Friday, July 17, 2015

Michigan Fishing Report

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

Sturgeon season opens Friday, July 16 on Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River.  Anglers will need to have a free lake sturgeon fishing permit and harvest tag before they go sturgeon fishing, both are available at all license vendors.

Harvested lake sturgeon must be registered with the Michigan DNR within 24 hours.  Anglers can easily report a tagged sturgeon on the tagged fish web page at: or by calling the new toll-free number 1-844-345-3474 Please provide the following information – anglers name, address and phone number, length, weight (if weighed) and waterbody where it was caught.  

Anglers can assist the DNR’s management of the lake sturgeon fishery in Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River by reporting tagged sturgeon that they catch.  Please record all the information you can from the tag (write it down or take a clear digital close-up photo of the tag) and release the fish with the tag still attached. Sturgeons are long-lived fish and some have been caught and released multiple times since the tagging studies started in 1996.  

Lake Erie:  Walleye and yellow perch fishing picked up with more anglers reporting limit catches of walleye when trolling crawler harnesses in 20 to 25 feet around Stony Point, the Fermi stacks and the Banana Dike.  Some did well when trolling crank baits and spoons.  Perch numbers are on the rise with more anglers reporting luck in 15 to 22 feet while jigging with minnows.  Freshwater drum are everywhere.  

Lenawee County:  Panfish anglers were doing well in Devils Lake when drifting crawlers for bluegills suspended in four to eight feet.  A few pike and bass were caught on spinner baits and crank baits along the drop-offs.  With the recent rains and runoff, Lake Hudson was very cloudy and the bite was slow with only a handful of bass and some panfish caught.  With the weeds getting thicker, try fishing the deeper channels with bright colored baits.

Detroit River:  Anglers reported a decrease in catch rates for walleye on the northern half of the Canadian side.  The better fishing was still found near the whiskey plant, casino, salt mines and the cow pasture.  Walleye fishing on the Michigan side was rated as poor even as they look deeper in 25 to 40 feet.  Most were bottom bouncing crawler harnesses or hand-lining with spoons and stick baits. A few yellow perch were caught downriver around the islands and the Cross-Dike.  No muskie to report.  Bass fishing was fair to poor for those fishing around the islands or in the cuts and canals.  Boat anglers continue to target or catch walleye, bass, freshwater drum, rock bass, white bass, white perch, muskie or pike.  Boat anglers are advised to bring waterproof footwear to use while launching and trailering vessels because a lot of the launch docks are partially underwater.

Lake St. Clair:  Surface water temperatures are in the low 70’s.  Mayfly and caddis fly hatches were heavy over the last week.  Walleye fishing was slow except for a few whipping after dark.  Bass fishing was good with most fish caught in waters at least 12 feet deep.  Muskie fishing remains good in Canadian waters. 

St. Clair River:  Surface waters temperatures were in the low 60’s.  Walleye fishing was slow.  Bass fishing was good.  Muskie fishing was good in Canadian waters but only fair in Michigan waters.  

Lexington & Port Sanilac:  Lake trout and steelhead are moving to deeper water.  Try fishing near the bottom in 100 to 140 feet.  Boats are marking lots of fish but the bite was slow.  Perch fishing off Lexington and Port Sanilac was very slow.  

Harbor Beach:  Steelhead have been caught out near the scum line.  Try the top 25 feet in 60 feet with bright orange, green and yellow spoons with 2, 3, 5, and 10 color lead lines with offshore boards.  Lake trout were caught in 100 to 120 feet north of the harbor with downriggers and clean spoons or dodgers and squid off the bottom.  Blue, green, orange or yellow with black dots were good colors.

Grindstone City:  Walleye, bass and whitefish were caught in 40 to 48 feet when trolling crank baits on six colors of lead core off Burnt Cabin Point.  Fire-tiger and crayfish (anything with orange on it) were the best colors. Charters out of Grindstone were getting lake trout in 120 to 130 feet straight north of the harbor.

Saginaw Bay:  Walleye fishing remains good but it is slowing down.  Walleye show signs of moving to deeper water as do the lake trout as the weather warms up.  Good walleye action five miles north of Buoys 1 & 2, northwest of the Spark Plug (Buoys 11 & 12) in 28 feet, and near the Sailboat Buoys G, A, and B.  Near the mouth of the Kawkawlin River, the early morning bite was best over the weed beds in 12 to 14 feet when trolling un-weighted or very light crawler harnesses.  The trick is to keep them above the weeds.  They are still taking walleye off the Callahan Reef, Finn Road, along the Slot and off the Bar when using crawler harnesses, crank baits and spoons.  Best spinner colors were purple, pink, chartreuse and brass.  The deeper areas of Wildfowl Bay were producing some walleye.  Off Caseville, most boats are either fishing north of Big Charity or off Oak Point.   At Port Austin, walleye anglers headed west toward Hat Reef in 35 to 38 feet or northwest of Big Charity in 40 to 60 feet. 

Sanford Lake:  Has excellent crappie fishing on small pink jigs with a white twister-tail or minnow.  Bluegills and sunfish were also caught.  Pike fishing picked up and the old reliable red and white Daredevle spoon worked best.  Bass fishing was good.


St. Joseph:  
Perch fishing continues to be good in 30 to 40 feet.  Salmon fishing was not consistent as the fish are scattered.  The few caught were taken in 75 to 100 feet.  Pier fishing for steelhead slowed with only a couple fish taken on shrimp or alewife. 

South Haven:  
Pier anglers are catching the occasional steelhead on alewife.  Perch fishing was very slow.  The few caught were scattered in 18 to 45 feet.  Salmon fishing was also slow with only a few boats catching fish in 60 to 100 feet and deeper.  

Kalamazoo River:  
A few walleye were caught near the dam Allegan Dam.  Bass anglers have done well with artificial worms and grubs.  Look for panfish in the backwaters.  

Grand Haven:  
Windy weather has turned the water continuously so water temperatures were consistent throughout the water column.  Water in the 40’s brought a large number of steelhead close to shore.  Boat anglers had decent catches for steelhead and Chinook salmon.   A few perch were caught in shallower water.  Pier angler did well when using shrimp and alewife.  A couple Chinook and brown trout were caught. 

Grand River at Grand Rapids:  
Channel and flathead catfish are being caught off the wall when using worms and bluegills.  More walleye are being caught when using minnows off the wall or when drifting.  Summer steelhead are beginning to make their way to the dam with about a half dozen landed in the last week by those drifting yarn and beads.

Grand River at Lansing:  
Catfish are being caught near the dam at Moore’s Park.  Try crawlers, small bluegills or cut bait.  Smallmouth bass were hitting on tube baits near the Brenke Fish Ladder.  

Boat anglers did best up and down the water column as the fish were scattered.  Catch rates were slow with meat rigs out fishing spoons 2 to 1.  Try running gold spoons. 

Muskegon River:  
Anglers are catching good number of brown trout and a few more Skamania.  Catch rates were good throughout the river including the Hardy Dam and Croton Dam.  Bass anglers are doing well with top water lures and soft plastics.  Those fly fishing have also done well for trout and bass.  

Had a few boat anglers that set lines when out on a pleasure cruise and were surprised when they caught Chinook salmon.  Baitfish are inside the channel.  Boat anglers will want to try 80 to 100 feet.  Pier anglers took steelhead, coho and brown trout after netting alewife for bait. 


Rogers City:  
Lake trout fishing is still good. Most anglers are still catching anywhere from one to four fish per boat but some are taking limit catches.  A few more Chinook, coho and steelhead were in the mix.  The lake trout are both suspended or near the bottom in waters 50 feet or deeper.  Try cowbells or dodgers with spin-glo’s and spoons in bright colors like green or yellow.  A very large mayfly hatch was underway.  Scum lines were starting to form.  Anglers are trolling around them with orange and green spoons.  A few Chinook were caught in 55 to 125 feet but the fish are scattered.  Try green, blue, black or white spoons.  Glow spoons work best first and last light.  

East & West Twin Lakes:  
Walleye were caught in the 10 foot holes on West Twin.  Bluegill fishing was great along the shoreline.  Perch fishing picked up in the eight foot holes.  Try natural baits.  East Twin was slow for all species.  

Walleyes are still being caught with some boats doing real well and others struggling to find them.  They are starting to move out to deeper water. Try 12 to 18 feet down in 20 to 40 feet with body baits or crawler harnesses near the Red Can, Grass Island, behind Sulphur Island and around Thunder Bay Island.  Lake trout were caught straight off the “Humps”, around Thunder Bay Island and out towards the wreck in 60 to 120 feet.  They are just off the bottom or suspended throughout the water column.  The occasional salmon or steelhead were caught up high.  

Thunder Bay River:  
A few walleye were caught on crawler harnesses or body baits near the draw-bridge.  Shore anglers had slow fishing with only a few rock bass or freshwater drum taken on worms.  

A variety of fish are coming in good numbers.  Lake trout have been the most abundant with the occasional steelhead, Chinook, Atlantic and walleye.  Lake trout are near the bottom in 80 to 150 feet.  Watch out for nets, and check locations before fishing this area as the nets seem to be in waters 130 feet and deeper.  The nets are marked very well as long as you don’t have a lot of wave action you will be able to see them.  Steelhead, Chinook and Atlantic salmon were caught north of the harbor toward Sturgeon Point.  These fish are 10 to 25 feet down in 70 to 90 feet and hitting on orange and blue spoons.  Walleye are still north of the harbor between Sturgeon Point and Black River.  Crawler harnesses and reef runners are best.   

Pier fishing has been up and down.  Walleye have been caught throughout the night but seem to shut down before sun up.  Catfish are also being caught throughout the night and into early morning on crawlers and leeches.  Look upriver for walleye as some were reported at Foote Dam.  Lake trout were scarce.  The fish that were caught were in 70 to 150 feet of water and suspended.  Spread your baits throughout the water column.     

Higgins Lake:  
Was producing some perch but anglers had to do some searching to find them.  Try 30 to 40 feet with minnows or wax worms.  Some lake trout were caught in 80 to 100 feet by those jigging or trolling with body baits and cowbells with spoons.  A couple pike were caught on sucker minnows under a slip bobber near the Main Island.  Rock bass are everywhere.

Lake St. Helen:  
Was producing bluegills and pumpkinseed.  A few walleye were caught by those drifting crawlers and leeches.  

Those trolling for walleye did very well in 50 feet out past Tawas Point and off Whitestone Point in 40 to 45 feet.  Some limit catches were reported.  Pier fishing was slow with only a few catfish or freshwater drum caught.  

Tawas River:  
Shore anglers in the lower river were catching the odd catfish, freshwater drum or pike. 

Au Gres:  
Walleye fishing was still good and the port was busy.  Many were going over to the Charity Islands or fishing in 30 to 45 feet between Point Lookout and Pointe Au Gres.  A few were heading south and fishing north of Buoys 1 & 2 which has been a universal hot spot for the past couple weeks.  Limit catches have been common and pretty much everyone is getting some fish.  

Au Gres River:  
Shore anglers caught a few catfish, freshwater drum and bass. 


Harbor Springs:  
Boat anglers were fishing north of Harbor Point.  Bass anglers were disappointed as only a couple small fish were caught.  

 Boat anglers are fishing off the water treatment plant and around Bay Harbor for lake trout.  The “Bobber Hole” near the mouth of the Bear River was slow but anglers did manage to catch rock bass, freshwater drum, bullhead, a few small perch or bass.  Try worms without a bobber.  Pier anglers caught small bass.     

Bear River: 
 Anglers fishing the dam caught a lot of smaller rock bass and some bullhead.  Try worms and artificial eggs.    

Anglers are doing well for lake trout.  The channel has been a bit slow.  Anglers are catching mostly undersize smallmouth bass.  Worms and leeches work best.  Cisco, freshwater drum and rock bass were also caught.  

Elk River:  
Smallmouth are hitting tube baits, leeches, crawlers, or minnows.

Traverse City:  
The East Bay had fair lake trout fishing in 70 to 120 feet.  Some were suspended about 70 feet down while others were near the bottom.  Those jigging caught a few whitefish.  Smallmouth bass action was decent in 10 to 20 feet. In the West Bay, lake trout were fair with most caught while trolling or jigging in 90 to 115 feet.  There have been rumors of a few Chinook salmon caught.    

Boardman River:  
Fishing was good.  Those fishing upstream near the two forks caught some large brown trout on flies at dusk.  Morning hatches of Trico’s and Blue Wing Olives are getting some fish to rise.  Some good size browns were caught below Sabin Dam.  Steelhead and smallmouth bass were caught at the Union Street Dam.  Carp are still in the river.  Smallmouth bass and walleye were caught near the mouth on live bait. 

Chinook salmon are hitting and good catches were reported by those trolling north and targeting the top 80 feet in waters 120 to 150 feet deep with J-plugs, spoons and meat rigs.  Steelhead and lake trout were caught in the top 40 feet.  South winds are warming the water which was up near 64 degrees.  Brown trout are still being caught in the channel between the piers.   

The Barrel is still producing good catches of lake trout for those bouncing cowbells and spin-glo’s on the bottom.  Those heading out in the early morning caught Chinook on meat rigs in 120 to 200 feet.

Portage Lake:  
Is producing a good number of largemouth but fewer smallmouth bass.  Most fish were caught along the shoreline and the drops in deeper water.   

Those fishing the temperature breaks are doing well for steelhead and lake trout.  Try the top 30 feet with orange spoons.  A couple salmon were caught 30 to 90 feet down in 120 to 240 feet.  Pier anglers caught brown trout when using alewife or casting spoons. 

Manistee River: 
Anglers are catching steelhead and brown trout.  

Boats anglers are finding steelhead and lake trout but the salmon action was slow.  The few caught were taken 25 to 100 feet down in 100 to 250 feet with orange spoons and green flies.  Lake trout were caught bottom bouncing with dodgers and spin-glo’s.  

Fishing has turned on with nice catches reported.  Some fishing close to port limited out but most were fishing in 100 feet.  Baitfish are in the channel.  A couple steelhead and redhorse suckers were caught by pier anglers.  

Pentwater Lake:  
Shore anglers caught bullhead in the evening.  Boat anglers caught smallmouth bass and pike. 


Keweenaw Bay: 
Fishing was very slow with only a few lake trout taken.  A couple limit catches were taken in the South Portage Entry.  Anglers tried several different depths and did not catch anything until they jigged in 315 feet.  Fishing in Traverse Bay was slow. 

Lake Gogebic:  
Walleye have been caught by those using a range of methods including still-fishing with minnows, jigging minnows off the bottom and trolling crank baits.  Walleye were found both shallow and in deep water.  Perch anglers were few and those out reported poor catch rates.  Those fishing from the public pier in Berglund were catching sunfish and rock bass on worms.  

Those trolling for lake trout in the Upper and Lower Harbor had mixed results and were getting anywhere from three to a limit catch in a five hour trip.  Some did make trips over to Shot Point and had fair results in 200 to 250 feet.  Most are fishing north and east from the Sand Hole, north of the White Rocks, the “humps” off Granite Island, near Little Presque Isle and the Clay Banks.  Concentrate near the bottom in 200 to 250 feet.  Stannard Rock was producing excellent results with fish ranging three to 15 pounds when jigging with spoons, flies and cut bait. Surface water temperatures were in the mid 50’s.
Au Train Lake:  
Boat anglers targeting pike did catch a couple legal size fish on minnows.  Those using spinner rigs and crawlers caught smaller fish.  Walleye anglers had some action but catch rates were still slow.  Try leeches, crawlers or trolling small crank baits.  The weeds are becoming increasingly dense.  Smallmouth bass were seen along the shoreline.   

Reports indicate low catch rates with only a couple splake and lake trout caught in 100 to 200 feet.  They are trolling all over to find fish including Trout Bay and Sand Point.  Fresh spawn has been the bait of choice off the dock of the Anna River.  Many small splake were caught and released.   

Grand Marais:  
Anglers are fishing off the end of the pier and trolling deep about five to 10 miles out.  Whitefish were hit-or-miss.  The fish were averaging 13 inches but a few bigger fish were also caught on a single egg.  Catch rates for lake trout were good with anglers bringing in fish every trip.  

Bodi Lake:  
Which is in the Bodi Lake State Forest Campground in northeastern Luce County has reopened the boat launch.  Improvements to the launch have been completed.  Anglers should find it much easier to launch and retrieve their boats.  

South Manistique Lake:  
Bluegills are beginning to make their way out to deeper water.  Large numbers of fish have been caught near Sherman Road but most were small.  Pike numbers increased with most hitting on crawler harnesses. Walleye numbers were down but catch rates were good on Big Manistique.  

The Cadis Fly hatch improved.  Anglers have switched from salmon and trout fishing to lake herring.  The few targeting salmon did catch a couple Atlantic salmon about 15 feet down in 50 feet when long-lining purple and chrome spoons.  Dark brown flies are producing Atlantic salmon for those trolling about halfway down in 40 feet west of the lighthouse. 

Drummond Island:  
Fly hatches were helping anglers take limit catches of lake herring.  Good catches were reported in 20 feet at Harbor and Howard Island.  Try three cranks off the bottom with brown and red tear drop lures tipped with a wax worm.  Just east of Fairbank Point, herring were good just off the bottom in 21 feet.  Anglers caught walleye at Arrow Island when trolling chrome and chartreuse crank baits in 18 feet.  

Cedarville and Hessel: 
Have excellent pike fishing from Hessel Bay through Government Bay.  Anglers are casting, trolling, or still-fishing with chubs.  The shallow bays are producing as well.  Good perch fishing in Moscow Channel and Hessel Bay.  A good number of herring were caught in Prentice Bay, McKay Bay and the east end of Moscow Channel.