Thursday, January 29, 2015

Michigan Fishing Report

Weekly Fishing Tip: Targeting walleye? Wait until the sun goes down!Ice shanties on the ice in Michigan 

While many anglers pack up their gear and head off the ice after dusk settles in, some anglers will stick it out – especially if they’ve got a lighted shelter. This can be an ideal time to target walleye and to see some angling success!

Many anglers adopt a simple presentation when targeting walleyes in the dark; they jig a spoon to catch the fish’s attention and then offer them a setline with a minnow nearby. Focus on baits that glow to appeal to the walleye’s senses and keep the minnows small to accommodate their slower appetites. 

Click on the links below to jump to the report section that interests you most:
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Southwest Lower Peninsula
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Upper Peninsula

Anglers are ice fishing statewide but safety should always be an angler’s first concern.  While the lakes and some rivers are iced over, anglers will still need to use caution on the deeper ones, where there are pressure cracks and where there is water flow under the ice.  It is also a good idea to wear a flotation device; it could save your life! 

Have you ever faced an environmental or natural resources issue and not known what to do? Many would say you should seek out a best management practice – a scientifically-proven method that addresses these issues in the best possible way to protect water quality and/or improve wildlife habitat. We recently put a list of some great best management practices on our website, check them out! 

Lake Erie:  Be careful around the pressure cracks.  Some perch have been caught in the marinas.  A few walleye were caught on Swedish Pimples or jigging rapalas in 18 to 20 feet in Brest Bay but the better walleye fishing was in Ohio waters.  Anglers are heading out about three miles off Camp Perry which is just north of Port Clinton and straight out from Crane Creek which is just south of Reno Beach and fishing out towards West Sister Reef.

Detroit River:  Is frozen.  The only fishing observed was some perch caught at the south end of Grosse Ile in Airport Bay.

Lake St. Clair:  Perch fishing was spotty with success varying from day to day.  Some of the bigger fish are still being taken by those spearing.  Anglers are using quads and snowmobiles however use caution.

St. Clair River:  Anglers are still catching steelhead and brown trout off the wall in Port Huron when ice flow allows.  A few coho and whitefish were caught.   

Harbor Beach:  Had a couple shanties in the harbor however there was open water along the rock wall and a lot of pressure cracks.   

Port Austin:  Has more ice shanties popping up around the marina.    

Saginaw Bay:  Conservation Officers have reported some machines going through the ice.  Anglers need to use caution as the ice was variable.  A good number of walleye and a few perch were caught in 22 feet off Linwood.  Caution:  The ice was bad along the shore where people have parked and some vehicles did go through the ice.

A few pike were taken near the Hot Ponds but be careful out near Spoils Island because a truck went through the ice.  A few perch were caught in six feet off Vanderbilt Park.  Off Thomas Road, limits of walleye were caught about eight miles out.  Sebewaing had little action and perch fishing off Geiger Road was poor.  Lots of anglers perch fishing off Mud Creek but they had little success with maybe five to 10 fish per group of anglers.  At Caseville, a big wide pressure crack off the end of the breakwall had opened up.  It is very wide and heads south towards Sand Point.  This is the area where anglers were targeting lake trout so those contemplating fishing at Caseville need to be extremely careful.

Saginaw River:   Had a few dark spots in the ice so be careful.  Walleye fishing was slow north and south of the Zilwaukee Bridge and off Wickes Park.  Catch rates were fair near the Airport where a few keepers were reported.  Those fishing near the Boys and Girls Club in Bay City caught a few when jigging rapalas.  Hot colors were perch, fire-tiger or blue and silver.  Bay City to the mouth was slow.  

SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULAThe recent warm weather melted some of the snow and has allowed for better ice on most lakes. Anglers should still use caution around inlets and outlets and on deeper lakes that take longer to form safe ice.  Bluegill fishing slowed but anglers were still catching fish in eight to 20 feet on most lakes.  Try a smaller jig with a spike or wax worm just off the bottom.  

St. Joseph River:  
Anglers are catching steelhead.  Try the slow water and the deeper holes with plugs, spawn or wax worms.   

Gun Lake:  
In Barry County is producing bluegill and crappie.  For walleye, try night fishing east of Murphy’s Point.    

Kalamazoo River:  
Continues to produce steelhead for those braving the cold weather.  Come prepared as the boat launches will be slippery.  Those fishing below the dam should try plugs, spawn or a jig and wax worm.  

Grand River at Grand Rapids:  
Steelhead continue to be taken.  Typical winter conditions exist, so be prepared for slippery trials and boat launches. Anglers fishing plugs, back bouncing spawn, and bobber fishing with a jig and wax worm did best.   

Lake Lansing:  
Is producing some pike.  While many are small a few keepers have also been caught.  For bluegill and crappie, target the weed beds in five to 10 feet.    

Muskegon Lake:  
Is producing perch in 35 to 40 feet near the channel and off the Sand Docks.  Always use extreme caution near the channel.  Bluegill and some crappie were caught off the Yacht Club.  Pike have been caught on tip-ups with sucker minnows but those spearing have also taken some nice fish.  

Muskegon River:  
Catch rates for steelhead and brown trout improved with the small spike in temperature.  With another cold snap on the way, try fishing the slow water and the deeper holes.  

Grand Lake:  
Had good walleye and perch fishing during the warm spell.  Try Whiskey Bay or the reefs along the north end.  Pike were caught by those using tip-ups or spearing.  

Long Lake:  
Had good walleye and perch fishing.  For walleye, many fish the east end “Narrows” at night.  A few pike have also been caught.  

Thunder Bay River:  
Has ice anglers on the river and in the boat harbor targeting perch, walleye and pike.  

Hubbard Lake:  
Is producing walleye and a few perch.  For walleye, try after dark.         

Au Sable River:  
Fishing for steelhead on the lower river was pretty good though angling pressure was very low.  The river was pretty much ice-free and a good number of fish have already moved in from the lake.  Anglers drifting spawn at Foote Dam are hooking some fish and those downstream are finding fish in typical, winter holding areas where the water is of moderate depth and slow.  Hardware is working along with flies downstream.  

Higgins Lake:  
Perch fishing slowed along the north end so anglers were going out deeper to 60 feet.  Perch anglers are fishing around the Sunken Island and the Main Island in 20 to 50 feet.  Lake trout anglers are fishing along the drop-off in 80 to 110 feet with blues and golden shiners just off the bottom.  Some are using tip-ups while others are jigging Swedish Pimples.  Rainbow trout were hitting on wigglers in shallow water about a foot deep near Big Creek and the Conference Center.  A few pike were taken on sucker minnows or golden shiners in 40 to 50 feet.
Houghton Lake:  Had good fishing but the return of cold weather will once again slow the bite.  The North Bay is starting to freeze but the ice was thin and the East Bay still has areas that are not safe because of moving water in the area.  Walleye anglers did well throughout the night in 10 to 12 feet.  Bluegills were caught near the bottom in 12 to 16 feet.  

Lake St. Helen:  
Those using tip-ups are taking a good number of pike and some walleye.  Crappie action was best in the evening.  Some found bluegills above the weed beds in four to six feet.  A few lucky anglers caught the occasional 12 inch perch however very few were taken.     

Had good walleye fishing in 18 to 20 feet.  Evenings were best and some limit catches were reported.  Perch were slower.  Anglers were generally fishing in 15 feet and sorting out the small ones.  No report on pike spearing.  

Au Gres:  
Walleye and whitefish were caught in 10 feet off Booth Road.  Try spoons or jigging rapalas tipped with minnows.  Those heading out from Pine River and Palmer Road caught some walleye in 18 feet however ice conditions are variable and anglers need to use caution especially around the pressure cracks.  Some fishing in 10 feet for perch caught the occasional walleye in the early morning.  Perch anglers are doing a lot of sorting.

Ice fishing is in full force.  Depending on what lake, anglers are getting crappie, pike walleye and some decent perch.  Steelhead fishing is doable and there are fish in the rivers although few anglers are going.  

Lake Charlevoix:  
Had a large pressure crack forming around the drop-off at 95 feet.

Lake Cadillac:  
Pike fishing continues to be good for both spear and tip-up anglers.  Some caught a few walleye and a couple decent size perch.  The bluegill and crappie bite was slow.  

Lake Mitchell:  
Is producing bluegill, crappie, perch, and pike.  For perch, try moving around to find a school of active fish.  With fish looking at the bait then moving on, try light line and a very small teardrop.  

Lake Missaukee:  
Was producing some nice panfish.   

Manistee River:  
Steelhead fishing is doable but few anglers have been out.  This is a good time of year to get away from the crowded lakes and fish the river. 

Hamlin Lake:  
Was giving up a fair number of panfish including bluegill, crappie and perch.    

Pere Marquette River:  
Catch rates for steelhead increased with the warmer weather but once again colder temperatures will slow the bite. 

Lake Gogebic:  
Had about 12 inches of new snow and the occasional slush pocket.  Walleye and perch have been caught in 22 to 27 feet by those jigging or using tip-ups with wigglers, perch minnows or sucker minnows.  For walleye at night, target seven to 12 feet.  A good number of pike have been caught on large minnows.  

Menominee River:  
The ice below the dam got smaller during the warm spell but walleye anglers were still present.  Those jigging rapalas tipped with minnows or a minnow head were catching fish in the early morning or evenings. 

Little Bay De Noc:  
Ice conditions remain about the same but ice in the southern Bay is still considered DANGEROUS throughout the shipping channel.  Walleye anglers reported spotty catches throughout the northern Bay.  The better fishing was around Gladstone and out from the Terrace Bay Inn when using rapalas and minnows in 30 to 34 feet.  Similar results were reported near the Escanaba Power Plant in 28 to 35 feet.  Perch anglers had fair catches when using wigglers, minnows or spikes in and around 17 feet straight out from the first Masonville access gate and just off the southwest end of Butler Island in six to 12 feet.  Several jumbo perch were reported.  Whitefish anglers had fair to good catches at Gladstone with minnows or spawn in 35 feet.  Some were starting to target whitefish off Sandpoint in Escanaba however this area should be considered DANGEROUS and extreme caution needs to be used.  Pike spearing was better in the Escanaba Yacht Harbor in 6 to 10 feet and around Butler Island in six to 12 feet.  Anglers say live decoys work best.    

St. Mary’s River:  
Catch raters were still slow in Munuscong Bay.  Those out for walleye and perch caught a limited number of fish.    

Cedarville and Hessel:  
Catch rates in Hessel Bay continue to improve with anglers reporting good catches in 12 to 14 feet on certain days.  Try minnows or wax worms.  Musky Bay is producing a large number of small pike in 10 to 13 feet.  Cedarville Bay was slow.