Weekly Fishing Report
August 14, 2014
Weekly Fishing Tip: Understanding water temps and their impact on fishing
As Michigan’s inland lakes warm up in mid to late summer, knowledge of a water body’s temperature stratification becomes helpful for fishing. Seasonal temperature influences in lakes form different zones, and as a result, different temperature ranges and oxygen levels are associated with these layers. Knowledge of these layers or zones can lead to increased angling success.
The warm surface zone is called the epilimnion and has an abundance of oxygen. The bottom zone is called the hypolimnion and is typically cold and depleted of oxygen. The middle zone is the thermocline and the point at which warm oxygen rich top water is separated from the cold, oxygen depleted water below. The thermocline may prove to be a great depth at which to fish due to the abundance of oxygen and temperature found “in between” very warm and very cold. This ideal zone in most Michigan inland lakes typically will be between 10 to 30 feet, depending on lake size and depth. Just like us humans, fish need oxygen to breath and many don’t particularly like to be too warm or too cold.
If fishing in shallow water bodies, look for shaded areas provided by large floating vegetation, overhanging vegetation, submerged logs, or other woody debris which provides water that is a little cooler and cover, where many fish species prefer to spend their time. Also don’t forget to try fishing at night during the summer “doldrums” when water temperatures reach seasonal highs. Many fish species become active at night with relief from the daytime sun and heat. And lastly, take a kid fishing with you for luck, and to teach them about this wonderful sport!
This tip was written by Suzanne Ebright, Outreach and Education Specialist in Lansing.
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
Much cooler weather has improved fishing for some species but slowed for others. Trout and salmon fishing continue on the Great Lakes while the inland lakes provide walleye, pike, bass and panfish.
Live in Branch County – or like to visit there? Coldwater Lake State Park is interested in the public filling out an online survey that will help them develop long-term future plans there focused on recreational opportunities, including fishing. To take the survey visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ColdwaterLake.
Lake Erie: The walleye bite slowed but a few fish were still caught in 16 to 18 feet between the Fermi Power Plant and Brest Bay when using crawler harnesses and crank baits such as wiggle warts and tail dancers. Hot colors were purple, pink and copper. The better perch fishing was in 24 to 26 feet at Stony Point however a few were caught near the E Buoy on minnow rigs. The bite was best from 9:00 until 1:00 p.m. and again at 4:00 p.m. Try cutting minnows in half if the bite seems to slow.
Huron River: Is producing smallmouth bass. Try live bait, tube baits and spinners. For catfish try crawlers, cut bait or shrimp.
Detroit River: Water levels were up and muddy. Anglers are taking some nice yellow perch but no big numbers. Try the south end of Celeron Island, around Rat Island and Sugar Island with minnows. A few walleye were caught around the south end of Grosse Ile. Bass anglers continue to do well.
Rouge River: Had higher water levels.
Lake St. Clair: Was producing some walleye in US waters near the shipping channel. Use crawler harnesses. Smallmouth bass fishing has been good throughout the lake. Fishing could be tough this week due to all the runoff from heavy rains.
St. Clair River: Walleye fishing was inconsistent. Fish seem to be scattered.
Lexington and Port Sanilac: Had few boat anglers. Pier fishing was slow with anglers only taking warm water species. Some large pike were starting to show up in the Lexington harbor.
Harbor Beach: Walleye were caught straight out and north of the harbor in 80 to 90 feet on crawler harnesses, small spoons or Hot-n-Tot’s. Hot colors were lime green, copper, mixed veggie, black and orange or black and white. Chinook were caught in 80 to 120 feet north or straight out when using spoons off downriggers and also 2, 3, 5 and 10 color lines with offshore boards. Hot colors were bright orange and black, copper, green or black and white. For lake trout head out to waters 80 to 95 feet while using dodgers with spin-glows or spoons 60 to 90 feet down.
Port Austin: Is still producing a few walleye but fishing has slowed. Those targeting lake trout took good numbers in 120 to 135 feet.
Saginaw Bay: Walleye fishing is slowing down but there are still bright spots. Some limit catches were taken in relatively shallow water on both sides of the bay so walleye fishing can still be productive but you may have to change where you fish. On the west side, a few were caught in 10 to 12 feet off Gambil’s Marina, 12 to 14 feet off the Pinconning Bar, near Buoy H and west of the Spark Plug. Along the east side, walleye fishing was good in eight to 12 feet on either side of the Slot and along the Bar. Only a few limits were taken however most boats were bringing in enough fish to make the trip worthwhile. Crawler harnesses and crank baits worked best. Best spinner colors were orange, chartreuse and pink or purple and chrome crank baits. Try north of the Charity Islands, Oak Point and along the reefs between Caseville and Port Austin.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
St. Joseph: Pier anglers have caught steelhead. Most are floating shrimp under a bobber. Fishing should stay decent as long as the water stays cold. Boat anglers caught a few salmon in 80 to 120 feet. Catch rates were spotty but some nice fish were taken. A good number of perch were caught in 30 feet.
South Haven: Salmon fishing was pretty good with fish caught in waters 80 feet and deeper. Dodgers and flies worked best for Chinook. Pier anglers are catching the occasional steelhead when floating shrimp. Perch fishing was good in 25 feet.
Grand Haven: The wind turned the lake over and cold water temperatures returned. Boats trolling off the end of the piers caught steelhead right along with those trolling spoons in the top 30 feet of waters 150 to 170 feet deep. Hot colors were orange and gold. Just a few Chinook were taken 40 to 85 feet down on spinnies and blue or green flies. Perch anglers were targeting waters 35 to 40 feet deep. Pier anglers caught steelhead on shrimp or alewife.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Anglers are still taking the occasional summer steelhead when using flies, spinners, body baits or a jig and wax worm up near the dam. The catfish bite has slowed.
Grand River at Lansing: Is producing some walleye over at Moore’s Park. Try minnows along the wall where the fast water is.
Lake Lansing: Is producing a few bluegills.
Reeds Lake: Is producing some pike and panfish.
Muskegon: Catch rates were slow. Anglers are catching steelhead but fewer Chinook salmon in waters up to 170 feet deep. Steelhead were found in the top 30 feet and were hitting on orange or gold spoons. Those fishing the channel were casting spoons or using shrimp. No perch to report.
Whitehall: Anglers had some luck around the Clay Banks or two to three miles north of the pier in 170 feet when trolling 45 to 55 feet down. Some were heading north quite a ways to catch fish. The action really is around Little Sable Point right now and many were catching coho. Meat rigs worked best.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Rogers City: Anglers are still catching a mix of mostly Atlantic and Chinook, lake trout and steelhead with the occasional walleye or pink salmon. Water temperatures are constantly changing with the currents. Most are fishing anywhere from 40 to 120 feet and spreading lines throughout the water column. Look for baitfish and the thermocline. The active fish seem to be much higher in the water column.
Alpena: Those fishing around Thunder Bay Island and the “Humps” did well for lake trout and the occasional steelhead or salmon. Many were heading to Rockport or Presque Isle for a mixed bag and better results. Look for the cooler water. Some days the fish are deep and other days you will find them higher in the water column. Walleye fishing has slowed with some action around Thunder Bay Island but most are now fishing Rockport.
Thunder Bay River: Had no change and little to report. Most are just hoping to catch a walleye, smallmouth bass or catfish.
Harrisville: Is producing a good variety of fish. Walleye seem to be the most sought after. Anglers did well from the Black River to Greenbush. Early morning before daylight, and late evening were best but a few fish were also caught mid-day. Try stick baits, Hot-n-Tot’s or crawler harnesses in 12 to 30 feet. Salmon were in the harbor and a few were caught by shore anglers using spoons or body baits.
Oscoda: Had a mixed bag of Chinook and Atlantic salmon, lake trout, steelhead and walleye coming in. The fish were coming in closer to shore so start shallow and work your way out. Try 30 to 120 feet with downriggers, planer boards, lead core, copper and long lining. Spoons, body baits and cut bait seem to work well. Pier fishing picked up for walleye and catfish. Anglers have seen silver fish off the pier in the early morning.
Au Sable River: Those fishing upstream caught large and smallmouth bass, pike and walleye. Those fishing at Foote Dam not only had good luck but were also enjoying the recent improvements and more room to fish.
Tawas: Those trolling along the weed beds near Buoys 2, 4 & 6 caught a few walleye. Fair catches of perch were taken by those fishing the deep edge of the weed beds off Jerry’s Marina. Most of the fish were six to eight inches. Pier anglers caught smallmouth, rock bass and a few small perch.
Tawas River: Is producing catfish at night.
Au Gres: Those trolling for walleye continue to do well south of Pointe Au Gres in eight to 12 feet, just west of the shipping channel in 25 to 35 feet and off the mouth of the Pine River and the Rifle River.
Au Gres River: Had slow fishing in the lower river due to dredging.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Harbor Springs: Harbor Point has been good for lake trout and a couple salmon were caught however rumor has it the salmon fishing was better north of the harbor. For lake trout, try spin-glows 75 to 90 feet down.
Petoskey: Surface water temperatures were up near 68 degrees with a thermocline about 50 feet down. Most are catching mainly lake trout but a few Chinook were also caught from Bay Harbor to the pier. Chinook were 50 to 85 feet down in 110 to 120 feet and hitting on spoons, flies and plugs. Hot colors were yellow, white and blue. Lake trout were plentiful 50 to 95 feet down in 110 to 135 feet. Try spin-glows and spoons in yellow or green. Meat rigs were also taking a few fish. Smallmouth bass were hitting on crawlers outside the west breakwall.
Bear River: Was running pretty low with the lack of rain. There was very little fishing pressure at the dam.
Charlevoix: Fishing was hit-or-miss. Some were skunked and some caught only lake trout. Early in the week boats did well near the Cement Plant and later the better fishing was off North Point. The salmon were high in the water column and caught 30 to 60 feet down in 120 to 140 feet but some also caught fish in waters over 200 feet deep. Lake trout were 65 to 90 feet down. Blue spoons, flashers and flies seem to work best. A couple steelhead were caught 20 to 50 feet down. Smallmouth bass fishing in the channel was still good but few keepers were taken.
Traverse City: In the East Bay, anglers are beginning to catch a few Chinook salmon but success was limited. Most were caught on spoons or flies 50 to 60 feet down in 90 to 160 feet of water. Lake trout fishing was good near the bottom in 90 to 115 feet. Smallmouth bass fishing was good in 15 to 35 feet. A few salmon were caught in the West Bay. Try spoons or flies around “The Hole” and northward 50 to 65 feet down at dawn or dusk. Lake trout fishing was good in 100 feet and the smallmouth action was fair along the drop-offs in 20 to 30 feet.
Elk River: Fishing has been relatively slow. Sub-legal smallmouth bass, rock bass, and freshwater drum were caught on live bait. Only a couple steelhead were caught.
Boardman River: Steelhead fishing slowed. Only a few sub-legal smallmouth bass and rock bass were caught on crawlers.
Platte River: Had few anglers. Try fly fishing up near the hatchery for rainbow trout.
Loon Lake: A few walleye were caught by those slow drifting crawler harnesses on the west side. Those trolling stick baits caught pike.
Platte Bay: Those fishing straight out in 60 to 90 feet caught some nice lake trout on bright colored spoons. Big Chinook were found near shore in the West Bay by those using green or blue spoons.
Betsie River: The mature Chinook salmon are starting to change color. Several anglers reported fish going over the Homestead Dam.
Frankfort: The “Herring Hole” was very productive with several nice catches of Chinook and steelhead. Anglers are trolling in 100 to 160 feet and working the top 60 feet with dipsey divers 90 to 120 feet back, 2 and 3 colors of lead and long leads on downriggers with meat rigs. Hot colors were bloody nose, reds and greens. Several Chinook were caught off the pier and the Car Ferry landing on the Elberta side.
Onekama: Those heading straight west from the pier and trolling the top 50 feet of waters 100 to 130 feet have caught good numbers on meat rigs and spoons. Bloody nose and green were hot colors and early morning was best. The “Barrel” is also producing good numbers of lake trout throughout the day. Try spin-glows.
Portage Lake: Walleye were hitting on crawler harnesses along the shoreline in front of Little Eden and the Inn. Panfish and bass were slow. Bass anglers working the drop-offs caught a few largemouths.
Manistee: Catch rates were spotty with most anglers targeting the top 80 feet of waters up to 200 feet deep. In low light conditions, anglers are using glow spoons or plugs. Try meat rigs in red, purple or blue. Salmon fishing was slow for pier anglers.
Ludington: Fishing was tough. Some found trout and salmon in the top 80 feet of waters up to 160 feet deep when trolling spoons and glow plugs or green and blue meat rigs or flies. No salmon off the piers.
Pentwater: Salmon and trout fishing were spotty but some large Chinook were caught in 75 to 100 feet off Little Sable Lighthouse. Some say the fish were stacked up in the area. Others ran into fish when trolling 30 to 50 feet down in 170 to 180 feet. Meat rigs worked best and green was the hot color. Pier anglers caught smallmouth bass, pike and a few perch.
Black River Harbor: Was slow with only a few lake trout caught just outside the harbor. Anglers are trying for salmon in the early morning but had little success.
Ontonagon: Fishing was fair with lake trout caught in 25 to 30 feet outside the breakwalls. Fish were also showing up in 60 to 100 feet. Try dodgers with spin-glows or green and orange spoons. Walleye fishing in the river was very slow.
Keweenaw Bay: The bite was slow for salmon as anglers wonder where this fish are compared to previous years. Those jigging for lake trout had good success in 180 to 260 feet out from Jentoff’s Dock, Whirl-I-Gig, Big Reef and the pine tree on the north side of Pequaming. Good lake trout action in Traverse Bay up to 5 feet off the bottom in 100 to 150 feet along the 5, 6 and 7 Mile Reefs, Big Louie’s, Gay Point and Hermits Cove in 120 to 165 feet. Try spoons in a variety of colors including purple and white. Those jigging also did well in 140 to 260 feet. In the South Portage Entry, anglers found good lake trout action out from the lighthouse, south to the Red Rocks along US-41, the Mud Banks, Farmers, Newton and Big Reefs when trolling 25 to 40 feet down in 30 to 60 feet. Purple spoons worked best.
Lake Antoine: Effort was down over the last week. Those fishing caught bluegills, perch and rock bass but most of the fish were small. Bass anglers casting crank baits caught smallmouth however the majority were too small to keep.
Marquette: Had good lake trout action along the Clay Banks, Granite Island and north along the drop-offs in 200 feet of water. Most are using spoons. Fish were caught towards the Sand River in 150 to 200 feet by those using dipsey divers and lead core. Most of the fish averaged three to four pounds.
Little Bay De Noc: Walleye anglers reported fair catches. Those trolling crawler harnesses and crank baits in seven to 12 feet in the evening caught fish. Others marked fish in the Breezy Point area but water clarity was high and few fish were caught. Good to excellent smallmouth action between the Ford River mouth and Breezy Point and further south to No-See-Um Creek. Try four to 12 feet with crawlers, leeches, crank baits or plastics. Quite a few large fish were caught. Catch rates for perch were down. The better fishing was in 10 to 20 feet between the Day’s River and the Second Reef when using crawlers. A few jumbo perch were taken in seven to 10 feet off Breezy Point. Salmon anglers are heading south of the Ford River Can and fishing 40 to 80 feet down in 80 to 130 feet.
Big Bay De Noc: Smallmouth anglers had fair to good catches from Porcupine Point to Indian Point when casting or trolling crawlers, leeches, crank baits or plastics in four to 12 feet. Ogontz had similar results in three to eight feet and Kate’s Bay had good catches in 10 to 12 feet. Garden Bay had good to excellent perch fishing about 100 yards from the boat launch. Try crawlers in eight to 10 feet. At Fairport, salmon anglers had fair to good catches but the better locations changed daily. Try 40 to 90 feet down in 80 to 150 feet with copper, meat rigs and spoons. Many are now south of Poverty Island. Even though the fish are moving in and out, we are now at the peak of the salmon season so this is the time to get out there.
Au Train: Those targeting lake trout continue to target waters 150 to 220 feet deep north of Au Train Island, Shelter Bay flats and near the Wood Island Reef. Fish were caught on spoons with cut bait near the bottom. No salmon to report.
Munising: Catch rates for lake trout increased but most were putting in their time to earn their catches. The better spots were along Pictured Rocks, Grand Portal, Grump’s Hump and the Big Reef. Reports from the Big Reef indicate bigger fish are being caught and limit catches were the rule. Fish ranged 12 to 17 pounds. Pier fishing was slow especially for splake.
Grand Marais: There were no reports from anglers targeting whitefish. Boat anglers are targeting lake trout north and west of the bay when heading out three to seven miles to the shipping channels. Good catches were reported off the southwest bank near Caribou Island in waters between 70 and 260 feet deep. A few small perch were caught at the marina and near the boat launch but many were throw backs.
St. Mary’s River: Good numbers of Atlantic salmon and whitefish have been caught in Sault St. Marie when drifting fly baits on the discharge side of the Power Plant just off Portage Street. Those fishing two miles east of Lime Island caught whitefish around Butter Field Island and Maple Island when jigging fly baits or wax worms in 40 to 50 feet. Northern pike are good just off weed beds in Lake Nicolet, and Bay Dewausi when trolling spoons in six to eight feet. Morning and evenings were best. Walleye action was good thirty minutes before dark when drifting crawlers off the breakwall just below the Sugar Island Ferry. Shore anglers do best using a three ounce sinker with a 24 inch leader and crawler harness. A few muskie were caught in six to eight feet by those trolling large black bucktail spinners below the rock cut at Tea Pot Island. Moon Island east of Kemps Point is producing a few eight to 10 inch yellow perch. Try worms and shiner minnows in the early morning. Raber Bay is producing a lot of walleye but many were small.
Detour: Boat anglers did well for Chinook, pink salmon and lake trout when trolling from the city launch to the #3 Green Can, around the lighthouse and to the #2 Red Can on the Drummond Island side.
Cedarville and Hessel: Had excellent pike fishing for those using chubs in Hessel Bay, Middle Entrance, and along the north shore of Government Bay. Bass anglers casting in the shallows had excellent catch rates. Perch fishing is good in Hessel Bay in eight feet but hit-or-miss in the Moscoe Channel. Herring can still be found in McKay Bay and Prentice Bay. A few boats had limit catches.
Carp River: Those fishing the mouth caught northern pike.
St. Ignace: Was producing a good number of Chinook and lake trout for those fishing around Mackinac Island.
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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