Weekly Fishing Report: April 9, 2015

Find out where the fish are biting this week!
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Weekly Fishing Report

April 9, 2015



Weekly Fishing Tip: Want to plan a fishing trip? Check out the Family Friendly Fishing Waters website!
In 2013 the DNR launched a section of its website that helps inexperienced anglers find great spots to go fishing in Michigan. The Family Friendly Fishing Waters section of the website connects interested individuals with local fishing opportunities. Family Friendly Fishing Waters bobber graphic

The Family Friendly Fishing Waters website can be found at michigan.gov/fishing and features a map of Michigan. Visitors can simply click on the county they are interested in fishing and see a list of one or more family-friendly locations to fish. Every county in the state has locations featured.

The DNR provided the family-friendly designation based on their ease of access, high likelihood of success in catching fish, identified amenities, and other details. To build this section of the website the DNR is still looking for the public’s help in submitting locations from throughout the state that would be easy for new anglers to access and use. Potential locations will continue to be accepted by the DNR.

Each water body’s online profile includes its geographic location, driving directions, parking information, hours of operation, species of fish available, typical bait used, and much more. 



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

When the ice melts and the winds increase, lakes and ponds go through a period called “turnover” which is the process of water turning over from top to bottom.  When this happens, residents are apt to see some dead fish which is usually the result of “winterkill” caused by a harsh winter with thick ice.  This type of fish kill typically does not affect the overall health of fish populations or the quality of fishing.  For more information on fish kills visit www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10364_52259-119822--,00.html.


Nearly all the ice is gone (at least temporarily) from the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River but there is still a lot of ice left on the eastern shore of Lake Huron and the forecast for this week includes lots of east wind that will probably move that ice into the St. Clair River.

Lake Erie:  No word on walleye fishing in Michigan waters however those trolling and jigging in Ohio waters are catching fish.  

Detroit River:   Was clear of ice flow and more anglers were out as catch rates increased.  Almost all boats are targeting walleye and most anglers reported some measure of success.  Several limit catches were reported but most boats were averaging three to five fish.  The better catches came between Great Lakes Steel and Grassy Island though anglers also had some luck at most of the access sites.  Those perch fishing in Canadian waters near the Cross Dike had good success.  Keepers were seven to 13 inches but many were throwbacks.  Some caught the occasional pike, musky, carp or suckers.  Water temperatures were running about 38 degrees.  The launches are open.  The St. Jean’s launch has three new ramps to improve access.   

Lake St. Clair:  The docks are in at the DNR launches but there’s not much fishing going on yet.  Some good perch catches were reported near Geno’s.  

St. Clair River:  A few salmon and steelhead were caught by shore anglers at Port Huron and Marine City.  Some good walleye jigging reports came from those fishing near the mouth of the Black River.  It is possible that we could have flow ice moving through the system by the weekend. Anglers should call ahead or check webcams along the river to verify current conditions.

Lexington:  Boat anglers out trolling caught a mix of coho, Chinook, lake trout and even a walleye or two.  Most are using body baits off planer boards.  Pier anglers caught a couple trout and salmon when floating large minnows under a bobber.  A nice perch was also caught in the harbor.

Port Sanilac:  Has boats out trolling for trout and salmon.  Fish have been caught on body baits.  Pier anglers floating large minnows caught steelhead and coho.  
Harbor Beach:  Has open water.  A few anglers were casting off the breakwall but not having much luck.  

Saginaw Bay:  Open water fishing is here.  Anglers are looking for perch in the river mouths and cuts however it is still early.  Sucker runs are underway and the fishing was good.  Boat anglers caught walleye three miles off Linwood when trolling crank baits.  Walleye were caught near Spoils Island and between the Saginaw River and the Kawkawlin River.  Some were fishing east toward Finn Road but the Finn Road cut was still full of ice so boats are launching at the mouth of the Saginaw River.  Those vertical jigging or using perch rigs with walleye minnows caught walleye just off the mouth of the Saginaw River.  Over at the Hot Ponds, anglers caught white bass and carp.  A couple fish were caught off Quanicassee.  Perch fishing was still slow in the cuts near Unionville, Fish Point and near the Sebewaing River.  Anglers are “cut-hopping” which is fishing one cut for a short time then driving to the next.  Warm rain this week should get the bite going.    

Saginaw River:  Boat anglers fishing the lower river were getting some perch out of the Bay Aggregate Cut.

Quanicassee River:  Shore anglers targeting perch reported slow fishing.

St. Joseph: 
Pier anglers are catching a few coho and brown trout.  Fishing is spotty, but should improve.  Most are using spawn on the bottom.  Boat anglers haven't been able to get out because of ice.  Most of it is gone now but there are still some large ice flows in the area so boaters should use caution.

St. Joseph River: 
Steelhead movement increased with the recent rain.  Fish are being caught near the dam at Berrien Springs.  

South Haven: 
Pier anglers have caught some decent numbers of trout and salmon when using spawn on the bottom.  For boat anglers, the lake has opened up but some very large ice flows are still in the area so use caution.   

Black River: 
Those fishing up river have been doing very well.   

Kalamazoo River: 
Steelhead action was fair near the Allegan Dam.  Anglers are using spawn, spoons or spinners.   

Grand Haven: 
Pier and shore anglers are doing well for steelhead, brown trout and the occasional coho.  Most are using spawn.  Both the north and south piers still have ice on them and there is still some ice along the shoreline.  Boats have been able to troll around the pier heads but it is limited.  Use caution because if there is ice in the lake it will come into the area around the piers making it difficult for boat and pier anglers.  

Grand River at Grand Rapids: 
Steelhead fishing picked up near the 6th Street Dam and some fresh fish were caught.  Try spawn, spoons, spinners or yarn.     

Grand River at Lansing:
Continues to produce catfish, carp and suckers.  No steelhead yet however some fish might make it up this far by the weekend.  

Has less ice on the pier and along the shoreline.  Pier anglers are catching steelhead and brown trout on spawn.  Boat anglers are trolling the basin and out into Lake Michigan.   

Muskegon Lake: 
The boat launches around the lake are open.

Muskegon River: 
Steelhead are being caught and the fishing should only get better.  There should be some fresh fish moving into the system by the weekend.   

There was no visible sign of ice on Lake Michigan however anglers need to be careful as there may still be some ice further out in the big lake.  Boat anglers were leaving the channel but no word on fishing conditions.  Pier anglers caught steelhead and brown trout when floating spawn.  Suckers were starting to hit.  On White Lake, the ice is gone.

Was producing steelhead for those casting lures, slip bobbers with a wax worm or artificial spawn bags.    

Ocqueoc River: 
The ice has been gone for a couple weeks now but water temperatures were cold and angler activity was low.  Try drifting artificial eggs and beads or floating spawn bags in the deeper holes until it warms up.   

Rogers City: 
Everything is still iced up but anglers are hoping the ice will be completely gone by the weekend.  

Presque Isle and Rockport: 
Were still iced in but could be open by weekend.  Look for Atlantic salmon once everything opens up and boats are able to get out.  

The ice has finally left the river. The city boat launch is still iced up but the river launch is open and the dock is in.   A few boats have been launching but no reports had come in.  

Thunder Bay River: 
There has been very little run off from the winter and water levels were low.  With the cold water temperatures, rain this week should help jump start the steelhead run.  Those steelhead fishing were targeting the deeper holes with flies and beads or spawn.  

The ice in the harbor is gone and there should be one dock in within the next week or so.  Small boats have made their way out of the harbor but the water is cold and the bite was slow so only a limited number of steelhead or walleye were caught.  Try spoons, body baits or spawn.  

The mouth of the river is open to boat and pier anglers.  There is one dock in with ample room to launch.  Pier anglers caught steelhead, walleye and suckers.  

Au Sable River: 
Those fishing up river had success when targeting steelhead.  Fish the deeper holes and around the bends.  Drifting spawn and body baits did best but anglers may also want to try small spoons or spinners.

Houghton Lake: 
Still has some ice however there is no safe ice and there is more open water every day.  The canals are starting to open up.  A few anglers were trying for crappie but water temperatures were still too cold.     

The ice is gone around the State Harbor.  Pier anglers are casting outside the wall for whatever will hit and it was not much.  A couple walleye and a pike were caught just off the mouth of the river.   

Tawas River: 
Anglers caught steelhead and suckers in the lower river.  

Au Gres: 
The bay is open but there was not much activity.    

Au Gres River: 
Is open and there was a fair amount of activity on the East Branch with anglers catching steelhead near the Singing Bridge.  Some were up to 4 pounds.  Steelhead were reported along Turner Road.  

Rifle River: 
Suckers are being caught by hook-and-line between Omer and the mouth.  A couple steelhead were also caught.     

Pine River: 
The boat launch is now open.

Ice fishing in this region of the state is done.  There is still ice however it is not safe. Steelhead fishing in the rivers was slow because of cold temperatures and a lack of warm rain.  A good number of steelhead remain in the big lake and are still being caught by those trolling and pier anglers.  A few brown trout were also caught.      

Lake Michigan shows signs of thawing further out but is still frozen closer to shore.  

Lake Charlevoix: 
Most of the lake is still ice covered and the boat launch is not accessible.  There is open water on Round Lake and the part of Lake Charlevoix where it connects to Round Lake.  

Traverse City:
The ice is breaking up in the East Bay however the majority of the bay was still covered so boats will not be able to access open water.  Fishing was slow in the Elk River as few fish were spotted.  In the West Bay, the area in front of the Boardman River is open but the rest of the bay is pretty much ice covered.  Those targeting steelhead from the pier at the Maritime Academy had limited success.  

Boardman River: 
Fishing was slow but a couple steelhead and brown trout were caught by those drifting a jig and wax worm.    

The ice has cleared from Betsie Bay and boat anglers are making their way out.  They have caught steelhead, brown trout and walleye between the piers and along the shoreline.  Pier anglers caught steelhead and brown trout off the north breakwall when using fresh spawn.  Both piers are still iced over so anglers need to use extreme caution.  

Both piers had minimal ice build-up so caution needs to be used.  Anglers caught steelhead and brown trout on fresh spawn.  Ice flow in Portage Lake leaves boaters no access to Lake Michigan.

Portage Lake: 
Ice coverage was about 30 percent and windy conditions make ice movement very unpredictable.   

Pier anglers are catching steelhead and brown trout when using spawn.  Boat anglers are catching a few brown trout on orange spoons and body baits.  Two docks are in at the First Street launch.

Manistee River: 
Steelhead are being caught below Tippy Dam however the run is behind this year.  Egg take operations at the weir on the Little Manistee won’t start until next Monday at the earliest which is quite late compared to years past.  

Pier anglers are catching the occasional steelhead or brown trout when using spawn.  Boat anglers trolling along the shoreline and around the piers caught steelhead and brown trout.  Try spoons or body baits in orange and chartreuse.  There are two docks in at the Loomis Street launch.  

Anglers are taking steelhead and brown trout from the piers when still-fishing with spawn.  There was no visible ice on Lake Michigan but keep in mind there may still be some ice further out.  Boats were starting to head out when conditions allow.  On Pentwater Lake, the ice is gone.

Menominee River: 
Walleye and trout are being caught between the Hattie Street Dam and Stephenson Island when using jigs tipped with minnows and twister tails or rapalas.  The dam has been partially open for the past week.  Landings at Stephenson Island and the Mystery Ship were open.  Angler pressure at the dam was moderate to heavy.   

Little Bay De Noc: 
Had a few perch anglers ice fishing near Kipling.  Only a few keepers were taken as most of the fish were small.  Anglers were walking out and using minnows or wigglers in 10 to 28 feet.  Some of the rivers are starting to open up.  Both the Rapid River and the Tacoosh River are open and flowing fast.  The Whitefish River is open north of the second bridge.  The Day’s River is partially open between US-2 and the mouth and northwest of the Golf Course.  The Escanaba River is open to the dam but still iced over at the mouth.  The Ford River is open west of Hyde.  The flows are fast but not like last year.  No steelhead reports yet.

Big Bay De Noc: 
Had no reports as it was still covered in ice.  The Ogontz River is open but still had some ice flow.  The Fish Dam Rivers are partially iced over.  Locals who fished here this winter reported perch catches were down from previous years but the whitefish action was very good.  
The Upper Harbor is now ice free.  Anglers can launch boats however the wind may blow ice back into the area.  Anglers will find open water between the “Bubblers” and Picnic Rocks however there are large sheets of ice still floating in the area.  The Lower Harbor is still ice packed.  It could be a good two weeks yet before the area is ice free.  A few boats trolling out near the “Bubblers” had poor results.  Only the occasional Chinook or coho was caught on crank baits or jigs tipped with spawn, crawlers and cut bait.     

Carp River: 
Those casting spoons for trout and salmon down near the mouth had poor results.  Others were using jigs with crawlers or spawn but had no luck.  

Au Train Lake: 
Had no angler activity.  The ice was holding except for a few areas along the shoreline and where the Au Train River flows in and out of the lake.    

There was no fishing activity in Detour and the Drummond Island area.  None of the boat ramps are open and there are no docks in.  There is still a lot of ice however it is no longer safe.   
Cedarville and Hessel: 
Musky Bay had excellent perch fishing.  Limit catches came from Duck Bay and Rice Point in 10 to 12 feet.  Ice fishing here could still be around for a few weeks.

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 (seasonal staff) 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

Revenue from fishing and hunting license sales supports DNR activities to enhance Michigan’s natural resources. These license sales also increase federal revenue to the State of Michigan for the management of these resources. Please help support Michigan’s abundant natural resources by purchasing a fishing and hunting license each year. You can purchase fishing licenses online 24-hours a day!