By The Associated Press
Michigan's annual Free Fishing Weekend is upon us, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reminding would-be anglers.
Saturday and Sunday, residents and non-residents can fish without a license, the DNR said Wednesday in its weekly fishing report.
All other regulations still apply, the department said.
The arrival of summer weather means fishing has picked up, so the weekend should be good, the DNR said.
Marquette: Lake trout fishing remains scattered, with most anglers averaging one to three fish weighing 4 to 6 pounds. Try near Shot Point in 120 to 150 feet of water. A few coho were taken between the Sand River and Shot Point. Water temperatures near the Carp and Chocolay Rivers were in the upper 40s.
AuTrain: Lake trout fishing was spotty. Try the shipping channel east of AuTrain Island or near Wood Island in 120 to 240 feet of water when fishing just off the bottom. Average fish were 4 to 6 pounds. Try fishing along the drop-off between AuTrain Point and Scott Falls.
Munising: A few boat anglers were still taking chinook salmon when trolling in 20 to 55 feet of water. No limit catches reported this week and the fish were smaller in the 3- to 6-pound range. Lake trout fishing was fair as the fish seem scattered anywhere from 70 to 170 feet down around Grand Island, Pictured Rocks and Wood Island. Splake fishing was very slow for pier and dock anglers.
Copper Harbor: A lot of mature splake have been seen in the harbor but none were caught. Fishing with live minnows might produce some fish.
Keweenaw Bay: The bite has picked up as anglers were taking a good mix of chinook, coho, lake trout and steelhead when trolling just off the bottom in 30 to 60 feet of water from the head of Bay northward. Try spoons, body baits, dodger and flies. Those jigging did well in 170 to 340 feet of water out from the Red Rock at the roadside park and off Pequaming. The bite picked up at the South Portage Entry near the lighthouse on the west shoreline and south to the old clinic.
Gratiot Lake: A few walleye were caught in 8 to 15 feet of water when using sucker minnows. Pike fishing was good but the majority of fish caught were too small. There have been no reports of spawning bluegills in this area of the state.
Menominee River: Walleye anglers are trolling crawler harnesses. Catch rates were fair but many fish were small. Small muskie were caught by those trolling near Boom Landing. Shore anglers near the Hattie Street Dam caught walleye when casting rapalas, or when using jigs with minnows or crawlers but the current was much better on the Wisconsin side. The Cat Walk has produced a few walleye for those casting rapalas in the late evening. Those fishing behind K-Mart have caught bluegill, perch and bullhead. Try minnows, wax worms or crawlers. Anglers not registered at the campground should stay out of the gated area when fishing.
Little Bay De Noc: Had good walleye fishing as far south as Breezy Point when trolling or drifting crawlers in 6 to 12 feet of water. Walleye were caught at the head of the bay near the mouth of the Whitefish River as well as the Kipling Flats, Black Bottom and just off the mouth of the Escanaba River in 10 to 20 feet of water. Some limit catches were reported. Smallmouth bass were caught off the moth of the Ford River. Those casting crank baits or spinners did well from the mouth downriver to the M-35 Bridge. For perch, try still-fishing with crawlers around in Butler Island in 10 to 17 feet of water or the Narrows in 30 feet of water.
Big Bay De Noc: Had plenty of smallmouth bass anglers. Warm nights have the bass in shallow waters. Try Ogontz, Martin Bay, Puffy Bay, South River Bay, and Porcupine Point when casting crank baits or plastics in 4 to 12 feet of water. Best walleye fishing was in the evening when trolling crawlers in 10 to 20 feet of water from the head of the Bay down to the "Boot." Nothing off Fairport but there will soon be just as soon as the water temperatures warm up.
Grand Marais: Pier anglers are doing well for whitefish. Early morning was best however some of the bigger fish have been caught after sunrise. Those fishing at night say the bite stops around 10:30pm. If weather conditions are right, the fish stay around throughout the day. A single egg or wax worm is best. Those in small boats were picking up a few perch. Lake trout action was good in the shipping channel in 200 feet of water. The fish averaged 2 to 5 pounds.
Manistique River: Boat anglers have caught smallmouth bass, pike, carp and the occasional walleye just upstream from the Municipal launch. Boats are trolling crawler harnesses while shore anglers are casting crank baits, crawlers or leeches. Those wading near the first dam are getting steelhead and brown trout but the numbers are low. Try drifting yarn or casting spinners.
St. Marys River: Walleye have been caught in Raber Bay and Munuscong Bay when using Hot-n-Tots in 4 to 6 feet of water. The concentration of weeds is down so far this year so anglers can enjoy walleye fishing in the many bays along the river.
DeTour: Had good walleye fishing in Scott Bay when using planer boards and crawlers. Smallmouth bass were good in Scott Bay and Maxton Bay when using spinners, spider jigs or crank baits. Whitney Bay, off Drummond Island is also a good location for northern pike. Atlantic salmon and lake trout have been caught in the freighter channel, around the lighthouse and on the reef. A couple chinook and steelhead were caught on orange and black or silver and blue spoons.
Cedarville and Hessel: Reported good northern pike action out of Hessel. Smallmouth bass were also caught. Yellow perch were starting to show up around the Hessel Pier, so perch fishing should improve. Cedarville Bay, Musky Bay and the Moscoe Channel are producing pike for those casting or still-fishing with chubs. Water temperatures had warmed to 58 degrees.
Carp River: Upstream anglers are harvesting trout, pike, walleye and white suckers.
St. Ignace: The primitive launch is a good opportunity for anglers to launch small boats or wade for northern pike and bass. Black, orange or chartreuse are good colors to try. Boats heading northeast of Mackinaw Island have caught lake trout 25 to 40 feet down. Chinook were caught over the flats on the west side of the island. Purple was a good color for both species.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Rogers City: Catch rates have increased right along with water temperatures. Smaller lake trout are starting to show up for those trolling cowbells or dodgers with spin glo's near the bottom or spoons higher in the water column. Atlantic and chinook salmon have been caught higher in the water column when using spoons that resemble smelt.
Presque Isle: Had good lake trout fishing off Big Lighthouse Point in 30 feet of water with dodgers or cowbells with spin glo's. Atlantic and chinook were caught higher in the water column.
Alpena: Walleye have been caught during the evening hours when trolling crawler harnesses. The fish are shallow in 10 to 15 feet of water and feeding in the top 5 feet of water possibly because of the cooler water temperatures. Anglers can be found off the Blair Street Dock and behind the Yacht Club. No lake trout reports.
Thunder Bay River: Is producing a mixed bag of fish. Walleye are hitting on leeches while steelhead, crappie and smallmouth bass are hitting on crawlers.
Harrisville: Walleye fishing slowed but a few fish were caught on crawler harnesses and body baits in 20 to 50 feet of water. Lake trout seem to be moving out deeper to 80 and 100 feet of water. White and silver were the hot color.
Higgins Lake: Perch are hitting on minnows around the Sunken Island. Boats trolling cowbells, body baits or rapalas have caught lake trout. Those jigging Swedish Pimples or cast masters in 85 feet of water in front of the Conference Center have caught lake trout. Northern pike are hitting in 15 feet of water around the main island. Try spinners or harnesses.
Houghton Lake: Walleye are being caught by those trolling crawler harnesses and leeches. Some nice bluegills have been caught on leaf worms, wax worms or flies. Perch fishing was slow.
Oscoda: The walleye action has shut down for pier anglers but some are still heading out in the early morning with crawlers and body baits. Boat anglers caught lake trout in 80 to 120 feet of water straight out from the mouth of the river when using blue and silver or white and silver spoons.
Tawas: The minnows have finally left the harbor but the fishing remained slow. Boat anglers trolling around Buoy (hash)2 and off the tip of Tawas Point did catch some walleye on crawler harnesses. Bass anglers did well when using plastics.
Tawas River: Shore anglers caught a mix of walleye, smallmouth bass, catfish, pike and bullhead.
Au Gres: Walleye fishing was good for those trolling crawler harnesses or crank baits in 25 to 32 feet of water between Pt. Au Gres and Point Lookout. Smallmouth bass fishing was excellent.
Au Gres River: Shore anglers caught bullhead, catfish, freshwater drum and pike.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Petoskey: Smallmouth bass are starting to show up in the shallows throughout the bay but the bite was slow. A good spot to try would be between Harbor Point and the State Park.
Charlevoix: Is producing lake trout however many were too small to keep. Fish were found from top to bottom in 80 to 120 feet of water. Those fishing the channel in the Pine River have caught walleye and smallmouth bass when using a lead head jig with a white twister tail.
Lake Charlevoix: Anglers are picking up walleye on crawler harnesses and bottom bouncers. Bass are starting to come into the shallows.
Traverse City: In the East Bay, bass anglers were fishing in waters 12 feet deep or less along the south bank. Try tube baits or jerk baits. For lake trout, some are jigging in 80 feet of water north of the Center Road launch while others are trolling in 120 feet of water off Yuba. Near Elk Rapids, smallmouth bass were caught near the mouth of the Elk River and around the point. In the West Bay, anglers did well when jigging or trolling for lake trout. A few hot spots were in 40 feet of water just up from the Elmwood Marina near the Red Buoy or south of the Island in 100 feet of water. Shore anglers caught fish off Bryant Park.
Boardman River: Those drifting leeches or crawlers near the mouth caught smallmouth bass. Perch and smallmouth were caught up at the union Street Dam.
Frankfort: Several nice chinook salmon have been caught in the Herring Hole when trolling 80 to 130 feet down in 110 to 220 feet of water. Those trolling south to the point have caught coho and steelhead on spoons. Pier fishing was slow due to the large number of alewife in the harbor.
Onekama: Those trolling south toward Manistee have caught chinook, steelhead, lake trout and brown trout in the early morning. Try 70 to 90 feet down in 100 to 130 feet of water with body baits.
Portage Lake: Smallmouth bass were on the beds and bluegills have been caught in the weeds near Little Eden. Largemouth bass were starting to make beds. Those fishing with jigs along the shoreline have caught smallmouth bass and rock bass.
Lake Cadillac: Summer fishing is here with anglers catching a variety of species such as bluegills, crappie, perch, bass, pike and walleye. Bullhead and bowfin are also hitting.
Lake Mitchell: Is producing some large crappie. Try jigs with minnows. Bluegills, perch, bass and pike are also being caught.
Manistee: Salmon are being caught 50 to 100 feet down in waters 100 to 200 feet deep. Green or blue spoons worked beds. Pier fishing for brown trout was slow.
Ludington: Boat anglers are doing well on salmon when trolling spoons 50 feet down in waters up to 150 feet deep. Green and blue were the hot colors. Most boats can be seen between the Bath House and Sable Point. Pier fishing was slow.
Pere Marquette River: Fishing slowed with bug hatches taking place all day long. Worms have been working but an egg sucking leach fly worked better. More suckers have moved up on the gravel from Walhalla Road to M-37.
Pentwater: Fishing has started with chinook being caught by those trolling halfway down in 60 to 100 feet of water with green or blue spoons. A few lake trout were also caught. Alewives have moved into the channel.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: Walleye can be found in 22 to 25 feet of water from Sterling State Park to the Femi Power Plant. Most are trolling spoons or bottom bouncers in purple or fire-tiger. Those anchoring and fishing with minnows have caught yellow perch. Be sure to bring lots of crawlers as the freshwater drum are hitting as well.
Huron River: Is producing lots of bass. Anglers are also catching crappie, catfish and carp. Catfish were in the slow water between the two dams. Look for panfish in the backwaters.
Detroit River: Anglers are catching walleye and perch. White bass and catfish should also be a good bet for the upcoming weekend.
Lexington: Is producing chinook, coho, steelhead and lake trout south of the port. Shore anglers fishing in the harbor in the early morning caught a couple walleye. Those fishing inside the harbor found smallmouth bass, pike, bullhead and some really big rock bass.
Port Sanilac: Boat anglers trolling are still taking a mix of chinook, coho, steelhead and lake trout in 40 to 60 feet of water north of the port. A few perch were caught down toward Lakeport.
Harbor Beach: Brown trout were caught south of the harbor in waters 25 to 45 feet deep. Body baits and spoons are working, try perch, silver and green. Fair steelhead fishing but the action is getting better. Boats are running long lines with offshore boards and spoons. Try 2, 5, or 8 color lead lines as well. Bright colors work best. Good lake trout action straight out and north of the harbor. Try spoons off downriggers or dodgers and flashers with flies and spin glo's in the bottom 45 feet of water. Hot colors were white, purple, pink, green or black. Start in 60 feet of water and work your way out. A few salmon were also caught straight out or north of the harbor 15 to 40 feet down. Good colors were silver, green, black, blue or anything that glows. Start in 40 feet then head out further. Perch can usually be found off the lighthouse or south near the cemetery in 20 to 30 feet of water while the walleye are usually north of the harbor in 30 to 60 feet of water.
Grindstone City: Has good bass fishing. Boats trolling off Lighthouse Park near Port Hope caught chinook and lake trout in waters 40 to 120 feet deep. Chinook were about halfway down while the lake trout were 10 feet off the bottom.
Port Austin: Limits of walleye were caught around the Flat Rock Reef which is southwest of town. The fish averaged 3 to 4 pounds. Those out trolling did well in 80 to 120 feet of water north and northeast of the harbor.
Saginaw Bay: Had excellent largemouth bass fishing in shallow water off Pinconning with a purple worm. Walleye were hitting at the end of Newburg Road off Gambil's Marina and two miles east of the Spark Plug around Buoys 11 and 12 in waters 10 to 18 feet deep. Most are using crawler harnesses or spoons. Good walleye action was reported on the Callahan Reef with some getting limit catches in 4 to 7 feet of water as well as between the mouth of the Saginaw and Kawkawlin Rivers in 8 feet of water. A few perch were caught. From Quanicassee, those trolling are heading west to the Callahan Reef or northeast to the Slot off Sebewaing. Catch rates were fair as far north as Sand Point. At Caseville, a few walleye were caught off the end of the pier when fishing at night. Surface water temperatures were 69 degrees so let's hope the warm weather does not drive the walleye out to deeper water like last year.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Bluegills were on the beds everywhere in this area of the state. Nice fish were caught either on the beds or in deep water near the beds.
St. Joseph: Pier anglers are catching lots of freshwater drum when using crawlers on the bottom. Boat anglers said fishing was spotty. Most are trolling in 150 to 200 feet of water with spoons. Perch fishing was slow.
South Haven: Boat anglers are catching a few lake trout but the salmon action was spotty in waters up to 200 feet deep. Perch and pier fishing were slow.
Grand Haven: Boat anglers are catching chinook salmon 40 to 75 feet down in waters 120 to 130 feet deep. Spoons or spin-fly combos are working best. Hot colors were green or green with blue. Pier anglers are catching alewife in cast nets but not trout or salmon were caught. One angler caught 52 freshwater drum. No perch to report.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Water levels are coming down and the fishing is heating up. Good smallmouth bass action on minnows, twister tails, soft shell crabs and crawlers. Channel cats are hitting on cut up suckers and crawlers. Pike are going after spoons or suckers under a bobber. Bluegills are getting ready to spawn, try leaf worms or wax worms and crappie were still good on minnows, twister tails or wax worms.
Grand River at Lansing: Moore's Park is producing pike, smallmouth bass and catfish while the North Lansing Dam has been good for smallmouth bass, catfish and carp. Both the Red Cedar River and Sycamore Creek still had high water levels.
Lake Lansing: Has anglers out targeting bass, bluegill and pike.
Lake Ovid: Is producing crappie, bluegill and largemouth bass.
Reeds Lake: Has been very good for bass, pike, bluegills and crappie.
Muskegon: Boat anglers are fishing in waters 60 to 220 feet deep with downriggers set 40 to 125 feet deep. Most are using spoons or spin and fly combos. Green and blue worked deeper while orange caught fish higher in the water column.
Whitehall: Had good salmon fishing 40 to 60 feet down in 80 to 110 feet of water with downriggers and dark colored spoons.
White Lake: Had excellent panfish action with bluegills and pumpkinseed caught west of the Narrows along the south shore.