Weekly Fishing Report: April 4, 2019

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Weekly Fishing Report - April 1, 2019

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

Boat anglers are starting to head out and fish shallow waters in the southern Great Lakes. Most are targeting steelhead, coho and brown trout. Pier anglers are also out. We have fewer ice anglers as most are now gearing up for open water fishing.

All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Boats out trolling for walleye caught fish off Fermi and Sterling State Park. Most were using crank baits. Perch were hitting on minnows off the Metro Park.

Huron River: Continues to produce some steelhead near the dam at Flat Rock and Labo Park.

Detroit River: Walleye continue to move into the lower river. No big numbers yet however some big fish have been caught. A few fish were caught up at Wyandotte near the steel mill. Perch fishing continues to be good in the canals around Gibraltar and Grosse Ile. Most are using perch spreaders or a red hook with a minnow. As walleye start to push up into the river to spawn, the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor has opened one month early to accommodate all the boat anglers that will be in the area for the spring run.

Saginaw Bay: Persistent cold weather seems to be holding back the spring fish runs. If it warms up later this week, fishing may pick up. Perch anglers are getting a few in the cut at the end of Palmer Road. Those launching from Linwood caught walleye when trolling in 31 feet. Closer to the Saginaw River, walleye were found in the middle of the shipping channel just off the river mouth in 31 feet, around Spoils Island and north of it, and between Spoils Island and the mouth of the Kawkawlin River in 15 feet. A purple Walley Diver seem to work best. Perch fishing from Sebewaing to Caseville was very slow. Most anglers were concentrated in Mud Creek especially in the morning hours, but most were only getting one or two fish per angler. There was not much going on in the Sebewaing River or the Pigeon River.

Saginaw River: Perch fishing in the lower river was spotty and dependent on the weather. A couple limit catches of 25 fish per angler were taken by boat anglers off the old Weadok Plant in 16 to 17 feet and at the mouth of the Coast Guard Cut. The fish were running seven to 11 inches.

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

Overall: Anglers are slowly starting to get out on the inland lakes however most of the activity has been focused on steelhead fishing in the rivers. Anglers are reminded that walleye caught incidentally from inland waters must be released immediately.

New Buffalo: Boat anglers trolling in shallow waters continue to catch a few coho.

St. Joseph: Pier anglers are targeting steelhead and brown trout in the channel. Some have caught the occasional coho. A few boats were heading out and trolling in shallow waters along the shoreline.

St. Joseph River: Continues to produce steelhead and suckers. The steelhead run has been good below Berrien Springs.

South Haven: Boat and pier fishing for coho was a little slow as windy conditions have hampered fishing efforts. The only fish recorded were the two caught by pier anglers using spawn.

Black River: Had decent fishing with coho and a couple steelhead taken on spawn.

Kalamazoo River: Had good steelhead fishing below the Calkins Dam.

Grand Haven: The piers were still ice covered. The Harbor Island boat launch has two docks in the water.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Is experiencing a very strong run of spring steelhead as a lot of fish were recorded below 6th Street. Suckers are being caught along with a few panfish in the bayous.

Grand River near Lansing: Water clarity is better, and the bite should improve with the upcoming warm up. Anglers caught a few smallmouth bass below the North Lansing Dam. Most are using a lipless crank bait or crawlers.

Muskegon: Pier anglers reported slow steelhead and brown trout action. The piers were still ice covered so use caution.

Muskegon Lake: The ice is gone! Docks are in at the Snug Harbor launch, the State Park launch and Fisherman’s Landing. Boat anglers were out trying but had a difficult time with the strong winds.

Muskegon River: Higher water levels made fishing a bit more difficult. Steelhead were found in the deeper holes.

White River: Has steelhead and suckers. Steelhead were caught near Hesperia and in the North Branch. Suckers were caught on crawlers.

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Rogers City: Still had some ice in the marina.

Thunder Bay River: Anglers caught steelhead and the occasional Atlantic salmon.

Au Sable River: Anglers will find steelhead and Atlantic salmon in the lower river.

Higgins Lake: Still had ice however the shoreline ice is starting to open-up. Angler numbers have dropped but the few were still heading out. Rainbow trout are in the shallows, try near Big Creek. Be sure to bring your waders. Smelt were caught but the action was hit-or-miss.

Houghton Lake: Ice fishing here is pretty much done as the ice is starting to open-up. There are areas with open water that continue to expand each day. Warmer temperatures coupled with strong winds and even rain by the end of the week will create dangerous conditions. It is time to get the spring fishing gear ready to go!

Tawas: Boats launching from the river mouth and heading down near Alabaster caught a couple walleye and lake trout though the action was not red hot. Anglers were trolling or jigging.

Tawas River: A few walleyes and suckers were caught by shore anglers at the mouth.

Au Gres: Those trolling just off the mouth of the Au Gres River are getting some walleyes.

Au Gres River: At the Singing Bridge, a couple steelhead and brown trout were caught in the surf when floating spawn bags.

Rifle River: The sucker runs have started but are still running a bit late.

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Overall: Steelhead fishing is improving but it needs to warm up. The area still had some ice fishing however some lakes are starting to break up as the ice deteriorates. Those heading out need to use caution.

Torch Lake: Anglers were still trying for burbot however the ice was only a couple inches thick about 50 yards out. Those testing the ice said the spud went right through after a couple hits. No reports on the south end but it is safe to say there is no more safe ice on the north end.

Traverse City: Those trying to fish off Yuba reported white ice that was honeycomb ice which is not safe. Both bays should be open water by the weekend.

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Still had some ice fishing though fewer anglers were out.

Manistee River: Anglers caught a moderate number of steelhead in the lower river.

Hamlin Lake: The lower lake is completely open water. The upper lake still had ice which should be gone by the end of the week. There was about 100 feet of open water around the edge.

Pere Marquette River: Steelhead anglers are out but catch rates were slow.

Pentwater River: Steelhead anglers targeting the deeper holes are taking the occasional steelhead on spawn.

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Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay: Ice conditions are still holding in most places. Shoreline ice north of the tire shop is getting weak and starting to break up. Ice at the head of the bay near the 3rd bridge is in poor shape and has areas with open water. Watch out for old holes that were drilled in front of the Falls River. With rain and warmer temperatures in the forecast, anglers need to check the ice before heading out. Both the lake trout and the whitefish bite were slow. The coho action was a little better in eight to 20 feet. The smelt bite was fair for those using wax worms or spikes. Steelhead have been showing up in the area rivers that are open.

Marquette: A decent number of boats were going out to the “Bubbler” near the mouth of the Dead River but catch rates were hit-or-miss. Some managed to get their limit but most were lucky to get a couple coho. Cloudy days with a light wind seem to produce the most fish. The warm water discharge from the power plant has been shut down for good. The “Bubbler” will still be running until mid-June without warm water. The Upper Harbor is completely ice free and anglers were launching boats. The Lower Harbor is also ice free however the marina still has ice and it could be another week or so before boats can launch from there.

Little Bay De Noc: Still had ice fishing and could for a while yet because of the cold temperatures at night. Perch anglers did best with minnows or wigglers in 25 to 30 feet near Kipling. The numbers were light, but many reported some nice jumbo’s in the mix.

Munising: Fishing pressure has been very light. Those out reported slow catch rates with only a few coho taken. Reports from Trout Bay, Sand Point and near the Anna River were no fish taken.

Cedarville and Hessel: Ice fishing continues but those heading out need to use caution as there are some areas with open water. Perch fishing was good with limit catches taken out of Musky Bay and Hessel Bay when jigging wax worms, wigglers or spikes in 15 to 17 feet. Fish were seven to 11 inches with most about eight inches.

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Fishing Tip: Let's catch some crappie!

Crappie are among the most difficult pan fish to pattern, because of their tendency to suspend in the water column, except in the spring. During this time, crappie move to shallow water -- sometimes in water only a couple feet deep -- to spawn, so there isn’t a lot of water column to suspend in.

Crappies like both minnows and jigs. The easiest way to fish for them is to suspend the bait under a bobber, halfway between the surface and the bottom, around any sort of cover – weeds, brush, dock pilings…whatever.

Anglers who prefer a more active approach can cast with jigs and swim them back or fly fish with minnow-imitating streamers. Just think shallow in spring.

For more information on crappie fishing, visit their page on the DNR’s website.

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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