It’s here! Michigan’s annual “Summer Free Fishing Weekend” will be observed this
Show us what Michigan's fisheries means to you! Consider entering a submission into our Fishing in 15 video contest! . On these two days, both residents and non-residents can fish without a license however all regulations still apply.
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Lake Erie: Those fishing straight out from Fermi, Stony Point, Brest Bay, Bolles Harbor and further south to the Dumping Grounds reported an increase in limit catches. Trolling crawler harnesses with inline spinners produce the most fish but spoons and crank baits in fire-tiger, pink or purple also caught fish. Those bottom bouncing with rigs are catching fish but are also sorting through a lot of small ones because the bigger fish are suspended higher in the water column. Few were targeting yellow perch but some had decent luck with shiners on spreaders. Those fishing in La Plaisance Bay near Bolles Harbor have had good catches of large and smallmouth bass in five to 10 feet with tube baits and crank baits. Shore anglers at Sterling State Park have caught large and smallmouth bass off the Army Corp of Engineers Pier when using twister tail jigs. Catfish were caught in the marsh channels near the mouth of Sandy Creek. Shore anglers at Pointe Mouillee caught largemouth bass, white bass and catfish at the boating access site.
Detroit River: Walleye slowed but anglers were still getting some white bass. Perch were caught around the docks in Gibraltar and near the border waters in 10 to 11 feet. Shore fishing has been hot and heavy especially for bluegills.
Oakland County: With bass season underway, both Cass and Union Lake have seen steady pressure from tournament and non-tournament bass anglers. Those doing best are finesse fishing along the drop-offs and flats. On windy days, try fast moving baits, such as crankbaits or spinners. Those targeting panfish in Cass Lake were successful. A few walleye were caught in a variety of depths and locations in both lakes and the carp are starting to spawn and can be seen throughout the shallows.
Lake St. Clair: Smallmouth bass were caught from Metro all the way down to the Mile Roads in six to 10 feet using swimbaits, jerk baits, and tube baits. A few largemouth bass, pike and muskie were also caught. Walleye were found in the stretch between Metro and the Clinton River Cut-Off ramp and around the 400 Club in 10 feet when trolling pink and chartreuse crawler harnesses. Some reported limit catches in the shipping channel around the lighthouse. These anglers also caught good numbers of white bass. Perch are still being caught on minnows and worms in six to eight feet at Gino’s. Panfish were caught around the 400 Club in eight to 10 feet when floating a minnow. On the north end, muskie were caught on west side of Anchor Bay on muskie lures or a black and red fly in eight to 10 feet. Pike and bass were caught in the shallows. A few perch were caught when drifting minnows in the small bay just north of the Harley Ensign launch.
St. Clair River: Walleye fishing has been very good. Those whipping and casting after dark were taking limit catches around Marysville, Marine City, and Algonac. Those jigging and bottom bouncing with crawler harnesses during the day had good success. A few white bass have been showing up in the lower channels. Water temperature at Algonac was 60 degrees.
Lexington to Port Sanilac: Continues to produce lake trout, steelhead, coho and pink salmon. Try fishing the bottom 10 in 50 to 100 feet.
Harbor Beach: Some nice lake trout were taken north of the harbor in 50 to 125 feet with dodgers and spin-glo’s or with clean spoons near the bottom. Salmon were on the slow side; try clean spoons 45 to 60 feet down. A couple steelhead were caught on spoons. Try bright yellow, green or chartreuse.
Port Austin to Grindstone City: Smallmouth bass fishing remains good from Port Austin to Eagle Bay and Grindstone City. Live leeches and various plastics worked best. A few walleye were taken in 25 feet off Grindstone City. Lake trout, steelhead, coho and pink salmon were scattered in 50 to 100 feet. Most were fishing the bottom 10 feet. Those looking for bigger fish were heading out to 135 feet.
Saginaw Bay: Walleye were coming from 20 feet off Linwood and Buoys G, A, and B and the pencil buoys. Walleye were caught around Spoils Island in the early morning before sunrise and off the Callahan Reef when heading out from the river mouth, Finn Road or Quanicassee. The hot spinners were purple, pink, chartreuse, anti-freeze, copper, brass and chrome. Those launching at Sunset Bay Marina and off Sebewaing found walleye. The bite was a bit slower at Bay Port but a few fish were still taken in eight to 10 feet in Wildfowl Bay.
Saginaw River: Shore anglers in the lower river were catching a few smallmouth bass, walleye, perch, freshwater drum and catfish off Smith Park when using minnows and crawlers. Those trolling caught some walleye in 12 to 14 feet near the Coast Guard Station.
Shiawassee River: Was producing rock bass and suckers throughout.
Southwest Lower Peninsula
St. Joseph: Pier anglers caught a fair number of steelhead on shrimp. Fishing for boat anglers was slow as strong winds have made it difficult and few boats left the harbor.
St. Joseph River: Is producing bass and large catfish. Anglers targeting catfish continue to do well with crawlers, shrimp, bluegills or cut bait.
South Haven: Strong winds have kept fishing pressure low. The boats that were able to get out caught a few coho and lake trout in waters less than 100 feet deep. Pier anglers caught some steelhead when floating shrimp under a bobber.
Grand Haven: Trout and salmon have been caught 35 to 150 feet down in 150 to 250 feet when trolling green flies and orange spoons. Pier anglers are catching steelhead on shrimp. Freshwater drum were caught while casting spoons in the channel.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Is producing a few walleye and some catfish. Try leeches for the walleye and cut bait or shrimp for catfish. Bass have been caught in the shallows and around structure. Check the backwaters for bluegill and crappie.
Grand River at Lansing: Is producing bass, pike and catfish. Bow fishermen were doing well for carp.
Jackson County: Anglers are taking largemouth bass and panfish.
Clinton County: Bluegill fishing was decent on Round Lake. Catch rates were fair on Park Lake and Muskrat Lake.
Muskegon: Boat anglers were finding trout and salmon 25 to 125 feet down in 200 to 300 feet. Orange and green spoons worked best.
Muskegon Lake: Bass anglers have done well in the shallows and along the drop-offs. Walleye fishing was slow but a few perch were found out from the Bear Lake Channel. Anglers are catching bluegill and crappie.
Muskegon River: Fly fishing is the key right now especially for rainbow and brown trout. Drake and March Browns were hatching. Check out the backwaters for bluegill.
Whitehall: Chinook salmon and steelhead are being caught while trolling in 140 to 200 feet. Pier anglers caught freshwater drum and white perch on cut bait near the bottom.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Cheboygan: Good numbers of lake trout were caught in 40 to 70 feet near Cordwood Point when using spoons, dodgers and cowbells.
Cheboygan River: Is producing smallmouth bass, northern pike and walleye. The smallmouth and pike improved with the warmer water. Walleye catches were hit-or-miss with the better fishing after dark for those casting or trolling crank baits.
Mullett Lake: Water temperatures were about 68 degrees and there was a large mayfly hatch on the north end. Walleye anglers are doing well after dark near Aloha State Park and the mouth of the Cheboygan River. Stick baits and body baits with rattles are working best. A few pike are still being caught in Pigeon River Bay and Scott's Bay. Smallmouth bass anglers are struggling to catch fish, with only a few caught in the shallow rocky areas.
Otsego Lake: Was producing limit catches of walleye. Panfish were also caught.
Rogers City: Lake trout fishing has been excellent with plenty of limit catches reported. Some days were better than others. Best depths were 45 to 65 feet while fishing close to the bottom or 15 to 20 feet from the bottom with green spoons or spin-glo’s, cowbells and dodgers. Boats were fishing north, south and straight out. A stray Chinook or Atlantic are still showing up in the catch. Chinook were caught in 80 to 120 feet and the Atlantic salmon were caught up high on bright colored spoons.
Presque Isle: Has excellent lake trout fishing in 40 to 80 feet between the two lighthouses. The fish were suspended and not on the bottom so run lines throughout the water column. Spoons dodgers and spin-glo’s caught fish. A good number of Atlantic salmon were still coming in. Fish them like steelhead, up high in the water column in 20 to 45 feet.
Alpena: Had good lake trout fishing. Most anglers are targeting fish in 60 to 80 feet and spreading bait throughout the water column as the fish were suspended. Spoons, flies, spin-glo’s, wobble glo’s, cut bait and body baits in dark colors worked best. Walleye fishing was still spotty. Most anglers were heading out at night with planer boards and long-lining with body baits and crawler harnesses. Thunder Bay has lots of bass and pike.
Thunder Bay River: Fishing was slow but a few walleye and bass were caught in the early morning and late evening when using live bait.
Oscoda: Pier fishing has been hit-or-miss over the last week. Those targeting walleye had limited success. Those trolling have caught lake trout and the occasional steelhead in 60 to 100 feet with spoons, cut bait or spin-glo’s. Fish were marked from top to bottom.
Au Sable River: Boats drifting crawlers have caught some walleye. Some were casting body baits and stick baits. Trout have been caught in all branches especially by those fly fishing.
Higgins Lake: Lake trout are still being caught in 80 to 100 feet. Anglers are catching lots of rock bass and the bite should continue for the weekend.
Houghton Lake: Has had good fishing especially out around the Middle Grounds which were producing well. The bite did slow with the latest mayfly hatch and the cooler temperatures but should rebound by the weekend. Anglers are catching a good number of walleye in six to eight feet late at night or early morning. Bass, bluegills and sunfish have been caught throughout the day.
Tawas: Those trolling crawler harnesses in 35 feet off Tawas Point and Au Sable Point took a few walleye. A few fish were also taken off Alabaster. Those vertical jigging off the mouth of the Tawas River took a few walleye as well. Pier fishing was slow with only a couple pike and freshwater drum taken.
Tawas River: Shore anglers were getting a few smallmouth bass in the lower river.
Au Gres: Most of the boat anglers were coming back with one or two fish but some did much better. Walleye were caught in 25 to 30 feet off the Rifle Bar and between Point Lookout and Pointe Au Gres in various depths. Further south, boats launching at Eagle Bay Marina did well for walleye on the right day.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Harbor Springs: Had smallmouth bass anglers fishing the shallows inside Harbor Point and along Wequetonsing to the state park. They did not have much luck. The males seem to be preparing the beds while the females were sitting a bit deeper.
Petoskey: Angling pressure was low but the few that did go out caught lake trout when trolling towards Bay Harbor. The fish were hitting spoons on the bottom in 35 to 60 feet.
Bear River: Still had a lot of rock bass up at the dam. Those fishing off the rocks and the D Pier caught pike, suckers, bullhead, carp, rock bass and a few small perch. This is a great place to fish with a worm and bobber, crankbait or small jig.
Charlevoix: No salmon were reported but some big lake trout were caught 60 to 80 feet down in 80 to 120 feet. Most boats were targeting the North Point area when trolling spoons and spin-glo’s. Those fishing the channel were still getting a few lake trout off the pier. Walleye fishing slowed but a couple fish were still taken after dark. Cisco action was still hit-or-miss but some bigger fish were caught.
Traverse City: Boat anglers targeting bass have done well in shallow water at the south end of the East Bay. Lake trout anglers have done well out of Elk Rapids and Deepwater Point. Cisco were caught south of Elk Rapids. The Elk River by-pass still has a good number of rainbow trout left over from the kids fishing day. Lake trout fishing was good north of the M-22 launch in the West Bay.
Boardman River: Continues to produce bass for those using crawlers and leeches. Anglers have also caught pike, suckers and perch.
Frankfort: A few Chinook have been caught off the “Shelf” in 180 to 300 feet. Boats are heading straight out and to the north. Lake trout are being caught off a rock pile straight out from the mouth of the Platte River in East Platte Bay.
Portage Lake: Anglers were finding panfish in the shallows along the east side.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Had good bass fishing. Most were catching largemouth but a few smallmouth were also found. Catch rates slowed with the cooler temperatures but should rebound by the weekend. A few walleye and bullhead were caught in the canal between the two lakes.
Manistee: The north pier still closed. Baitfish are still in the harbor and anglers were picking up a small number of steelhead, brown trout and Chinook in the early morning. Walleye are still being caught at night. Those trolling caught lake trout, steelhead and Chinook in 100 to 300 feet.
Manistee Lake: Northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass have been caught.
Big Manistee River: A few summer run steelhead have been caught on crawlers in the early morning at Tippy Dam. A couple legal size brown trout were caught but most were undersize. Those fly fishing have been very active with good catches of trout between High Bridge and Tippy Dam. A few suckers were still being caught.
Ludington: Baitfish are moving into the channel and Pere Marquette Lake. Boat anglers are getting lake trout, steelhead and Chinook in 100 to 300 feet.
Pentwater: Those targeting Chinook and steelhead had success in 180 feet and deeper.
Pentwater Lake: Anglers targeting large and smallmouth bass did well in waters between two and 12 feet deep. Try jigs tipped with soft plastics near weed beds or submerged structure.
Keweenaw Bay: Those out in the cool rainy weather did very well with a mix of coho, lake trout and splake when trolling from the head of the bay north to the red rocks on a variety of spoons and body baits. Trolling speeds were between 2 and 2.5 mph.
Menominee River: The muskie bite was slow with only a few smaller fish caught in and around Boom Island and the Nest Egg Marina. Those trolling for walleye had some limit catches of fish in the 16 to 18 inch range when using crawler harnesses or stick baits.
Little Bay De Noc: Walleye anglers reported fair to good catches between the Center and the Third Reefs when trolling stick baits or crawler harnesses in 18 to 25 feet. The best area was south by the Ford River and Breezy Point where anglers trolled stick baits in eight to 14 feet. The mouth of the Ford River is producing fair catches of smallmouth bass but the better fishing was up river where most were casting tube baits, crank baits or spinners along the banks. Fish were also caught at the mouth of the Escanaba River in eight to 12 feet. Shore anglers at the Ford River had a lot of action but most of the fish were too small. Pike numbers are on the increase with good catches throughout the bay including around Butler Island and just off the Day’s River when trolling crank baits, spoons or spinners in 10 to 18 feet. Those fly fishing on the Escanaba River did well for rainbow and brown trout.
Big Bay De Noc: The walleye are starting to disperse but Ogontz still reported fair catches trolling stick baits in 14 to 18 feet. Smallmouth bass anglers in the same area reported fair to good catches when casting plastics or spinners in four to 12 feet. Pike fishing was also good but many were small. Puffy Bay, Garden Bay and South River Bay were producing smallmouth bass but South River Bay has slowed. Those fishing Porcupine Point reported fewer fish than previous years but catch rates were still fair for those casting crank baits, spinners or plastics in four to 16 feet.
Marquette: Lake trout fishing slowed near the “white rocks”. Anglers were still heading north and fishing the Upper Harbor and Shot Point in 80 to 200 feet. The coho action slowed as well but some were still caught around the breakwall in the Lower Harbor. Water levels in the Carp River were high due to recent rains. Those targeting brook trout had little success.
Munising: Heavy rains lowered water temperatures into the low to mid 40’s. Lake trout were caught near the Wood Island Reef. The fish averaged two to three pounds. A few boat anglers caught Chinook salmon up to eight pounds when trolling near Trout Bay and inside Munising Bay. Pier activity at the Anna River was slow but those out did catch some decent size splake right along with several small ones.
Grand Marais: Water temperatures have dropped into the low 40’s. A few anglers did okay on lake trout anywhere from a few miles offshore in 150 feet to ten miles out in 250 to 300 feet. Some limit catches were taken in the morning hours when anglers could get out. Whitefish are coming in all sizes from eight to 20 inches for those using eggs off the pier.
St. Marys River: Had a few reports of lake trout being caught east of the lighthouse on the Drummond Island side with hammered silver and gray four inch spoons.
Detour: Anglers targeting Atlantic salmon caught a couple Chinook while trolling black and chrome spoons near the lighthouse. The Chinook were in 28 feet right close to the lighthouse and between the green can and the lighthouse. Anglers off Drummond Island are reporting walleye on the north side of Scott Bay trolling eastward from Paw Point with planer boards and white rubber body spinners. Crawler harnesses worked best in the early morning.
Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers did well fishing for northern pike in Musky Bay. They were trolling with rubber bodied minnows and a spinner blade in six to eight feet in early morning hours. In and around Wilderness Bay a few pike were caught in six feet when trolling light colored bucktail spinners. West of the Hessel Dock, fish were also taken on the west side of Combe Island in six to eight feet on live chub minnows. Those looking for yellow perch should try inside the finger docks in the Hessel Marina with wax worms about six inches off the bottom in six to eight feet. Early morning is best.
St. Ignace: Had few anglers going out. The Carp River has produced some walleye and lots of northern pike but most of the pike and about half of the walleye were undersize. The Pine River is starting to produce a few more walleye and pike. Most are using crawlers or leeches for the walleye and casting spoons or stick baits for the pike.