Weekly Fishing Report: March 31, 2021

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Weekly Fishing Report - March 31, 2021

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) and keep a face covering handy for when social distancing cannot be maintained. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer.

Anglers 17 years of age and older will be required to have a 2021 fishing license on April 1.  The 2021 Michigan Fishing Guide is available online.

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Those trolling a crawler harness or bandits in 10 to 14 feet found walleye. Panfish activity was starting to heat up in the marinas and the DTE Hot Ponds. 

Detroit River: Yellow perch were caught on perch rigs with minnows in the cuts and marinas. Walleye action was slow. 

Lake St. Clair: High winds and rain have made for rough conditions and have churned up the water. Anglers are targeting yellow perch and walleye. Perch fishing was better in areas with warmer water such as river mouths and shallow bays. Walleye anglers are catching smallmouth bass when trolling. 

St. Clair River: Salmon and walleye reports were hit-or-miss. There was not much angler effort with the strong winds. Water temperatures remain relatively cold as Lake Huron is very slow to warm. 

Saginaw Bay: Recent strong winds will stir the water up and change fishing conditions. Overall perch fishing was decent, but the walleye action was slow. A few limit catches of perch were taken out from the mouth of the Saginaw River and around Spoils Island when using perch rigs. Anglers were sorting through a lot of small ones. Off the mouth of the Quanicassee River, anglers were getting 25-35 perch per boat. Fishing in the Quanicassee River was slow. Walleye fishing was slow. A few were finally caught at the range light just outside the mouth of the Saginaw River when using orange jig heads with minnows. Anglers were out looking for perch from Sebewaing to Caseville. Catch rates for shore anglers targeting the cuts were hit-or-miss.     

Saginaw River: Perch were caught near the Bay Aggregate Cut  Anglers reported far smaller numbers and much smaller fish.

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

New Buffalo: Anglers are catching coho salmon. 

St. Joseph: Boat anglers are trolling in shallow waters for coho and steelhead. Fish were caught from the piers south to the Cook Nuclear Plant. Pier anglers are also out when the weather permits. 

St. Joseph River: Continues to provide good steelhead fishing below Berrien Springs. 

Kalamazoo River: Steelhead were caught throughout the river with the higher numbers below the Calkins Dam. Most were using spawn, wax worms and pink or red beads. 

Grand Haven: Pier anglers are targeting coho and steelhead when the winds allow.   

Grand River near Grand Rapids: Steelhead are still being caught near the 6th Street Dam when using spawn bags and orange beads. Perch fishing was slow off the bridges near Smith’s and Petty’s Bayous.     

Grand River near Lansing: Still no word on steelhead this far up as more rain is needed. When the winds allow, anglers have caught a few smallmouth bass below the North Lansing Dam. Try minnows and plastics. 

Muskegon River:  DNR staff will have electrofishing boats on the water collecting walleye eggs below Croton Dam through April 16.  Anglers should use caution near the electrofishing boats and anyone wading nearby when the boats approach will be asked to exit the water to ensure everyone’s safety. Steelhead fishing has slowed with only a few fish taken below Croton Dam. Shore anglers were out. Perch fishing also slowed. 

Oceana County: The White River experienced a late push of steelhead and anglers were starting to catch fish. Fresh steelhead were starting to push up from Happy Mohawk Livery and showing up at the Hesperia Dam. Inland lakes were still slow with cold water temperatures.

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan County: Anglers were catching some nice steelhead in the Sturgeon River and the Pigeon River south of M-68.       

Alpena: Steelhead were caught in Thunder Bay and at the Ninth Street Dam.

Au Sable River: Anglers caught a good number of steelhead and Atlantic salmon.  The better fishing was down near the mouth, however fish were also found at Foote Dam. 

Higgins Lake: The ice is finally gone. A few boat anglers are starting to head out and were trolling though no reports have come in on catch rates. 

Houghton Lake: Water temperatures are still too cold for bluegills, but crappie have been caught in the canals. A few perch were caught at Reedsburg Dam. 

Tawas:  A few lake trout, brown trout and walleye were caught out near the artificial reef when trolling body baits and spoons in 15 to 30 feet.  It was slow at the Pine River with very few boats going out after perch. A few small fish were caught in the river when using minnows. 

Tawas River: Fishing was slow at Gateway Park with only a few suckers and a brown trout caught on crawlers.

Au Gres: The action was slow with a few lake trout and pike caught when trolling body baits in 10 to 25 feet near the mouth of the river and up near Whitestone Point. Suckers were caught in the Rifle River at Omer and upstream. 

Au Gres River: There was some good catches including a couple limit catches of steelhead and brown trout in the surf at the Singing Bridge access. Most were still-fishing or drifting with spawn. 

Gratiot County: Suckers and carp are starting to make their way into the drainage ditches and those bow fishing are starting to walk the banks.

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Anglers will want to focus on rivers that are open to steelhead fishing.  Though fishing is a bit tough right now as the rivers are low and clear, a warm rain will help improve conditions.   

Charlevoix County: Steelhead were caught in the Boyne River though the numbers were still on the low side. 

Traverse City: When boat anglers can get out, a few Cisco were caught in the West Bay and Suttons Bay. A few perch were caught at Northport. Steelhead were caught in the Boardman River.

Frankfort: Boats trolling in shallower water have caught some brown trout. 

Benzie County: Steelhead were caught in the Betsie River although there does not seem to be any steelhead moving through the Platte River yet.

Manistee: A couple steelhead and brown trout were caught by surf anglers and those trolling near shore. 

Manistee River: Steelhead fishing has been steady with the warmer weather. 

Pere Marquette River: Fresh steelhead were reported in the South Branch.    

Pentwater River: Had a run of fresh steelhead.   

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Upper Peninsula

The rivers had fair steelhead action however the river mouths had very good action for steelhead, coho and brown trout fishing. 

Keweenaw Bay: Most of the ice on the bay is gone except for some pack ice near the head of the bay that moves around each day with the wind. Shore anglers have caught some coho, brown trout, splake and steelhead. Boat anglers have caught the same along with some lake trout.  All of the rivers in the area are open.  Fish are slowly moving in, but it is still early. 

Marquette: Is ice free and the docks are in. Those trolling have done well taking a combination of coho, brown trout, steelhead and the occasional Chinook. Most were taken in the Lower Harbor from the green can to the Carp and Chocolay Rivers in 30 feet or less with spoons and stick baits. Those launching from the Chocolay River Marina and fishing to the mouth have caught coho and brown trout. Shore anglers fishing the Carp, Chocolay and Garlic Rivers have caught a couple steelhead and brown trout when floating a single egg or crawlers. 

Little Bay De Noc:  Is open south of Gladstone although there are some pockets of ice along the shoreline in some areas.  No skid piers are in yet. The northern part of the bay north of Gladstone and Kipling still had ice though it is melting rapidly. There have been a few boats going out although strong winds are keeping most anglers off the water.   

Munising: The ice is out from Christmas to the Grand Island Access. The ice is gone in Munising Bay and the dock is in. The ice is 90% gone off Sand Point. Shove ice has blown in by the Anna River and the small access site is difficult at this time due to a large sand bar at the mouth.    

Cedarville and Hessel: There are no reports for the week as many of the bays are now open water and ice conditions were unknown for any remaining ice. Boat anglers should be heading out soon.

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Fishing Tip: Want to find fish? Use sonar!

Avid anglers are constantly looking for tips and tricks to have more successful fishing trips. Many turn to sonar technology to achieve this goal.

Although a bit of an investment (units start at $100 and go up), sonar products offer a variety of benefits on the water. Most units can provide anglers with readings on temperature, vegetation and structure in the water, type of bottom below you, fish in the area, depth, current speed of the vessel, GPS navigation, and waypoints for future trips. Some even allow you the opportunity to purchase nautical charts.

Need help, besides using sonar, in planning your next fishing trip? Visit Michigan.gov/Fishing.

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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.