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Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, Aug. 17 report

Here’s how fishing looks this week in the Northwest Lower Peninsula, Northeast Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula, according to the latest report from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Presque Isle: Weather conditions limited the amount of activity. Anglers who made it out caught lake trout and salmon straight out of the harbor in 70 to 150 feet of water. Fish were scattered throughout the water column so running lines at different depths worked best. The waters from the lighthouse to black point were giving up trout, Chinook salmon, steelhead and a few Atlantic salmon. Bright colored spoons ran high were taking steelhead and Atlantic salmon while watermelon-colored spoons worked well on trout and Chinook salmon lower in the water column. Walleye were reported to be scattered 20 to 35 feet down in 50 to 100 feet of water.

Cheboygan River/Lake Huron: Smallmouth bass and pike were caught in the river with most of the pike being around or downstream of the foot bridge. Freshwater drum were still around and the first numbers of salmon should begin to enter the river soon (1-2 weeks most likely).


Rockport: Anglers reported decent numbers of lake trout, Chinook salmon, coho and Atlantic salmon near Stoneport south to Middle Island. A wide variety of spoons and flasher/fly combos were catching fish 30 to 70 feet down in depths of 60 to 120 feet. Walleye were found suspended along the reefs and were caught on spoons and deep diving crankbaits.

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Alpena: Anglers who fought the winds reported slow fishing as in the bay. A few walleye were caught on crankbaits in the late evenings near North Point and south near Scarecrow Island. Anglers using jigs and leaches found a few fish along the shipping channel to the mouth of the Thunder Bay. Pier anglers reported catfish and bass were caught while using crawlers and a few northern pike were caught while using crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

Thunder Bay River: Anglers reported low fishing pressure on the river. Several anglers targeting catfish had success near Mill Island Park and below the 9th Street Bridge. Crawlers and minnows worked the best. A few were caught throughout the river on crawlers and tube jigs.


Tawas: Anglers were targeting 60 to 65 feet of water and catching walleye, just not as many. Harvests were essentially cut in half as anglers were coming in with 3 or 4 walleye. Shore fishing at Gateway Park was producing catfish for the few anglers out there. Later in the evening, anglers were catching a walleye or two when fishing off the pier.

Oscoda/Au Sable: Fishing pressure was low but the anglers that did make it out were fishing around 140 feet of water. Anglers were catching a couple walleye and steelhead. Anglers fishing off the pier in the early morning had the occasional luck of a walleye, but mainly caught smallmouth bass. More anglers were taking boats in the river and catching smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, pike, and at times got lucky with a walleye. Most of the catches in the river occurred in the early morning.

Rogers City: Anglers were mostly fishing south between Calcite and Adams Point. The Chinook salmon were there but getting them to bite was difficult. The water was warm top to bottom. Anglers reported that the best fishing occurred very early or very late. Anglers were using a variety of lures from spoons to J-Plugs to attractors with flys, squids and meat rigs. Meat was starting to be very effective now with the adult salmon starting to show up. Anglers were deploying downriggers, lead core, dipseys, and copper to spread lines throughout the water column. Good colors were greens, blues, black and white, glow stuff early and late.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Leland: Anglers were starting to see more Chinook salmon and a handful of coho filter into the harbor. They were also seeing a lot of mature Chinook salmon this summer already. Water temperatures were sitting at about 70 degrees at the surface. Meat rigs and deep divers were very successful while trolling in 150 to 200 feet of water. Anglers who fished very early or at dusk were seeing the best results.


West Grand Traverse Bay: Anglers were reporting successful lake trout fishing with the occasional Chinook salmon coming in as well. Not much for bait fish being reported in the bay and a lot of fish sampled had empty stomachs. Some anglers were catch and releasing steelhead on the bay as well. Most anglers were fishing north of Old Mission peninsula and were having great luck. Bloody nose and Happee Meal were hot colors for catching lake trout.

Charlevoix: Anglers targeting salmon had successful bites in both the morning and the evening hours. Trolling in 75 to 125 feet of water anywhere around Fisherman’s Island to North Point was showing results. Flies, spoons, and the occasional meat bite produced Chinook salmon and a few coho bites. Anglers fishing the Charlevoix piers continued their success targeting smallmouth with natural bait including wrigglers, leeches and minnows.

Petoskey/Harbor Springs: Salmon anglers fishing Little Traverse Bay reported hit or miss on both the evening and morning bites. Water temperatures in the past week dropped steadily to 45 degrees roughly 60 feet down with surface temperatures still in the low 70s. Trolling artificial lures along the north and south side of Little Traverse Bay produced slow but steady results. Chinook salmon, lake trout, and some coho were all reported in the bay. Anglers fishing the Bear River reported the occasional Chinook salmon, rainbow trout and brown trout.

Frankfort: The Chinook salmon were biting well. The early morning bite out front was producing very good numbers and sizes on plugs, flies and spoons. Anglers were targeting 25 feet down. Pier anglers reported great activity from 3 a.m. to daylight on glow spoons. Coho were also getting picked up in the same areas on mostly spoons.


Onekama: Anglers were heading straight out from the pier heads to 80 to 100 feet of water and trolling the top 35 to 45 feet down to land some nice Chinook salmon on flies and spoons. The early morning bite was landing more but the evening bite was not bad.

Portage Lake: Bass anglers were reporting low numbers of largemouth bass in deeper waters as water temperatures were still moving up.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Walleye fishing throughout the bay was good. Anglers reported catching fishing out of Kipling, “black bottom”, the mouth of the Escanaba River, south of Aronson Island, and areas from the Ford River to No See-um Creek. A lot of anglers were casting artificial snap jig type of lures, as well as jig heads. Trolling was effective with crankbaits or crawler harnesses. Anglers were targeting the bottom of drop offs and moving closer to or on top of the drop off during the dawn and dusk prime time. Smallmouth anglers reported good fishing.

Big Bay de Noc: Smallmouth bass fishing was good. Anglers reported catching quality fish and frequent bites.

Fairport: Salmon angler pressure was down this week. Anglers that did go out reported fair to good fishing.

Marquette: The winds and rain prevented many anglers from making it out on the water. Anglers who did make it out reported the best places for catching fish were near the southwest side of the White Islands and trolling out towards Granite Island. Anglers trolling around 120 to 160 feet of water were harvesting the most lake trout near the White Islands. There were no reports of Chinook, coho, or steelhead harvested. Anglers trolling for lake trout around Granite Rock were having the most luck trolling at around 120 to 150 feet of water. Yellow tails, silver and pearl multicolored spoons, cow bells, and green and blue flasher flies were good lures for lake trout and Chinook salmon near White Rocks. Mostly lake trout were harvested out by Granite Island.

Munising Bay: Fishing pressure was low. Anglers were catching a few nice quality coho with an occasional Chinook salmon. Best times were at dawn and anglers were fishing within the bay and towards Trout Bay and Wood Island. There were some nice lean lake trout caught near Wood Island.

Au Train: Anglers who made it out seemed to catch near their limit. The best places for anglers to catch fish where near the northeast side of Au Train Island. Anglers trolling or jigging around 160 feet of water along the flats were harvesting the most lake trout. Trolling cowbells around 145 feet of water with sucker meat or smelt had good success for some anglers.

Les Cheneaux/Detour: Anglers in the Detour area were catching lake trout and Chinook salmon while trolling spoons south of the lighthouse when the weather allowed them to do so. The winds and pop-up storms made it hard to fish the area recently. In Hessel, anglers were catching a few pike, perch and smallmouth bass at the marina, but fishing was very slow there as well. There were a few successful anglers perch fishing in and around McKay Bay in Cedarville. There were also a few anglers in the west entrance catching Chinook salmon and lake trout.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Lake trout was the major harvest on Keweenaw Bay and Huron Bay over the last week. Reports coming off the water indicated water temperatures in the bays were dropping and more fish may be moving up in the water column and back south into the bays. During successful fishing trips anglers were trolling for lake trout and caught many. Some lucky anglers were also able to catch some coho and Chinook salmon during these trips. Most anglers were trolling in water shallower than 150 feet and caught fish around 60 feet down. Anglers suggested trolling with green, purple or orange spoons.

Big Traverse Bay/South Portage Canal: Anglers were catching lake trout and some coho in Big Traverse Bay and around the Portage entry canal. Anglers were mostly trolling with flasher flies and spoons in 100 feet of water. Some anglers had more luck during the morning hours however catches didn’t seem to be connected to time of day right now. The cooler waters were holding more bait fish.

Ontonagon River: Fishing on the river was good over the past week. Anglers had luck in finding respectable numbers of walleye and the occasional rock bass. Success occurred primarily in the morning hours, with the bite seeming to slow as the day went on. Reports showed that the methods of jigging and trolling yielded similar results.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: These ports stayed fairly busy over the past week despite some choppy conditions out on the lake. A good mix of lake trout and the occasional coho salmon were the regular catch for most successful trips. Anglers reported that trolling artificial lures across a variety of depths was the key to success as fish seemed to be dispersed randomly throughout the water column. Anglers had luck catching fish at all times of day.

Black River Harbor: Fishing efforts at the harbor were low over the past week. Anglers that did make it out on the lake were rewarded with good numbers of lake trout and an occasional coho salmon. Successful trips occurred primarily in the morning hours and were usually finished before noon. Reports indicated that fish were being caught in a variety of depths when trolling artificial lures.

Carp and Pine Rivers: Small numbers of salmon began to run up the Carp River. Walleye fishing activity slowed down greatly on the Pine and Carp rivers.

St. Ignace: Anglers were catching a good mix of lake trout and Chinook salmon. Anglers were fishing deep as well as shallow when running long lines.

Fishing Tip of the Week

Summer is a great time to target panfish (bluegill, pumpkinseed, sunfish) – in fact, all year is a great time to target them! This species is an especially good target for beginning anglers.

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