Weekly Fishing Report: October 4, 2018

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 Weekly Fishing Report - October 4, 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

Lake trout and splake season closed September 30 in Management Units MM 1-5 on Lake Michigan and MH 1-2 on Lake Huron.  The cool wet weather has helped bring salmon and trout close to shore and up into the rivers, but the bite has been a bit slow.

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie:  The DNR will conduct its annual walleye assessment near Monroe from October 8-12. Staff will set gill nets near Stoney Point and Luna Pier. Anglers and boaters should avoid navigating in between the large orange staff buoys and be sure to give the research vessel room to maneuver when actively lifting and setting the 1,300-foot long nets. The lake has good perch fishing with boats getting 20-60 fish and even some limit catches. The better fishing was in the morning in 14 to 22 feet in Brest Bay, 26 feet off Fermi, 27 feet off the mouth of the River Raisin, and near the C-Buoy. Most were using emerald shiners on perch rigs with green, orange, red or chartreuse spinners and beads. Chartreuse was the hot color. White bass, white perch and the occasional walleye were also caught. Excellent bass fishing continued along most of the shoreline and near the harbors. Morning and early afternoon were best with 50-100 largemouth and the occasional smallmouth caught in four to six feet off the Sterling seawall, the Bolles Harbor and Toledo Beach Marina breakwaters and within the Hot Ponds. Most were using green pumpkin, black and gold or watermelon worms. The Hot Ponds continue to produce channel cats. 

Lake St. Clair:  Bass fishing has been tough over the last week. Water temperatures have dropped, but the bass were not biting. Walleye started to come back near Grassy Island. Lately there has been a small window from 8-9 a.m. when the fish were biting. Off Metro Beach, a couple of nice perch were caught on scented minnows or the occasional crawler.   

St. Clair River:  A few bass were caught in the North Channel. Those fishing the mouth of the North Channel caught a couple walleye. 

Lexington to Port Sanilac:  The thermocline was all over the place and the fish were scattered. Minnows are just starting to come into the harbors. Atlantic salmon have shown up in the Lexington Harbor and one or two have been caught each day on small spoons. Night anglers caught walleye off the breakwall at Port Sanilac when casting small spoons and body baits. 

Port Austin:  Fishing was almost non-existent and the few boats that did go out got skunked. Windy conditions had the thermocline all over the place. Minnows are just starting to come into the harbor.

Harbor Beach:  Had few anglers. A couple walleye were taken by those casting small spoons or body baits at night. 

Saginaw Bay:  Another windy and rainy week so few anglers were out. A couple perch were caught off the Saganing and Pinconning Bars as well as off the mouth of the Pine River in 10 to 15 feet. Off Linwood, perch were taken out in 17 feet. The fish were running 10-12 inches but no big numbers. Perch were also found near Sailboat Buoy F, northeast of Spoils Island in 15 feet and along the old shipping channel in 17 feet. The old shipping channel produced the best catches when boats could get out there. On the east side, a couple largemouth bass were caught close to shore. Shore anglers between Quanicassee and Bay Port caught some bluegills. One walleye was taken in the marina at Sebewaing.   

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph:  Boat anglers are still catching lake trout even though the action has slowed. Most were caught in 100 feet or so. Pier fishing is slow for all species. Perch fishing slowed with only a few caught in 40 feet.   

St. Joseph River:  A few coho, the occasional Chinook and a couple fresh steelhead were moving through the ladder at Berrien Springs.   

South Haven:  Boat anglers continue to catch a few lake trout in 80 to 100 feet. Pier fishing was slow but perch fishing was good with a decent number caught in 35 feet. 

Grand Haven:  Boat anglers are catching lake trout along the bottom in 100 to 150 feet with a yellow spin-glo and flasher. Pier anglers reported slow salmon action. 

Grand River at Grand Rapids:  Is producing Chinook, coho and even a couple steelhead. Most are fishing up near the Sixth Street Dam with spawn bags, skein, thunder sticks and small spoons. 

Grand River at Lansing:  Had a good push of coho around the Webber Dam Monday morning. Fish were also being caught near the Portland Dam. Most are using spinners or spawn. Water levels are high which is not good for those looking to wade. 

Looking Glass River:  Was producing some pike off Babcock’s Landing and in the city of Dewitt. Those using spinners or rattle traps have caught a few keepers. 

Clinton County:  Anglers at Motz Park were taking bluegills on a piece of crawler from both the northwest and the east lake. Largemouth bass were hitting on plastics. Muskrat Lake was producing some crappie in shallower waters just off the boat launch.   

Muskegon:  Pier anglers are catching freshwater drum while casting spoons. 

Muskegon River:  Is producing salmon but the run has been on the slow side. A couple brown trout were caught and those targeting smallmouth continue to do well.   

Whitehall:  Had no boat anglers due to poor weather conditions.  Pier anglers casting spoons or still-fishing with spawn bags in the early morning caught the odd coho.   Those casting body baits or jigs caught walleye early morning or late evening.   

White River:  Those fishing the lower stretches reported slightly higher numbers of new fish entering the system. Try casting body baits in the early morning or drifting skein and spawn bags through the deeper holes.   

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Overall: Lake trout and splake season in MH 1-2 closed on September 30. This includes the waters of Lake Huron from Detour all the way down to Black River.

Cheboygan:  A few fishing Duncan Bay caught smallmouth bass and pike when trolling body baits. Those trolling spoons for salmon did not have much luck. 

Cheboygan River:  Fishing pressure picked up. A couple Chinook were caught on crank baits or skein. Most of the fish are dark however fresh fish are still trickling in. A good number of pink salmon were caught on skein, spoons and crank baits up at the dam. Those casting spoons and crank baits or drifting worms caught steelhead, large and smallmouth bass, walleye, pike and one muskie. 

Ocqueoc River:  Had very little fishing activity. Salmon were spotted upstream of the boat launch, but none were caught. 

Rogers City:  Swan Bay has chinook salmon. Those trolling were using J-plugs and bombers and those casting were using Cleo’s and body baits. For younger salmon and steelhead, try 90 feet and deeper with spoons throughout the water column. Green, blue and orange would be good colors. 

Alpena:  Windy conditions had the water stirred up. Anglers had a difficult time finding fish though they should still be getting Atlantics, steelhead, young Chinook and walleye. Try straight out to 70 feet when trolling spoons or body baits. 

Thunder Bay River:  Chinook salmon are jumping but were difficult to catch. The Atlantic salmon fishery was still on the slow side. Anglers are casting spoons and body baits or drifting spawn under a bobber.   

Black River:  Anglers were targeting salmon while casting spoons and crank baits or when still-fishing with spawn near the mouth of the river.

Harrisville:  Fishing effort was low. A few anglers were targeting trout and salmon while trolling spoons and J-plugs but had no luck. A couple Chinook were caught when casting spoons near the mouth of Mill Creek. 

Oscoda:  Those trolling spoons and J-plugs off the mouth of the river had little success for salmon. Walleye up to 26 inches and a few pike were caught in the morning and evening by those casting crank baits from the pier. A couple good size smallmouth bass were also caught when still-fishing or jigging crawlers and minnows. 

Au Sable River:  A couple Atlantic salmon were caught between Foote Dam and the Whirlpool by those floating spawn, drifting and swinging egg and streamer flies through the holes or fishing behind the gravel. Smallmouth bass have been caught. 

Tawas:  Had a lot of minnows inside the harbor at Tawas Bay but anglers caught very little. Chinook salmon were jumping both inside and outside the harbor as well as off the mouth of the river, but none were caught.  A couple walleye were taken off the breakwall at night when casting body baits.   

Tawas River:  A couple pike and smallmouth bass were caught in the river and off the mouth by shore anglers casting various lures.

Au Gres River:  Had some reports of Chinook salmon jumping off the mouth of Whitney Drain at the Singing Bridge, but none were caught.  


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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Overall: Lake trout and splake season in MM 1-5 closed on September 30. This includes the waters of Lake Michigan from Menominee to Frankfort. 

Petoskey:  Boat fishing activity has dropped. Anglers caught a couple salmon off the piers and docks around the marina when casting spoons and stick baits after dark. Anglers did well at the mouth or the river when floating spawn or casting stick baits for Chinook. Others did well off the beach area when casting spoons.       

Bear River:  Had a lot of fish including Chinook, coho and a couple small steelhead that were caught at the dam by those using spawn, artificial eggs and flies. Some of the fish are dark. Water levels were high after all the rain.   

Charlevoix:  A couple boats fishing in and around the freighter slip near the cement plant reported seeing salmon, but few were caught. Most were casting spoons and stick baits or fishing spawn from boats. Shore anglers casting after dark and before dawn near the cement plant did catch a few Chinook. Smallmouth fishing in the channel was slow and angler pressure has dropped. Those still targeting them used real and artificial worms.

Traverse City:  Cisco fishing remains good in the East Bay in 100 to 120 feet along the west bank and around Deepwater Point. Bass were caught in 30 to 35 feet. Fishing improved some in the Elk River as anglers caught a few Chinook and small coho when using spawn at the dam. In the West Bay, salmon fishing was slow but coho were caught in the south end. Perch fishing was hit-or-miss at Northport and Suttons Bay. Some nice fish were caught in Bowers Harbor and south of the boat launch but no big numbers. Catch rates on the Boardman River picked up with some nice Chinook caught below the pedestrian bridge near J & S Hamburg’s and at the Union Street Dam when drifting spawn and skein. 

Platte River:  The coho just keep coming! Good numbers of fish were below the Lower Weir which has offered some good fishing in the lower river. Anglers have also caught fish down near the mouth when casting. 

Frankfort:  Those trolling and jigging in Betsie Bay or fishing at the tubes are getting a few Chinook salmon. Coho were stacked in Platte Bay and ready to run but the bite was slow.   

Betsie River:  Anglers from the Homestead Dam are reporting lower numbers of Chinook and the fish are darker.   

Portage Lake:  Anglers caught some good size perch in 18 to 22 feet in front of the city launch and at the mouth of the channel. The bigger fish were hitting on minnows. No big numbers yet and the bite was slow.   

Manistee:  Surface temperature readings were about 56 degrees. The fish cleaning station is now closed. Fishing slowed but some anglers did manage to catch a few coho when trolling artificial lures in the harbor. A small number of Chinook and coho were caught off the pier. 

Manistee River:  Had a decent run of coho at Tippy Dam. Anglers have also found a few brown trout, some walleye and the occasional pike. 

Big Sable River:  Had a good run of coho salmon.   

Ludington:  Surface temperature readings were about 58 degrees. Fishing had been slow with only a small number of Chinook and coho taken by those trolling in the harbor and around the pierheads. Coho have returned to the State Park and had started to stack up. Catch rates were not very high yet, but a few anglers had success when casting artificial lures.   

Pere Marquette River:  Still has decent salmon fishing. Many of the bigger Chinook have spawned and are turning dark. A few coho have made their way into the river.  Anglers are also catching steelhead. 

Pentwater:  Salmon anglers casting spoons from the pierheads reported slow fishing.

Pentwater Lake:  Anglers casting body baits from Longbridge Road caught the occasional Chinook in the early morning.

Pentwater River:  Anglers casting body baits or drifting skein caught Chinook salmon. Early morning was best.  


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Upper Peninsula

Ontonagon:  Fishing is good with nice catches of lake trout taken in 25 to 75 feet. A few coho and brown trout have also been caught.

Keweenaw Bay:  Fishing picked up a little but was still slow. There has not been a push of fall fish in the local rivers, but they should be moving in soon. In Traverse Bay, a few lake trout were caught in 50 to 90 feet when trolling spoons.   

Lac Vieux Desert:  Cooler temperatures caused a decline in panfish production but there were still a few decent perch being caught on minnows. Some had success chasing walleye, but the majority were sub-legal. Muskie were caught when casting artificial lures. Some started to use suckers but had no luck. A good number of small pike are being caught however fish measuring 30 inches or more were becoming more common. Bass angling pressure has slowed. 

Marquette:  Fishing started to pick up around the mouth of the Chocolay River and outside the breakwall in the Lower Harbor. Most were targeting salmon, steelhead and brown trout when trolling in front of the Chocolay and Carp Rivers in 30 to 50 feet. Shore anglers on the Carp, Dead and Chocolay Rivers had low catch rates. More coho were starting to get caught at the mouth of the Carp and Chocolay Rivers. Those on the Dead River spotted a good number of Chinook.   

Little Bay De Noc:  Walleye catches were spotty, but most were caught in 18 to 35 feet when trolling stick baits or crawlers. Several fair to good catches of perch were reported in the Day’s River with minnows in 16 to 24 feet and around Kipling in 22 to 30 feet. Fair smallmouth action between Hunters Point and Squaw Point when casting crank baits, plastics or drop-shot in 18 feet or so. Fair to good pike fishing around Butler Island and in the Escanaba Yacht Harbor when casting crank baits or spinners in 10 to 17 feet. 

Big Bay De Noc:  Water temperatures in both bays were in the high 60’s. Catch rates for walleye were spotty near Round Island. Strong winds have limited the fishing. 

Au Train:  The boat ramp is usable once again. There are still some small rocks in the water however they did not seem to hinder the launching process. Those targeting lake trout around Au Train Island continue to catch a good number of fish. Those fishing in front of the Rock River caught lake trout as the fish come in shallow to spawn. A few salmon have been caught. Those fishing just off the Au Train River caught coho and brown trout but the action was still slow. Surface waters were in the low 50’s. 

Munising:  A few coho have been caught.  The fish were smaller at 14-17 inches with a few around 20. A few splake averaging 18 inches or so were caught but the bite was hit-or-miss. No Chinook, steelhead or brown trout to report. 

Grand Marais:  Boat anglers had reports of a few coho taken but the action was slow. Surf and river anglers at the Sucker River caught a few coho. Strong wind and large waves at the mouth made surf-casting more difficult. 

Two Hearted River:  Anglers had some good opportunities for coho on the river and out from the mouth. Those trolling in front of the river mouth did well on the calm days.  Those fishing in the river had luck all the way up to the Reed and Green Bridge. 

Drummond Island:  Water temperatures are cooling down and anglers reported a few more perch being caught at Ashman Island and on the north side of Grape Island with shiners just off the bottom in 12 to 14 feet. Good pike action was reported on the southeast side of Grape Island when casting or trolling a spoon with a red eye just off the weed beds in seven to nine feet. Those targeting the bigger pike were drifting chubs early morning and late evening. 

St. Marys River:  A few nice catches of walleye were taken in Raber Bay. Most fish averaged 16-19 inches. Walleye were also caught south of Raber Point when trolling a crawler harness with a bottom bouncer in eight to 12 feet near the mouth of Carlton Creek. 

Detour:  A few anglers caught Chinook salmon.  Try the Drummond Island side and fish from the red buoy east to the lighthouse and west to the green buoy with orange and gold spoons 40 to 55 feet down in 80 to 90 feet.   

Cedarville and Hessel:  Yellow perch fishing was not good in Cedarville Bay or Connors Point. A few were taken by those drifting shiners and worms just off the bottom in the 12-foot channel south of the Cedarville launch. Few were targeting pike, but some good reports came from the Middle Entrance when trolling a six to eight inch chartreuse or orange crank bait with a black ladder back. Those still-fishing used creek chubs in 12 to 14 feet. For Hessel, splake were caught however the season is now closed.   

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Fishing Tip: What to do when you're looking for crappie in the fall

This time of year can bring some of the best results when it comes to fishing for crappie. Want to target these panfish when you head out in the coming days or weeks? 

These fish often stay in deeper water longer than other panfish – and they also tend to move around more as they target large schools of baitfish. If you use baits that imitate a crappie’s food of choice you’ll be more likely to find them. 

Keep in mind that crappies will get less and less active as the water cools off and they slow down. You’ll then want to slow your presentation and offer smaller baits to keep seeing success.

Try your luck at some great crappie fishing this fall. For more information on this species, visit 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.