By The Associated Press
Catch rates continue to improve as waters warm up, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
While some areas might still have bluegills on the beds, other areas report that the fish are coming off the beds and heading to deeper water, the department said Wednesday in its weekly fishing report.
Marquette: Limit catches of lake trout were reported near the Sand Hole. Watch for small fly hatches on the surface. Lake trout were caught as shallow as 130 feet deep on spoons and flies tipped with cut bait. Chinook were caught east of the Chocolay River. Stannard Rock had good reports of fish caught. Most averaged 8 to 10 pounds but a few came in at 20 pounds. If you catch a tagged fish please call the telephone number on the tag or contact your local DNR operations service center for more information.
AuTrain: Warm surface water has moved bait fish into shallow waters. They are suspended 50 to 70 feet down in 130 to 160 feet of water. Lake trout fishing was fair north of Au Train Island when using spoons and flies. Fish were caught within 10 feet of the bottom and were feeding on sticklebacks and smelt. No steelhead, coho, or chinook to report.
Munising: A few chinook and small lake trout were caught in Trout Bay however the light catch rates were not worth the trip out. Most of the boats are focused on lake trout around Grand Island, Wood Island and Pictured Rocks. The fish average 2 to 4 pounds. Pier and dock anglers caught very few splake.
Grand Marais: Whitefish are still being caught here and there but limit catches seem to be a thing of the past. It seems more fish were caught in the early morning after a hard wind. Try single eggs or wax worms. Lake trout were caught 5 to 7 miles north in the shipping channel in 70 to 250 feet of water when trolling meat rigs and assorted lures. Pike were patrolling the waters around the boat launch but would not bite.
Traverse Bay: Try trolling in 130 to 180 feet of water when fishing the reefs south of Big Louie's Point and between Gay Point and Big Louie's Point. Try a variety of spoons and colors as well as a peanut behind a herring dodger.
Keweenaw Bay: Those trolling for trout and salmon reported slow catch rates. A few yellow perch were caught off Big Bucks and the Baraga Marina. Those jigging in 200 to 250 feet of water for lake trout did well from the pine tree on Pequaming Point and the south end of Big Reef.
Gratiot Lake: Walleye fishing was good with a few limit catches reported. Most are trolling crawler harnesses or using slip floats with a jig and minnow in 17 to 25 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are hitting along the edge of the weed beds in deep water.
Menominee: Boats are trolling near Chambers Island and Green Island but it might still be a little early for salmon in this area.
Menominee River: Some are trolling or jigging in the deeper holes. Smallmouth bass were caught along with small walleye. Those still-fishing at the Mystery Ship launch are taking freshwater drum, catfish, smallmouth bass, perch and the occasional walleye when using crawlers, minnows or leeches. Walleye were caught off the rocks on the Wisconsin side at the Hattie Street Dam.
Little Bay De Noc: Had very good walleye action off Breezy Point for those trolling or drifting crawlers or crank baits in 8 to 10 feet of water. The fish are feeding on large schools of alewife which should also bring chinook salmon into the area so be sure to check out the break between Portage Point and Breezy Point. Walleye fishing was fair in 10 to 20 feet of water off the mouth of the Escanaba River. The mayfly hatch is making it harder to catch fish. For salmon, those heading out to the Ford River Can are starting to catch fish 40 to 60 feet down in 80 to 90 feet of water.
Big Bay De Noc: Smallmouth bass anglers have taken over with good catches off Garden Bluff when casting tube baits or crank baits in 10 to 15 feet of water. Some are trolling crawler harnesses in 20 feet of water near the Sandpit which is out from Nahma. Mayfly hatches did slow catch rates. Fairport had good fishing for those trolling the "Gap" with spoons or flies 40 to 60 feet down in 80 to 100 feet of water.
Manistique: Salmon anglers were about four miles out from the river and fishing in 65 feet of water while others went out ten miles and fished deeper. Most are trolling spoons.
Manistique River: Had a couple pier anglers fishing with crawlers and leeches but few fish were caught.
St. Marys River: Had good action for lake herring in Raber Bay and around Lime Island when using wax worms or natural flies. Walleye were caught in Raber Bay along the east side of Round Island and in the Canadian waters. Try gold spinners or crawlers on a single hook.
De Tour: Lake herring were caught around Drummond Island, Wreck Island and Yacht Haven. Lake whitefish were mixed in with the herring around Boulanger Island and in Scott Bay. Lake trout were caught south of the lighthouse or out near the Flats in 80 feet of water.
Cedarville and Hessel: McKay Bay and Prentice Bay were excellent for lake herring with limit catches reported by those using tear drops or swedish pimples with wax worms. Pike fishing was slow but a few yellow perch were caught in Musky Bay, Hessel Bay, Moscoe Channel and off the pier at Hessel.
St. Ignace: Catch rates were slow. Small boats or those wading off the primitive launch are fishing the bull rushes with green spinners or weedless baits. For pike and smallmouth bass, try orange and silver.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Rogers City: The better fishing seems to be between the marina and the Forty Mile Point Lighthouse in 50 to 120 feet of water. Fish the top half of the water column with anything green, silver, blue, pearl, white, orange or anything that glows.
Presque Isle: The best fishing was the top half of waters 50 to 120 feet deep between the Red Can and Big Lighthouse Point. Look for so called "bug slicks" for top water action for coho, steelhead and pink salmon.
Rockport: Is producing chinook, coho, lake trout and steelhead in 90 to 120 feet of water but the fish are scattered. Most are fishing the Nordmere Wreck and North Point. For steelhead, find the Mayflies hatches.
Alpena: Walleye are scattered but do come back into the shallows at night. Most were fishing out in 25 feet of water with crawler harnesses. Some boats caught walleye straight up the channel by the buoys and around Sulfur Island. Pier anglers caught northern pike on red and black daredevils.
Thunder Bay River: Boat anglers caught limits of walleye when trolling husky jerks about 50 feet behind the boat. Shore anglers caught few walleye but did well for catfish when using crawlers and leeches.
Harrisville: Lake trout were marked in 60 to 120 feet of water but few were caught.
Higgins Lake: Rock bass are hitting on worms and minnows. Yellow perch are hitting on minnows around the Sunken Island. Those trolling or jigging spoons in deep water caught lake trout. Smallmouth bass were caught by those drifting crawler harnesses near Treasure Island.
Houghton Lake: Walleye are hitting on crawler harnesses or leeches. Bigger bluegills were caught in the weed beds. Crappie and perch are fair.
Oscoda: Lake trout and salmon were harvested but overall catch rates were slow.
Tawas: Most were heading south and fishing around the Steeples. Walleye were caught along the Nurenberg Reef and out near Buoys 4 and 6.
AuGres: Had limit catches of walleye north of the Charity Islands. Try crawler harnesses or spoons in 15 to 40 feet of water.
AuGres River: Has lots of pike, channel cats and freshwater drum.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Frankfort: Lots of alewife are making it hard for anglers to catch fish. Try trolling 75 to 120 feet down in 100 to 200 feet of water with meat rigs and spoons. The scum line is starting to form in deep water which is good news for those looking for steelhead.
Onekama: Chinook salmon and lake trout were caught straight out from the canal to waters 110 to 180 feet deep.
Portage Lake: Had good action for bluegills, rock bass, perch, large and smallmouth bass as well as northern pike. As the lake begins to warm the fish are getting more active. Fish the weed beds near Little Eden, the buoy off the point, and the east shoreline with worms or crank baits.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Largemouth bass are hitting surface baits. Walleye anglers are drifting or trolling crawler harnesses, rapalas, or Hot-n-Tots. Perch have been caught just off the bottom in deep water. Crappie are suspended during the day so early morning or evenings are best. Bluegills are hitting on wax worms, crickets, leaf worms or flies.
Manistee: Salmon action was slow with only a few fish caught 60 to 120 feet down in waters 100 to 200 feet deep. Steelhead were caught in the top 40 feet when trolling orange spoons. Pier fishing was slow.
Ludington: Steelhead were caught offshore when using orange spoons. Salmon fishing has been slow but a few fish were caught in 100 to 200 feet of water. Try running green spoons or flies 50 to 100 feet down. Pier fishing is slow.
Pere Marquette River: Catch rates were slow due to muddy water. Small brown trout were caught on spinners.
Pentwater: A few chinook salmon were caught about halfway down in waters 100 to 200 feet deep when using blue and green spoons.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: Walleye anglers are launching from Sterling State Park and targeting 24 to 28 feet of water off Stony Point. Those bringing in quite a few fish are also putting in a lot of time to catch that many. Yellow perch were caught in front of the Toledo Beach in 15 feet of water.
Huron River: Has fair to good smallmouth bass action for those using leeches or crayfish. Good crappie action below the spillway. Anglers are still catching a good number of carp and catfish.
Lexington: A few perch were caught south of the harbor in 15 to 30 feet of water along the weed beds when drifting or still-fishing. Trout and salmon action was slow in 70 to 80 feet of water. Pier anglers caught rock bass, pike and bullhead.
Port Sanilac: A few perch were caught north of the harbor in 15 to 30 feet of water. Minnows worked best. A couple trout or salmon were caught. Pier anglers hooked a few rock bass along with the occasional perch.
Harbor Beach: Steelhead fishing picked up. Try 2, 5, 8, or 10 color lines on boards with bright colored spoons in 85 to 110 feet of water north of the harbor. For lake trout, try north of the harbor with dodgers and spin glows near the bottom. Hot colors were green with white and red, and white with pink dots. Start early in 70 feet of water and work your way out as the sun comes up. Chinook, coho and pink salmon were caught north of the harbor. Try spoons off downriggers 20 to 55 feet down. Hot colors were gold with orange, green, or chrome with colored dots. Brown Trout will be in close to shore so try 40 to 60 feet of water south of the harbor. Bass and pike were close to shore and inside the harbor when using body baits or spoons. For perch, try by the lighthouse or south near the Cemetery in 30 to 40 feet of water. A few walleye were caught near Port Hope in 30 to 65 feet of water.
Port Austin: Walleye were caught near the lighthouse or west in 35 to 40 feet of water when trolling Hot-n-Tots. More fish were caught on Flat Rock Reef and Hat Point Reef. A few whitefish were caught. Smallmouth bass were taken at the lighthouse when casting tube baits in 7 to 10 feet of water.
Saginaw Bay: Walleye were 10 miles off Gambil's in 27 feet of water, northeast side of the Black Hole and off the Spark Plug near Buoys 1 and 2. Near Essexville, walleye were caught in 6 to 8 feet of water off Knight Road. Off Sebewaing, anglers were heading out to the Slot and the Coryeon Reef while trolling or drifting spoons and crawler harnesses. Freshwater drum, catfish and white bass were caught. Waters north of the Slot were also starting to improve however Caseville was still slow. Those fishing the Charity Islands have caught bigger walleye. Limits of smallmouth bass were caught in Wigwam Bay and around the Charity Islands.
Saginaw River: Smallmouth bass were caught off Smith Park and the Stone Dock.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
St. Joseph: Pier fishing is slow with only catfish and freshwater drum caught. No steelhead to report. One or two fish were caught by those trolling out in deep water. Yellow perch were hitting minnows in 35 feet of water.
South Haven: A few salmon and lake trout were caught in waters 140 feet or deeper. A couple steelhead were caught off the pier. Perch fishing was slow.
Grand Haven: Boat anglers are still taking salmon and lake trout. For perch, head out to deeper water.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Catfish were caught near the Sixth Street Dam when using stink baits. Some big smallmouth bass were caught on spinner baits up toward Ada. Check out the bayous for largemouth bass. Top water lures are the ticket. Those fishing near the mouth caught freshwater drum.
Thornapple River: Is producing a good number of smallmouth bass.
Grand River at Lansing: Up near the Brenke fish ladder, anglers are catching pike and catfish on crawlers or cut bait. Smallmouth bass are hitting on plastic minnows or crawlers. Those fishing below the dam at Moore's Park caught catfish on crawlers, chicken liver or shrimp.
Lake Lansing: Pike are hitting on sucker minnows, golden shiners or spinner baits. Largemouth bass were caught with top water lures.
Sleepy Hollow: Is producing bass along the weed beds in the early morning or late evening. For bluegill, try deeper water during the day.
Sessions Lake: In Ionia County is producing some walleye and crappie.