisin River when jigging. The Laplaisance Road overpass is under construction and down to one lane. Anglers using the Bolles Harbor launch should expect minor traffic delays.
Huron River: Is still producing some steelhead. Some are catching white bass and crappie can be found in the backwaters. The walleye opener this Saturday looks to be good as there are fish in the river. Water levels were high but fishable.
Detroit River: Has good walleye action at the bottom of Trenton Channel. Some are jigging with large walleye minnows while others have started hand-lining with rapalas. For jigs, try two tone green. For rapalas, use dark colors with blades. Stinger hooks are also a must this time of year.
St. Clair River: A few smelt were caught up at Port Huron.
Lexington: A decent number of chinook salmon have been caught by those trolling. Coho, steelhead and a few brown trout have also been caught. Pier anglers caught steelhead on spawn or crawlers.
Port Sanilac: Those out trolling have caught a mix of chinook, coho, steelhead, brown trout and lake trout.
Saginaw Bay: The water looks like coffee as far as the eye can see. Perch fishing has tapered off but crappie can be found in the marina basins. Try a live minnow under a bobber or small crappie jigs. Post spawn walleye fishing is slow due to runoff from all the rain. A few walleye were taken off Spoils Island. Channel cats and white bass were caught from the Hot Ponds. Boat anglers off Quanicassee found some walleye. Boat anglers need to pay close attention to water levels, especially off the end of the boat ramps.
Tittabawassee River: Has extremely high water levels.
Saginaw River: High muddy water will make the walleye opener a bit challenging. It may be better to go out on Saginaw Bay and try to avoid the mud line, but if river fishing is your only option, use a bright colored jig such as orange or chartreuse and add a big minnow or crawler. Fish slowly, and put the lure right in front of their face.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Grand Haven: Pier anglers are using spawn for steelhead, brown trout and lake trout but catch rates were hit-or-miss. Boat anglers are struggling to find perch. The east wind does not help and the mud line from the Grand River has made fishing difficult for those in front of the bathhouse at the State Park.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Steelhead are still being caught on flies and yarn even though the run has started to slow down. Orange and pink are still good colors. Be sure to use big choker bags in the strong current. Crappie were caught along the shoreline up and down the river. Riverside Park was good for bluegill and crappie.
Grand River at Lansing: Channel cats have been caught over at Moore's Park. Look for crappie in the channels.
Rogue River: Is producing steelhead.
Reeds Lake: Is producing bluegills and crappie.
Muskegon: Pier anglers are trying to catch brown trout and steelhead on spawn but catch rates were slow. Boat anglers caught few trout or walleye. Nothing on perch.
Whitehall: Steelhead and brown trout fishing off the piers has been slow. Some were trying to catch walleye in the evening but few fish were taken. Anglers are reminded to stay beyond the actual shoreline of Lake Michigan when walleye fishing as the season on the inland waters does not open until Saturday.