The last big weekend of the summer is going to be a hot one! While light numbers of salmon did start to move into some of the river systems that will change with the warmer temperatures. Inland, there should be plenty of opportunities for panfish, pike, bass, and catfish.
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Lake Erie: Had a good number of anglers targeting yellow perch. Those anchored in 20 to 27 feet caught fish when using minnows on spreaders in Brest Bay, off Stony Point, Fermi, Bolles Harbor and around the E Buoy and the C Buoy. Most of the perch were still seven to eight inches. The bigger ones were few and far between. The walleye fishing pressure was the lowest it has been all summer.
Lenawee County: Anglers on Devils Lake were marking and catching a good number of bluegills in 20 to 35 feet with crickets and wax worms however they are sorting out the small ones. Bass and pike fishing were fair along the weed beds when casting or trolling deep divers and spinners. On Lake Hudson, bass were caught along the weed beds. Some reported a good number of crappie and bluegills. Shore anglers caught a few panfish, bass or catfish.
Detroit River: Walleye anglers were putting in long hours. Catch rates were very low in the northern half when bottom bouncing with crawler harnesses. Those fishing at night had fair to good success when hand-lining from the Renaissance Center all the way up to the mouth of Lake St. Clair. A few had luck in the Trenton Channel, near Mud Island and on the east side of Grosse Ile when bottom bouncing crawler harnesses, trolling, drifting, hand-lining or jigging. A few six to nine inch perch were caught but not much worth keeping. Anglers are catching channel catfish and freshwater drum. Bass anglers are doing a little better with smallmouth up to three pounds taken around Belle Isle, Grassy Island and off Alter Road. Water temperatures were in the low 70’s.
Lake St. Clair: Walleye fishing was spotty but a few were caught by those trolling in 17 to 19 feet. Overall, perch fishing was slow but a couple decent reports did come from the Dumping Grounds and the channel area near the Grosse Point Yacht Club. Smallmouth bass fishing has been very good. Target the deeper areas. Good numbers of largemouth bass can be found in the canals and the marinas.
St. Clair River: Walleye fishing was slow with most anglers only catching one or two fish per trip. Even night fishing has slowed. Bass fishing was good. Some of the biggest fish caught were taken up near Port Huron or just above the Bluewater Bridge. Water clarity was very good and water temperatures were hovering around 70 degrees. Sturgeon fishing in the North Channel was fair.
Lexington & Port Sanilac: Lake trout, coho, steelhead and the odd walleye were caught 40 feet down in 90 to 135 feet. Even the lake trout were suspended. The fish appear to be gorging themselves on young of the year emerald shiners. Anglers at Lexington are heading north to Port Sanilac and fishing straight east or northeast of the harbor. Pier fishing was slow.
Harbor Beach: Lake trout and steelhead are still being caught in 80 to 120 feet straight out and north of the harbor. Try spoons or some dodgers with spin-n-glows between 40 feet down and the bottom. Also try 3, 5, 7, and 10 color lines with bright colored spoons and offshore boards to get them out and away from the boat. Walleye were caught in 50 feet. Try small Hot-n-Tots or worm burners with crawlers. Pier anglers might want to try casting small body baits in the evening.
Grindstone City: Was producing trout and salmon including the occasional Atlantic.
Saginaw Bay: Perch fishing is picking up as walleye fishing winds down at least along the inner bay. While not as good as in years past, it appears they are getting enough nice ones to get people out looking for them. The key to success is finding shiner minnows for bait. Unfortunately, this is the hardest time of year to get shiners as most wholesalers have run out and the emerald shiners don’t move inshore until the middle of October. Perch have been caught at many locations including west of the Spark Plug (Buoys 11 and 12) in 20 feet, the sailboat buoys A and H off Linwood, near Spoils Island and in 10 to 12 feet straight out or slightly west of Quanicassee. Lots of sorting is necessary at all locations. Most of the fish were six to 11 inches and twenty to thirty fish per boat is a good catch right now. A few bass were caught off Bay Port.
Southwest Lower Peninsula
St. Joseph: Decent numbers of salmon and trout were caught in 100 feet when trolling J-plugs and spoons. Perch fishing slowed but a few were still being caught in 40 to 50 feet. Pier fishing is slow.
St. Joseph River: Had a light number of steelhead moving past the Berrien Springs Dam.
South Haven: Salmon fishing was slow with only a few caught on spoons in 80 to 100 feet. Perch anglers caught some fish in 45 feet but the fish seem to be scattered. Pier fishing is slow for all species.
Black River: Had reports of a couple salmon caught.
Kalamazoo River: Was producing smallmouth bass.
Grand Haven: Salmon fishing was tough with only a few caught 70 to 130 feet down in 100 to 160 feet. Anglers were using plugs, meat rigs and flies.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Cooler weather and rain last week did bring in some Chinook and coho which were caught on spawn, flies, beads and yarn in the drift below the dam. Steelhead were also caught. The catfish action remains good for those using crawlers, liver and bluegills. Smallmouth bass were taken on crawlers.
Grand River at Lansing: A few smallmouth bass were caught by those drifting just above the weeds. Walleye action over at Moore’s Park was sporadic.
Muskegon: Boats were finding salmon 70 to 150 feet down in 110 to 160 feet. Glow plugs, green meat rigs, and green flies were producing fish. Freshwater drum were caught off the piers by those casting spoons.
Muskegon River: A good number of steelhead and brown trout were caught below Croton Dam.
Whitehall: Had salmon holding in 60 to 80 feet and most were caught about halfway down. Depending on water temperatures, fish may still continue to move in. We may have another week for boat anglers wanting to fish the shallows before the main run starts. Pier anglers may find some fish early morning or late evening. In the channel, anglers should find some northern pike when still-fishing with large minnows.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Rogers City: Is producing a mixed bag of salmon, steelhead, lake trout and walleye. Boats are heading south towards Swan Bay and trolling throughout the entire water column in 30 to 90 feet. Spoons, J-plugs, bombers, attractors with flies and squid were all working and the hot colors were greens, blues, yellows, gold, black and white and orange early or late. There are lots of baitfish mostly young of the year smelt that are present so go with lures that imitate them.
East and West Twin Lakes: Catch rates were slow on East Twin. Walleye anglers were trolling in 10 to 14 feet or jigging in 10 to 15 feet. Bass were caught along the shoreline and near the island in four to eight feet. Perch and bluegill fishing were slow. On West Twin, walleye anglers were trolling in six to eight feet or jigging in eight feet. Fish were caught but many were small. The perch and bluegill action was starting to slow but some found fish near the weed beds in six feet.
Alpena: Lake trout are still being caught just off the bottom out near the “Humps”. A stray salmon or steelhead can be taken higher in water column. Not much to report on walleye except for a couple taken around Thunder Bay Island.
Thunder Bay River: Smallmouth bass fishing picked up but many were small. Try casting artificial baits or drifting leeches and crawlers.
Harrisville: Most were targeting walleye when heading north and fishing in 12 to 25 feet between Sturgeon Point and the Black River. Late evening and early morning were best with small spoons and body baits. Lake trout were scattered so few were caught. This is the time of year when these fish are usually working their way back to shallower waters.
Oscoda: Pier fishing was fair. Salmon anglers are starting to make their way out however there were no reports of any fish caught. Lake trout were scattered so boat anglers were having a hard time finding them. Walleye were north of the river and out from the Wurtsmith water tower in 15 to 25 feet.
Au Sable River: Steelhead should be starting to make their way up into the river but warmer temperatures this week will slow movement.
Higgins Lake: Perch anglers found fish around the Main Island and the Sunken Island, in front of the North State Park, off B&B Marina, Flag Point and along the drop-off on the west side. Use minnows and wax worms in 20 to 45 feet. For lake trout, anglers are trolling just off the bottom in 80 to 100 feet or jigging heavy spoons in 85 to 100 feet. Brown trout and rainbow trout were caught in the thermocline between 20 and 40 feet. Try black and silver, blue and silver or perch colored body baits and blue and silver or chrome colored spoons. Smallmouth bass were caught in 20 feet around the Main Island. Don’t forget the good rock bass fishing.
Houghton Lake: Is producing a few walleye. Anglers are still-fishing with leeches or trolling them over the top of the weed beds. Pike fishing was good but many were on the small side. Anglers were catching lots of bluegills about a foot off the bottom in six to eight feet. The fish were running eight to 10 inches but a few were up to 12.
Lake St. Helen: Fishing was slow but should pick up by the weekend. Look for panfish in five to seven feet with. Largemouth bass can be found in the shallows or lily pads. Walleye anglers will want to fish early morning or late evening. For pike, try spinners.
Tawas: Pier anglers walking the wall and trolling fire-tiger rapalas in the deeper water at night or casting rapalas at night did pick up some walleye. Boat anglers caught walleye along the weed beds off Jerry’s Marina and some reported limit catches. They are trolling or casting Lindy Rigs, crawler harnesses or crank baits. Those trolling deeper in 30 to 55 feet off Tawas Point caught steelhead and walleye.
Au Gres: Fishing was very slow with only a couple walleye taken from scattered locations. There were rumors of some perch taken off Pointe Au Gres in 25 feet and off the Saganing Bar and Pinconning Bar in 14 feet.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
No salmon to report in the Boyne River or the Jordan River.
Petoskey: Water temperatures were very warm in the 60’s over 100 feet down and no thermocline to report. Those heading out caught few or no salmon. Rumor has it a few salmon were caught 80 feet down in 120 feet around Bay Harbor and a couple lake trout were taken 160 feet down. Some good size smallmouth were caught in 10 to 15 feet in Little Traverse Bay. Pier anglers caught a couple salmon in the early morning and overnight.
Bear River: A few Chinook, brown trout, and small steelhead were caught with spawn bags and flies at the dam and the mouth however with the warm weather not many fish were still around. Look for more fish when cooler temperatures and rain return.
Charlevoix: Salmon and trout fishing were slow as water temperatures were still in the upper 60’s with no thermocline. A couple Chinook were caught near the cement plant. The fish were either shallow or 80 to 90 feet down near the red can. Flies worked best. Lake trout were hard to find as well but a couple were taken 110 to 200 feet down in 120 to 300 feet. Smallmouth fishing in the channel was slow and the few caught were sub-legal. Try worms, leeches of soft plastics on the bottom. Those casting from the pier managed to catch a few salmon.
Elk River: Smallmouth bass were caught on live bait however most were not keepers. Anglers were targeting brown trout at the dam but the bite was slow. A few Chinook salmon were beginning to show up.
Traverse City: Catch rates for salmon were zero to three fish per outing in the East Bay. Most are trolling 70 to 90 feet down in 80 to 160 feet with spoons, plugs, meat rigs rotators and flies. Lake trout were caught trolling or jigging in 90 to 100 feet. Salmon fishing was about the same in the West Bay. The few caught were hitting on plugs. Most were targeting the deep hole adjacent to the mouth of the Boardman or when trolling along the west side north of Elmwood Marina. Very few Chinook over 15 pounds were caught.
Boardman River: Anglers are looking for salmon but few have entered the river so far. Anglers did catch steelhead, rock bass or undersize smallmouth when using live bait.
Frankfort: Chinook and the occasional coho were caught 100 to 130 feet down in 180 to 250 feet with J-plugs and meat rigs. Jigging and trolling in the harbor as well as Betsie Bay was producing good numbers of Chinook. Most are using Swedish pimples or plugs.
Betsie River: Had a good number of fresh Chinook. Most were hitting on skein.
Onekama: Those trolling in 180 to 220 feet caught Chinook on plugs and meat rigs. No word on the hot colors. The Barrel is still producing good numbers of lake trout for those fishing off the bottom.
Portage Lake: Boat anglers trolling the west side caught a few coho on spoons and spinners. Bass anglers caught largemouth in deeper water.
Manistee: Catch rates were up and down. Warm water was pushed in and surface water temperatures were 69 degrees. The better fishing was south of the piers where anglers caught mainly Chinook followed by coho, lake trout and steelhead 80 to 130 feet down in 100 to 300 feet. Boats are running a mix of J-plugs, spoons and cut bait. The good days were producing six to eight fish or more and the slow days were maybe two fish.
Manistee River: Few salmon have appeared up near Tippy Dam however fish were in the middle sections. Try the deeper holes. The Little Manistee is now closed to fishing downstream of the weir however anglers can view fish from the platform. Not many there yet but some.
Ludington: The lake is finally starting to settle down but water temperatures are still fairly warm so catch rates were hit-or-miss. Boats are fishing about six miles south to the project and 60 to 80 feet down in 120 feet or north to Big Sable Point at 60 to 120 feet down in 80 to 200 feet. Cut bait was best with blue flies and flashers but a few were also taken on J-plugs and spoons. On the good days, anglers were averaging five fish per trip, on the bad days it was zero to two fish. They caught mainly Chinook but a few more coho were showing up. Some reported the occasional steelhead or lake trout.
Pere Marquette River: Had salmon near the Twin Bridges at US-31, Scottville and the Indian Bridge but no big numbers yet.
Pentwater: Boat anglers reported salmon stacked up in 60 to 70 feet and were caught 35 feet down. Those fishing close to the piers did just as good as those traveling north or south of the port. The bite was slow but most anglers were getting a couple fish when using primarily cut bait.
Keweenaw Bay: Salmon fishing was slow but anglers did pick up some lake trout. Some reported finding baitfish with bigger fish mixed in however they would not bite. Those jigging in 180 to 240 feet off the Township Park caught lake trout. At the South Portage Entry, lake trout were caught by those jigging in 150 to 280 feet off Newton’s and Farmers Reef as well as off the south end of Big Reef in 260 feet. For Traverse Bay, those jigging in 240 to 260 feet off Big Louie’s Point had some good catches of lake trout. Those trolling had a tough time but did manage to get a few lake trout and the odd coho.
Ellen Lake: In Iron County had decent splake fishing. Bluegills were caught here and there.
Little Bay De Noc: The better walleye fishing was still down near Round Island where anglers were trolling stick baits in 10 to 20 feet. Several fair to good perch catches were taken between the First and Third Reefs when jigging minnows or crawlers in eight to 22 feet. Some decent bluegills were caught in the Escanaba Yacht Harbor when using worms next to the docks. Good northern pike action throughout but the better catches were coming from the Second Reef when casting or trolling crank baits, spoons or spinners in 10 to 12 feet along the west bank.
Big Bay De Noc: Smallmouth bass anglers reported fair catches between Ansell’s Point and Garden Bluff when using minnows in 14 to 28 feet. Off Fairport, the better salmon fishing was the southern end of the “Gap” which is closer to Big Summer Island. Try 90 to 110 feet down in 140 to 160 feet.
Munising: Surface water temperatures were in the upper 50’s. Anglers were fishing Trout bay and the Wood Island Reef in 120 to 200 feet but the action was slow. Some were using high-lines for coho but no fish were caught. Those trolling in the bay caught a few small splake. No coho were caught at the Anna River dock. A few small splake 14 to 20 inches were caught. No shore activity at Bay Furnace.
Grand Marais: Had good lake trout fishing four to five miles straight out from the harbor in 200 feet. Anglers reported limit catches in about a three hour period. The fish were averaging 19 to 22 inches with a few fish four to five pounds. Some did try for coho but had no luck.
Manistique Lake: Was producing walleye and a few perch.
Tahquamenon River: Had good walleye and muskie fishing.
DeTour: Pink salmon, lake trout and a few coho salmon were caught by those trolling from the lighthouse east to the first red buoy on the Drummond Island side. They were trolling 50 feet down in over 80 feet with three to four inch chrome or green and white spoons. Lake trout action was fair in waters over 90 feet deep between Fry Pan Island and the first green buoy west of the lighthouse. Silver hammered spoons were the ticket.
Drummond Island: The month of the September gets the attention of yellow perch anglers. A few seven to nine inches were caught on the south side of Ashman Island when using spreaders with shiners in 12 to 14 feet. A few small perch were caught on small worms and shiners off the Monahan Dock in Maxton Bay. Walleye fishing was fair with 17 to 19 inch fish caught around Picnic Island with shiners and a slip bobber along the weed beds in 12 to 14 feet.
Cedarville & Hessel: Pike fishing was good at both locations however Musky Bay was best when still-fishing with chubs. Casting and trolling were also working well. Excellent perch fishing continued in Moscoe Channel when using worms. Perch have started at Connors Point in Musky Bay. Smallmouth bass fishing was good off the Hessel Pier.
St. Ignace: Is producing a few salmon. Lake trout can be found on the east side of Mackinac Island, and Round Island. Those fishing the mouth of the Carp River have seen a couple salmon but it was walleye that were caught in the evening.