This coming is the opening day of large and smallmouth bass season on the Great Lakes and all inland waters except Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River and the Detroit River which do not open until the third in June (6/18). Those participating in catch-and-release have caught a good number of fish so the opener looks to be very good!
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Many lakes in the region have sunfish and bluegill moving up into the shallows as they prepare to spawn.
Lake Erie: Walleye fishing was hit-or-miss. Those drifting, trolling and bottom bouncing a crawler harness with copper and purple inline spinner caught fish straight out from Brest Bay and Fermi or off Stony Point in 20 to 25 feet. Those bowfishing in the lagoons at Sterling State Park caught several carp and goldfish along with a couple gar. Bolles Harbor had decent catches of crappie and other panfish on a jig and wax worm. Largemouth bass and pike were caught on spinners and crankbaits.
Huron River: Anglers continue to catch white perch and a few white bass.
Washtenaw County: South Lake in the Pinckney Recreation Area was producing bluegills and redear sunfish. Boat anglers on Ford Lake caught some decent walleye. Large and smallmouth bass were caught but most were less than 12 inches.
Detroit River: Walleye fishing remains very good in the upper river but the better success has been from the Ontario side of the river. White bass fishing was excellent in the lower river where limit catches were taken in the Trenton Channel. Anglers should find good white bass fishing throughout the entire river this weekend.
Oakland County: Both Cass Lake and Union Lake experienced a rather large mayfly hatch, so the panfish bite has slowed a bit. Anglers continue to do well for bass in the shallow sandy flats when using jerk baits or drop shot fishing. If looking for pike or walleye, try the weedy flats and drop-offs in the early morning or evening. The smallmouth spawn is pretty much done but anglers are reporting largemouth starting to bed now. Water temperatures are on the rise so the bluegills should be getting ready to spawn.
Lake St. Clair: Smallmouth bass are nesting and anglers were having a hard time getting a bite. DNR shocking crews tagged over 400 smallmouth bass near 11 Mile Road. Anglers are encouraged to report their catch of tagged smallmouth bass using the on-line tagged fish reporting system. Bass were found near the Metro Park and the Mile Roads and caught in four to six feet on a variety of lures including crankbaits, swimbaits, rattle traps, or green and pumpkin tube baits. Those targeting them also caught rock bass, white bass and a couple musky. Yellow perch were caught near Gino’s in five to 10 feet when floating minnows and worms or when jigging minnows. A few pike were also caught. On the north end, smallmouth bass were caught south of Selfridge in six to seven feet on blue crankbaits or chartreuse curly tail grubs. Walleye were also caught in the same area when fishing the shoreline with gold lures or crawler harnesses with gold flashers.
Clinton River: Has good rock bass action and shore fishing for carp was excellent near the mouth.
St. Clair River: Walleye fishing has been good in the Algonac area. Jigging and bottom bouncing has been productive during the day, while whipping and wireline trolling were good after dark. The water temperature was 49 to 51 degrees.
Lexington: Anglers caught a mix of lake trout, brown trout, steelhead and pink salmon which were scattered throughout waters 30 to 90 feet deep.
Port Sanilac: Was producing trout and salmon. A couple Atlantic salmon were caught off the outside wall when using large gray shiners under a bobber.
Harbor Beach: Some nice salmon were caught on spoons 25 to 60 feet down in 110 feet north of the harbor and South of Port Hope. Best colors were blue and green alewives, and yellow tail spoons. Try spoons on 2, 3, 5, and 10 color lines with offshore boards as well. Lake trout are still being caught straight out and to the north in 60 to 100 feet with dodgers and spin-glo’s or clean spoons down near the bottom. A couple steelhead were taken up high in the water column.
Saginaw Bay: Walleye were caught in seven feet off Pinconning, 14 to 17 feet around the G Buoy, 20 feet off Linwood and eight to 10 feet on the Callahan Reef. On the east side, the Slot was producing a good number of fish in 16 feet. Crawler harnesses were definitely out-fishing crankbaits. Channel cat fishing was good off Sebewaing in five feet. Carp are in the shallows all over the south end and the east side where those bowfishing have done extremely well.
Saginaw River: Some walleye were caught in the lower river. The white bass are done spawning but freshwater drum have moved in as they prepare to spawn.
Tittabawassee River: Fishing was pretty much concentrated within an easy run of the Center Road launch site in Saginaw Township. White bass were still being caught on jigs, crankbaits and live minnows. Upstream of Freeland, catch-and-release fishing for smallmouth bass was very good, and a few walleye were caught. The spring walleye fishery is pretty much over.
Southwest Lower Peninsula
Panfish action on the inland lakes is picking up daily with the warm weather. Crappie and bluegills were on the beds in the shallow lakes and should be on all inland lakes in the area by the weekend. Bass were on the beds.
St. Joseph: Salmon fishing improved with anglers catching Chinook and coho on spoons in 100 feet. Pier anglers caught freshwater drum on crawlers. Perch fishing was very slow.
South Haven: Had good salmon fishing. Anglers were taking both Chinook and coho when trolling spoons in 100 to 130 feet. Pier fishing was very slow for all species and perch fishing was very slow.
Kalamazoo County: Indian Lake and Austin Lake were producing a fair to good number of panfish. Gull Lake was hit-or-miss.
Thornapple Lake: In Barry County was producing some perch.
Allegan County: Crappie fishing was good on the inland lakes including Miner and Baseline. Anglers on Eagle and Duck Lake caught bluegills on red worms.
Grand Haven: Salmon are being caught between the surface and 120 feet down in 140 to 240 feet. Anglers were using orange or green spoons with white flies. Pier anglers are catching a few brown trout and steelhead on alewife.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Is producing a few walleye, some catfish and a good number of smallmouth bass. Crappie were caught in the bayous and backwaters.
Grand River at Lansing: Has good smallmouth bass fishing. Try minnows, leeches and crawlers or twister tail grubs and small spinners. Crappie were caught upstream of Moore’s Park. A few pike and walleye were still being caught below the dams. Those targeting panfish have caught some big rock bass.
Eaton County: Sunfish were caught on Narrow Lake, Pine Lake and Lake Alliance.
Muskegon: Boats are catching Chinook and coho in 160 to 260 feet. Try fishing the top 120 feet with orange, green or blue spoons.
Muskegon River: Walleye fishing is picking up and bass are biting well. Panfish are moving into the shallows.
Whitehall: Chinook and coho salmon were caught in 120 to 200 feet. Schools of shiners and alewives have been spotted near the piers and brown trout are feeding on them. Walleye are still being caught in the channel and from the piers after dark. Try deep-diving body baits, plastic swimbaits, or a jig and minnow.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Cheboygan: Had good lake trout fishing at Cordwood Point and out by Bois Blanc Island. Spoons, dodgers and cowbells with spin-glo’s caught good numbers of fish.
Cheboygan River: Smallmouth bass fishing started to pick up for those using live and artificial baits. Good walleye fishing on crawlers and stick baits after dark. A few pike, suckers, rock bass and steelhead were caught but it appears most of the steelhead have left the river.
Mullett Lake: A couple nice pike were caught in Pigeon River Bay when drifting minnows or suckers. Smallmouth bass anglers are finding lots of fish in the shallow areas but are having a hard time getting them to bite. Those who had some success were using crankbaits, body baits and tube jigs. Walleye pressure was still low with a few reports of fish caught when trolling crawler harnesses at dusk.
Black Lake: Walleye fishing slowed but some pike were caught.
Rogers City: Boat anglers are taking lake trout, the occasional Atlantic salmon and the stray Chinook salmon. A few limit catches of lake trout were coming in. Anglers have to look for them but once found they are cashing in. Most are fishing just off the bottom in 40 to 70 feet with cowbells or dodgers with spin-glo’s. The lake trout were suspended so try spoons about halfway down. Green was a good color. Pink and Atlantic salmon were caught on bright spoons in the top 30 feet. Look for structure and a rocky bottom.
Presque Isle: Had very good Atlantic salmon action. Try south around Stoneport. Fish were caught on bright colored spoons in the top 30 feet. Hot colors were orange and silver, orange and green or orange and gold. Lake trout were starting to move in shallower. Try 20 to 60 feet and fish just off the bottom.
Alpena: Boat, shore and pier anglers had good success in the lake and on the river. Hot spots were around Grass Island and Sulphur Island especially at night. Lake trout are starting to head out to deeper water so limit catches were more difficult.
Thunder Bay River: Still had good steelhead fishing as fish were still making their way up to the dam. Most are using trout beads and body baits.
Montmorency County: McCormick Lake was producing some brown trout. Grass Lake had good bluegill catches. Fletchers Pond was producing a lot of small bluegills. The boating access site on Fletchers is now open.
Oscoda: Walleye are starting to come in and the numbers are increasing. Most anglers are targeting them from the pier while casting body baits or drifting worms and leeches.
Au Sable River: Steelhead were still coming up into the river. Anglers are fishing the Foot Dam and High Banks area with spawn, spoons, fly's and spinner baits. Trout fishing on the South Branch has picked up.
Higgins Lake: Lake trout are being caught by those trolling in 80 to 100 feet. Rainbow trout were found in the thermocline in 15 to 40 feet. No word on perch but those targeting them were fishing in 20 feet in the early morning then moving to 40 to 50 feet later in the day. Best areas to try are the Sunken and the Main Island.
Houghton Lake: Fishing improved with limit catches of walleye and crappie reported. The walleye were hitting mid-day in four to eight feet. Anglers were casting husky jerks and rapalas while drifting. Crappie were caught by those floating a minnow out near the Middle Grounds. Not much on bluegills however it is possible they will be on the beds by the weekend.
Lake St. Helen: Walleye fishing was a bit slow however anglers were catching good numbers of crappie, pike and bass when using minnows, crawlers and small plastics. The better fishing was along the north and northwest sections where the winds have blown the warmer water. For bass, anglers were using a slow presentation with top water lures. Perch were caught and bluegill fishing should be good by the weekend.
Tawas: Pier anglers caught walleye at night. It appears the Atlantic salmon may have moved offshore. Boat anglers weren’t doing that great in Tawas Bay so many were heading south and catching walleye near Alabaster.
Tawas River: Is producing a few pike, drum, and smallmouth bass.
Au Gres: Had a lot of boats when the weather permitted and a good number of walleye were caught but no “boat limits” were reported. The fish were scattered in anywhere from 18 to 35 feet of water. Methods varied, but the best pattern is moving from crankbaits to crawler harnesses. A couple boats went bass fishing around the Charity Islands. They caught and released as many as 50 good-sized bass per angler! Tube-baits were the ticket.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Harbor Springs: Anglers caught lake trout from Harbor Point to the west. Some fish were suspended 20 to 40 feet down in 60 feet while others were caught near the bottom in 70 to 80 feet with spoons, flies and peanuts. Smallmouth bass were spotted in the shallows inside Harbor Point.
Petoskey: Had good lake trout fishing from the water treatment plant to Bay Harbor. Fish were caught 35 to 55 feet down in 40 to 110 feet. Some were suspended while others were caught near the bottom. Spoons and peanuts worked best. Surface water temperature was 49 degrees.
Bear River: Steelhead fishing is pretty much done but anglers were still finding the occasional fish when using spawn bags. Small brown trout, chubs and rock bass were up near the dam. Anglers caught smallmouth bass, rock bass, bullhead, pike, carp, freshwater drum and chubs off the rocks and the D Pier. This is a fun place to fish with a worm and bobber.
Charlevoix: Lake trout fishing was good for boat anglers with many taking limit catches. The fish were 20 to 35 feet down in waters 50 to 150 feet deep. Most were fishing North Point however fish were also caught near the cement plant and the State Park. Spoons, spin-glo’s and peanuts worked best. Pier anglers caught a few lake trout, smallmouth bass and cisco. Walleye were caught after dark.
Traverse City: Catch rates increased with lake trout and cisco caught south and east of the M-37 boat launch in the East Bay. A fair number of smallmouth bass were caught and released in the bay and below the dam in Elk Rapids. Lake trout were caught in the West Bay when trolling in shallow waters north of Clinch Park.
Boardman River: Smallmouth bass were caught below the dam. Suckers were caught on crawlers.
Leland: Lake trout were hitting hard. Suckers could be found in a few creeks.
Frankfort: Fishing improved. Those trolling the harbor caught lake trout and brown trout on spoons in the early morning. Limits of lake trout were taken outside the piers in 25 to 50 feet. A couple Chinook were caught just off the bottom out deep.
Onekama: Those trolling bright colored spoons caught a fair to good number of Chinook salmon in 180 to 300 feet. The fish were caught just off the bottom.
Portage Lake: Anglers found perch in 40 feet off Lakeshore Road and in five feet while spawning off McGowen Creek near M-22. Largemouth bass were still on the beds off Schick Creek which is on the east side of the lake. Bluegills, crappie and rock bass were in the same area.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Anglers have been doing well catching pike, walleye, and bass. Some good crappie reports were starting to come in as well.
Manistee: The north pier was still closed because of construction on the lighthouse. Good numbers of lake trout were still coming in and there was an increase in Chinook salmon. Most fish were caught in 60 to 100 feet. A small number of brown trout were caught off the piers and good numbers of walleye have been caught at night. Baitfish are showing up in the harbor.
Manistee Lake: Large and smallmouth bass were reported in good numbers and both were hitting on rapalas and top-water lures. A few anglers were targeting walleye but none were reported. Northern pike numbers were good. Head towards the Arthur Street Launch and try casting crankbaits. A couple yellow perch were caught but most did not have much luck.
Big Manistee River: The spring steelhead run is coming close to the end with only a few late fish hitting a jig and wax worm on the Wellston side at Tippy Dam. The small brown trout recently stocked were hitting on anything anglers threw at them and the low water levels made sight fishing fun. Good numbers of white and redhorse suckers were between Tippy Dam and High Bridge and hitting on flies.
Hamlin Lake: Was producing some walleye and decent panfish action.
Ludington: Good numbers of lake trout were caught in 40 to 70 feet. Small numbers of brown trout, steelhead, and Chinook were caught as well. Baitfish are moving into the harbor.
Pentwater: Lots of nice lake trout are being caught in 30 to 70 feet. Chinook and coho were caught out in 150 to 200 feet.
Pentwater Lake: Pike and smallmouth bass were caught when casting body baits or using shiners near the bottom. Those seeking walleye caught fish when trolling crawler harnesses or vertical jigging with minnows or leeches.
Walleye fishing should improve by the weekend. Brook trout fishing on the streams has been good with the warm weather. Bluegills and bass are just starting to show up in the shallows.
Ontonagon: Boat anglers caught lake trout, brown trout and coho.
Ontonagon River: Produced a few walleye with a couple fish over 25 inches.
Lake Gogebic: Was producing a fair number of walleye 13 to 17 inches.
Keweenaw Bay: The bite over the last week was up and down. Those out trolling picked up a few coho, Chinook, lake trout and splake from the first bridge at the Baraga State Park to the mouth of the Falls River and from the Baraga Marina northward to the red rocks. Most were trolling 15 to 45 feet down in 20 to 60 feet with spoons and body baits. Hot colors were orange and green. A few rainbow trout were still being caught in the Falls River but fishing off the Rock Dock was very slow. The bite was slow in the South Portage Entry with only a few trout and salmon taken near the lighthouse and breakwall. At Traverse Bay, anglers were trolling for lake trout near Black Point, Gay Point, Big Louie’s Point and near 5-Mile Reef. Try a foot off the bottom in 130 to 240 feet. Those jigging did not have much luck.
Menominee River: Anglers caught walleye when trolling stick baits from the tip of Stephenson Island down to the mouth. Musky were caught around Boom Island, the docks at Nest Egg Marina and around Stephenson Island. Shore anglers caught a few walleye on a jig and minnow near the Hattie Street Dam. Freshwater drum, catfish and a few perch were caught from the Fishermen's platform at the Mystery Ship Launch.
Little Bay De Noc: The walleye opener was very slow. Most anglers fished the northern parts of the bay. The best areas were around the Center and the Third Reefs when jigging lead heads with crawlers in 24 feet. Early morning anglers trolled or drifted stick baits or crawlers in 14 to 27 feet. A few walleye were caught along the Second Reef, the “Narrows”, Gladstone Bay and near the mouth of the Escanaba River. Smallmouth bass were caught off Garth Point, Gladstone Bay, Hunters Point and south to the Ford River mouth. The bass were starting to nest so the opener should be good. Water temperatures were mid 50’s to 60 degrees. Walleye anglers trolling the reefs caught a good number of pike.
Big Bay De Noc: The walleye opener was off to a very slow start but smallmouth bass fishing appears to be on track as anglers report nesting fish in Ogontz, Martin Bay, the Fish Dam Rivers area, Garden Bay, Puffy Bay and the South River area. Most were casting tube baits or spinners in three to eight feet. The opener should be good. Garden bay still had a few perch anglers but most of the fish caught were very small.
Marquette: Fishing has been moderate as some days were better than others. Lake trout fishing has been good fishing north of the Upper Harbor near the white rocks when trolling in waters up to 200 feet deep. Coho fishing has slowed as only a few were caught when trolling around the Lower Harbor breakwall. Anglers are reminded to use caution and watch for commercial fishing nets in the Lower Harbor.
Munising: Some reported a large mayfly hatch over the last week. A recent tournament yielded a good number of lake trout with the biggest fish recorded at 37.29 pounds. Salmon fishing was tough with the biggest Chinook less than 11 pounds. A few small splake were caught on the Anna River.
Grand Marais: Pier fishing for whitefish was slow. Dense fog made it difficult for boat anglers. The few that were out reported very little action for whitefish and those caught were small at 10 to 12 inches. Those targeting lake trout did well with most fish averaging two to three pounds. Fish were caught in 200 to 250 feet however a few boats were targeting the drop-offs in and around 150 to 200 feet near the various reefs located a few miles offshore.
St. Mary’s River: A few rainbow trout and coho were caught from the Portage Street Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie when drifting four-ounce sinkers with a 12-inch leader and flat fish crankbaits. Best colors were chrome with blue or burgundy and drifting these baits on the west bank of the canal parallel to the railroad ties seemed to work best. On the discharge side of Clover Land Electric Power Plant, a few whitefish were caught drifting red hooks with wax worms in 10 to 12 feet just off the current from turbine generators. Walleye fishing was excellent on the upper reaches of Munuscong Bay. Anglers can launch from the new boat launch at Kemps Pointe and fish the north end of the bay while trolling small crankbaits at the mouth off the Munuscong River and around Grassy Island. Orange and chrome hard baits worked for most while others used small crankbaits in four to five feet. A few walleye 17 to 19 inches were caught off Drummond Island in Scott Bay when trolling the north end in four to six feet from Paw Pointe east to McCormicks Marsh. Try crawler harnesses with single hooks and small perch colored crankbaits.
Detour: Has no reports.
Cedarville and Hessel: Pike fishing within the islands picked up for those using minnows or smelt. Some also did quite well casting. All the bays from Moscow Channel to Hessel Bay are producing pike. Some splake are still being caught in Hessel Bay. A few perch have showed up in Moscow Channel.
St. Ignace: Anglers are harvesting good numbers of lake trout near both Mackinac and Bois Blanc Islands. Cowbells and dodgers with spin-n-glo’s seem to work best. The fish cleaning station remains closed. A few walleye and pike were caught by those fishing area rivers with worms, leeches and crankbaits.