Weekly Fishing Report: May 17, 2023

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Weekly Fishing Report - May 17, 2023

fishing map Southwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Southeast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Northeast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Northwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Upper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Walleye were scattered with seemingly equal catch rates between crawler harnesses and artificial crankbaits. However, a consistent method that yielded results were blue crawler harnesses, trolling a little slow at 1.7 mph, running them around 90 feet back, and in deeper water around 20 feet deep. Once in a while an angler would catch a yellow perch on a crawler harness but it was rare.

Detroit River: Anglers were catching walleye and silver bass on crawler harnesses while jigging from Belle Isle to Sugar Island.

Lake St. Clair: Catch rates for smallmouth and largemouth bass increased over the last few days. Anglers were doing well using green crankbaits, soft plastics, and swimbaits in shallower water. Most anglers were doing well closer to shore in 6 to 10 feet of water off the rock walls extending from Nine Mile Ramp all the way to Lake St. Clair Metro Park. Anglers reported doing well around Muscamoot Bay in 5 feet of water along weed lines. Walleye anglers were also doing well trolling multi-colored bandits and bottom bouncing crawler harnesses in the northern parts of the St. Clair River, and in Anchor Bay generally in 20 to 25 feet of water. Anglers casting for walleye were also doing well using artificial flies and swim baits near Nine Mile Ramp and straight out from the Clinton River Spillway. Many species of crappie were caught at the mouth of the Clinton River and just north of the Lake St. Clair Metro Park.

Saginaw Bay: Fishing for walleye from Sebewaing to Bay Port was good to excellent for those fishing in the slot. Water from 13 to 15 feet deep was the best, but walleye were caught both shallower and deeper. Anglers were covering water to find active pods of fish. Body baits were still producing good numbers of walleye with crawler harnesses starting to have excellent results. Anglers catching and releasing largemouth and smallmouth bass were doing well all along the east shore of the bay on a wide variety of artificial bait. Boat anglers were catching a few walleye at Callahan’s Reef while trolling with crankbaits in 10 to 12 feet of water. Walleye were also caught out in front of the Bay City State Park in 8 to 10 feet of water while trolling with crawlers. Some walleye were still being caught in lower part of the Saginaw River while jigging for them.

Saginaw River: Bass anglers were catching and releasing good numbers of largemouth bass while casting various artificial baits in 3 feet of water through Bay City, and in the shallow areas around Ojibway Island in Saginaw.

Tittabawassee River: Anglers were catching good numbers of white bass downstream of Gratiot Bridge while casting various spinners and plugs.

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

Muskegon: The salmon action was fair for boat anglers. Salmon were scattered from 50 to 230 feet of water. Orange and green spoons worked well set 30 to 70 feet down in the water column.

Muskegon River: Anglers reported seeing some remaining steelhead in the river, but they were not biting well, and their numbers greatly dropped. Most anglers were targeting the smaller rainbow trout and brown trout with great success. Smallmouth bass and sucker species were plentiful in the river while walleye were caught few and far between. The most popular method for all species was casting spinners or flyfishing. The lower section of the river was not very busy, but some pike and bowfin were caught near the mouth of the river.

Grand Haven: Boat anglers reported decent catches of Chinook salmon. Salmon were scattered from 40 to 220 feet of water. Green and orange spoons worked well for salmon down 35 to 80 feet. Pier anglers were catching a few freshwater drum in the channel while casting spoons.

St. Joe: Boat anglers were catching good numbers of Chinook salmon and a few lake trout. Boats were very spread out. Anglers were fishing from 50 feet of water out well past 150 feet of water. The most productive water was around 80 feet of water. Most fish were caught on spoons. Pier fishing was slow for steelhead and salmon. On the St. Joe River, there were a few good reports of anglers catching keeper sized walleye while drifting crawlers.

South Haven: Boat anglers targeting salmon had good fishing. Anglers were catching mostly Chinook salmon. Most of these fish were caught on spoons. The most productive water seemed to be around 80 feet of water. Pier fishing for steelhead and salmon was slow.

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Tawas: Walleye fishing had been spotty from shore and piers. Anglers were catching walleye off Whitestone Point. Anglers were catching lake trout off Tawas Point in 20 to 40 feet of water. Atlantic salmon were around at the pier but were not biting yet.

Oscoda/Au Sable: Atlantic salmon and walleye were around in good numbers and a couple coho were spotted. Nowhere near as many, but there were still steelhead being caught in the river. White jigs worked well for walleye at the mouth and minnows or spoons worked well for Atlantic salmon.

Presque Isle: The windy days and cold water had the fish scattered all throughout the water column. While some anglers found fish in 30 feet of water others found fish in 70 feet of water. Atlantic salmon and trout were caught between 15 and 60 feet down using watermelon, orange/gold, greens, and chartreuse colored spoons. Stoneport produced a few Atlantic salmon and a couple juvenile Chinook salmon while the majority of trout came from North Bay to Thompson Harbor. Pier anglers were catching a few Atlantic salmon using a variety of casting spoons and colors. Northern pike and smallmouth bass were around the piers and were caught with shallow running crankbaits and plastic swimbaits.

Rockport: Anglers were starting to see a random Atlantic salmon and some nice pike around the old dock and in front of the boat ramp. Fish that were caught were coming in on green/silver and blue/silver spoons. Boat anglers were getting a mix of trout and Atlantic salmon from Middle Island in waters 40 to 70 feet. Planer boards were taking the majority of fish in the middle of the water column with spoons in a variety of colors. Dipsy divers were also productive with spoons and flasher/ spin glow combos.

Alpena: Fishing was good on the open water. Those fishing North Point to Thunder Bay Island were doing well in waters 30 to 60 feet on lake trout and Atlantic salmon. Atlantic salmon were being caught 20 to 30 feet down on spoons in orange, gold, and silver/greens while trout are being taken 30 feet to bottom. Best colors for trout were oranges, watermelon and white/green combos. Atlantic salmon and several Chinook were taken in the channel from the cement plant along with a few walleye. Those fishing the pier head south were targeting walleye in 20 to 30 feet of water with crankbaits and crawler harnesses with moderate success. In the Grass Island area, anglers were catching northern pike while casting large spinnerbaits and swimbaits.

Thunder Bay River: The steelhead have all but left the river system. Anglers targeting the river were catching walleye, smallmouth bass, pike and bullhead. Walleye were being taken while jigging swim baits as well as crawlers and leaches. Smallmouth bass were moving into the bedding areas and were caught with spinnerbaits and plastics.

Cheboygan: A few anglers were starting to hit the lake with limited success for lake trout. The best depths were 30 to 70 feet. Anglers were fishing the Poe Reef and running spoons, lots of greens, green and yellow, and blue. They were also using dodgers or cowbells with spin glos. 

Cheboygan River: The gates were closed down to two and the flow had lightened up.  The river was still loaded with suckers. It was slow for everything else. Anglers were trying for walleye, but success was very slow. 

Rogers City: Lake trout were caught by boat anglers. The best location was north and west of the harbor up towards 40 Mile Point. The best depths were anywhere from 45 to 70 feet of water. The lake trout appeared to be scattered in the water column instead of being close to the bottom although they were present near the bottom as well. Anglers were running spoons that were green, green and orange, silvers, blue and silver, green and silver. They were also running dodgers or cowbells with spin glos near the bottom or up off the bottom in 10 to 15 feet. Atlantic salmon should be showing up now. Fish them high in the water column, the top 15 feet and run brightly colored spoons on short lead cores or sliders on riggers. They seem to like the regular size spoons or the smaller spoons. 

Ocqueoc River: Anglers reported slow fishing. The steelhead run appeared to be finished. There were reports of smallmouth bass being caught.

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Manistee River: Steelhead fishing pressure in the upper river came to a minimum with the occasional dark fish being landed. Anglers primarily targeted small trout, landing good numbers of small rainbow and brown trout while casting artificials. Anglers also reported an increase in smallmouth bass while casting small jerk baits and spinners. Sucker anglers continued to report steady numbers of redhorse and common white suckers.

Manistee Lake: Anglers fishing on Manistee Lake reported a variety of bass, bluegill, crappie, walleye and northern pike throughout the week. Fishing wigglers and waxworms for panfish produced the best results in shallow weedy areas. Anglers trolling did not report much success, however, switching to casting produced the best results for pike and bass.

Manistee: Anglers trolling for Chinook salmon caught fish straight out and to the south in 140 to 200 feet of water while fishing 40 to 60 feet down. Along with Chinook, a few lake trout were caught as well. Near the harbor, a couple brown trout were caught while trolling. The perch bite in the harbor died down and pier fishing was slow. Green and orange spoons worked well.

Ludington: Anglers trolling for Chinook salmon found a few from the projects south to Pentwater and Little Sable Point. Off the projects, the salmon were in 50 to 70 feet of water although depths varied by day. To the north, Chinook salmon were caught at Big Sable Point while trolling spoons. The pier action was slow.

West Grand Traverse Bay: Perch fishing in Suttons Bay had been hit-or-miss. On the days that it was good, wigglers working best. Lake trout jigging was good around Marion Island. Bass fishing was excellent in shallow water.

East Grand Traverse Bay: Surface temperatures were anywhere from 48 degrees to 58 degrees. Jigging and casting for cisco was good anywhere from 30 feet of water out to 100 feet; they seem to be scattered but biting well. Jigging for lake trout was good around Willow Point and Deepwater Point. Bass fishing was phenomenal in the shallows at the south end of the bay and near the mouth of Mitchell Creek. Elk River bass fishing was picking up.

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Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Anglers fishing for yellow perch reported improved success in areas near Kipling while using perch rigs with minnows and crawlers. Smallmouth bass fishing was good with soft plastics or crankbaits.

Big Bay de Noc: Anglers reported good smallmouth bass fishing. Perch anglers were still catching some, although the bite was slow.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers in Keweenaw Bay and Huron Bay were seeing an uptick in catches of multiple species as the water warmed up. Anglers were able to find mostly coho and Chinook salmon trolling in the bays. Fish were mostly caught in the mornings or early afternoon while trolling. Trolling was done at a wide range of depths from 150 feet all the way up to 30 feet. Most fish were caught on artificial lures. Anglers were also out in force with walleye season opening and trolling but catch numbers were not high compared to effort. Smelt runs were either finished in most streams or had largely reduced.

Hessel/Les Cheneaux/Detour: Anglers in the Hessel area were catching a few splake off the pier at the marina using spawn sacs. Anglers were also catching a few Atlantic salmon, but success was low due to a recent fly hatch. There were an abundant number of perch in the area as well with anglers catching them on worms, however the bite number was low.

Traverse Bays/ Portage Canal: Anglers were catching some lake trout in decent numbers during all times of day. With the rising water temperature fishing pressure and catches were starting to increase. Anglers also found some luck while casting for bass and pike in the waters just around the mouth of the canal. Fish were caught while trolling and jigging and a mix of artificial and natural baits were used.

Cedar River and Green Bay (Lake Michigan): At J.W. Wells State Park & Cedar River State Harbor, walleye fishing was spotty out on Green Bay, with fluctuating water temps making it tough to have a consistent bite. There were few reports of brown trout being caught. Smallmouth bass were starting to move into the Cedar River as anglers were catching them from shore and in boats.

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This report is intended to give you an idea of what is going on around the state. Updates come from Fisheries staff and conservation officers. With more than 11,000 inland lakes, the Great Lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams, not all locations can be listed. However, it is safe to say if a species is being caught in some waters in the area, they are likely being caught in all waters in that section of the state that have that species.