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Weekly Fishing Report
May 2, 2013
Weekly Fishing Tip: Northern pike season now open
This past Saturday marked the opening of the inland walleye, northern pike and muskellunge seasons in the Lower Peninsula – will you be getting out soon to try your hand at northern pike fishing?
Northern pike like to spend their time in the weedy shallows of both the Great Lakes and inland waters. In rivers they can be found around log jams or fallen timber. They are often taken with live bait (such as large minnows) or different kinds of artificial lures.
When fishing for northern pike, many anglers like to use a six to eight-inch wire or steel leader directly in front of hook or lure. Pike have large, deep mouths with extremely sharp teeth. They are known to engulf the entire bait or lure and sever the fishing line with their teeth when it is attached directly to the hook or lure. This leaves the angler watching as the fish swims away with their offering.
Want to learn even more about northern pike in Michigan? Read our detailed informational sheet about this toothy predator online!
Starting this spring, the DNR will be conducting angler surveys in various locations throughout the state. Angler participation in these survey efforts will be a key tool in proper fisheries management. All surveys have two options for participation, on-site postcards and online surveys. Visit www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10364---,00.html to see each survey.
Lake Erie: Most boats are jigging or trolling in shallow waters from Brest Bay to Turtle Island for walleye. Catch rates were slow for most however those fishing the cleaner water on the north side of Brest Bay found fish in 12 to 14 feet. Green and white were good colors. The water is still cold enough so once the lake cleans up, the jig bite should be back on. The catch and release bass opener was good for those casting crank baits along the canals and rock walls in Brest Bay.
Detroit River: Has very good walleye fishing in the lower and mid-river areas. Anglers are jigging with Wyandotte worms. Chartreuse was a hot color. Limit catches were reported. White bass are also starting to show up.
Lake St. Clair: The smallmouth bass opener was good from Metro Beach south to Nine Mile Road and off Selfridge. Some pike were also caught.
Clinton River: Is producing a good number of rock bass.
St. Clair River: Had good walleye fishing in the lower river especially near Algonac.
Lexington: Had good fishing. Those trolling caught a lot of coho and a surprising number of chinook that averaged 10 to 15 pounds. Steelhead, brown trout and lake trout were caught. All the trout and salmon were full of smelt. Body baits, spoons, and cut bait were all producing fish. This is the typical southern Lake Huron early spring fishing pattern, but it developed later this year because of the late spring. Eventually the fish will move north along the coast to Harbor Beach and Port Hope before they disperse for the summer.
Port Sanilac: Salmon trollers between here and Lakeport caught a mixed bag of chinook, coho, steelhead and lake trout. The fish were full of smelt.
Harbor Beach: Some boats were getting coho in 20 to 30 feet of water.
Saginaw Bay: The inner bay is still pretty muddy and success was limited to the west side. Walleye fishing was very good around Spoils Island for those vertical jigging or trolling. Vertical jigging was more effective than trolling near the rocks. No reports from Linwood but chances are fish are being caught there as well. The east side is still very muddy so not much going on from Quanicassee to Caseville. Boat anglers will need to be careful throughout the area when launching because of shallow water at the ramps. Dredging will take place shortly at Bayshore Marina near Bay Port and at Caseville. Be sure to watch your depth gauge because not all the channel marker buoys were in place yet.
Kawkawlin River: Small boats trolling body baits down from the Euclid Avenue Bridge did very well for walleye. Rapalas and shad-raps were also good baits.
Saginaw River: Had very good walleye fishing during the opener.
Tittabawassee River: Fishing on the river was actually quite good as a lot of walleye stayed in the river after the floods. The launch ramps at Imerman Park, Center Road, and Rust Avenue were closed due to high water levels but they should all be open sometime this week as levels recede. The better fishing was about a mile downstream of Freeland. Anglers were trolling rapalas, shad-raps, walley divers or Hot-n-Tots. Fishing should be good for another two weeks or so.
New Buffalo: Reported good catches of lake trout. The action was so good that quite a few boats from St. Joe were heading down for lake trout. Most fish were caught in 60 feet of water.
St. Joseph: Several boats reported damage after hitting logs that come down out of the river. Anglers need to use caution. Overall fishing was slow with only a few lake trout, brown trout or whitefish taken. There is still water over the piers at both of the boat launches in St. Joe. The water is slowly coming down but anyone looking to launch a boat should come prepared.
St. Joseph River: Water levels were still high and there is a lot of debris in the system. Water levels in the lower river are dropping, but were still less than a foot below flood stage at Niles and slightly above flood stage at Three Rivers. Steelhead are still in the river but water temperatures are expected to rise rapidly this week so the steelhead run will be winding down soon.
South Haven: Overall fishing was slow for boat and pier anglers. A few lake trout were caught by those trolling but no coho or brown trout.
Holland: Neither boat or pier anglers were catching fish. To find clean water, boats were heading out to water 75 feet or deeper.
Grand Haven: Pier anglers fishing spawn for steelhead and brown trout had no luck. Boats were trolling in 20 to 120 feet of water but no fish were caught. To find clean water, anglers had to go out to water 75 feet or deeper. There was one dock in at the Harbor Island boat launch.
Grand River at Lansing: High water levels have slowed catch rates but some were starting to catch panfish.
Jackson County: The inland lakes were starting to produce a few crappie.
Muskegon River: The walleye opener was good with some limit catches reported. The trout opener was also good. An 18 inch brook trout was caught and steelhead activity was good at Croton Dam.
Whitehall: Pier fishing for steelhead and brown trout has dropped off. A couple walleye were caught by pier anglers casting body baits. Limits of brown trout were caught three to four miles north of the channel in 12 feet of water when trolling green and purple spoons.
White Lake: Reported limit catches of pike in 10 to 14 feet of water.
Cheboygan: Steelhead and walleye were caught below the dam.
Rogers City: Those fishing off the wall caught a limited number of brown trout and Atlantic salmon when casting spoons or body baits in bright colors or anything that looks like smelt. Boat anglers are also getting fish. Use bright colors in the stained water or anything that looks like smelt in the clear waters. Most are trolling south towards Calcite and Swan Bay but also try in front of the marina.
Ocqueoc River: Has good steelhead action. Water levels and clarity are good. The better fishing was between the mouth and the lamprey weir when drifting spawn, artificial beads and yarn flies. Small jigs have also been used.
Thunder Bay River: Is producing steelhead, walleye and suckers. Try spawn and flies for steelhead at the 9th Street Dam. The walleye opener was a bit slow but water temperatures were still in the low 40’s. Some nice smallmouth bass were caught and released. All the docks are in but the fish cleaning station was still closed.
Harrisville: Has a good number of steelhead in the harbor. Fish were hitting on spoons, spinners, and body baits. Walleye were caught early morning or late evening. Shore anglers are using small spoons or body baits. Boat anglers were using crawlers and body baits.
Shupac Lake: Reported good catches of trout.
Lake St. Helen: Was producing some panfish.
Houghton Lake: Had slow fishing for walleye and northern pike.
Oscoda: Pier anglers caught some walleye at night. Try body baits and crawlers.
Au Sable River: Consumers Energy closed the public access site at Foote Dam on May 1. The company plans to rebuild the wall that provides the principal shore fishing access. The area will be closed for most of the 2013 construction season. Steelhead were coming out of the deep holes and making their way to the beds. Spawn, wax worm, spinners and body baits were all producing as the river was full of fish from the dam to the mouth.
Tawas: Boat anglers caught walleye off the mouth of the Tawas River when trolling body baits in 10 to 20 feet of water. Fire-tiger or blue and silver were the hot colors. Those jigging over the artificial reef were also taking a good number of walleye. Those trolling in deeper water off the tip of Tawas Point caught a few coho and brown trout. Pier anglers walleye fishing at night outside the breakwall managed to take a few limit catches when casting body baits.
Tawas River: Walleye have been caught in the lower river.
Au Gres: Had lots of walleye activity off Point Au Gres including some limit catches coming from 10 to 20 feet of water. They were hitting on crawler harnesses and body baits. Some are trolling while others are drifting harnesses or jigs baited with crawlers, minnows or Gulp baits.
Au Gres River: Those surfcasting with body baits at night near the Singing Bridge have caught a few walleye.
Spring has finally arrived, and most of the lakes south of M-72 are ice free. The rest should be ice free by the weekend. The trout opener was ok for the most part. The large rivers were still high and muddy but the smaller creeks were fishable. There are still plenty of steelhead in all rivers.
Torch Lake: Was producing Atlantic salmon and the occasional brown trout.
Traverse City: Cisco fishing was good in the West Bay. Most are jigging spoons in 60 feet of water. Lake trout and the occasional whitefish were caught. Shore anglers caught steelhead and lake trout on spawn bags or minnows.
Elk River: Had good numbers of steelhead. The bite was a little slow but anglers still found success when using small spawn bags or jigs tipped with wax worms.
Boardman River: Steelhead fishing was slow but a few were caught when drifting spawn bags or jigs tipped with wax worms.
Big Glen Lake: Is producing good sizes and numbers of perch. Some limit catches of eight to 12 inch fish were taken on minnows and wigglers.
Platte Bay: Those surfcasting with spawn or casting spoons are getting a few fish. Boat anglers trolling spoons about a mile out were getting one lake trout per trip.
Platte River: Anglers were finding a lot of steelhead and walleye.
Frankfort: Water temperatures reached into the 50's for the first time this year and several brown trout were caught by those trolling body baits both north and south of the port. Pier anglers on the north wall caught steelhead and brown trout on spawn bags. A few walleye, lake trout and whitefish were caught. Some reported the first sighting of alewife.
Crystal Lake: The fishing at Beulah Beach has not yet started. The lake is ice free and the water is warming, but no steelhead or coho yet.
Betsie River: Those drifting flies or spawn bags caught steelhead between the Homestead Dam and Betsie Bay.
Onekama: A few brown trout were caught off both piers. Try spawn or body baits. Those trolling south along the shoreline caught fish.
Portage Lake: Had a great walleye opener with higher than average numbers and size caught. Olive drab was a good color. The catch-and-release bass opener was also good for large and smallmouth. Pike action was good but many were sub-legal. Perch anglers were disappointed with the size and numbers of fish caught.
Manistee: Boat anglers trolling along the shoreline caught a few brown trout and lake trout. Orange or green body baits worked well. Pier fishing was slow.
Manistee River: Was a hot spot for walleye. Steelhead are still present in the river and in the local streams as the run is not through yet but it will start winding down as water temperatures rise and the fish prepare to spawn.
Lake Cadillac: The pike opener was good with some decent fish caught mainly in shallow waters. The walleye opener was slow with very few fish caught. As for panfish, catch rates were very slow. Wait for the water to warm up.
Ludington: Those trolling body baits in the harbor and along the shoreline have caught a few lake trout and brown trout. Hot colors were black and gold or black and silver. Pier fishing was slow.
Pentwater Lake: Had limited success for boat anglers catching crappie. They were still-fishing with minnows near Long Bridge.
Keweenaw Bay: Anglers need to stay off the ice in the Baraga Marina and north towards Carla’s because the ice is no longer safe. Boats are still not able to get out into the bay even though the ice is breaking up. The launch in Traverse Bay is open but the dock was not in. Few parking spots were open because of the snow. At the South Portage Entry, the launch ramp is open and the parking lot was almost completely open.
Falls River: Had fair rainbow trout action. Water levels were high and fast. No word on smelt as of this report.
Marquette: Dredging in the Upper Harbor is scheduled to start sometime around May 5 so the entrance to the harbor will be blocked off. Boat anglers will have to use alternate launches such as the one in the Lower Harbor. A couple chinook and brown trout were caught outside the Lower Harbor. Those fishing the “bubblers” caught a couple coho and the occasional lake trout was caught near the “sand hole” in 120 feet of water. Most are trolling assorted crank baits but the hot colors were silver and chartreuse.
Carp River: Catch rates for steelhead and trout were slow with the high water levels. Anglers were fishing spawn, crank baits, small spinners and yarn flies.
Chocolay River: Had high water levels and the M-28 wayside was flooded.
Menominee: Those targeting steelhead and brown trout reported slow catch rates. Some caught walleye and smallmouth bass accidently when trolling spoons and rapalas along the shoreline in 12 to 14 feet of water. Stoney Point still had ice south of the launch site.
Menominee River: Had a lot of anglers jigging for walleye because there was not enough room for trolling at the mouth. Shore anglers were casting different colored rapalas or jigging minnows from Stephenson Island upstream to the Hattie Street Dam. Catch rates were fair to good. The daily bag limit for walleye goes up to five (5) fish on Saturday May 4.
Cedar River: Steelhead action was very slow near the first rapids.
Little Bay De Noc: Has pretty much opened up except for some lingering ice in the north end. Few were out but the perch anglers should be ready. Water temperatures were in the mid 40’s. The ramps are in at the Ford River and Rapid River launches. The Rapid River launch was dredged this winter and has new channel makers.
Day’s River: Is high and fast however some steelhead were caught between the mouth and the highway.
Ford River: Was producing some steelhead just before US-2 and M-35.
Big Bay De Noc: Garden Bay is ice free and hopefully the dock will be in this week. The only docks in were at the Ogontz and the Fayette launch however there was still some ice near Ogontz. A few boats went out for perch but catch rates were still slow. Rivers are running high and fast. At Fairport, the ice is gone from the launch area.
Au Train: The bay is pretty much ice free except for some floating pack ice near shore and a couple large areas toward Au Train Point and Wood Island. The Brownstone launch was still iced in but could be open by the end of the week. The parking lot has small snow banks but is still accessible.
Rock River: Water levels were high and cresting over the banks.
Au Train River: Those fishing the mouth had no luck as water levels were high.
Munising: The ice finally moved out of the bay. The docks are in at the city launch. With high water levels due to run-off, small boats can use the Anna River launch. The small craft launch at Sand Point is sand covered, but available. Catch rates were slow but starting to pick up. Those targeting whitefish in small boats were fishing the open water right next to the ice. Catch rates were fair with a mixed bag of trout and salmon. Pier anglers casting spawn reported slow catch rates due to muddy water. A few whitefish averaging 15 inches along with a couple splake running 16 to 20 inches were caught. Steelhead were three and six pounds.
Grand Marais: The boat launch is open and most of the pier near the lighthouse museum is clear of ice and snow. The upper parking area was still blocked with construction debris. Pier anglers reported a mix of menominee, coho, steelhead and whitefish. Boat anglers have done well for coho and steelhead, some reported limit catches. Boats need to use caution when navigating around the newly completed breakwall as water levels were very shallow between the shoreline and the south end of the breakwall. The water is very shallow on the bay side of the wall so boat anglers will need to use caution and watch for rocks.
Sucker River: Shore anglers at the mouth reported high water and low catch rates.
DeTour: Anglers are steelhead fishing at the mouth of Albany Creek and off the rocks on the west shore.
Drummond Island: Limits of perch were caught in Maxton Bay. Try drifting or still-fishing with minnows in four to six feet of water. Water levels are coming up however boat anglers need to watch for rocks and sand bars around the island.
Cedarville and Hessel: Ice fishing is done for this year. The pier just opened up but the harbors still had ice at the boat launches. Steelhead opportunities exist at Bush and Beaver Tail Creeks.
Carp River: Limits of smelt were taken near the mouth but those upriver were getting few fish. The run seems to be hit-or-miss, perhaps because the water was still cold and muddy.
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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.