Weekly Fishing Report: July 15, 2020

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Weekly Fishing Report - July 15, 2020

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

If you’re headed out fishing, please do your part to keep yourself and others safe by following COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines. Go fishing only if you're feeling well. Practice proper social distancing, at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live in your household. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer.

While the bite slowed when the cold front moved through, it looks like fishing is once again picking back up. River fishing for catfish, walleye, bass and freshwater drum continues to improve. Inland lakes are producing a fair to good number of bass. 

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Anglers had to search for walleye, and the numbers were down. Most did best near Fermi, Turtle Island, the Dumping Grounds and Luna Pier right off the bottom in 24 to 28 feet. Some did better when they increased their trolling speed. Hot colors were purple, green and gold. The perch bite picked up, with fish caught around Pointe Mouillee and Luna Pier when drifting minnows. Lots of catfish are being caught in the Hot Pond. Some anglers did great with a piece of hot dog. 

Huron River: Fair numbers of bass have been caught at various locations by fly anglers or by those using bait and tackle. 

Lake St. Clair: Walleye were caught when trolling along the shipping channel between the South Channel and the light with crawler harnesses and crankbaits. Musky were caught when casting in Goose Bay and in front of the Spillway. The smallmouth bite remained tough as water temperatures are warm and the fish are schooled up. Those topwater fishing caught a few near Huron Point and outside Goose Bay in the morning.  The mayfly hatch is winding down, so the bite should improve. A few yellow perch were caught near the mouth of the channels. Bluegills were found along the weeds. 

St. Clair River: Walleye were caught at night.    

Saginaw Bay: Walleye were caught off Pinconning in 30 feet and off Linwood in 18 to 24 feet with crawlers and crankbaits. Fish also were found near the old Dumping Grounds in 22 feet and off Finn Road in 20 feet when using crawlers. Windy conditions slowed the walleye action, with only a few found in 16 feet along the Slot. Due to the high number of freshwater drum and catfish being caught, anglers now are switching to Hot-n-Tots, spoons, flicker shad or artificial baits instead of a crawler harness. Walleye were caught off Caseville when trolling a harness or body bait out near the Charity Islands. 

Saginaw River: Shore anglers at Smith Park caught smallmouth bass on spinners.    

Port Austin: Walleye are showing up in front of the harbor and around the lighthouse in 15 to 25 feet, including some limit catches. A crawler harness is working best. Pier anglers had no luck. 

Grindstone City: A couple walleye were caught straight out of the harbor and northwest in 20 to 30 feet when trolling both crawlers and crankbaits. 

Harbor Beach: Walleye fishing started to pick up again south of the harbor and north toward Port Hope in 25 to 35 feet when trolling body baits. 

Port Sanilac and Lexington: Anglers are fishing for perch out of both harbors. Fish were found at various weed beds in 18 to 22 feet. 

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph: Had very good perch fishing both north and south of the piers in 15 to 22 feet. With the good perch fishing, few boats were salmon fishing. Charter boats caught lake trout and the occasional salmon or steelhead in 80 to 120 feet. Other than all the freshwater drum being caught, pier fishing was slow. 

South Haven: Perch fishing was decent, with most caught south of the piers. The fish were scattered in 20 to 50 feet. Salmon fishing was slow, but a few lake trout and smaller Chinook were caught in 100 feet or so. Pier fishing was slow for all species. 

Holland: Salmon and trout action was slow. 

Lake Macatawa: Catfish and freshwater drum are being caught. Walleye and perch were caught on a harness with crawlers and leeches.    

Port Sheldon: Salmon and trout were caught 30 to 80 feet down in 90 to 140 feet when trolling green and blue meat rigs. 

Grand Haven: The Harbor Island boat launch is still closed. Pier anglers caught a couple steelhead on shrimp. 

Grand River near Grand Rapids: Fishing was slow, with mainly small catfish and the occasional keeper walleye.

Ottawa County: Anglers trolling for crappie in the Bass River area caught some good-size fish. 

Ionia County: Panfish are being caught on inland lakes. Some with limits and some with none. Bass and catfish on the rivers. 

Lake Ovid: Was producing some bass for those using crawlers or casting.

Muskegon: Salmon and trout action was slow, with only a few caught 20 to 80 feet down in 90 to 160 feet. Try spoons or meat rigs. 

Muskegon Lake: Was producing some walleye.

Muskegon River: Trout are difficult to find due to warm water temperatures. Walleye were caught on Hardy Pond. Smallmouth and suckers still were biting near Hersey. 

White Lake: Was producing walleye, bass and bluegills.

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan: Had no reports; however, those looking for salmon and trout will want to target Lafayette Point off Bois Blanc Island when trolling spoons, spin-glo’s and meat rigs as shallow as 60 to 90 feet or as deep as 100 to 140 feet. 

Cheboygan River: Had little fishing pressure. Anglers did catch smallmouth bass and a couple walleye when drifting worms. Boat anglers trolling a crawler harness caught smallmouth bass. 

Rogers City: Colder water will be much deeper now. Hopefully, the winds will switch again to a more southerly or easterly direction and bring the thermocline back up. For now, go deep and find structure. Those using spoons did well on lake trout, steelhead, pink salmon and the occasional Chinook in 80 to 150 feet. Use downriggers deep or copper and lead core covering the mid and upper sections. Hot colors were green, black and white, orange and green, orange and silver, green/blue combination, and glow early and late. Anglers caught a couple walleye as well.   

Presque Isle: Anglers trolling spoons caught trout and salmon. Try 80 to 150 feet and run lines throughout the water column for best results.   

Alpena: Those trolling spoons and spin-glo’s in 60 to 140 feet found lake trout, coho, pink salmon, steelhead and walleye. Most were found in the upper 60 feet with a few near the bottom. Those trolling a crawler harness in 15 to 40 feet caught walleye, pike and freshwater drum. The walleye bite was best after dark.

Thunder Bay River: Those floating or drifting crawlers caught smallmouth bass, rock bass, freshwater drum and the occasional walleye or channel cat. Small perch were caught in Alcona Pond. 

Hubbard Lake: Walleye fishing was slow, but anglers were getting panfish. 

Oscoda: Trout, salmon and walleye were caught by those trolling spoons or flies and dodgers with spin-glo’s between Au Sable Point and 3 Mile Park in 70 to 140 feet. Fish were suspended in the top 60 feet or near the bottom. Purple, red, white, orange and blue were good colors. A couple walleye were suspended in 50 to 70 feet. Pier anglers caught smallmouth, freshwater drum, channel cats and the occasional walleye. 

Au Sable River: Anglers floating crawlers at the mouth caught freshwater drum, channel cats, smallmouth bass and rock bass. A couple smallmouth and pike were caught by those casting crankbaits. The occasional walleye was caught, but most of the fish were undersize. 

Higgins Lake: Trolling for lake trout has been good in 100 feet using cowbells and body baits. Rock bass fishing has been good along the drop-offs.

Houghton Lake: Walleye fishing was hit or miss when trolling crankbaits or a crawler harness. Panfish were caught on slip bobbers and leeches.

Lake St. Helen: Panfish and bass were caught along the weed beds.

Tawas: A good number of walleyes, including some limits, were caught straight off the point with crawlers, spoons and crank baits in 50 to 70 feet. Brown trout and steelhead were caught a bit deeper in 80 feet or more with spoons. 

Tawas River: Those fishing at Gateway Park caught a few catfish, freshwater drum and rock bass on crawlers and various lures.

Au Gres: Continues to have good walleye fishing in 30 to 40 feet with crawlers, spoons and crankbaits. Fish have been found north of the Charity Islands and as far south as the Pinconning area.

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Harbor Springs: Boats heading north up to Five Mile and Seven Mile Point did well for lake trout and the odd Chinook salmon taken 80 to 85 feet down in over 100 feet. The temperature break was about 60 feet down. 

Charlevoix: Had a large mayfly hatch, and you could see them coming down the channel. Those targeting lake trout found a few fish from North Point to Fisherman’s Island. A couple Chinook salmon also were caught. Those fishing the channel were targeting smallmouth bass; however, a couple random cisco were caught on spoons. There were a lot of undersize smallmouth in the rocks near the lighthouse. Rock bass also were caught. You may find a couple pike in the channel as well. Most anglers fish the bottom with crawlers and leeches; however, some also had luck using crankbaits and twisty tails.

Torch Lake: Was producing smallmouth bass.

Lake Bellaire: Anglers caught a couple walleye here and on the Clam River. 

Traverse City: A couple cisco were caught in the East Bay. A lot of bass anglers were out.    

Grand Traverse County: Anglers reported good panfish activity on Arbutus Lake and good bass fishing on Spider Lake. 

Lake Skegemog: Those drifting worms in the late evening caught crappie. Anglers had limited success with topwater crankbaits for bass in the early morning.

Leland: Lake trout and salmon moved out deeper off Leland and Sleeping Bear Point.  Limit catches were reported. 

Lake Leelanau: Walleye were caught south of the “Narrows.”    

Frankfort: With the warm water, the temperature break was 60 to 70 feet down. Chinook salmon were hitting meat rigs in the early morning and at sunset. Lake trout still were hitting throughout the area.

Portage Lake: Surface water temperatures were warm, but bass anglers caught some very nice largemouth. Catch rates did not come easy, as most were working very hard for them. Perch and panfish catches were slow in 18 to 22 feet. 

Manistee: Fishing was hit or miss, but a few Chinook were caught south of town toward Big Sable Point and along the “Shelf.” Most were using spoons, meat rigs and a flasher/fly combo 35 to 90 feet down in 120 to 200 feet. Lake trout were caught in 80 to 140 feet north and south of the port. Steelhead were caught in the top 50 feet in 100 to 200 feet along the “Shelf.” 

Manistee Lake: Was producing bluegill, pike, bass and perch. 

Manistee River: The Hex hatch is over, but a lot of other bugs were giving the fish plenty to eat. Those drifting are seeing trout, but they did not want to bite.    

Ludington: A couple salmon were caught at Big Sable Point in 150 feet or out from the projects in 140 feet. Spoons and meat rigs worked, but fishing was slow at times. Lake trout were caught straight out in 80 feet as well as north of the point in 70 to 100 feet.  Steelhead were hitting spoons to the south in 140 feet or to the north in 300 to 350 feet.  Pier anglers targeting perch had no luck; however, those fishing off the stub pier caught rock bass on worms. 

Pentwater: Lake trout were caught in 200 to 250 feet between here and Little Sable Point. 

Pentwater Lake: Was producing some perch.

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Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers fishing Huron, Keweenaw and Traverse Bays are all reporting similar catches. Jigging for lake trout is producing the highest yield of fish. Those trolling for salmon found a few but caught more lake trout.     

Marquette: Surface water temperatures rose to about 70 degrees nearshore and in the mid-60s offshore. With a large fly hatch, lake trout were surface feeding, so the bite was very slow. Most were getting only one or two fish per trip. 

Little Bay de Noc: Overall walleye fishing was slow, with the exception of the “Black Bottom” area, where anglers trolling a crawler harness or stick baits in 14 to 35 feet along the east bank had a few limit catches in the early morning. Fair perch fishing between the second and third reefs or south of the “Narrows” using crawlers or minnows in 30 feet. Small bass were caught near the Ford River mouth with crawlers or when casting plastics. A few salmon showed up just north of the Ford River buoy and were found 60 to 90 feet down in 110 feet. 

Manistique: Salmon catches were spotty, with most fishing 60 to 105 feet down in 100 to 120 feet around Barques Point. The Chinook are either very big or small with few in between. Anglers are reporting big lake trout this year, with many over 12 pounds. 

Manistique River: Walleye anglers reported fair catches on jigs with crawlers or casting stick baits up near the dam and around the breakwall. Smallmouth bass fishing was good for those casting plastics or using crawlers. 

Manistique Lake: Fishing slowed in both lakes; however, anglers still were taking limits of panfish in South Manistique.

Munising: Lake trout fishing was very slow due to a large fly hatch. The fish are surface feeding. Few anglers had been out, as many were fishing from Manistique and off Fairport for Chinook. 

St. Marys River: Those fishing near Sault Ste. Marie caught Atlantic salmon, whitefish and lake herring. Most were fishing behind the federal powerhouse or the Cloverland Powerhouse. Walleye anglers reported fair catches at Carlton Creek when trolling a purple beaded crawler harness and bottom bouncer in 8 to 14 feet in the early morning.  Carleton Creek is located 1.5 miles south of the Raber Bay boat launch. Straight across Raber Bay, on the north side of Lime Island, try both sides of Round Island when trolling a crawler harness and bottom bouncer in 8 to 10 feet early morning or late evening. 

Detour: Limit catches of lake trout were taken 2 miles south of the Detour Reef and lighthouse when trolling a purple and chrome or black and white 4-inch spoon. Best catches came when skipping cannon balls across the 90 Foot Flat. There were no reports of anglers targeting Atlantic or Chinook salmon. Many salmon anglers have switched to lake herring. 

Drummond Island: In and around the ferry dock, anglers caught yellow perch on both sides when using worms or minnows in 8 to 10 feet. Lake herring are still being caught in 18 to 25 feet at Ballinger Island, Macomb Island and Butterfield Island when using red or dark brown teardrop jigs tipped with a wax worm or natural fly.    

Cedarville and Hessel: There are no reports of yellow perch from Cedarville Bay. For smallmouth bass, fish the Middle Entrance to the Les Cheneaux Islands. Good catches were reported at the mouth of Duck Bay when using gold and silver spinners in 4 to 6 feet. For Hessel, try fishing the finger docks in the marina for yellow perch, as lots of fish were schooling in the area. Be ready to sort through the small ones. Good pike action at the Hessel fishing pier in the early morning. Try the west end of the pier on either side of the flag with creek chubs or large shiners two cranks off the bottom in 8 feet. No reports of lake herring caught in Hessel Bay.    

St. Ignace: The occasional steelhead was caught east of Mackinac Island when trolling a meat rig. Surface water temperatures were 66.2 degrees at the surface and 55.1 degrees at 59 feet down. Those drifting worms and leeches near the rapids on the Pine River caught walleye. On the Carp River, those fishing off the wall caught walleye when drifting and bottom bouncing worms.

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Fishing Tip: A simple method for summer lake fishing

Sometimes we want to go fishing and enjoy getting out on the water, but just don’t want to expend a lot of energy – especially if it’s too hot to work hard at it. Here’s a laid-back way to cover water and find fish you might otherwise miss, without needing complicated gear or a fancy boat. All you need is basic fishing tackle and a watercraft. Even a rented rowboat, paddle boat or canoe can work.

Rig your rod with light line (4- to 8-pound test), tie a small hook on the end of the line (No. 4 or smaller), and add a split shot or two about a foot above the hook. Favorite baits for this method include half a nightcrawler or a baby crawler, leeches or even some of the heavily scented artificial leeches or small plastic worms. Hook the bait in the center of one end so it doesn’t spin when you gently pull it through the water.

Position your boat so the prevailing breeze will carry it along a drop-off or across any area with water depths of at least 12 to 20 feet. Let out enough line, or adjust the amount of weight on the line, so your bait will stay about 12 to 20 feet deep no matter how deep the water is. Then set your rod down against the side of the boat, relax and watch the tip of the rod for a bite. Drop the rod tip when you see a bite and count to three before reeling in and setting the hook with a firm pull. Not too hard!

Many fish, such as bass, walleye, yellow perch, crappie and larger bluegill, will move into deeper water and suspend at their preferred cooler temperature during the hot summer months. Slowly drifting a larger, natural bait at these deeper depths often will pan out.

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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.