Report from the Dock
Spring fishing patterns are falling into place on most waters across the state, albeit a little later than usual.
Anglers from southern Michigan all the way to the Upper Peninsula report that panfish and bass are starting to, or already have, moved into the shallows to spawn on inland lakes.
Panfish are hitting everything from flies and poppers to wax worms, red worms, and tiny artificial baits. Bass have been caught on topwaters, soft plastics, and an assortment of live bait.
Walleye fishing continues to be pretty good on Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River in southeastern Lower Michigan as well as at Drummond Island, Little Bay de Noc, and Lake Gogebic in the Upper Peninsula
Great Lakes fishing continues to be good up and down the Michigan coasts.
Steelhead, lake trout, kings, and cohos are attracting the most attention from boat anglers heading out of Great Lakes ports. Most of the action has come to those trolling spoons in the upper water column in depths from 100 to 300 feet. Lakers are being caught near bottom.
A good cisco bite has been reported in East Grand Traverse Bay.
Lake St. Clair
Perch, walleye, and bass fishing have been very good on Lake St. Clair. Anglers there report catching good numbers of perch off the Selfridge Air National Guard Base and off Huron Point. Walleyes are hitting at Huron Point, too. Anglers trolling or drifting nightcrawler harnesses are catching fish just above the weeds in 4 to 10 feet of water. Anglers also report catching “a ton of smallmouth bass all over the lake”.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.
Inland lake fishing is heating up in Oakland County. Panfish have moved into the shallows and are hitting wax worms, red worms, chunks of crawlers, or small artificial baits. Bass fishing is heating up, too with decent reports coming from anglers on Orion, Lakeville, Cass, and Orchard lakes.
Lakes Village Stop/Mobile Gas Station, (248) 693-4565.
Walleye anglers are still reporting limit catches on the Detroit River. Jiggers are cleaning up in the cleaner water and handliners are catching fish in the dirty water. Good action has been reported near Mud Island by anglers trolling crawler harnesses and bottom bouncers in 35 feet of water. Fishing also has been good from the Trenton Channel to the mouth of Lake Erie in 40 to 45 feet of water. White bass are in thick and anglers are catching a lot of them on live minnows or small artificial baits.
Bottom Line Bait & Tackle, (734) 379-9762.
Walleye fishing remains very good on Lake Erie. Those fishing out of Sterling State Park in 20 to 22 feet of water were doing well with yellow or green spoons while trolling at 2 mph in Brest Bay. Anglers in the same area using antifreeze color crawler harnesses in 50 feet of water also were successful. Florescent green was also a hot color. Largemouth bass were caught mostly on wacky worms and spinners. Anglers reported catching good numbers of channel catfish south of Bolles Harbor.
Domka Outdoors, (734) 244-5240.
St. Joseph Area
Boat anglers on Lake Michigan reported good action for salmon and trout. There were good catches of coho and king salmon in 80 to 100 feet of water. A few steelhead and lake trout were mixed in. Most fish were caught on spoons. Pier fishing also was good. Anglers fishing with shrimp and alewives were catching steelhead. Good numbers of catfish and sheepshead also have been caught. Night crawlers fished on the bottom were producing good results. Anglers fishing the St. Joe River continued to have good success catching walleyes and smallmouth bass.
Silver Beach Fishing, (269) 338-3182.
Bass fishing has been good on most inland lakes in the area including Leech, Carter, Algonquin, and Thornapple. Bluegills are moving in and out of the shallows, depending on the water temperature. Flies, wax worms, and red worms all are producing good results. If the fish aren’t in the shallows, look along the first drop-off. Walleye fishing has been slow.
Al and Pete’s Sport Shop, (269) 945-4417.
Saginaw Bay Area
Walleye fishing has been good on Saginaw Bay. Walleyes have been caught in 8 to 12 feet of water off Quanicassee, at the Slot from Sunset to the islands in 13 to 14 feet, and out deeper in 16 to 18 feet of water. Most were caught on crawler harnesses, but bodybaits were catching fish as well. Shallower areas near shore had good bass fishing with lots of pike mixed in. Walleyes also have been caught at Linwood in 8 to 15 feet of water, and at Sailboat Buoy B in 18 to 20 feet of water. Crawlers have produced the best action. At Smith Park in Essexville, shore anglers were catching some smallmouth bass and pike on chartreuse Twister Tails.
Linwood Party and Sporting Goods, (989) 697-3825.
Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.
Fishing has been pretty good in Isabella County. Bluegills have moved into the shallows on most inland lakes and fishing has been good. Walleyes are hitting on Coldwater and Littlefield lakes when trolling crawler harnesses along the drop-offs. Bass fishing has been good on all the lakes. Bass are spawning in the shallows and hitting an assortment of baits.
Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods, (989) 644-3501.
Boat anglers on Lake Michigan were finding good numbers of salmon 30 to 90 feet down in 120 to 200 feet of water. Orange and green spoons performed well. Down at Grand Haven, excellent salmon and trout fishing continued. Boat anglers were finding salmon in front of the pierheads and out in 120 to 200 feet of water. Pier anglers were catching coho salmon and a few steelhead. Shrimp and alewives worked best. Salmon were hitting green, blue, and orange spoons. Green or white flies also produced well.
Fish-on Charters and Bait, (616) 402-4307.
Anglers trolling for Chinook caught a few in the harbor and just outside the pierheads while trolling spoons. Chinook also were caught at Big Sable Point in 80 to 200 feet of water when fishing 30 to 80 feet down. Spoons and flies worked best. A few lake trout were caught south of the harbor. Pier fishing has been slow.
Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.
Fishing has been pretty good at the tip of the Thumb. Bass and walleye fishing has been good and carp have moved into the shallows for the bowfishers. Walleyes have been caught from Sebewaing to Wildfowl Bay by anglers trolling and drifting crawlers and Flicker shad.
Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 856-4465.
Harbor Beach Area
Smallmouth bass have been caught off the breakwall and from boats inside the harbor while casting artificial lures. A few steelhead were taken off the breakwall, too, by anglers casting small spoons and bodybaits.
Frank’s Place Bait & Tackle, (989) 864-5634.
Traverse City Area
Good numbers of cisco have been caught in East Grand Traverse Bay near Deepwater Point and Yuba in 50 to 75 feet of water. Smallmouth bass fishing remained slow with very little bedding activity so far.
WildFishing Guide Service, www.wildfishing.com.
When weather cooperated, anglers on Lake Michigan were finding some smaller king salmon along the Shelf and south of the port toward Big Sable Point. Catches were hit or miss. Depths ranged from 130 out to 300 feet of water while fishing 30 to 80 feet down. Spoons and flies worked well. Pier fishing has been slow but there is plenty of bait around. Trout fishing has been good on the Manistee and Little Manistee rivers.
Riley’s, (231) 723-3354.
Light numbers of king salmon have been caught in Lake Michigan. Anglers have been impressed with the sizes as several were between 15 to 20 pounds. Anglers trolling in 200 to 250 feet of water and working 70 to 90 feet down with spoons report good action. Lake trout also have been caught in the same area. Platte Bay also has produced a good bite. Trout fishing has been decent on the Betsie and other streams in the area.
Tackle Box, (231) 352-7673.
Trout fishing remains good on the Au Sable River. Fly hatches have been behind a little, but should improve as the weather warms. Brown drakes should start emerging in good numbers any day.
Skip’s Sport Shop, (989) 348-7111.
Old Au Sable Fly Shop, (989) 348-3330
Fishing has been very good on inland lakes in the Atlanta area. Bluegills are moving into the shallows. Pike and bass are hitting on all the lakes, too, including Fletchers Pond, Grass Lake, and both East and West Twin lakes.
Elk Country Outfitters NEMI, (989) 306-0720, www.ElkCountryOutfittersNEMI.com.
Lake trout fishing improved on Lake Huron. The best action has been around Thunder Bay Island in 30 to 70 feet of water. Anglers were running a variety of lines with some high, some low, and some in between. Spoons were on the higher lines while flashers and Spin-N-Glos were on the deeper lines. A few Atlantic salmon and steelhead have been caught, too. Good colors were bright greens, oranges, blues, and silver. On the Thunder Bay River steelhead are finishing up their spawning and heading back to the lake. Anglers were catching smallmouth bass and bullheads while targeting walleye. The walleye bite has been very slow.
Clem’s Live Bait & Tackle, (989) 354-2070.
Drummond Island Area
Fishing has been good around Drummond Island. Walleyes are hitting in Maxton and Scotts bays on both nightcrawler harnesses and stickbaits. Anglers also report good bass and pike action, but the spring perch bite has all but wrapped up.
Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.
Grand Marais Area
Whitefish anglers continued to do well on Lake Superior with limits reported as long as there was a northwest wind. South winds were not favorable for any kind of bite. Early mornings and dusk have been the best times to fish. Anglers are using single eggs, spawn bags, worms, casting with assorted spoons, or using heavy jigs. Whitefish were averaging around 13 inches with some over 15 inches. Boat anglers are catching decent numbers of lake trout near the drop-off just outside Munising Harbor to the Five Mile reef area.
Rainbow Lodge, (906) 658-3357.
Fishing is heating up on Manistique Lakes. Bluegills, crappies, perch, walleye, pike, and bass have all had their moments to shine on Big and South Manistique. Live bait has been producing very good results.
Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.
Fishing pressure remained light on Lake Superior. Anglers were switching from salmon fishing to lake trout fishing as the king and coho bites seem to be slowing down. Light numbers of salmon have been caught by anglers trolling between the Carp and Chocolay rivers. Lake trout and brown trout have been caught near the breakwall in the lower harbor. Spoons and stickbaits both have caught fish. Lake trout also were caught in the upper harbor. Stream trout fishing has been pretty good and should improve as more bugs hatch.
Jonny’s Outdoors, (906) 235-2894.
Walleye fishing was good in Little Bay de Noc. Anglers trolling or drifting crawler harnesses have caught fish south of Gladstone, off the Ford River, and near the mouth of the Whitefish River. Additionally, some anglers had success at the First Reef. Smallmouth anglers reported good fishing when casting soft plastics or crankbaits. Perch anglers had mixed results fishing the upper portion of the bay.
Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.
Fishing has been pretty good in Keweenaw Bay. Anglers are catching a good amount of cohos in the top 25 feet of water. A few kings, browns, and steelhead have been caught, too. Whitefish are hitting Swedish pimples jigged in 80 to 90 feet of water. Some dandy brook trout have been caught on local streams but the black flies and mosquitoes have invaded. Bluegills, crappies, and perch are hitting at Prickett Dam, Alberta Pond, and in Chassel Bay.
Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.
Fishing remains good on Lake Gogebic. Walleye anglers report that they are still catching good numbers of fish in 16 to 20 feet of water when using minnows or leeches. Warmer weather should improve the smallmouth bass bite for those excited to catch some of the monsters they caught earlier this season.
Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.
The DNR contributed to this report.