Weekly Fishing Report: May 15, 2014

Michigan DNR  
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Weekly Fishing Report

May 15, 2014



Weekly Fishing Tip: Taking great catch-and-release photosExample of catch-and-release photo taking with black crappie
Are you an avid catch-and-release angler? Do you like to take photos of the fish you catch, prior to returning them to the water? Do you know the safest way to take these photos so you ensure the fish can live to be caught another day?

1. Wet your hands before you handle the fish – that way you won’t remove any of the protective mucus (aka slime) the fish has coating their body.
2. Remember a fish can not breathe out of water, so they will become uncomfortable rather quickly. Keep the fish in the water until your camera is ready to take the shot.
3. Take the photo with the fish fairly close to the water, that way if it squirms out of your hands it will land in the water – not on a hard surface.
4. While holding a fish do not pinch or squeeze it and do not stick your fingers in its gills.
5. Be mindful of the different kinds of fish that have teeth and/or spines that could stick you.

This tip was adopted from the Take Me Fishing online blog.  


Weekly Fishing Report map



Great Lakes Temperature Map

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

Walleye, pike and muskellunge season for the Upper Peninsula Great Lakes, St. Mary’s River and the inland lakes will open on May 15. The catch-and-immediate-release bass season for all Upper Peninsula waters including the Great Lakes will also open on May 15. 


Lake Erie:  Walleye were scattered and moving into deeper water. Surface temperatures were in the high 50’s and low 60’s. Catch rates near Turtle Island were beginning to slow. Walleye were caught in Brest Bay and off Stoney Point. Try crawler harnesses with bottom bouncers in 20 feet or deeper. Purple beads were also good. Bass and catfish were hitting near Bolles Harbor and the Hot Ponds. A few walleye were caught but it is still a bit early for large numbers of fish.  

Detroit River:  Continues to be excellent for walleye and white bass are beginning to show up too, especially in the lower river. Walleye anglers are catching and releasing quite a few smallmouth bass. Shore anglers are taking white bass in Wyandotte and Ecorse.   

Portage Chain-of-Lakes:  Near Pinckney are producing bluegill and crappie. Fish the canals and shallow flats with minnows and jigs. Bass were on the beds and those targeting them have done well along the weed beds in shallow water and around structure. A few pike were taken along the drop-offs on Zukey and Portage.   

Smallmouth bass in trap net on Lake St. ClairLake St. Clair:  Water temperatures in Anchor Bay were between 51 and 57 degrees. Catch rates for smallmouth bass in the DNR trap nets have gone way up as the bass have started moving into shallow waters to spawn (see photo). Those fishing south along the Mile Roads caught bass in the warmer water.  

St. Clair River:  Is producing some walleye near Algonac, Marine City and Port Huron. Jigging artificial minnows has been productive. Some are starting to use bottom bouncers and crawlers.  

Lexington:   Trollers are taking a mixed bag of trout and salmon. Shore fishing was limited to small perch and bullhead. A couple big pike were also caught.  

Port Sanilac:  Those trolling caught Chinook, coho, lake trout and brown trout in eight to 40 feet. Spoons and body baits worked best.   

Harbor Beach:  Fish are scattered because of changes in wind direction. For lake trout, boat anglers will want to head north, south or straight out with dodgers or cowbells with spin glows, peanuts, and spoons just off the bottom or spoons 65 to 70 feet down. For salmon, brown trout and steelhead try spoons off downriggers, 2 or 3 colored lines and offshore boards. Use bright colors when working the mud lines. A few walleye were taken by those casting small body baits from the wall either early or late. Water levels are good.      

Grindstone City:  Had good catch and release bass fishing.    

Saginaw Bay:  Has good numbers of walleye being taken in six to 16 feet off Linwood and Pinconning by those trolling harnesses. Very good walleye action was cited off Jones Road in four to six feet or Quanicassee in six to seven feet. Further up the Slot, walleye were hitting crawler harnesses with spinners in 10 to 15 feet off Sunset Bay Marina. Good colors were white, purple, green, chartreuse or brass. A good number of channel catfish have been caught. Shore anglers at Quanicassee and Sebewaing caught freshwater drum or catfish. At Caseville, shore fishing was slow with a few rock bass and the odd walleye. Catch and release bass fishing has been very good.  

Tittabawassee River:  Walleye fishing is slowing with the average catch per trip between one and three fish. Anglers are casting or trolling blue and silver body baits around Mapleton. Look for white bass in the lower river near Center Road.  

Saginaw River:  Walleye are hitting on jigs with crawlers or minnows between Essexville and the mouth. This is a place to try if the winds are too strong to get out on the bay.

Kalamazoo River: 
Is producing steelhead and smallmouth bass at the Allegan Dam.  Suckers and catfish are also being caught.  

Grand Haven: 
Boat anglers have their choice between salmon or perch. For salmon, most are trolling in waters out to 60 feet deep however 35 to 45 feet seems to produce the most fish when using 3, 5 and 7 color lead core. Set downriggers 20 to 35 feet with orange and gold spoons. Perch anglers are still taking fish in the 60 foot hole just south of the south pier. Try minnows, spikes or wigglers. Pier fishing was slow for those casting spoons.  

Grand River in Grand Rapids: 
Steelhead are still being caught at the Sixth Street Dam. Walleye were caught on crawlers and body baits. A fair to good number of flathead and channel catfish have been caught on live suckers, cut bait or chicken liver. A few pike were caught on large sucker minnows, spinners or body baits.  

Rogue River: 
Is producing some steelhead at the Rockford Dam.  

Grand River at Lansing: 
Still has some steelhead. Those fishing live bait have caught catfish and pike. A few walleye were caught at Moore’s Park.  

Maple River: 
Continues to produce catfish and suckers.      

Boat anglers are trolling for walleye and brown trout in 30 to 70 feet around the piers but the fish were scattered. Try fishing the stained water where temperatures are a bit warmer. Orange and gold spoons or spoons with a gold blade were the ticket. Pier anglers are casting or jigging for walleye but catch rates were slow. The fish cleaning station at the state park is closed because of a water main break. There is no reopen date at this time.    

Muskegon Lake: 
The Cottage Grove launch has one ramp that is open for those looking to launch a boat.  

Muskegon River: 
Has elevated water levels but anglers will still find a fair to good number of steelhead.      

Boat anglers trolling for brown trout had little success. A few small brown trout were caught off the pier. Those fishing the channel did manage to catch some walleye when casting plugs. Muddy water has slowed catch rates.

Rogers City: 
The few boats starting to head out have caught a couple trout or salmon. The water is still pretty cold. Most are heading south towards Swan Bay, Adams Point and Calcite Harbor but staying inside 30 feet of water. Look for the mud line because that is where the warmer water is. For Atlantic salmon and brown trout, use planer boards with spoons and body baits. For lake trout, try dodgers and spin glows near the bottom out deep or high-lining in shallow waters.  

Fishing in the bay has picked up with anglers taking a mixed bag of walleye, Chinook, lake trout or the occasional Atlantic salmon. Most are trolling spoons or body baits in less than 30 feet in the early morning or evening. Use bright colors as the water is stained. Hot spots were near the mouth of the Thunder Bay River or in front of the marina. The fish cleaning station is open but the restrooms were not.  

Thunder Bay River: 
Fishing has slowed but anglers may still find a stray walleye or steelhead. Anglers at the dam are catching lots of suckers and the occasional steelhead. It seems the run is just about done.  

Fishing is good inside and outside the harbor for walleye and steelhead.  Morning and evening were best but don’t rule out mid-day. Spoons and body baits were best but fly’s and spawn are worth trying.  

Pier anglers are catching good numbers of walleye and the occasional Atlantic salmon. Crawlers or body baits worked best.  

Au Sable River: 
Steelhead are on the beds and most of the fish seem to be fresh. High Banks, the Boy Scout Camp and below the dam are holding the most fish. Try spawn, fly’s or wax worms.  

Pier anglers are taking Atlantic, Chinook, brown trout and pike outside the wall during the day while night anglers are taking walleye and channel catfish. Minnows and body baits work best. Boat anglers caught good numbers of walleye in 15 to 24 feet between Tawas Point and Alabaster. Chinook salmon were caught in 30 feet. Walleye have been caught off the mouth of the Tawas River when casting body baits at night.   

Au Gres: 
Had excellent walleye fishing between Point Lookout and Point Au Gres. Limit catches were taken in 15 to 25 feet.  

Au Gres River: 
Night anglers are catching channel cats. A few walleye were caught at night near the mouth of Whitney Drain.   

Still no boats were seen on Lake Michigan. Those fishing the channel at night for walleye caught few fish. Water temperature in the channel was 36 degrees. Some are trying to find perch in Lake Charlevoix but no one had any luck.  

Boat anglers are just starting to head out for steelhead and brown trout but no fish were caught. Anglers may want to target lake trout.  

Bear River: 
Continues to flow high and fast. Look for steelhead and suckers at the dam. Fish were hitting on orange and pink spawn bags or fly’s and yarn. The females still had eggs.  

Harbor Springs: 
The boat launch is currently being dredged.  

Traverse City: 
Only a few boats were out on the East Bay. Smallmouth bass were caught in 30 feet but catch rates were slow. Lake trout were caught at various depths. Shore anglers caught a few fish when surfcasting with spawn. On the West Bay, cisco, steelhead and lake trout were caught near the mouth of the Boardman. Boats were trolling shallow water for lake trout.   

Elk River: 
Has a decent number of steelhead. Try spawn or jigs with wax worms.  

Boardman River: 
The spring steelhead run has likely peaked. A few fish were caught on spawn or wigglers near the dam. Pike, walleye, suckers, and smallmouth can also be found.  

Platte Bay: 
Fishing is red hot! Those trolling dark colored spoons about a mile out have caught some big lake trout. Brown trout were caught by those trolling rapalas near the mouth of the river. Black and chrome were hot colors.  

Platte River: 
Anglers have found lots of large steelhead just up from the mouth. Fish are on the gravel. White suckers are also here and sitting on the gravel or in the holes up near El Dorado. Walleye were seen below the M-22 Bridge. The area inside the National Park is a favorite spot for women and small children because of the slow flow, the clear water and few obstructions. Near Honor, a good number of suckers are holding downstream of the bridge tubes. The upper stretch near Haze Road still has some dark males waiting for fresh hens to show up.  

Trolling slow in between the break walls is producing brown trout, walleye and the occasional Chinook. Water temperatures are still cool so browns were hitting on body baits. Black and silver or black and gold were hot colors. Jointed rapalas worked better in the morning.  

Those trolling the shoreline in the morning caught brown trout and walleye on spoons. Try 10 to 12 feet down in 15 to 20 feet of water.  

Portage Lake: 
Bass are hitting on spinners, plugs, wax worms or grubs.  

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: 
Are good for catch and immediate release bass fishing. Walleye anglers are targeting shallow waters at night. Good pike action for those using suckers, crank baits or spinners. Bluegills were still very slow.  

Brown trout action has slowed compared to the last few weeks. Those trolling are still catching a few on spoons or body baits. Orange and chartreuse were good colors. Pier anglers caught a couple fish when casting or floating spawn.   

Manistee River: 
Steelhead fishing remains good although the run should begin to wind down soon.  

Those trolling along the shoreline caught brown trout on orange spoons or black and silver body baits. Pier fishing was slow.  

Pere Marquette River: 
Is still producing some steelhead.
Boat anglers caught brown trout and lake trout when trolling. Hot colors were orange, yellow or chartreuse. Pier fishing was very slow. The water is muddy after all the rain. 

Most of the lakes are open now. Access to most is pretty good but some still have snow on the ground. Water levels are high at this time. Conditions for the walleye opener look to be cold water temperatures and high water levels.    

Keweenaw Bay: 
The ice has drifted north leaving most of the bay open. Boats able to get out and start trolling caught a few salmon. Those fishing off of the Rock Dock next to the L’Anse Marina and at the mouth of Linden Creek had a couple good days catching splake but many were small. Chinook, coho and rainbow were also caught. A couple rainbow trout were caught in the Falls River but the water is still cold. Smelt were found fish in the Ravine River, Silver River, Linden Creek and the Falls River however the action was hit-or-miss.  

Lake Antoine: 
In Dickinson County has just opened up. The docks were not in at the boat launches. Lake Antoine Road is under construction.      

Was almost ice free however easterly winds blew ice back into the area. The Lower Harbor still has ice and beyond the breakwalls is a large amount of ice. Shore anglers fishing the mouth of the Carp River caught a couple small coho or steelhead. There are a number of research projects where lake trout have been tagged in Lake Superior. Anglers are reminded that the return of tag information provides valuable feedback for future fisheries management in the area.  

Little Bay De Noc: 
Water levels are high compared to last year. All the boat launches are open and ready for use. Catch rates for perch were slow. The best area was off the east bank at Kipling in 20 to 30 feet. Perch were taken northwest of Butler Island when using minnows or crawlers in 12 to 20 feet however many were small. The walleye opener should be good. DNR staff collecting eggs reported good numbers of fish. A good place to fish will be between the mouth of the Whitefish River and Gladstone. The southern bay should also produce good catches along the “Black Bottom”, the Lighthouse, and from Breezy Point to the Ford River. Water temperatures were between 40 and 48 degrees.      

Ford River: 
Steelhead were caught up past the Gulf Course.    

Big Bay De Noc: 
The launches are open and ready for boat anglers. Perch anglers reported good catches in Garden Bay. The area where the fish congregate is quite small so angler patience is the key to success. Many are using minnows in six to eight feet off Hermes Fishery. The walleye outlook compares to last year’s opener. Best area to fish should be the head of the bay, up the Fish Dam River and south to Porcupine Point and the “Boot”. Walleye anglers will want to try near the Ogontz River and over by the old campground northwest of the launch in 12 to 14 feet.  

Manistique River: 
Is running high and fast.  

Au Train: 
The Brownstone launch was ice free however easterly winds pushed ice back into the area and the launch site is now solid ice. Ice remains beyond Au Train Island. Catch rates were poor at the mouth of the Rock River.    

Ice in the bay is finally gone! The docks are in at the city launch. The launch at Sand Point has been dredged of sand however it is only suitable for small craft. Pier anglers had fair to good results for a mix of splake, coho, whitefish and the odd steelhead. Several limit catches of splake were reported. Try casting spawn or worms. Water levels are running high in the Anna River.    
Grand Marais: 
The ice is gone and the boat launch can now be used. A majority of ice at the end of the pier has melted. Pier anglers are catching coho, whitefish and a couple steelhead. Shore anglers fishing at the mouth of the Sucker River have caught a fair to good number of coho. Boat anglers heading out caught primarily coho.    

Two Hearted River: 
Water levels were extremely high and the current was fast. Very few steelhead have been caught.  

Tahquamenon River: 
Was producing smelt at the mouth.  

St. Mary’s River: 
The ice is gone at the boat launches and some docks are in. Water temperatures are still cold at 38 to 42 degrees. Those fishing the discharge side of the Electric Power Plant have caught steelhead. Try spawn bags tied above a one or two ounce sinker drifted in the discharge.    

The launch off M-134 across from DNR Field Office and the launch in De Tour Village are open but no docks are in yet.  

Cedarville and Hessel:  
Boats can launch in Hessel Bay, but the dock is not in yet. There is no perch activity; however, splake are hitting off the pier.  

Carp River: 
Anglers are targeting steelhead with spawn or spinners. The river is running very fast and is very dirty. The smelt run appears to be done.  

St. Ignace: 
The ice is finally gone however the docks are not in yet. 


Do you have a great spot to go fishing that you'd like to share? Consider submitting it to the DNR for the Family Friendly Fishing Waters project

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