Weekly Fishing Report: September 18, 2014

Michigan DNR  
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Weekly Fishing Report

September 18, 2014



Weekly Fishing Tip: Finding monster muskie in the fallAngler holding a muskellunge
Known as “the fish of a thousand casts,” the muskellunge can be a tough species to target. Have you always wanted to catch a big one? Check out this simple tip to try the next time you head out.

Consider when you’re out on the water focusing your efforts on the corners or inside turns of the lake(s) you’re fishing. These spots consist of bends in the bottom that cause a slight point to form. Muskies will often hide out in these spots, especially if it puts them close to deeper water, excellent cover, and access to food.

Want even more information on fishing for muskellunge? Check out their page on the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

This tip was adapted from Michigan Outdoor News.



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

Cooler temperatures did move salmon in closer to shore and into some of the major river systems especially on the west side of the state.  Another warm up and thunderstorms by the weekend will most likely slow catch rates.  Anglers are reminded that the season to take snapping turtles and softshell turtles closed on September 15. 

In the Escanaba area? The Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship kicks off today! Tons of events are happening in the area for this event - check out the full schedule online!


Lake Erie:  Surface water temperatures dropped to the 60’s which contributes to a more consistent perch bite.  Some nice fish were caught straight out from Fermi and just south of Stony Point in 26 feet.  Perch are starting to move into shallower waters and can be found about a mile and a half straight out from Toledo Beach as well as the E-Buoy.  Both large and smallmouth bass were moving in and were caught near Bolles Harbor and the Dumping Grounds.  Many are still waiting for the walleye to return to Michigan waters in good numbers.    

Detroit River:  Most anglers are targeting yellow perch.  The south end of Grosse Ile has been a hot spot with seven and eight-inch fish taken.  

Washtenaw County:  Fishing was slow.  A few panfish were taken on Ford Lake and Belleville Lake.  

Portage Chain-of-Lakes:  Bluegill fishing improves each week. A few limit catches of seven to nine-inch fish were taken in Strawberry Lake and good catches were reported in Little Portage Lake.  Anglers are fishing both deep and shallow as the bigger panfish seem to be suspended about 10 feet down in 20 feet.  Bass fishing has also improved in the canals and near the river mouths.  

Lake St. Clair:  Perch fishing remains spotty.  Schools of fish seem to be scattered and on the move.  Weed beds that produce a good catch one day seem to be vacant the next.  Some good reports came from the Grosse Point Yacht Club and the shipping channel. Smallmouth bass fishing remains very good across the lake. Water temperatures are cooling down, so look for bigger fish to start moving into shallower waters.

St. Clair River:  Walleye fishing remains slow for most of the river, but excellent reports continue to come in from Port Huron.  Water temperature was 64 degrees at Algonac.  Sturgeon fishing will continue to improve as temperatures drop.  The harvest season ends on September 30 but the catch-and-immediate-release season extends through November 30.  

Lexington & Port Sanilac:  There was more fishing activity off Port Sanilac.  Those trolling caught steelhead and lake trout 50 to 60 feet down in 60 to 90 feet.  Pike, catfish and a few white bass were caught inside the harbor at Lexington.  

Harbor Beach:  Salmon and steelhead were caught north of the harbor in 70 to 100 feet.  Try spoons off downriggers and also 2, 3, 5 and 10 color lines and offshore boards.  Bright orange and black, silver and blue, black and white or green were good colors.  It’s time to start putting out a few J-plugs for fall salmon.  The fish are scattered so keep trolling until you find them.  Lake trout were taken north and straight out of the harbor 90 to 120 feet down.  Try dodgers with spin glows or clean spoons.  For walleye, try crawler harnesses, small spoons or Hot-n-Tots in 70 to 100 feet.  Hot colors were lime green, copper, mixed veggie, black and white, black and orange or glow.  Shore anglers are casting off the north wall.  

Port Austin:  Had little activity.  Pier anglers were taking a few walleye at night.  Boat anglers were still getting some lake trout in 135 feet north of the Port Austin Reef.  

Saginaw Bay:  Not much was happening on the west side.  Perch anglers going out of the Saginaw River mouth reported slow fishing.  On the east side, perch anglers out of Quanicassee caught a few in eight to 10 feet off the weed beds, in the Slot and in 16 feet off Sunset Bay Marina.  Catch rates were still hit-or-miss.  Anglers had trouble finding an active school of fish so it pays to move around.  Fair walleye catches from the deep side of the Bar, the west side of the Slot off the islands and in 20 feet off Caseville.  They are using mainly Hot-n-Tots in gold, orange and purple. 

St. Joseph: 
Pier fishing was slow.   A few salmon were caught when casting spoons or spinners but overall the action was slow.  Boat anglers caught salmon and lake trout in 80 to 100 feet.  Perch fishing was slow.   

St. Joseph River: 
Cooler weather and cold water near the piers pushed salmon and steelhead into the river system.  The occasional salmon was caught in the lower river.  

South Haven: 
Had good pier fishing for Chinook and the occasional steelhead.  Boat anglers had good success trolling spoons in waters up to 50 feet deep.  Perch fishing was slow.   

Kalamazoo River: 
Salmon and steelhead were caught near Calkins Dam.

Grand Haven: 
The salmon are scattered because of water temperatures.  Boat anglers had better luck out deeper between 90 and 200 feet deep.  The only consistency seems to be most fish were caught 30 to 45 feet down on spoons, flies or meat rigs.  Try green spoons and flies with white or UV spinnies and meat rigs.  Pier fishing was slow.      

Grand River at Grand Rapids: 
Is producing some Chinook, coho, brown trout and even a few lake trout.  Anglers are using spawn bags, Cleo’s, fire-tiger thundersticks and spinners.  Walleye have also been caught.  Those fishing near the Fulton Street Bridge are back bouncing spawn or using Hot-n-Tots.

Grand River near Lansing: 
Anglers have caught suckers.  No word yet on salmon this far up.  A few pike were caught in the early morning near Jackson.  

Maple River: 
Is producing some bass.    

The fish are scattered.  A few Chinook and coho were caught when trolling around the piers with green, yellow or chrome J-plugs.  Those fishing deeper did better.  Try waters up to 200 feet deep with green spoons and flies or UV spinnies and meat rigs. Pier fishing was slow.   

Muskegon Lake: 
Anglers are trolling and jigging but catch rates were slow.  

Muskegon River: 
Has salmon but no big numbers yet.  Those fly fishing caught trout.  There is currently an ongoing blue winged olive and caddis hatch.

Rogers City: 
A few more salmon are beginning to show up around Swan Bay but they are coming in slow.  Anglers are trolling shallow in eight to 20 feet and high-lining with bombers and spoons.  Those fishing out deeper caught a mix of young salmon, steelhead, lake trout, a few pink salmon and the occasional walleye.  The key is to find baitfish.  Best depths were 40 to 120 feet while fishing up and down the entire water column between Calcite Harbor and Adams Point, straight out of the marina or west towards the State Park and Forty Mile Point.  

Walleye were caught straight out from the marina in 30 to 35 feet and towards Sulphur Island.  North Shore and North Point were also producing fish.  Most are using crank baits.  Lake trout can still be caught along the “Humps”.  Look for young salmon and steelhead up high when fishing for lake trout.  

Thunder Bay River: 
The salmon run hasn't really started yet.  Some fish were jumping but few were caught.  Atlantic salmon should start showing up soon.  

Dredging is still going on in the harbor.  Anglers should have no problem launching boats and fishing from shore.  Water temperatures have been up and down and even though fish are being marked they are not taking the bait.  
Stick with it as salmon, steelhead, lake trout and walleye will be moving into shallow waters soon.  Try early morning or evening with lead core, long lines and downriggers with spoons, body baits or live bait in shallow waters.  

Salmon are slowly starting to come in and around the mouth of the river. Steelhead were caught in 20 to 40 feet.  Lake trout are moving in closer to shore.  They are hitting on spoons and body baits in 30 to 80 feet.  Hot colors were orange, black and silver or blue and silver.  Walleye were caught off the pier.  

Au Sable River: 
No reports yet of salmon in the river but walleye were caught on crawlers and body baits.

Lake Margrethe: 
Had a few eight to 10 inch perch but catch rates were spotty.    

Higgins Lake: 
Is producing good catches of rock bass.  Perch were caught in 25 to 30 feet.  
Houghton Lake: 
Was giving up some walleye and panfish.    
Tawas River: 
A few anglers were casting for salmon and trout. None were caught however a few walleye were taken in the lower river.  

Au Gres: 
Perch anglers caught a few fish in 15 to 25 feet off Pointe Au Gres.  They caught some big perch up to 14 inches.  Walleye anglers caught fish straight out from the mouth of the river and off Point Au Gres in 25 to 35 feet.  Most are using crawler harnesses.  

Au Gres River: 
At the Singing Bridge, anglers caught a couple steelhead when casting or still-fishing with spawn bags. 

Harbor Springs: 
Most are still fishing the Petoskey side of the bay.  The few boats that were out were focusing inside of the Bay, in front of Wequetonsing.

The water now has a temperature break around 75 feet down.  Salmon were caught 90 feet down and lake trout were caught 130 to 150 feet down.  Try spoons and spin glows for lake trout or spoons for salmon.  A few boats casting crank baits inside the breakwall caught a couple fish including a smallmouth bass that was 80 feet down.  A few salmon were caught spoons and crank baits off the breakwall and the city dock.  Those surfcasting near the river caught a few fish.   

Bear River: 
Had a good run of fish with the high winds and rain but has since slowed.  Anglers caught mainly Chinook followed by steelhead below the dam.  Most were using flies and spawn.  

Salmon were caught on spoons 60 to 80 feet down around North Point but more boats were fishing shallower near the Cement Plant while casting glow lures.  Those trolling did well in 20 to 30 feet and out deeper near the Can.  Spoons, plugs and crank baits caught fish.  Pier anglers had limited success after dark and before sunrise at the end of the pier.  Those wading were using spoons and crank baits.  Anglers trolling for salmon have done well where Round Lake and Lake Charlevoix meet, especially near the Coast Guard boat.  Angling pressure for smallmouth bass was down but some fish are still being caught on worms and leeches.  A few salmon were caught in the Boyne River.  

Traverse City: 
The East Bay has good lake trout fishing in 80 to 110 feet.  Some are suspended and some are near the bottom.  Salmon fishing was slow.  Smallmouth bass were taken in 15 to 50 feet.  In the West Bay, fish are being marked in “the hole” and are staging to go up river but the bite was slow.  Lake trout fishing was good in 80 to 120 feet to the north and smallmouth fishing was good near the drop-offs.   

Elk River: 
A few Chinook can be found below the power dam, but fishing was slow.  

Boardman River: 
Is producing a few salmon for those drifting skein under a bobber.  Both coho and Chinook were caught, but the fishing is still pretty slow.

Platte Bay: 
Had a new batch of coho showing up in the surf.  Anglers were casting green and white squid. Anglers in the East Bay were not having the same luck as anglers in the West Bay.  When the big lake was too rough, boat anglers caught fish in both Platte Lake and Loon Lake when trolling spoons or wiggle warts.   

Platte River: 
Fishing was slow even though there are salmon in the river.  Chinook and coho were backed up by the lower weir.  Those using stream flies and rubber eggs have caught a few fish.  

No big numbers yet but Chinook salmon were caught in the harbor, around the piers and out in 130 to 450 feet.  Hot lures were green and white J-plugs and body baits.  Coho are hitting in the same areas and were caught off the pier in the early morning.  The run is not over as anglers are still catching silver kings in the big lake.   

Pier anglers have caught coho in the early morning.  Boat anglers also caught fish in 75 to 120 feet.  Orange Cleo’s worked best.  

Lakes Cadillac & Mitchell: 
Are producing bass, bluegill, crappie, and pike.  

Lake Missaukee: 
Anglers are catching panfish and smallmouth bass.  

Boats trolling around the harbor reported slow catch rates.  A few trout and salmon were found in the top 80 feet of waters 100 to 200 feet deep and were hitting on bright colored spoons or green flies.  Pier anglers casting spoons also caught a few salmon.  

Manistee River: 
Salmon runs are ongoing but not on fire by any means.  Very few fish were reported at Tippy Dam.  Pier fishing has also been hit or miss.  A few kings are being caught, but it has not been on fire by any stretch.

Fishing has been difficult because of the wind.  Anglers caught salmon in the harbor when trolling chrome or glow plugs.  Steelhead and salmon were caught in the top 60 feet of waters 150 to 300 feet deep on orange or green spoons.  Those surfcasting at the State Park reported slow catch rates.   

Pere Marquette: 
Salmon are being caught but not in large numbers yet.  Those fly fishing have caught brown trout. 

The last storm pushed mud from the river all the way out to 140 feet of water and there was a lot of debris in the harbor.  The river still had a fast current.  

Keweenaw Bay: 
The few anglers able to get out picked up a few lake trout from the South Portage Entry and a couple lake trout, splake and salmon in Keweenaw Bay.  A few pink salmon and brown trout were spotted in the Fall’s River.  

Lake Antoine: 
Was still producing a good number of perch, rock bass and bluegills but the fish were smaller.  Anglers are drifting crawlers.  A fair to good number of smallmouth bass were caught by those casting crank baits in the weeds.  

Those able to get out had poor results for salmon and lake trout. Surface water temperatures near shore were in the 50’s.  One boater found a warm pocket of water about 20 feet down.  Boat anglers need to watch for floating logs and debris when heading out.  

Dead River: 
Had low angler pressure and no luck.  The gates were open with all the rain but are now closed.  No pink salmon were observed and they normally come in before the Chinook and coho.  

Carp River: 
Had a few shore anglers but no luck.  Water levels are bank high with poor clarity.  There will be ongoing construction on a city sewer project at the parking lot near the mouth for the next two months.  Anglers will need to watch for construction equipment when using the parking lot.  

Chocolay River: 
Angler pressure increased this past week.  Water levels were bank high with a strong current.  Boat and shore anglers fishing the mouth did catch a few brown trout but were frustrated because no coho were caught.  Most are using crawlers or casting small spinners.  With the higher water levels, boat anglers had a much easier time launching at the Chocolay Township Marina.  

Little Bay De Noc: 
Walleye anglers had fair catches along the Second Reef, Third Reef and the Center Reed with crawler harnesses in 14 to 26 feet.  Northern pike were caught throughout the Bay but Kipling was the hot spot.
Try 8 to 14 feet with crawlers, crank baits, spinners or spoons.  Catch rates for perch were slow with only a few fish taken in eight to 10 feet near Garth Point or in 10 to 17 feet just west of the Center Reef with minnows and crawlers.  Salmon are showing signs of staging at the rivers mouths but no significant numbers as of yet.

Big Bay De Noc: 
Had no walleye reports but a few perch were caught in 18 to 23 feet off Ansell’s Point with minnows or crawlers.  Smallmouth bass anglers are starting to concentrate on fall fishing.  Most are targeting 15 to 25 feet along the drop-off near Garden Bluff with minnows, crawlers or plastics.  Large rock bass were caught by those drifting crawlers in six to 12 feet in Garden Bay.  

Au Train: 
Gusty winds and several inches of rain hampered fishing efforts.  Waves averaged 10 to 20 feet.  Lake trout were suspended in 80 to 160 feet.  Debris and water fleas were clogging lines and reels.  A few small lake trout were taken on spoons out near Big Reef were surface temperatures were 48 degrees.  The fish were still deep in 170 to 180 feet.  Water levels were very high at the Rock River.  A few shore anglers were out but had no luck.  A strong current below the spillway is making fishing difficult.  Boat anglers need to watch for floating logs and other debris.  

Had an increase in fishing effort.  Severe storms destroyed the Anna River fishing pier so anglers may want to consider shore fishing or bringing a small boat.  Catch rates were slow.  More anglers are trolling for coho within the bay or heading out to Trout Bay.  Lake trout fishing was poor after the storms.  Surface water temperatures dropped to the mid 50’s.  Pier and shore anglers caught a fair number of splake but no coho.         

Grand Marais: 
Lake trout anglers are fishing to the north and out to the shipping channel and 200 feet of water.  Some are targeting coho but none were caught.  A couple shore anglers caught the occasional coho.

St. Mary’s River: 
Atlantic and pink salmon are still being caught at the Glover Land Electric Power Plant on Portage Street.  Atlantics can be caught on the discharge side using three to four-inch crank baits drifted or trolled four to six feet below the surface.  Best colors are black backs with a grey or chrome belly.  On Lake George, catch rates for walleye were very good off Hay Point.  Anglers have switched from bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses to perch colored crank baits.  Most are trolling just off the weeds in eight to 12 feet.  Gem Island is producing some nice northern pike in the 26 to 30 inch range.  Try chrome spoons with a red eye or black and yellow bucktail spinners in six to 12 feet.  Yellow perch fishing was fair to good across from the Neebish Island Ferry Dock in 12 feet with worms and minnows.  Target the weed beds near the shipping channel.  Musky have started to bite around Tea Pot Island which is upstream and across from Conley’s Point.  Try black and grey rubber bodied shad baits or black and white spotted bucktail spinners.  Off Drummond, yellow perch were caught in 12 to 15 feet near Howard Island which is northeast of Yacht Haven Marina.  Perch were also found along the south end of Grape Island and the west end of Maxton Bay.  The better bite was early afternoon.  

Is producing pink salmon, lake trout and Chinook salmon.  Walleye were harvested in Maud Bay, Raber Bay and Dix Point off Drummond Island.  Combinations of green were popular colors.  A few Chinook salmon were reported by those trolling J-plugs out from the old coal dock about 3 miles from Detour Village.  
Cedarville and Hessel: 
The Moscoe Channel, Middle Entrance and Musky Bay were fair for perch but excellent pike fishing continues in Hessel Bay, Middle Entrance, Musky Bay and Government Bay when still-fishing with chubs.  

Carp River: 
Anglers are trying several locations but Chinook were hard to catch. Some pink salmon were harvested on fresh spawn bags, or multi colored lures.  

St. Ignace: 
Catch rates slowed but pier anglers have caught some yellow perch.  

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. 


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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