Michigan Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – April 12, 2019


Lake St. Clair

Perch, crappies and bluegills have been caught off the docks in the canals and along the shore of Lake St. Clair all the way up to Harsens Island. Boat pressure has been light. 

Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.

Trenton Area

Walleyes continue to move into the lower end of the Detroit River. No big numbers of fish had been reported at last check, however some big fish have been caught. The water has been dirty on the American side of the river. 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 who will be in the area for the spring run. 

Bottom Line Bait & Tackle, (734) 379-9762.

Trenton Lighthouse, (734) 675-7080.

Horse Island Tackle, (734) 692-9839.

Luna Pier Area

Walleye fishing has been very good in Lake Erie. Boats out trolling for walleyes have caught fish off the  Fermi nuclear plant and Sterling State Park. Most were using crankbaits. Good numbers of perch were hitting minnows at the Lake Erie Metro Park.

Luna Pier Harbour Club, (734) 848-8777.


Allegan Area

Pier anglers are targeting steelhead and brown trout in the channel on Lake Michigan at St. Joseph. Some have caught light numbers of cohos. A few boats were heading out and trolling in shallow waters along the shoreline. The St. Joseph River continues to produce steelhead and suckers. The steelhead run has been good below Berrien Springs. Toms are gobbling and strutting.

Webber & Sons Marine and Tackle, (269) 673-6294.

Coloma Area

A few steelhead and coho salmon have been hitting in the St Joseph River and Paw Paw River. Overall, fishing pressure has been light and the bite has been slow. Crappie fishing has been decent in the open water on Paw Paw Lake. Toms are starting to strut.

Ellinee Bait and Tackle, (269) 468-7522

Grand Rapids Area

Steelhead fishing has picked up on the Grand River as a strong run of fresh fish was stacked up below the Sixth Street Dam. Spawn, spinners, flies and beads are all taking fish. Suckers are being caught along with a few panfish in the local bayous. Toms are gobbling.

Al & Bob’s Sports, (616) 245-9156.


Saginaw Bay Area

Persistent cold weather seems to be holding back the spring fish runs. When it warms up a little, fishing should improve on Saginaw Bay. Perch anglers are getting a few fish in the cut at the end of Palmer Road. Those launching at Linwood have caught walleyes when trolling in 31 feet of water. Closer to the Saginaw River, walleyes were found in the middle of the shipping channel just off the river mouth in 31 feet of water, around Spoils Island and north of it, and between Spoils Island and the mouth of the Kawkawlin River in 15 feet of water.

Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.

Lansing Area

Water clarity is better in the Grand River and the bite should improve with the upcoming warm weather. Anglers have caught a few smallmouth bass below the North Lansing Dam. Most are using lipless crankbaits or nightcrawlers.

Grand River Bait & Tackle, (517) 482-4461.

Grand Haven Area

The piers on Lake Michigan were still ice covered at last check. The Harbor Island boat launch has two docks in the water. A couple of boats were heading out, but action has been light.

Lakeview Marine & Tackle, (616) 842-2770.

Ludington Area

Steelhead anglers have been out on the Pere Marquette River, but catch rates have been low. Up on Hamlin Lake, there was open water in the lower part of the lake. The upper portion still had some ice, but it was melting fast and was not  safe for foot traffic.

Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.


Caseville Area

Perch are hitting in Mud Creek, but mostly just early in the mornings. Anglers are waiting for a good rain storm to bring in the fish. A few suckers are starting to show up in the local rivers. Ice is gone from Lake Huron, but no boats had ventured out yet. A few lake trout and burbot have been caught off the breakwall in Caseville. Gobblers are starting to talk and strut 

Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 856-4465.

Port Huron

Walleye fishing is heating up in the St. Clair River. Anglers are catching a few cohos and Atlantic salmon in the mix. Jiggers and whippers are both taking fish when the water clears up. Salmon trolling is expected to get started this weekend in southern Lake Huron. Toms are strutting and gobbling. There are a lot of turkeys in the area. 

Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.


East Jordan Area

Anglers were still getting out on the ice on Lake Charlevoix, but the shore was breaking up quickly. Perch, bluegills and crappies were hitting. Steelhead fishing has been good on the Boyne and Jordan rivers. Jigs and wax worms have been the bait of choice. A few browns have been caught in the open water off the marina. Toms are gobbling and strutting. There are a lot of big birds around this year.

Tom’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 536-3521.

Traverse City Area

Those trying to fish Grand Traverse Bay off Yuba last week reported white ice that was honeycombed, which is not safe. Both bays were expected to be open by the weekend. Anglers on Torch Lake were still trying for burbot, but the ice was only a couple of inches thick about 50 yards out from shore. Those testing the ice said the spud went right through after a couple of hits. No reports on the south end, but it is safe to say there is no more safe ice on the north end.

WildFishing Guide Service, www.wildfishing.com. 

Manistee Area

Steelhead fishing has been decent in the lower stretch of the Manistee River. Spawn, flies and beads are all taking fair numbers of fish.

Riley’s, (231) 723-3354.


Houghton Lake Area

Ice fishing has ended on Houghton Lake as the ice is opening up. There are areas with open water that continue to expand each day. Warmer temperatures coupled with strong winds and even rain last week created dangerous conditions 

Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.

Higgins Lake Area

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

Higgins Lake Sport & Tackle, (989) 821-9517.

Alpena Area

Anglers are catching steelhead and light numbers of Atlantic salmon in the Thunder Bay River. 

Clem’s Live Bait & Tackle, (989) 354-2070.

Oscoda Area

Light numbers of steelhead and Atlantic salmon are being caught in the lower end of the Au Sable River.

Wellman’s Sport Center, (989) 739-2869.


Pickford Area

Perch have finally arrived at Munuscong Bay. Minnows and jigs have produced the best action. There was still up to 2 feet of ice and anglers are still running snowmobiles and quads. Ice fishing continued on Lake Huron at Cedarville and Hessel, 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 of water. Fish were running between 7 and 11 inches with most in the 8-inch range.

Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.

Drummond Island Area

Perch have finally arrived at Drummond Island, where there was still up to 27 inches of ice. The shore was starting to break up in spots, but anglers were able to access the bays with both snowmobiles and quads A good bite was reported by anglers fishing with minnows on the west side of Peck Island in 15 to 18 feet of water.

Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.

Curtis Area

There was still ice on Manistique Lakes at last check, but it was starting to get messy. A few anglers were sneaking out for some good bluegill and perch action, but were using caution and checking the ice as they moved around.

Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.


Marquette Area

A decent number of boats in Marquette Harbor 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 of 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. 

Gander Mountain, (906) 226-8300.

Escanaba Area

Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc still had ice, and could for a while because of the cold temperatures at night. Perch anglers did best with minnows or wigglers fished in 25 to 30 feet of water near Kipling. The numbers were light, but many reported some nice jumbos in the mix. 

Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.

BayShore Resort Bait & Tackle, (906) 428-2950.

Iron Mountain Area

Ice was still holding up on most lakes in the area, even enough for anglers to run their quads.  Panfish action has been decent on Badwater Lake, Lake Antoine and Cowboy Lake. There was still 10 inches of snow in the woods. Deer are starting to move around more and look like they’re in decent shape. 

Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009.


L’Anse Area

Ice conditions were holding up fairly well at last check in Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Bay. Shoreline ice north of the tire shop was getting weak and starting to break up. Ice at the head of the bay near the third bridge was in poor shape and had 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 bites have been slow. The coho action was a little better in 8 to 20 feet of water. The smelt bite was fair for those using wax worms or spikes. Steelhead have been showing up in the area rivers that are open. 

Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.

Bergland Area

Ice on Lake Gogebic was still in good shape. The snow pack melted down to about a foot on top of 16 inches of clear ice. Quads and snowmobiles were able to get out, but there was rain and warmer temperatures in the forecast so be sure to call ahead for updated conditions. Fishing pressure has been light, but those heading out are catching good numbers of perch, including some nice jumbos, in 24 to 29 feet of water. 

Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.

Iron River Area

Panfish action has been good on most of the lakes in the area. Ice was still holding up on some lakes. Not so much on others. Be sure to call for an update on ice conditions before heading out.

Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.

The DNR contributed to this report.

Categories: Hunting News, Michigan Fishing Reports, News

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