Report from the Dock
Ice conditions remain pretty good across the Upper Peninsula, but fishing pressure has been light since walleye, pike and muskie season ended on March 15. Anglers who are venturing out are catching mostly perch on Munuscong Bay, Manistique Lakes, Lake Gogebic and others.
Steelhead fishing has improved in most of the rivers in the Lower Peninsula including the St. Joe, Paw Paw, Rogue, Grand, Pere Marquette, Muskegon, Manistee, Boardman and others. Salmon and trout are starting to hit along the shore on Lake Michigan.
Ice is falling apart on lakes in the northern Lower Peninsula and the ice fishing season has all but ended there.
Anglers are fishing in open water in southern Michigan. Inland lake fishing is slowly getting started and fair numbers of panfish have been caught in lakes across the region. Walleye fishing has been decent and will improve in the coming weeks in Lake Erie, the Detroit River, the St. Clair River and Saginaw Bay.
Lake St. Clair
Fishing pressure has been light on Lake St. Clair. The perch bite has been pretty good at Selfridge. Perch rigs tipped with minnows have produced the best action when fished early in the morning and later in the afternoon. Metro Beach and Harsen’s Island are producing decent action, too, but anglers are having to move around to stay on the fish. Light numbers of bluegills and crappies have also been caught around Harsen’s Island.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.
Fishing pressure has been light in northern Oakland County. A couple bass anglers were out on Lake Orion, but action was slow. Anglers have been fishing off the dock at East Graham and catching light numbers of small panfish. Hunting pressure on squirrels and rabbits has been light at Bald Mountain Recreation Area.
Lakes Village Stop/Mobile Gas Station, (248) 693-4565.
Walleye fishing is starting to heat up in the Detroit River. Anglers report a good bite at the Ambassador Bridge and a few fish are moving into the river from Lake Erie so the bite has been decent at the mouth of the river. Those trolling with Bandits and Huskies have been catching most of the fish in 22 feet of water. Fish up to 8 pounds have been caught. Jig anglers are catching decent numbers of fish, but the best jig bite is yet to come when the river fills with fish. Perch fishing has also been pretty good in Airport Bay, the canals, and the marinas.
Bottom Line Bait & Tackle, (734) 379-9762.
Trenton Lighthouse, (734) 675-7080.
Horse Island Tackle, (734) 692-9839.
Walleye fishing remains good in Lake Erie at Luna Pier in 6 to 10 feet. Bandits and P10s are producing a good bite. Perch action has been fair in Bolles Harbor near the marinas.
Domka Outdoors, (734) 244-5240.
St Joseph Area
Cohos are hitting in Lake Michigan. The best action has been inside 25 feet of water from Michigan City to St. Joseph. Steelhead fishing has been good in the St. Joe River and a few have been caught off the pier, too. Inland lake fishing has been slow to get started.
Silver Beach Fishing, (269) 338-3182.
Steelhead fishing has been decent on the Paw Paw River. Those fishing spawn and skein are reporting the best success. Pier fishing has been decent for steelies at St. Joseph. Spawn, skein and even night crawlers have been catching fish. A few people with farm ponds are catching panfish.
Ellinee Bait and Tackle, (269) 468-7522.
Fishing pressure has been light in Barry County. Fair numbers of bluegills and crappies have been caught on Gun and Middle lakes. Steelhead action has been good on the Rogue, Kalamazoo and Grand Rivers. Spawn has been the hot bait. Hunting pressure has been very light.
Al and Pete’s Sport Shop, (269) 945-4417.
Fishing pressure has been very light since walleye and pike seasons closed. With coronavirus making the headlines, most anglers are staying home and hunkered down.
Hoskins Bait House, (517) 369-1330.
Saginaw Bay Area
Fishing has been good on Saginaw Bay. Those trolling for walleyes are pulling plugs in 16 to 24 feet of water. Good action has been reported off Linwood, in front of the state park, and in front of No. 1 and No. 2 buoys. Fish are averaging four pounds and ranging up to 10 pounds. Perch fishing action remains slow, but a few yellowbellies have been caught in the cuts. Anglers are sorting through them to find the keepers.
Linwood Party and Sporting Goods, (989) 697-3825.
Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.
Steelhead fishing has been good in the Pere Marquette River. There are fresh fish and winter hold-overs throughout the river. Egg patterns, nymphs and salmon fry have been popular. Good numbers of brown trout have been caught, too. Inland lakes are pretty much ice free and anglers are starting to get out and target panfish on Idlewild, Big Star and Wolf lakes.
Baldwin Bait & Tackle, (231) 745-3529.
Ed’s Sport Shop, (231) 745-4974, www.edsports.com.
Lake trout and brown trout are hitting in Lake Michigan. Anglers are trolling Spin Doctors and Spin-N-Glos in 40 feet of water for the lakers. Browns are being caught on bodybaits trolled up and down the shoreline. A few steelhead have been caught, too. Perch fishing has been hit or miss in Pere Marquette lake. A few bluegills have been caught on inland lakes in the area.
Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.
Fishing pressure has been light and fishing fair in Lake Huron. A few perch have been caught at Mud Creek, but numbers were very light. A few lake trout and burbot have been caught off the breakwall in Caseville.
Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 856-4465.
Walleye, salmon, steelhead and lake trout are all being caught in the St. Clair River. Three-way rigs with a bodybait are catching the salmon, and trout. Those jigging on the river are catching good numbers of walleyes and a few silver, fish too. The best action for walleyes has been near the casino on the Canadian side and south of the Black River on the American side.
Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.
Ice is falling apart on Burt and Mullett lakes and fishing has all but ended there. Old holes are opening up and the ice around them is soft.
Pat & Gary’s Party Store, (231) 238-6776.
Traverse City Area
Fishing pressure has been light around Traverse City. Steelhead fishing has been fair in the Boardman River. Wax worms, spawn and spinners are all taking fish. Inland lakes are still frozen but not safe for foot traffic. Anglers are catching lakers in 75 to 150 feet of water in the open water on East and West Grand Traverse Bays.
WildFishing Guide Service, www.wildfishing.com.
Ice is falling apart on lakes Mitchell and Cadillac. There was still a foot of ice on Lake Mitchell, but most of it was white ice. Those few anglers who did venture out reported catching good numbers of crappies on Mitchell. The ice on Lake Cadillac is falling apart. There was open water between the campground and Kenwood Park. Steelhead fishing has been pretty good on the Manistee River. Flies, beads, spawn, and jigs and wax worms are all producing good action.
Pilgrim Village Fishing Shop, (231) 775-5412.
Houghton Lake Area
The ice is falling apart on Houghton Lake and is not safe for foot traffic. There was open water at Reedsburg Dam and anglers are catching a few crappies.
Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.
Higgins Lake Area
Fishing pressure has been very light on Higgins Lake. There was still about a foot of ice on the lake, but it was starting to fall apart, especially around the springs. Anglers report catching a few perch, smelt and rainbow trout in the shallows.
Sportsman’s Barn, (989) 821-9511
The ice is falling apart on local inland lakes including Black and ice fishing has ended in the area. Suckers are running in the Ocqueoc River, but no reports of any steelhead being caught there, yet.
Parrott’s Outpost, (989) 733-2472.
Fishing has improved at Alpena. Anglers report catching good numbers steelhead and a few Atlantic salmon and brown trout in the Thunder Bay River at the Ninth Street Dam. Spawn, jigs and wax worms, beads and bodybaits are all taking fish. Decent numbers of brown trout and Atlantics are hitting in Thunder Bay on Lake Huron. Those trolling bodybaits in 8 to 23 feet of water report the best action.
Clem’s Live Bait & Tackle, (989) 354-2070.
Perch fishing has been pretty good in Munuscong Bay and around the Les Cheneaux Islands at Cedarville. There was still about 18 inches of ice on Munuscong and a foot on Lake Huron at Cedarville.
Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.
Drummond Island Area
There was still 2 feet of ice around Drummond Island but perch fishing has been slow. One day you’ll catch 12 fish but the next you might only catch four. The best action has come to anglers fishing minnows in Maxton Bay off west side of Peck Island. Anglers report catching a few cisco there, too.
Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.
Perch and bluegills are still hitting on Big and South Manistique lakes, but fishing pressure has been light. Ice conditions are holding up pretty well. Anglers are urged to use extreme caution because the ice did not freeze evenly. Holes are starting to open up and ice is soft around them.
Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.
Fishing pressure has been very light on Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc now that walleye season has ended. A few people are still heading out and catching perch, but the reports are few ad far between. The ice was still in pretty good condition, but the shore ice is starting to break up. There was rain in the forecast, so that doesn’t bode well for the immediate future.
Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.
BayShore Resort Bait & Tackle, (906) 428-2950.
Iron Mountain Area
Fishing pressure has been very light around Iron Mountain. Many lakes are snowed in making access tough. Ice conditions remain fair, but people are hunkered down and staying home.
Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009.
Ice is running between 5 and 8 inches in Keweenaw Bay, but holes are opening up and the ice around them is very soft. Anglers are urged to stay off the ice. With high winds in the forecast the ice may start to blow out any day. For those who have ventured out, splake, brown trout, salmon, herring and burbot have been caught. A few smelt have been caught, but they aren’t running yet. Brown trout have been caught in the Falls River and a few whitefish have been caught in 14 feet of water, believe it or not, off the mouth of the Falls River.
Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.
Perch action on Lake Gogebic has been up and down with both good and poor reports from day to day. Those working the mud flats with wigglers in 24 to 29 feet of water report fair success. Some anglers are marking fish but struggling to get a bite. Lake conditions have been fair overall, but changing daily with warm temps or rain causing the surface to be soft by the end of day. With overnight temperatures in the teens travel has been good in the mornings. There was still about 18 inches of ice with half of it being white ice.
Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.
Iron River Area
Ice is holding up pretty well in Iron County where there was still up to 20 inches on most lakes. Bluegills, crappies and perch are hitting on most lakes including Chicagon, Michigamme and Fortune. Shore ice was still in good shape and there was snow in the forecast.
Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.