Report from the Dock
Fishing pressure has been light in most areas of the state. The hot bite has been for perch in Lake St. Clair, Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron at the Les Cheneaux Islands, and in Big Bay de Noc, to name a few.
Steelhead fishing also is starting to heat up with anglers reporting fresh fish entering rivers following a rain storm. Good action has been reported on many rivers across the state including the Grand, Black, Kalamazoo, Pere Marquette, and Manistee in the Lower Peninsula and the Falls, Silver, and Huron in the Upper Peninsula. Fresh spawn, wax worms, yarn flies, beads, spinners, and spoons all have taken fish.
Lake St. Clair
The perch bite remains hot on Lake St. Clair straight out from Nine Mile Road and off Grosse Point. Anglers are having the best luck with minnow rigs fished in 9 to 15 feet of water. Some walleyes have been caught in 14 feet of water by the St. Clair Light House. Near limit catches of walleyes were reported by anglers fishing in the mouth of the North Channel near Decker’s Landing. Artificial baits jigged in 18 to 21 feet of water have been producing good results. Smallmouth bass anglers had some luck fishing spinnerbaits in the shipping channel. Other bass anglers are fishing the Detroit River mouth in 9 feet of water with Ned rigs. Muskies are biting in the mouth of the North Channel in around 18 feet of water. Small lures are attracting attention. The bluegill bite has been very good in the marinas near the Raft Restaurant in Fairhaven. Waterfowl hunters report good success, and pheasant hunters are picking up a few birds at St. Johns Marsh State Game Area, where birds are being released.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.
Irish Hills Area
Bucks are rubbing and scraping. The archery season is heating up. Inland lake fishing pressure has been very light, but a few panfish and bass have been caught. Firearms deer season should be good. There are plenty of turkeys around if someone is looking for Thanksgiving dinner.
Knutson’s Sporting Goods, (800) 292-0857 or (517) 592-2786.
Walleye and perch are keeping anglers busy on Lake Erie. Anglers were catching a few ’eyes while trolling bodybaits and crankbaits in 15 to 17 feet of water in Brest Bay. Perch anglers report fair catches while fishing off Stoney Point in 23 feet of water. Steady catches of yellow perch also were occurring near buoys 1 and 2 at the River Raisin and at the southern part of the Dumping Grounds. Bass have been caught on tubes and crankbaits fished off the rock walls between Sterling State Park and the mouth of the River Raisin. Waterfowl hunters report action is picking up. Deer hunters are seeing a lot of activity. Bucks are on the run in search of a doe. Pheasant hunting has been good at the Erie and Pointe Mouillee state game areas where birds have been released.
Domka Outdoors, (734) 244-5240.
St. Joseph Area
Whitetail activity is sky high. Bucks are rubbing and scraping in preparation of the upcoming rut. The archery season has been good and the firearms season also should produce good results. Turkeys are plentiful. Pheasant hunting has been good at Leidy Lake SGA where birds are being released weekly. Pier fishing has been slow for steelhead. Up at South Haven, pier anglers reported better success for steelhead. Spawn has been the bait of choice. Anglers trolling in the Black River were catching light numbers of cohos and steelhead, too.
Silver Beach Fishing, (269) 338-3182.
Bucks are rubbing and scraping. The rut should be starting any day. Deer numbers are in great shape and hunting has been very good. The firearms season also should be very good. Rabbit numbers are in good shape and there are a lot of turkeys in the area. Waterfowl hunting remains pretty good. Hunters report seeing good numbers of wood ducks and mallards. Fishing pressure has been light, but those heading out are catching good numbers of bluegills and some healthy pike. Steelhead fishing has been decent on the Grand and Kalamazoo rivers.
Al and Pete’s Sport Shop, (269) 945-4417.
Archery season has been good. The local deer herd is healthy and in good shape. The turkey population is healthy, too. Fishing pressure has been light in southern Cass County. There have been a few reports of a good bluegill bite on some of the local inland lakes.
Halls Bait and Tackle, (269) 641-2304.
Saginaw Bay Area
Deer hunting has improved in the past couple weeks. Bucks are rubbing and scraping and chasing does. Turkey hunting has been very good with a lot of birds around. Pheasant hunters report good success at Crow Island and Pinconning SGAs where the Michigan Pheasant Hunting Initiative folks have been stocking birds. The perch bite remains very good in Saginaw Bay. Anglers report catching fish in 15 feet of water at Linwood, Gambill’s Landing, and the Old Shipping Channel. Fish also were caught at Spoils Island in 14 to 16 feet of water, and off Quanicassee in 8 to 10 feet of water. Perch rigs baited with minnows have produced the best results.
Linwood Party and Sporting Goods, (989) 697-3825.
Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.
The rut is heating up pretty good. The necks on bucks are swelling and the chase is on. Bowhunting has been really good so far. The firearms season also should be very good. Fishing pressure has been light, but fishing has been good for the few anglers heading out. Walleyes are hitting nightcrawlers and jigheads on Coldwater Lake and the bluegill bite has been good on the Martiny Chain of Lakes and Stevenson Lake. Wax worms and slip-bobbers have done the trick.
Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods, (989) 644-3501.
Grand Haven Area
Pier anglers on Lake Michigan are catching light numbers of steelhead and coho salmon. Spawn has produced the best results but spinners have taken a couple fish, too. Down at South Haven, pier anglers also were catching steelhead on spawn. Anglers trolling the Black River were catching a few coho and steelhead. Bowhunters report action really heating up the past week or so. Bucks are on the move. Waterfowl hunting has been good; a few flight birds are trickling down
Lakeview Marine & Tackle, (616) 842-2770.
East Jordan Area
Perch fishing has been good in the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix and in Burt Lake in Maple Bay. Steelhead fishing is heating up in area rivers. Wax worms and spawn fished under a float have produced a good bite. Northern pike are hitting in the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix and on the Six Mile Chain of Lakes. Bluegills are being caught on Deer Lake in 16 to 20 feet of water. The archery season has been quiet. Waterfowl hunting has slowed down.
Tom’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 536-3521.
Pier and shore fishing for steelhead and coho has been hit or miss. Most anglers were using spawn in bright-colored bags. Those fishing in the early morning hours enjoyed the best success. Down at Ludington, pier fishing was slow but some nice fish were caught on spawn.
Riley’s, (231) 723-3354.
Higgins Lake Area
Fishing pressure has been very light on Higgins Lake. A few steelhead and dark salmon are being caught in the Manistee River. Leaves are falling fast and grouse hunting is picking up a little bit. The archery deer season is heating up, too, as bucks begin to roam. New rubs and scrapes are being found.
Sportsman’s Barn, (989) 821-9511
Bucks are rubbing and scraping. Archery season has been good and the firearms season should also be good. Leaves are falling fast and grouse hunting is improving. There are good numbers of turkeys around. Anglers at North Point and North Shore report a fair steelhead bite in Lake Huron. Orange, silver, or brightly colored spoons were attracting attention in the top third of the water column. Walleyes are hitting bodybaits trolled in the top 15 feet of water. On the Thunder Bay River, anglers are still catching a few salmon on spoons, bodybaits, fresh fish eggs, and beads.
Clem’s Live Bait & Tackle, (989) 354-2070.
Pier anglers are catching a mixed bag of coho, steelhead, pike, bass, and light numbers of walleyes. Anglers are using minnows, or casting spinners, spoons, and crankbaits. The best colors were hot pink, orange, chartreuse, and glow. On the Au Sable River anglers are catching coho, and a few steelhead and Atlantic salmon. Spawn, beads, spoons, and spinners are all catching fish. Hot pink, orange, and chartreuse have been the hot colors. Waterfowl hunting has been good and should heat up as ducks in Canada get flushed south by colder temperatures. Archery deer hunting has been fair, action is heating up now with bucks rubbing and scraping. Leaves are falling and grouse hunting has improved.
Wellman’s Sport Center, (989) 739-2869
Perch fishing has been excellent in Lake Michigan at the Les Cheneaux Islands, and in the St. Marys River. Muskie fishing has been very good in Munuscong Bay. A few channel cats and bass have been caught, too. Archery deer season has been decent. Bucks are rubbing and scraping. Bear season was above average with good numbers of bears in the area. Grouse hunting has been good with good flush rates reported, but woodcock numbers were light. Diver ducks are funneling down a little from Canada.
Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.
Drummond Island Area
Fishing slowed down a little around Drummond Island. A few boats are still getting out, and anglers in Scotts Bay report catching a fair numbers of perch. Grouse hunting has been good. Leaves are about 90% down and flush rates have been good. Bowhunting has been a little slow with warm temperatures keeping movement down, the temperature is falling and bucks are starting to chase does. Waterfowl hunting has been fair.
Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.
Walleye, perch, and pike are still being caught in Manistique Lakes but fishing pressure has been light. Live baits work best. Archery season got off to a slow start but activity in the woods is picking up as bucks start chasing does. The firearms season should be good. Grouse and woodcock hunting has been fair and the leaves are mostly down.
Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.
Deer hunting has improved in recent days as bucks start chasing does. Rubs and scrapes are popping up daily. Bowhunting has been good and the firearms season should be decent. Grouse hunters report good flush rates. Walleye anglers were catching a few nice-sized fish on Little Bay de Noc. Anglers were mostly trolling or drifting crawler harnesses. Smallmouth bass anglers report a very good bite. Most were drifting or casting minnows into deeper waters. Perch anglers are having mixed success when heading out of Kipling. Over on Big Bay de Noc, smallmouth bass are hitting at Fayette. Perch anglers report good success when heading out of Nahma or Garden.
Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.
A few boats still are catching cohos and splake, along with light numbers of kings, in Keweenaw Bay at the mouth of the Falls River. A decent bite has been reported at the head of the bay, too. Rivers are running low but anglers report catching coho, splake, and a few steelhead in the Falls, Silver, and Huron rivers. Spawn, yarn eggs, and spinners are all attracting attention. The bear hunting season was good. Grouse and woodcock hunting has been fair. Grouse numbers appear to be in good shape. Leaves are pretty much all down. Archery season got off to a slow start but action should improve and the gun season should be decent.
Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.
Bear hunting season was pretty good with several nice-sized bear being killed. Archery deer season has been quiet and hunting pressure has been light. Bucks are rubbing and scraping. Fishing pressure has been very light on Lake Gogebic.
Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.
Lake trout fishing has slowed on Lake Superior. Anglers really are having to work to find the fish. The best results were coming to anglers trolling spoons in 60 to 100 feet of water. Grouse hunting has improved now that the leaves are down. Deer hunting should improve, too. Bucks are starting to move.
Grieg’s Taxidermy & Tackle, (906) 884-2770.
— The DNR contributed to this report.