Weekly Fishing Report: March 20, 2024

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Weekly Fishing Report - March 20, 2024

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

The new fishing license and regulation season kicks off April 1, so anglers need to be sure they have purchased a new license for the fishing season in order to enjoy Michigan’s great fishing opportunities. The 2024 fishing licenses are valid through March 31, 2025.

Fishing licenses can be purchased at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or by downloading the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app and purchasing your license on the app.

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

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Saginaw Bay: Recent rain resulted in dirty water in all the cuts, rivers and marinas. This made fishing very slow. Anglers fishing for yellow perch from Sebewaing to Caseville reported slow fishing with very few perch caught. The most success came when fishing early mornings or later afternoons. A few panfish were caught in area marinas with some days better than others.  

Lower Saginaw Bay: Shore anglers fishing from Thomas Road to Finn Road reported catching a few keeper yellow perch. Yellow perch were also reported to be caught at the first set of buoys past Spoils Island and at the Sparkplug. Some walleye were caught when trolling out by the Crib and the Cigar when using flicker shads and bandits.

Saginaw River: Recent rain left the Saginaw River running high, fast and muddy. This resulted in poor walleye fishing and low effort.

Lake Erie: There were good reports of limits of walleye being caught. Anglers were targeting fish from Brest Bay down to Luna Pier while fishing in 15 to 20 feet of water. Trolling bandits 20 to 40 feet back was reported to have worked well compared with other methods.

Detroit River: Anglers reported varying success when jigging for walleye in the river.

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

Muskegon: Poor weather conditions prevented most anglers from getting out fishing. When the weather allowed, anglers reported catching a few brown trout off the piers when using spawn.

Grand Haven: Large waves and windy weather conditions prevented most anglers from fishing off the piers. The few anglers that were able to make it out found the brown trout action to be slow.

South Haven: Poor weather resulted in low fishing pressure. Pier fishing was reported to be slow, however anglers were able to catch a few steelhead and coho salmon on spawn. No boats made it out on the lake due to the rough conditions.

St. Joseph: Poor weather resulted in low fishing pressure. Pier anglers reported catching a few brown trout and coho salmon. Anglers reported that most fish were caught while using spawn bags or skein. No boats were able to make it out on the big lake.

St. Joseph River: Anglers fishing the Berrien Springs Dam reported good catches of steelhead. The river was reported to be very high and dirty, but anglers were still able to catch fish.

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Au Gres: Poor weather seemed to keep many anglers away, however those who made it out over the weekend reported catching many little yellow perch, with a few keepers mixed in. 

Oscoda: Pier anglers had success catching steelhead, lake trout and the occasional Atlantic salmon. Using fresh spawn continued to work best when targeting steelhead, while anglers casting spoons caught a few lake trout and Atlantic salmon. Blue-silver, green-silver, and orange-colored spoons seemed to yield the best results. Boat anglers found lake trout, Atlantic salmon and a few walleye in 15 to 30 feet of water. Green, orange, and chartreuse spoons had best results when trolled behind planer boards on short lead cores. A few walleye were caught early and late in the day when trolling body baits. Some of the most productive colors included fire tiger, black-silver and blue-silver. There had been no reports of smelt yet.

Au Sable River: Moderate action was reported throughout the river to Foot Dam. Steelhead were caught on spawn, wax worms and spinners. Boat anglers fishing plugs and spawn did well in the deeper runs. A few Atlantic salmon were caught while running bright colored spoons and plugs in the lower portions of the river.

Tawas: Fishing was reported to have slowed at the State dock. Some anglers reported catching a few lake trout and whitefish, but it was minimal. Boat anglers caught a couple lake trout and brown trout out in the bay. 

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Frankfort: Wind and waves kept most anglers off the piers and beaches. However, when the weather did cooperate, anglers reported catching a few steelhead and brown trout from the piers when using spawn. 

Betsie River: Rough weather pushed a good run of fresh steelhead into the river, as anglers reported moderate catches at Homestead Dam. 

Manistee: High winds and large waves kept anglers off the lake.

Ludington: Anglers reported catching brown trout while trolling in the harbor and outside the pier heads to the north. A mix of brown trout, steelhead and coho were caught off the north pier while using spawn.

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Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: The Bay was reported to be virtually all open water other than a few shallow coves and floating icebergs. Anglers fishing for walleye the week prior to the close of the season reported slow fishing.

Le Cheneaux: Anglers fishing for splake reported catching a few off the pier at the Hessel marina, as well as within Wilderness and Hessel Bay. Poor weather conditions towards the end of the week slowed fishing.

Marquette: Boat anglers were able to make it out on Lake Superior, however there was still skim ice in the mornings. Anglers reported success when fishing for coho salmon along the break wall as well as trolling along it. Trolling with blue and silver spoons and tiger striped Rapalas seemed to work well. Anglers fishing the Chocolay River reported success when fishing for steelhead and brown trout. The Carp River was also reported to be consistent, with a few decent steelhead being caught. Using spawn and wax worms on jigs seemed to work well for steelhead in both rivers.

Au Train: Fishing pressure was very low on Lake Superior, however those that made it out reported catching coho salmon, steelhead and brown trout. Blue and silver spoons did well for coho salmon, while tiger striped or bright orange double jointed Rapalas worked well for brown trout and steelhead out by the island.

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers had luck when jigging and trolling for a variety of species. While jigging most anglers caught whitefish and lake trout with the occasional splake and Chinook salmon mixed in. Some anglers who were trolling found luck with coho salmon. Shore fisherman caught splake and steelhead when casting spoons and fishing with spawn bags. Fishing in low light hours when the water was clear seemed to be the best time to fish.

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Fishing tip: Fishing Michigan’s piers & breakwalls

Michigan’s numerous piers and breakwalls offer great fishing opportunities throughout the year. Anglers often participate in this activity to target a variety of species, with trout and salmon being two of the most popular.

If you decide to partake in this type of fishing, you’ll need a high-quality rod and reel. Technique-wise you’ll want to vary the depth and speed of your retrieves and consider fan-casting as opposed to casting perpendicular to the pier/breakwall.

There are lots of bait options to consider, including spawn bags with steelhead, trout or salmon eggs; live alewives; or night crawlers. You’ll also want a long-handled net to aid in landing your catch!

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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.