Weekly Fishing Report
July 26, 2012
Weekly Fishing Tip: Recent Fish Kills Caused by Extreme Heat and Drought
Numerous fish kills have been reported from around the state recently and the DNR’s Fisheries Division staff are tracking and monitoring these events.
The combination of very high water temperatures and drought flow conditions have made conditions very stressful for fish and in many cases, these conditions are beyond lethal temperatures. Additionally, high water temperatures also often result in low oxygen values, particularly where there is a lot of vegetation.
The overall effects of these events on the state’s fisheries are often very localized and may not significantly change overall population numbers. However, effects on population numbers are not known at this time and will take some time to fully evaluate.
There are a few things anglers can do to keep fish healthy while out on the water in these high temperatures:
1. Be extra careful when handling and unhooking fish that are to be immediately released. This will keep stress to a minimum.
2. Do not keep fish that you intend to release in live wells for very long.
3. Avoid fishing during the hottest parts of the day. Fishing in the early morning is least stressful for fish and provides the coolest water temperatures.
If you have information regarding a fish kill, please email DNR-FISH-Report-Fish-Kills@michigan.gov. If you suspect a fish kill is caused by non-natural causes, please call your nearest DNR office or Michigan's Pollution Emergency Alert System at 1-800-292-4706.
Want to read more about fish kills and their causes? Check out this informational article online.
Great Lakes Temperature Map
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Southeast Lower Peninsula
Southwest Lower Peninsula
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Hot weather is altering fish behavior so anglers will also have to change tactics if they want to be successful. Walleye, trout and salmon were found in deeper water in the Great Lakes. Those fishing the inland lakes will want to find the thermocline and fish the deeper cooler waters at dawn and dusk. Those fishing the rivers may have better success after cooler weather returns because game fish are sluggish in this heat.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Bass fishing has been hot and heavy on the inland lakes. Catch rates for panfish were average.
Lake Erie: Fishing seems best when we get three or more days of consistent weather. Walleye action was fairly slow with most anglers heading out between the Banana Dike and Fermi and fishing in 19 to 23 feet of water. Others found walleye out from Detroit Edison in 18 to 24 feet of water. Steady numbers of perch were caught around the E-Buoy and Toledo Beach in 15 to 18 feet of water. Hot colors were pink and purple.
Detroit River: Walleye were caught at night when hand-lining with rapalas in the lower river. Smallmouth bass have been caught by those casting around the rocky points. Try deep diving lures or artificial crawlers.
Lake St. Clair: Walleye and yellow perch were caught by those trolling crawler harnesses and bottom bouncers in the shipping channel from the St. Clair Light to Gull Island. A few bass were also caught. Many had great success for smallmouth bass in deeper water when using a jig or tube baits.
St. Clair River: Walleye activity is hit or miss with the better fishing in the early morning or late evening. Hand-liners working in deep water did best. Activity on the Canadian side seems to be a little better.
Lexington: Is producing trout and salmon in waters up to 160 feet deep. Pier anglers caught walleye off the breakwall when casting crank baits either very early or very late.
Port Sanilac: Trout and salmon anglers are fishing in 80 to 160 feet of water. Between the hot temperatures and strong winds moving the surface water around, the fish are moving out deeper. Perch fishing was spotty; some days were good while others were not.
Harbor Beach: Those trolling were taking a mix of pink salmon, lake trout, steelhead and the occasional coho in 100 to 160 feet of water.
Grindstone City: Walleye fishing slowed but should pick back up as soon as the weather stabilizes. Fish were caught in 20 to 50 feet of water.
Saginaw Bay: Those trolling out of Linwood or the mouth of the Saginaw River were fishing north of Buoys 1 & 2. They are converging with the anglers coming south from Au Gres. Buoy 8 was also producing some fish. Channel cats are coming from the Hot Ponds. Anglers trolling from Quanicassee, Sunset Bay, Sebewaing and Bay Port are forsaking the Slot and crossing over the “Bar” to fish the deeper waters along the east side of the shipping channel. Walleye fishing has slowed but anglers are still taking a few fish per trip. Caseville was slow so anglers are going northeast of the Charity Islands for the best results.
Saginaw River: Shore anglers at Essexville are getting channel cats, freshwater drum and a couple smallmouth bass.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
St. Joseph: Fishing is good in waters 60 to 90 feet or deeper for chinook, coho and steelhead. Perch action was slow with few fish caught north or south of the pier. Move around to find schools of fish.
St. Joseph River: Has low water levels. Boaters traveling up stream from the DNR boat launch in Benton Harbor need to use a lot of caution. Boaters heading out to Lake Michigan should have no issues; just pay attention to the buoys.
South Haven: Has very good trout and salmon fishing in 45 to 90 feet of water. Perch fishing continues to be slow. Anglers are moving around much more to find active schools of fish. Pier fishing for steelhead was slow.
Kalamazoo River: Still has some pike hitting above the Marshall Dam. A couple small walleye were caught below the dam.
Grand Haven: Boat anglers have done well for trout and salmon 50 to 80 feet down in 90 to 100 feet of water. Green spinnies along with green and white flies worked best. Pier fishing was slow.
Grand River at Lansing: Channel cats have been caught below the dams by those using crawlers or leeches. A few smallmouth bass were caught below the North Lansing Dam. Pike fishing has shut down. Lots of carp have been seen however they were not biting.
Maple River: Fishing has become difficult due to low water levels and hazardous navigation. Anglers did catch a few largemouth bass.
Jackson: Inland lakes in the area had decent catches of panfish and bass. One angler managed to get their limit of pike.
Morrison Lake: Is producing some nice crappie but anglers will have to work to find them. Spec minnows and wax worms were the bait of choice.
Jordan Lake: In Barry County is also producing crappie. Try a jig and twister tail or minnows.
Muskegon: Boat anglers are catching fish in 70 to 120 feet of water. Most are fishing in the bottom 40 feet with lead core in ten colors. Orange, blue and silver spoons worked best.
Muskegon River: Trout fishing was good in Newaygo County however many of the rainbow trout were sub-legal.
Whitehall: Was producing good numbers of salmon for those trolling 55 feet down in 150 to 170 feet of water. Steelhead were caught 20 feet down. Blue and orange were good colors. Pier anglers are catching large and smallmouth bass on natural baits or artificial baits that resemble a goby.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Cheboygan: Is producing chinook, lake trout and steelhead for those trolling by Lafayette Point, Raynolds Reef and Cordwood Point. Hot colors were watermelon, light orange, green or gold. Some are fishing for large and smallmouth bass. Those fishing Hammond Bay are trolling 30 to 40 feet down in 100 feet of water off Nine Mile Point. The East Bay near the Biological Station is producing fish 30 to 50 feet down in 100 to 130 feet of water.
Rogers City: Cold water higher in the water column made for good fishing. Anglers caught a mix of chinook, coho and Atlantic salmon, lake trout, steelhead, brown trout and walleye. Good places to fish have been straight out off the Humps, Seagull Point, the State Park, Forty Mile Point, Swan Bay and Adam’s Point. Depths were anywhere from 50 to 130 feet. Some days were better above the thermocline while other days were better below it. Steelhead, pink and Atlantic salmon were caught higher up. Bright spoons like orange and silver, yellow, gold and red or gold and green. Use bright colors on bright days or dark colors on overcast days.
Presque Isle: Also has good fishing straight out from the Can or south towards Stoneport. The structure between the two lighthouses north of the harbor or the Hump along the North Bay also produced fish. Good depths were 50 to 120 feet and fishing just above or below the thermocline.
Rockport: Had few anglers but those getting out caught a mix of trout and salmon. Try spoons, body baits and dodgers. Walleye are starting to show up as well. Crawler harnesses worked best. The better spots to fish were Middle Island, Nordmere Wreck and Stoneport.
Alpena: Lake trout were caught by those trolling spoons out near the “Humps” and Thunder Bay Island. Chinook and pink salmon, brown trout and steelhead were caught out near the “Humps”, Thunder Bay Island and North Point when trolling spoons. Walleye were caught on crawler harnesses in Thunder Bay.
Thunder Bay River: Smallmouth bass and rock bass are being caught from the Ninth Street Dam on down. Leeches and worms worked best.
Harrisville: Boats are getting a mixed bag of salmon and trout. Lake trout are still heading out but start in 100 feet of water and work your way out. Try orange spoons or wobble glows. Salmon were caught in 60 to 120 feet of water. Try green, silver and blue in combination. Steelhead could be found near the scum line in 60 to 120 feet of water.
Oscoda: Lake trout are hitting in 80 to 150 feet of water, just look for the cooler water temperatures. Hot baits were spoons, spin-glows and body baits in a combination of white and silver. Steelhead are in 60 to 90 feet of water, look for the scum lines. Orange, blue and gold work the best.
Au Sable River: Walleye fishing has slowed but channel cats are coming in after dark. Crawlers and minnows worked best. Perch were caught in Mio Pond.
Higgins Lake: Is producing lots of rock bass. Lake trout and whitefish have been caught by those trolling or jigging in 85 to 100 feet of water. A few smallmouth bass have been caught on crawlers, leeches, rubber worms or spinners.
Houghton Lake: Was producing some nice bluegills.
Tawas: Those trolling have caught walleye in 35 feet of water out near Buoy #2. Others are northeast of Big Charity Island or fishing in 60 feet of water off Alabaster.
Au Gres: Walleye success was still good for those heading out to the Charity Islands or south to the inner bay and fishing just north off the end of the shipping channel. Look for 25 to 35 feet of water and drag crawler harnesses slowly along the bottom.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Inland trout fishing is tough due to very low water levels and warm temperatures. Bait anglers will do well if they visit trout streams during or just after a rainstorm. Bass and panfish fishing has been very good on most inland lakes.
Harbor Springs: Salmon fishing was a bit better on the Harbor Springs side with fish caught around Winward and Five Mile Creek in 140 to 160 feet of water. Try 45 to 115 feet down with green and white spoons and blue flies. A good number of lake trout were caught 120 feet down between the point and mid bay.
Petoskey: Anglers are catching lake trout on the Petoskey side of the bay. Success has come around Bay Harbor and straight out from the pier at 120 feet down. Salmon action was slow.
Bear River: No fish have been caught at the dam in quite a while. The water is very warm and the levels are down. A handful of anglers are looking for the first salmon but no fish have been caught yet.
Charlevoix: Salmon fishing has improved with up to four fish taken per trip. Many were congregating around North Point however fish were also caught between Big Rock and the Cement Plant. Try 90 to 100 feet down in 100 to 300 feet of water. Those using dipsey’s with flies were trolling 60 feet down in 100 to 120 feet. Try orange spoons and blue flies. Bigger smallmouth bass were caught off the pier when using leeches. Walleye were caught on crawlers between 4pm and sunset.
Traverse City: Lake trout fishing has been steady in both bays. Try jigging or trolling spoons and cowbells in 120 feet of water. A few salmon were caught but the majority of fish caught were lake trout. Smallmouth bass were caught in waters 20 to 30 feet deep.
Elk River: Is producing smallmouth bass but many are small. Try live bait such as leeches or crawlers.
Boardman River: Had slow fishing and most of the fish caught were smallmouth bass or rock bass. A few managed to catch the occasional pike or resident trout.
Green Lake: In Grand Traverse County is producing some nice rock bass and bluegills.
Duck Lake: Also in Grand Traverse County is producing rock bass and bluegill.
Manistee Lake: In Kalkaska County was producing some nice walleye.
Platte River: Is the worst it has been in years. The sand bar at the mouth is 200 yards long and very shallow which is making access to Lake Michigan very difficult.
Frankfort: Had very good fishing for chinook salmon. Most of the fish averaged 13 to 16 pounds but a few went as high as 18 to 20 pounds. Early morning was best. Try the Herring Hole or trolling straight out to 110 to 150 feet then head north while fishing 30 to 80 feet down. Red meat rigs, Mongolian Beef and Green Jeans worked best. Several nice steelhead were also caught just after daylight. A couple coho were caught in Platte Bay however not enough fish yet for anglers to target.
Onekama: Anglers are taking advantage of the great fishing. They are trolling west to 120 to 180 feet of water and fishing 60 to 80 feet down while heading towards the Gulf Course. Early morning was best and green was the hot color.
Portage Lake: Has very good bass fishing. Anglers are fishing the drop right in front of the launch ramp or the middle of the lake and catching largemouth. Panfish action was also good however the keeper size gills were caught in 16 to 18 feet of water.
Lake Cadillac: Is producing some nice crappie along the east side of the lake in the early morning. Bass fishing has been good. Anglers are casting artificial baits or floating crawlers and leeches under a bobber. The better fishing can be found along the weed beds or areas with structure.
Lake Mitchell: Is also producing some good largemouth bass fishing.
Manistee: Salmon have been caught 50 to 120 feet down in 100 to 200 feet of water. Meat rigs and flies in blue and green worked best. For early morning, try glow plugs. Steelhead hit on orange spoons in the top 60 feet of waters 400 feet deep.
Ludington: Those trolling have caught a good number of salmon 50 to 120 feet down in 80 to 160 feet of water with green or blue spoons and green meat rigs.
Pentwater: Has good trout and salmon fishing. The hot spots were near Silver Lake and Stoney Lake. Coho were 30 to 40 feet down in 170 feet of water. Chinook and steelhead were caught in the top 30 feet of waters 50 to 75 feet deep. Black, purple, and green were hot colors for salmon and orange for steelhead. Pier anglers caught smallmouth bass on natural baits or anything that resembles a goby.
Black River Harbor: The few boats going out have caught a mix coho, steelhead and some nice lake trout. Fish 50 to 220 feet of water and stagger your lines. Use both magnum and regular spoons.
Ontonagon: Had good fishing with chinook, coho and lake trout caught in 75 to 110 feet of water. Try orange and green spoons or spin-glows.
Ontonagon River: Anglers are catching walleye and bass however they were throwing back more than they were keeping.
Keweenaw Bay: The bite has slowed as surface water temperatures were near 75 degrees. Few salmon and perch have been caught. Lake trout were caught by those jigging in 240 to 280 feet of water but those anglers were working hard. The South Portage Entry was producing a few lake trout near Farmers Reef in 130 to 150 feet of water. Catch rates for lake trout were fair in Traverse Bay along the reefs including Big Reef. A couple coho were also caught. Anglers were trolling on the bottom in 140 to 150 feet of water. Best trolling speed was between 2.2 and 2.4 mph.
Marquette: Had lots of anglers getting one or two lake trout per hour. Best areas to fish were east of the White Rocks, Little Presque Isle, and towards Granite Island. Anglers are using a variety of colors with flies and spoons. Depths vary from 180 to 200 feet or as little as 100 feet or less with highlines. Fish were caught by those trolling or jigging near the “Sand Hole” in 120 to 150 feet of water. Stannard Rock remains consistent with most fish averaging five to 15 pounds. Try jigging with suckers. Water temperatures are still in he low 70’s. No salmon or steelhead to report.
Menominee: Is producing chinook, steelhead and brown trout in 100 feet of water near Green Island. Surface water temperatures were in the mid 70’s. Walleye were caught by those trolling crawler harnesses in 12 to 15 feet of water. Those fishing off the Cedar River caught mostly chinook salmon out near the Whalesback.
Menominee River: Continues to produce smallmouth bass, channel cats, freshwater drum, pike and walleye for those trolling crawler harnesses or different colored rapalas. Shore anglers are targeting walleye and smallmouth in the late evening.
Cedar River: Had no changes, still producing sub-legal smallmouth bass along with some rock bass and freshwater drum.
Little Bay De Noc: The better walleye fishing was near the Escanaba River when trolling or drifting crawlers in 14 to 30 feet of water from the southern end of the “Black Bottom” , the East Bank and over to the coal docks. Several limits were reported. A few anglers were fishing crawler harnesses in 20 to 35 feet of water down near the “Fingers” and the Minneapolis Shoals. Fair perch fishing northeast of Butler Island when drifting crawlers in 16 to 32 feet of water. Salmon anglers were following the baitfish. Some were shallow 32 feet down in 50 feet of water while others were 65 to 90 feet down in 110 to 140 feet of water.
Big Bay De Noc: Rumor has it a few walleye were caught between the “Boot” and the shoals area. Smallmouth bass fishing was fair as the fish were seeking deeper water due to heat. Try fishing 20 to 30 feet of water in Kate’s Bay and Garden Bluff. Panfish anglers caught rock bass and perch in 10 to 12 feet of water in Garden Bay. Fairport had good to excellent catches 50 to 90 feet down in waters 80 to 110 feet deep or 65 to 96 feet down in 110 to 140 feet of water. The size of the fish caught is down from last year however the number of fish caught is definitely up. Hot colors were black, green, red, anything that glows or anything with a big eye.
Au Train: Lake trout fishing was fair as anglers averaged two to five fish in a five hour trip. Try the shipping lanes and the flats of Shelter Bay. The fish averaged three to four pounds and a few were close to 10 pounds. Those jigging east of Au Train Island had poor results. No salmon to report this week. An algae bloom was still present as water temperatures were still in the low 70’s.
Munising: Boat anglers were targeting lake trout almost exclusively. Early morning is best on the west side of Grand Island, Grand Portal Point, Trout Bay, Wood Island and Trout Reef. Boat anglers caught a mix of chinook and splake around Grand Island. Pier fishing for splake was poor and perch fishing was fair with a lot of throw backs. Surface water temperatures were in the low 70’s.
Grand Marais: Boat anglers targeting lake trout had fair to good success. Trips were yielding five to 15 fish averaging two to four pounds. Try 120 to 250 feet of water five to seven miles north of the bay or between the Au Sable Point Lighthouse and Grand Marais. Some caught salmon when trolling east or west of the bay in 50 to 60 feet of water. Chinook were averaging eight pounds while the coho averaged three pounds. Reports from Big Reef indicate the presence of some nice fish being caught. Shore anglers caught a few small pike when casting in the weeds. Pier fishing was slow.
St. Mary’s River: Good numbers of walleye are hitting near Raber Bay Point and Carlton Creek. Anglers do best trolling crawling harnesses and bottom bouncers in 8 to 12 feet of water in the early morning until 10 am. Muskie have been caught off Kemps Point in Munuscong Bay. They are doing catch and release in the West Bay when trolling large crank baits in eight to 12 feet of water near the weed beds. Anglers are reminded to be careful of rocks and sandbars while boating.
DeTour: Is producing excellent numbers of Atlantic salmon and lake trout when trolling 90 feet of water between lighthouse and first red buoy on the south end of Drummond Island. Fish are hitting 45 feet down on small orange and gold spoons.
Cedarville and Hessel: Perch are slow throughout Cedarville and Hessel. The channels are simply too warm. Smallmouth bass are being picked up in Musky Bay, Middle Entrance and off the end of the Hessel Marina Pier when using minnows. A few anglers are still-fishing for pike with chubs in 10 to 15 feet of water.
St. Ignace: Salmon fishing is fair with late evening producing the best. Temperatures have been too hot for a good daytime fishery. Salmon and lake trout are hitting 45 feet down in 80 feet of water.
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Enjoy your catch! Eat safe fish! Learn about eating safe, local and healthful fish from our Great Lakes State at www.michigan.gov/eatsafefish.