Weekly Fishing Report: September 20, 2018

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 Weekly Fishing Report - September 20, 2018

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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

Southeast Lower Peninsula
Southwest Lower Peninsula
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Upper Peninsula

Great Lakes Temperature Map
Weekly Fishing Tip
Daily Streamflow Conditions

Rain and cooler temperatures should help produce some better fishing. Salmon are in the rivers however water temperatures are just too warm especially in the smaller shallow rivers. The bite on the inland lakes is starting to pick up.  

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie:  The perch bite picked back up. Most boats caught between 20 and 50 fish while a few boats limited out. Most were caught just north of Buoys 1 and 2, east of Stony Point in 24 to 25 feet, and near the E-Buoy when using minnows on perch rigs with or without green, orange and chartreuse spinners and beads. Anglers also caught white bass, white perch, freshwater drum and channel cats. Very few anglers targeted walleye. Largemouth bass were caught using green pumpkin worms and drop-shot rigs off Bolles Harbor and the backwaters in Toledo Beach Marina. Channel cats continue to be caught on worms in the Hot Ponds. 

Detroit River:  Some walleye were caught by those jigging near Calf Island. A few perch were taken near Sugar Island however most were very small. 

Lake St. Clair:  Large and smallmouth bass were a bit sluggish. Anchor Bay was producing most of the fish, but anglers were working hard for them. Try the deeper sections a few miles north of the Harley Launch and Bouvier Bay. The lake was calmer so light colored baits worked best. Yellow perch numbers were good however anglers had to sort through a lot of small ones. Most were fishing the Dumping Grounds and along the Mile Roads. Walleye were slow with only a couple caught in the channels. 

Port Austin:  Walleye were caught off the Port Austin Reef. Lake trout were found near the bottom in 130 feet. A few lake trout were also caught off Grindstone City. 

Harbor Beach:  Fishing improved with good size lake trout taken north of the harbor in 140 to 170 feet with dodgers and spin-glo’s near the bottom. Atlantic salmon and steelhead were also caught on bright colored spoons off boards. Walleye were caught on small spoons and body baits with dipsey divers 150 to 200 feet back. Bass were close to shore and hitting on small spoons or body baits. 

Saginaw Bay:  Had slow but steady perch fishing in 10 to 15 feet along the Saganing and Pinconning Bars. A few walleye were taken on a crawler harness in 15 to 20 feet.  A few perch were caught at the Sailboat Buoys, the Crib, and near the Spark Plug. The fish were running nine to 12 inches and the average was 10 to 15 per boat. Walleye fishing along the inner bay was slow but a few were taken off the Coryeon Reef and straight out of Caseville when using a crawler harness.   

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph:  Boat anglers reported slow salmon fishing however they caught lake trout in 90 feet. Perch fishing was pretty good with some nice catches taken in 30 feet. Pier fishing was slow. 

St. Joseph River:  Fishing pressure at the Berrien Springs Dam was low. There are good numbers of coho and some Chinook in all three ladders.

South Haven:  Boat anglers targeting lake trout continue to catch fish in 80 feet. A few salmon were caught but overall the action was slow. Perch fishing was very good. The fish were a bit scattered and taken in 30 to 50 feet.

Black River:  Salmon were in the river, but water temperatures were too warm and those trolling or shore fishing did not catch many.   

Kalamazoo River:  Anglers should still find some salmon up near the Allegan Dam.   

Grand Haven:  A few salmon were caught by boats trolling the channel and near the piers. Pearl or chrome plugs have worked well. Those fishing further out found a mix of trout and salmon 50 to 120 feet down in 200 to 300 feet with orange or green spoons. Pier anglers reported slow salmon fishing. 

Grand River at Grand Rapids:  Had a good run of coho last weekend and fish were caught below the Sixth Street Dam. Anglers may still find some fish in the area or up in the Rogue River as the cooler weather and rain moves in. 

Grand River at Lansing:  A few coho are starting to trickle in closer to Lansing. A couple fish were seen at the Webber Dam and one was caught near the North Lansing Dam. No big numbers yet but a couple were starting to show up. 

Looking Glass River:  Anglers have caught pike and smallmouth bass when using small spinners.   

Muskegon:  A mix of salmon and trout were caught 45 to 100 feet down in 200 to 300 feet with green, orange or pink spoons. Pier anglers and those trolling near them reported slow catch rates. The only thing caught was a couple freshwater drum when casting chrome spoons. 

Muskegon Lake:  Chinook salmon were caught south of the channel and off the Sand Docks when trolling J-plugs. Hot colors were chrome with a red head, green with a ladder back or anything with bright orange or red accents. Perch were caught along the weed lines in 15 to 25 feet. 

Muskegon River:  A few fish were caught in the lower river however we need rain and cooler temperatures to get the fish moving at a good pace. 

Whitehall:  Boats trolling 50 to 80 feet down in 200 to 300 feet were stilling picking up steelhead, lake trout and young salmon. White and glow spoons worked well along with a flasher/fly combo with white flies. Pier fishing was slow but those casting spoons or jigs caught the occasional Chinook or coho early morning or late evening. 

White Lake:  Anglers were getting some nice bluegills off the east end, south shore which is just east of Armstrong’s. Fish were hitting on wax worms in eight to 12 feet. 

White River:  Salmon fishing in the lower river was spotty but a few did manage to catch a couple on body baits or when drifting skein in the early morning.  

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan:  A few Chinook salmon ranging 13 to 20 pounds were caught on spoons. J-plugs worked better in the early morning or at night. Some of the fish were quite dark.   

Cheboygan River:  Did not have much salmon action. Fish were spotted at the dam, but none were caught. Boat anglers caught walleye when drifting or jigging with worms and leeches. 

Rogers City:  The lake turned over enough times that the water temperature was the same all over. There was no thermocline and the fish were scattered. Lake trout were still near the bottom in 120 feet. Swan Bay had a lot of Chinook but the fish are spooked easily so the better fishing was very early before daylight or after dark. Most of the fish are turning very dark and were not high quality for eating. Anglers are using bomber and boards in the shallows. Those out deeper are using spoons, J-plugs, and flashers with flies, squid and cut bait. The fish out deeper may be better quality. Lake trout were caught on spoons or flashers with spin-glo’s or cowbells. 

Alpena:  A couple Atlantic and Chinook salmon were caught but the numbers were low. Lake trout could still be found along the bottom out near the “Humps”. 

Thunder Bay River:  A few salmon showed up and were caught but no big push yet by any means. Most were casting body baits. The water in the river was still very warm.     

Black River:  Had few anglers. The odd Chinook was caught at the mouth when casting spoons. A few small pike were also caught. 

Harrisville:  A couple nice catches of lake trout along with the odd steelhead were taken in the bottom half in 80 to 100 feet when trolling spoons or spin-glo’s. 

Oscoda:  Lake trout, suspending walleye, and a few smaller Chinook were caught by those trolling spoons at the drop in 85 to 110 feet. The Chinook were 60 to 80 feet down. Walleye were scattered throughout the water column. A couple Chinook were caught when trolling just off the mouth of the river. Pier anglers reported a couple Chinook, pike or walleye taken when casting spoons and crank baits either early or late. Smallmouth bass, channel cats and freshwater drum were caught on crawlers.   

Au Sable River:  Those still-fishing with crawlers caught smallmouth bass, pike and panfish. A few Chinook were caught between the mouth and Foote Dam. The lower river is still quite warm in the low 70’s.   

Houghton Lake:  Bluegills were being caught along the weed beds in six to eight feet. A couple walleye were taken by those trolling. Bass and pike fishing were good but most of the pike were on the small side.   

Tawas:  Chinook salmon were seen around the breakwall and off the mouth of the river in the early morning, but none were caught. Walleye were taken off the breakwall at night. Small perch were caught in Tawas Bay. 

Tawas River:  Look for the occasional salmon down near the mouth.     

Au Gres:  Perch and walleye fishing were slow.   

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Harbor Springs:  Anglers caught mainly lake trout along with a few salmon and Cicso North of Harbor Point around Seven Mile and Five Mile Points.

Petoskey:  Boat anglers targeting Chinook caught just as many coho if not more. Lake trout and the odd Cisco were also caught. Boats were trolling 75 to 100 feet down in 100 to 130 feet between the breakwall and Bay Harbor. Spoons, flies and meat rigs were the ticket. Anglers trying for salmon near the mouth of the river caught a couple on spawn or stick baits. Pier anglers were casting off the end of the piers after dark but no fish were recorded. 

Bear River:  Warm weather and the lack of rain means lower water levels. There was an unexplainable run of salmon mid-week last week, on a warm sunny day however by Monday of this week, not many fish were left at the dam.

Charlevoix:  Boat anglers were still heading out for salmon and lake trout. A couple salmon were caught by those casting off the end of the pier before dawn and after dusk. Smallmouth bass action in the channel was hit-or-miss however a lot of keepers have been caught when the bite is on. Most were using live or artificial worms. The Medusa Weir was scheduled for harvest on 9/18. The initial harvest was delayed because of mechanical problems. A few anglers are wading and casting for salmon in the cement plant boat slip, but catch rates were not good.   

Traverse City:  A few lake trout and cisco were caught in the East Bay by those jigging around Deepwater Point. Lake trout, cisco and a couple salmon were caught when trolling along the west bank both north and south of the M-37 launch. The Elk river is very slow. Salmon were spotted near the dam but few were caught. Smallmouth bass were found near the dam and some pike were caught near the mouth. Slow salmon fishing on the West Bay. Perch fishing was also slow but a few nice ones were taken in Sutton’s Bay. Bass could be found near Power Island but most were too small. On the Boardman River, a few salmon were caught early morning when drifting spawn or skein. 

Glen Arbor:  Anglers are getting four to eight coho and the occasional Chinook though some of the Chinook are getting dark. Most were taken on J-plugs but spoons and a flasher/fly combo were also taking fish in 40 to 100 feet. With the cold front and rain on the way, the coho will most likely not stick around for long. 

Frankfort:  Chinook salmon can still be found out in front of the piers and in the harbor, but the numbers are slowing down. Lots of coho were seen in Platte Bay however the trick was getting them to hit when trolling, jigging or casting.   
Betsie River:  Anglers reported a lower number of Chinook salmon being caught. 

Portage Lake:  Perch anglers found a few large fish in 10 to 15 feet near the drops. Bass and panfish numbers have been low but some reported off and on success.

Manistee:  Surface water temperatures climbed back up to near 70 degrees. Dredging continues in the area, so boat anglers need to be mindful and not make a wake. The Chinook slowed however lots of coho were coming in. Fish were caught 40 to 70 feet down in 150 to 220 feet with spoons and meat rigs. A small number of lake trout and steelhead were also caught at the same depths. Pier fishing was slow.   

Ludington:  Surface water temperatures warmed back up. A good number of coho were caught 30 to 70 feet down in 150 to 200 feet along the shelf. Lake trout and steelhead were also caught. Spoons and meat rigs were the ticket. Pier fishing was slow with only the odd coho taken when casting spoons. Chinook salmon fishing in Pere Marquette Lake has slowed. 

Pere Marquette River:  Good size salmon are still being caught but the better fishing was in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler. Some of the fish are turning quite dark. 

Pentwater:  Boats trolling 60 to 80 feet down in 200 to 250 feet caught steelhead and young salmon between here and Little Sable Point. White, glow or green spoons were the ticket. Pier anglers reported very slow salmon fishing but caught the odd smallmouth bass or freshwater drum when casting body baits between the piers.

Pentwater Lake:  Anglers casting for salmon from Longbridge Road reported very slow catch rates. Those casting body baits and spoons in the channel caught freshwater drum and the odd smallmouth.  

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Upper Peninsula

Lac Vieux Desert:  Muskie anglers caught a few fish right along with a decent number of pike. Walleye fishing remained slow however a few were found off the docks in the late evening. Bass anglers did well with top water lures in the morning or late evening. The panfish bite was hit-or-miss as the fish seem to be moving out to deeper water. 

Little Bay De Noc:  Walleye catches were down over the last week. Night anglers reported the best catches between the Center Reef and the Second Reef or south around the “Black Bottom”. Anglers were trolling stick baits at night in 14 to 20 feet or stick baits and crawler harnesses in 18 to 30 feet during the day. Several good catches of jumbo perch were reported in Kipling in 22 feet and off Gladstone Beach in 20 feet when using minnows. Smallmouth bass were spotty as the fish are starting to move south. A few were taken on plastics or drop-shot in 18 to 20 feet. A couple Chinook have shown up in the Escanaba Yacht Harbor. The numbers are far less than last year and a little harder to catch.

Big Bay De Noc:  Smallmouth bass were scattered but the large fish can be found in the southern waters. Ogontz reported good catches of undersize fish using plastics or drop-shot in 12 to 18 feet. Some bigger fish were found around the Garden Bluff area but catch rates were spotty. Cooler temperatures moving in this week should bring the bass in and around Snake Island. 

Munising:  Fishing pressure was low. Water temperatures have started to drop and were just under 60 degrees near shore. The salmon action was still slow and splake fishing was spotty with only a few caught. 

Grand Marais:  A few boat anglers were out with no fish reported. Most were targeting salmon. A few shore anglers were fishing the Sucker River but had no action. Water in the river was very dark and stained from the heavy rains last week. Surface water temperatures have slowly dropped to the upper 50's.

Drummond Island:  A few yellow perch were caught at Harbor Island. Try fishing at the mouth of Harbor Island in six to 10 feet or inside the harbor in six feet while using spreaders with beads in open water or small worms near the weed beds. Smallmouth bass were caught on the north side of Burnt Island when using tube jigs off the rocks. 

Detour:  Windy conditions had once again prevented anglers from fishing beyond the Detour Lighthouse. Southeast winds turned the lake over and scattered the fish. Those fishing in the St. Marys River and closer to the Drummond Island side caught Chinook along with a few pink salmon. When winds are from the east and southeast try trolling in front of the Drummond Island Stone Quarry. Start at the first red buoy below the loading dock and head south to the tip of Drummond Island Point. There is good structure for the salmon plus this area will keep you out of the wind. For walleye, try moving upstream to Pipe Island where fish were taken on a crawler harness and bottom bouncer with blades when trolling the underwater humps and rocky points in the early morning or late evening.   

Cedarville and Hessel:  Yellow perch were caught in eight to 12 feet throughout Cedarville Bay. Try both south and east of the Cedarville launch. Best method was to drift shiner minnows and worms. Pike ranging 25 to 30 inches were caught on chubs in Cedarville Bay and the Middle Entrance to the Les Cheneaux Islands. Largemouth bass were caught throughout the bay when casting spinners under the docks or artificial frogs just off the weed beds. The water at the Hessel Marina had warmed again. Prior to this, excellent catches of splake were reported by those fishing off the finger docks but the fish had moved back out to deeper water. Moving west of Hessel, those fishing Nunn’s Creek caught Chinook salmon. Most were using waders and casting spoons or jigging with natural and artificial spawn bags.   

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Fishing Tip: Catching panfish in the fall

Fall can be an ideal time to target panfish as cooler temperatures arrive and aquatic vegetation starts to decline. As a result, these species can be found in much shallower water than usual and will be perfect for targeting. 

When choosing your bait for fall panfish don’t be afraid to go with something a little more substantial, such as small plugs and spinners. And of course, the standard hook and worm never hurts!

Be sure to target panfish in their favorite fall locations as well, including by deep weedbeds or near drop-off points. 

Want even more information on targeting Michigan panfish this fall? Check out their page on the DNR’s website.  

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Note: 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.