Weekly Fishing Report
July 17, 2014
Weekly Fishing Tip: A simple method for summer lake fishing
Sometimes we want to go fishing and enjoy getting out on the water, but just don’t want to expend a lot of energy – especially if it’s too hot to work hard at it. Here’s a laidback way to cover water and find fish you might otherwise miss, without needing complicated gear or a fancy boat. All you need is basic fishing tackle and some kind of watercraft. Even a rented rowboat, paddle boat or canoe can work.
Rig your rod with light line (four to eight pound test), tie a small hook on the end of the line (#4 or smaller), and add a split shot or two about a foot above the hook. Favorite baits for this method include half a nightcrawler or a baby crawler, leeches, or even some of the heavily scented artificial leeches or small plastic worms. Hook the bait in the center of one end so it doesn’t spin when you gently pull it through the water.
Position your boat so the prevailing breeze will carry it along a drop-off or across any area with water depths of at least 12 to 20 feet. Let out enough line, or adjust the amount of weight on the line, so your bait will stay about 12 to 20 foot deep no matter how deep the water actually is. Then set your rod down against the side of the boat, relax and watch the tip of the rod for a bite. Drop the rod tip when you see a bite and count to three before reeling in and setting the hook with a firm pull. Not too hard!
Many fish such as bass, walleye, yellow perch, crappie and larger bluegill will move into deeper water and suspend at their preferred cooler temperature during the hot summer months. Slowly drifting a larger, natural bait at these deeper depths will often get you more than you bargained for.
Tip written by: Jeff Braunscheidel, Lake Erie Management Unit Fisheries Biologist at the Waterford Fish Station.
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Southeast Lower Peninsula
Southwest Lower Peninsula
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Weather wise, it has been quite a week. Winds have come from just about every direction. Keep in mind the reports this week could change quickly because of the cool weather, strong north winds and a warm-up by the weekend.
Lake Erie: Is producing walleye in 16 to 18 feet around the Dumping Grounds. Anglers are using spoons, crank baits, wiggle warts, thundersticks or Hot-n-Tots. Purple, pink or red were the hot colors. Good numbers of perch were caught on minnows in 20 to 24 feet near Stony Point.
Detroit River: Is producing walleye in the lower river around Celeron Island and Sugar Island as well as the Trenton Channel. Some nice perch were caught in the weed beds around Sugar Island and Celeron Island.
Portage Chain-of-Lakes: Panfish are being caught at the mouth of the rivers and the drop-offs. Bass anglers are targeting three to 18 feet of water along the weed beds and sand bars. At night try dark spinner baits or top water lures. The public launch hours at Portage are 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Lake St. Clair: Continues to provide good smallmouth action especially off the Mile Roads. Try crawlers, spinners, tube baits and artificial crayfish. Those targeting musky have caught some nice fish. The walleye action was spotty for those trolling crawler harnesses. No word on perch in Michigan waters but those fishing the Ontario side did catch fish. Sturgeon season is now open on both Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River. Anglers will need to obtain a non-transferable Lake Sturgeon Tag available at all license vendors before they go fishing.
Port Sanilac: Anglers caught a few perch ranging seven to 13 inches in 18 to 20 feet along the weed beds. The key is to move around until you find an active school of fish. Pier fishing was slow as it usually is this time of year.
Harbor Beach: With all of the storms and windy conditions, anglers will need to do some searching to find fish. There are still some active bug hatches going on. For salmon, try straight out, north, or south of the harbor about 30 feet down in waters 50 to 200 feet deep with between 2 and 10 color lines with offshore boards. Good colors were orange, copper, green, silver, purple or white with black dots. Lake trout were in 120 to 220 feet and hitting on dodgers or spin doctors with spin-glows or spoons 50 to 100 feet down. Walleye fishing is still on the slow side but a few were taken by those casting from the wall or trolling close to shore with small spoons, body baits or crawler harnesses.
Grindstone City: Had very good walleye fishing between Grindstone and Burnt Cabin Point. Anglers are using Hot-n-Tots or wiggle warts in 24 to 29 feet.
Port Austin: Walleye fishing was good to very good along the reefs to the west and in 20 to 35 feet off the Port Austin Light. Crawler harnesses with pink, anti-freeze, perch or copper blades worked best.
Saginaw Bay: Walleye fishing continues to be very good. When boats can get out, limit catches were reported. There are further indications that the walleye are making the annual summer movement toward deeper water but good numbers of fish are still being caught around the inner bay. Good fishing was reported just north of the Green Spark Plug in 20 to 25 feet, west of the Red Spark Plug in 19 feet, off Pinconning in 17 feet, the Bay City State Park and mouth of the Kawkawlin River in 10 to 12 feet, Callahan Reef in 10 feet but the weeds are starting to become a problem, in the Slot between Quanicassee and North Island in 12 to 16 feet, the Bar off Fish Point in 12 feet and the west side of the Bar in 17 feet and north of Big Charity Island in 25 to 32 feet. Crawler harnesses continue to produce, but hot-n-tots are also working. Gold, purple, anti-freeze, and green were good colors.
Saginaw River: Walleye have been caught in the lower river between the mouth and the Coast Guard Station. Most are trolling crank baits.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
St. Joseph: Salmon fishing slowed but fish were caught in 100 to 120 feet. Pier anglers have caught freshwater drum. Perch fishing picked up in 40 to 50 feet. Most of the fishing pressure was south of the piers.
South Haven: Perch fishing has finally started to improve. The fish are scattered so drift fishing in 30 to 40 feet was the most productive. Salmon fishing was slow but those caught were taken in 120 feet or deeper. Pier fishing was slow.
Grand Haven: Boat anglers were running in the top 90 feet of waters 120 to 150 feet deep. Those using paddles were starting to catch more fish. Try white paddles with blue flies or blue and gold spoons. Pier anglers were trying for steelhead when using shrimp in the cooler water. No perch to report.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Those fishing up near the Sixth Street Dam have caught the occasional Skamania on spinners, small rapalas and flies. Catch rates for pike and largemouth bass were good. Catfishing opportunities were very good for both channel and flatheads. Anglers are using live suckers, bluegill, cut bait, and soft shell crayfish. Check out the backwaters for panfish.
Grand River at Lansing: Water levels were a bit high and the current is fast. Anglers are catching catfish and smallmouth bass however you will have work hard to keep the bait where you want it.
Maple River: Was still under a flood advisory. Boat and shore anglers need to use caution until water levels recede.
Morrison Lake: Had good crappie fishing but anglers will need to move around to find the fish. Most are drifting or slow trolling.
Muskegon: Pier anglers were trying for salmon and steelhead but had no luck. Boat anglers were running baits between the surface and 90 feet down. More fish were caught on white paddles with blue flies or spoons.
Muskegon River: Is producing a few trout for those fly fishing. Smallmouth bass fishing was good for those using crawlers, leeches and crayfish.
Whitehall: Boat anglers reported a thermocline about 65 feet down and most found fish in 160 to 200 feet. Those fishing across from Stoney Lake did well. Everything works so try trolling with dipseys, lures, copper and flies. Lake trout were suspended alongside other species.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Rogers City: Had relatively good fishing when boats can get out. They have caught a mixed bag of Chinook, lake trout, steelhead, Atlantic, pink, coho and even a few walleye in 40 to 90 feet. They are using downriggers, lead core, copper and dipseys up and down the water column. Look for structure and baitfish and don’t always think about running all the way north to Forty Mile Point, a lot of salmon have been close to the marina lately.
Alpena: Catch rates for walleye were mixed as anglers try to find them. Some are heading as far as South Point, Scarecrow Island, Sulphur Island and Grass Island while others are heading to North Point, North Shore and Thunder Bay Island. All are using body baits and crawler harnesses with no color preference. Lake trout action was good off Thunder Bay Island in deeper water when using attractors near the bottom and salmon were hitting on spoons higher in the water column.
Harrisville: Water temperatures were wreaking havoc on fishing and all species were scattered at different depths. Lake trout along with the occasional salmon and steelhead were caught in waters 45 to 120 feet deep. Use downriggers, lead core, copper and planer boards. Most of the fish were hitting on dark colors and the majority had gobies in their stomach. Steelhead were feeding along the scum lines if you can find them. Walleye were in the area in good numbers, from the rock wall around the harbor up to Sturgeon Point and northward in 10 to 40 feet. They are closer to shore late evening and early morning and deeper mid-day. Try body baits and crawler harnesses with long lines and planer boards.
Oscoda: Boat anglers caught lake trout, salmon and steelhead straight out and north of the port. Start shallow in the early morning and work your way out to waters up to 150 feet deep. Fish all depths and use dark colors. Pier anglers are drifting crawlers and leeches with a slip bobber and bottom bouncers for walleye. Those fishing off the end of the pier caught a few fish on small spoons and body baits.
Au Sable River: Has walleye between the mouth and Foote Dam. Boat anglers are drifting crawlers with split shot to adjust for depth. Jigging up the river with crawlers and casting body baits over the holes is working well.
Higgins Lake: Is still producing perch near the islands and some nice rock bass. Pike were caught by those bobber fishing. Try live suckers or chubs. Lake trout were out deep in 100 to 120 feet.
Tawas: Most walleye anglers were heading south and fishing just north of Big Charity Island but some were even fishing off Oak Point and north to Caseville. A change in water temperatures as a result of the windy conditions was causing the fish to relocate. A couple boats trolling in 35 to 55 feet south of Buoy #2 have done well for lake trout and steelhead. Pier anglers are catching a summer mix of smallmouth bass, rock bass, freshwater drum and the occasional walleye in the evening.
Tawas River: Fishing was slow.
Au Gres: Excellent walleye fishing continues in 25 to 30 feet. Most boats are now going south of Pointe Au Gres and fishing the outer reaches of the inner bay or out near the commercial shipping channel.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Harbor Springs: Lake trout were caught 80 to 90 feet down in 90 to 100 feet of water around Harbor Point. Most are using green spoons. Some also reported catching a couple Chinook salmon. Those smallmouth bass fishing have only caught a few sub-legal fish along with some rock bass when using artificial bait.
Petoskey: Angler pressure and catch rates for salmon are low. Rock bass, undersize smallmouth bass and some nice catfish were caught near the mouth of the Bear River. Try crawlers, crank baits of soft plastics. A couple bluegill were caught off the D Pier. No thermocline has developed yet.
Charlevoix: Lake trout are starting to move deeper in the water column and were caught 60 to 90 feet down in 90 to 100 feet. Boat anglers are fishing from the Cement Plant to North Point but most of the fish were caught at North Point. Try spoons, winged glow bobbers, or cut bait. The odd Chinook salmon has started to show up. One was caught 80 feet down on a flasher and squid. A couple cisco were also caught. Smallmouth fishing in the channel picked up but most of the fish were sub-legal. Try crawlers or leeches near the bottom or artificial scented baits. A couple small rainbow trout and freshwater drum were also caught in the channel.
Lake Charlevoix: Currently has a mayfly hatch in progress. Walleye and smallmouth bass fishing was pretty good.
Traverse City: The East Bay is producing a few smallmouth bass in the shallows. Lake trout fishing was good for those running spoons 40 to 75 feet down in 50 to 80 feet. Those fishing in the West Bay reported decent smallmouth action when using brown or green tube baits. Lake trout were taken in 50 to 70 feet.
Elk River: Still has sub-legal smallmouth bass hitting on tube baits, crawlers, leeches or artificial crayfish. A couple freshwater drum were also caught.
Boardman River: Fishing was slow with only a few rock bass, carp and sub-legal smallmouth bass taken on crawlers or leeches.
Platte River: Fishing pressure slowed. Those hitting the upper river near the hatchery caught some nice brown trout and small rainbow trout that were feeding on late afternoon fly hatches. There are lots of carp and redhorse suckers. Smallmouth bass were stacked up from the Mud Lake outlet to the Short Arm Trail and at the mouth where anglers were casting crawlers.
Platte Bay: Some big lake trout were caught on spoons in 80 feet of water.
Frankfort: The early morning bite along the Shelf is producing good catches for those trolling northward. Try the top 80 feet in waters 150 to 350 feet deep with blue, white and purple spoons or blue and white flashers and flies.
Onekama: Is producing a good number of Chinook salmon for those trolling green or blue spoons in 150 to 200 feet. Those fishing the Barrel caught lake trout. The fish were both suspended and off the bottom and hitting on flashers with spin-glows and cowbells.
Portage Lake: Bass anglers have done well in the shallows and along the drop-offs. Both large and smallmouth were hitting throughout the day. Panfish were slow in the shallows so anglers were targeting waters 14 to 18 feet deep where they caught some bluegill and rock bass.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Continue to produce a fair to good number of bass and pike right along with some bluegill, perch and crappie.
Manistee: Trout and salmon were caught 30 to 80 down in 100 to 200 feet. Boat anglers found good numbers of steelhead in the top 50 feet. Bright colored spoons continue to work well.
Manistee River: Still has Skamania near Tippy Dam. Catch rates were fair to good with flies, spinners and rapalas. Anglers will find a good number of brown trout large and small.
Ludington: Boat anglers are finding trout and salmon 40 to 90 feet down in 100 to 200 feet. Good numbers of steelhead and lake trout were caught by those using orange, yellow and pink spoons.
Pentwater: Had a fair number of boats heading to 400 feet and trolling the top 40 feet. They caught Chinook, steelhead and lake trout. Those targeting salmon in 160 to 200 feet had a harder time finding fish but when they did they caught good numbers when trolling about 65 feet down.
Keweenaw Bay: The bite was slow with only a few salmon caught by those trolling in 30 to 60 feet from the Baraga Marina northward to Sand Point and the Old Mission. A few lake trout, brown trout, splake and rainbow trout were also caught. Most were fishing 25 to 45 feet down with spoons in orange or purple. Those jigging for lake trout had fair success in 180 to 260 feet out from Jentoff’s Dock, Whirl-I-Gig and the pine tree on the north side of Pequaming. In Traverse Bay, anglers were still picking up fair catches of lake trout in the bottom five feet of waters 100 to 150 feet deep near 5, 6 and 7 Mile Reefs or in 120 to 165 feet near Big Louie’s, Gay Point and Hermits Cove. Most are using spoons with purple and white the hot colors. Those jigging caught lake trout in 140 to 260 feet.
Lake Antoine: A lot of panfish are being caught but it is becoming a struggle to find the bigger fish. Boat and shore anglers are catching bluegill, sunfish, yellow perch and rock bass when drifting or floating minnows and crawlers. Bass anglers are still catching some nice large and smallmouth when casting crank baits near the lily pads and grassy areas. Those trolling crawler harnesses have also done well.
Marquette: Boat anglers reported slow fishing for lake trout with only a handful of anglers getting two or three fish near the “Sand Hole” east of the Chocolay River, towards the Sand River and Shot Point. Depths vary but try waters between 100 to 200 feet and deeper. Shore anglers at the Carp River caught a couple small rainbow trout.
Little Bay De Noc: Anglers were at the mercy of the winds which have slowed participation in both bays. Walleye catches were down and the better fishing was still in the southern part between Breezy Point and No-See-Um Creek when trolling or drifting crawlers in eight to 14 feet. Jumbo perch action was fair in 10 to 14 feet between the Second and Third Reefs. Fair to good perch catches off Gladstone and over to the West Bank when using crawlers in 14 to 30 feet. Northern pike were active around the mouth of the Day’s River. Many are trolling crawlers or crank baits in 14 to 20 feet. Salmon anglers reported fair catches north of the Ford River Can when trolling spoons or meat rigs 70 to 80 feet down in 100 to 120 feet.
Big Bay De Noc: Had rumors of walleye caught north of the Big Bay Shoals by those trolling crawler harnesses in 15 to 22 feet. Most anglers were after smallmouth bass but catch rates were down. The better fishing was at Ogontz and Kate’s Bay when trolling or casting plastics, crank baits or crawlers in 10 to 17 feet. At Fairport, feast or famine was the theme for salmon anglers. Most reported baitfish in the shallows however most of the salmon were caught deeper at 70 to 80 feet down in 120 to 150 feet.
Au Train: Had very low angler pressure. Those fishing primarily for lake trout had mixed results. A few reported catches of three to five fish for a party of two whereas others were having a tough time catching any fish. Some were caught in less than 100 feet but those in 200 feet or deeper had poor catch rates. The best areas were off the Shelter Bay Flats, north of Au Train Island and the Wood Island Reef. Try spoons tipped with cut bait.
St. Mary’s River: Raber Bay, Swedes Point, and Maud Bay just north of Detour Village were slow for walleye, yellow perch and smallmouth bass because of the cold water temperatures. Aquatic vegetation is still fishable for mid-July. Northern pike are good in four to six feet along the edge of the weeds around Lime Island but no lake herring to report at Lime Island. A large fly hatch was reported on the east side of Lime Island in the Canadian Marsh. Raber Bay needs more fly hatches to draw lake herring from the deep water. Atlantic salmon were caught on the discharge side of the Power House when trolling or casting two and three-inch rubber minnows. Use baits with a black back and a gray to white belly. Small crank baits also caught fish. The South end of Rotary Park was producing a few rainbow trout for those casting flies just off the current on the south end of the park. Little and Big Lake George were slow for walleye and perch as cold water has shut down the bite.
Detour: Lake herring moved in last week and a few boats did manage to take limit catches near Cherry Island, Grape Island, and Howard Island. Red teardrops and wax worms were the ticket. Salmon and trout fishing were good with anglers taking Atlantic and Chinook as well as lake trout from the city launch to the #3 Green Can, around the lighthouse and to the #2 Red Can on the Drummond side. Some boats were continuing another 2 miles south for lake trout. Try red and white, green and silver or purple spoons.
Cedarville and Hessel: Pike fishing remains excellent in Hessel Bay when still-fishing with chubs or casting. Musky Bay and Middle Entrance also had good pike action. Some nice perch were caught along the east end of Hessel Bay and the north end of Snows Channel. Mackinaw Bay and Shepard Bay were good for pike and bass when casting in the shallows. Lake herring are showing up. A few limit catches were taken in McKay Bay and Prentice Bay in eight to 14 feet with small caddis flies, wax worms or red teardrops.
St. Ignace: Catch rates were poor.
The Weekly Fishing Report is intended to give anglers an ”idea” of what is going on around the state. Updates for the report come from our DNR Fisheries Creel Clerks and field staff as well as DNR Conservation Officers working in in the field. General information when available can be found in the first paragraph for each section of the report. For those looking for specific information on a certain body of water or port, it is safe to say if a certain species is being caught in some waters in the area, more than likely they are being caught in all waters in that section of the state that have that species.
While we would love to include all waters and ports of the state that simply is not possible, especially with more than 11,000 inland lakes, the Great Lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams.
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