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Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, Aug. 31 report

Plus, tips on how to catch pike

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: Anglers reported good trout fishing straight out of the harbor in depths of 90 to 120 feet of water. Spoons and dodgers with spin glows worked well 40 to 60 feet down. A few Chinook and walleyes were caught on lead cores that were run from 20 to 40 feet. North of the lighthouse to Thompson Harbor had decent catches of Chinook, steelhead and trout. With temperatures in the 40s, anglers reported most fish being caught in the top 45 feet of water in depths of 60 to 110 feet. Those targeting walleye reported fishing as slow and scattered.

Cheboygan River: Most boat anglers trolled between the channel buoys and the pier head. Salmon were caught, but not in great numbers. Shore anglers had the most success casting spoons off the pier. Fish were caught at the dam, though numbers were low. Early morning continued to be the time when the salmon were most active. Smallmouth and pike were still available in the lower stretches of river, though few people were targeting them.


Rockport: Anglers going out around Middle Island caught good amounts of walleye, as well as the occasional Chinook, steelhead and lake trout in depths varying from 70 to 100 feet of water. Near Stoneport in 80 to 90 feet of water was the best spot for anglers targeting Chinook. Anglers reported having the best luck using spoons and meat rigs.

Alpena: Cool water moving into the bay brought in Chinooks. Anglers reported salmon to be scattered across the bay in depths of 25 to 40 feet of water. J-plugs and spoons caught a few fish when run 10 to 20 feet down. Green, blue and silver baits had the most success. Walleye were reported to be scattered, with the most consistent catches coming from 40 to 50 feet of water toward Scarecrow Island and the Thunder Bay Islands. Crankbaits and spoons worked best in the middle of the water column. A few catfish, pike and bass were caught fishing the pier head, Grass Island and the shallows around Sulphur Island.

Thunder Bay River: Anglers targeting Chinook reported slow fishing, with only a few being caught while trolling plugs early and late in the day. A few fish were seen surfacing from the pier head to the 9th Street dam. Walleye and smallmouth bass were caught around Lamar Park floating crawlers late in the evenings. Spinner baits and large spinners were productive on pike along the pier and boat harbor.

Tawas/Au Gres: Both Tawas and Au Gres saw low fishing pressure due to weather. Walleye and perch catches were come and go. Anglers reported that the fish were out there, they just weren’t biting. Some anglers reported seeing a few sheepshead, an occasional bowfin, as well as some catfish. Bluegill and crappie fishing was decent for anglers fishing from the shore of tributaries in the Au Gres area.


Oscoda/Au Sable: Due to rough water, fishing pressure was down. Some anglers reported catching a few Chinook off the pier in the morning using spoons and stick baits.

Rogers City: Anglers mostly fished Swan Bay as the Chinooks were staging. They were fishing anywhere from inside the bay out to 90 feet of water. Anglers used downriggers, planer boards with lead core and copper, and dipsies, and ran lines throughout the water column for best results. Anglers fished with spoons, J-plugs, flashers with squids and flies, and meat rigs. Good colors to use were greens, oranges, black and white, yellow, and glow stuff early and late. The salmon bite was the best after sunset or in the early morning hours before sunrise. Anglers were heavily focused on fishing salmon, with low fishing pressure for other species.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

West Grand Traverse Bay: The thermocline varied with strong north and south winds; however, it was anywhere from 60 to 100 feet down. Salmon fishing was good in the hole in front of the Boardman River. Fishing near the white walls slowed down, but anglers reported a few salmon caught there. Using plugs, white flasher with flies, meat and spoons all caught fish. Anglers reported catching a few coho. Smallmouth bass fishing was good in 20 to 40 feet of water; bass were still deep. Very few salmon were reported in the Boardman River.

East Grand Traverse Bay: Like West Bay, the thermocline varied anywhere from 60 to 100-plus feet down. Salmon fishing was good on the south end of the bay from the Center Road Launch to South Bank, and up the east side to Deepwater Point. Flasher fly, meat, spoons and plugs all worked well.


Petoskey/Harbor Springs: Salmon fishing on both the north and south side of Little Traverse Bay was productive depending on the day. Both the mornings and evenings provided success. Trolling anywhere in 75 to 150 feet of water at half the water column landed fish. Chinooks, cohos and lake trout were reported. Trolling green, black and silver spoons and flies was the most successful; however, the plug bite was getting better. Those fishing the Bear River reported the occasional Chinook and coho bite.

Frankfort: The Chinook numbers were good, with anglers also reporting good sizes. Anglers were in 100 to 150 feet of water and worked the top 50 to 70 feet early in the morning and a bit deeper as the sun moved up. The pier and jigging slowed, with anglers reporting low numbers, but the Chinooks that moved into the bay were not running up the river. Anglers reported coho in the area, and they were hitting on three-color or sliders around 25 to 35 feet down.

Onekama: Straight out and heading north, anglers in 90 to 120 feet of water who worked the top 70 feet reported good numbers of Chinook in the early morning and at sunset. Meat rigs landed good numbers, with black and greens working best.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Perch anglers reported slow to fair fishing, with continued success fishing and drifting minnows. Walleye anglers in the upper bay caught small fish, with occasional keepers. Drifting and trolling harnesses or body baits were the main methods in use. Some larger fish were caught by anglers launching out of the Ford River.


Big Bay de Noc: Yellow perch fishing was fair to good. Perch minnows and worms worked well. Anglers reported smallmouth fishing as good in Ogontz and Garden Bays.

Marquette: Anglers reported the best places for catching lake trout were near the northwest side of the White Islands and trolling out toward Granite Island. Anglers trolling around 80 to 120 feet of water caught the most lake trout near the White Islands, while anglers trolling for lake trout around Granite Rock had the most luck trolling at around 120 to 200 feet of water. Several Chinook and coho were caught as well at around 40 to 100 feet of water near the Chocolay River on toward Shot Point. Yellow tails, silver and pearl multicolored spoons, cow bells, and green and blue flasher flies were good lures for lake trout, while gold spoons, lime green crank baits, and moonshine glow spoons were good for Chinook and coho salmon.

Au Train: Due to high winds, fishing pressure was low. Anglers who made it out caught near their limit of lake trout, and a few big Chinooks. The best places for anglers to catch fish were near the northeast side of Au Train Island and out toward the Shelter Bay clay banks. Anglers trolling or jigging in around 160 feet of water or trolling along the flats caught the most lake trout. Also, trolling cowbells around 145 feet of water with sucker meat or smelt had good success for some anglers north of Au Train Island. Trolling or jigging bright green/silver spoons, or cow bells with sucker, smelt or white fish bellies were common baits. Green spin and glows at around 80 to 100 feet of water were successful for lake trout out by the clay banks.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers in both bays saw increased numbers of pink salmon and lake trout caught during fishing trips. Anglers came off Lake Superior with more successful trips in the mornings than in the afternoons. Anglers caught the most fish on a combination of spoons and flasher flies while trolling in about 100 feet of water. Some anglers reported success in shallower water; however, most fish were throughout the water column.

Big Traverse Bay/South Portage Canal: Anglers reported large catches of pink salmon and lake trout, with some coho and Chinook salmon caught as well. Most anglers were successful when trolling as well as fishing a wide range of depths but focusing at around 80 feet of water. Larger catches of fish were reported during morning fishing trips. Anglers used artificial baits almost exclusively during these trips.

Ontonagon River: Fishing was slow, with average catches of walleye in low numbers. Both trolling and jigging were utilized by anglers and yielded similar levels of success. Recent rains caused deteriorated water conditions, possibly contributing to the slower bite that was reported.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: Anglers found good numbers of lake trout along with some coho and Chinook salmon. Trolling artificial lures across a variety of depths was the key to successful trips. Anglers reported a broad dispersion of fish throughout the water column. All times of day yielded similar levels of success.

Black River Harbor: Those fishing from the harbor had good luck, with catches consisting primarily of lake trout. Occasional coho and Chinook salmon were caught in low numbers. Anglers found success at all times of day while trolling artificial lures across a variety of depths.

Fishing tip of the week: pike

When it’s very warm out, think about where pike will hide – places with cooler water. These spots include along the thermocline (the layer of water between the deep and surface water), where cold-water streams/rivers flow into lakes or around springs.

Look for bodies of water that aren’t densely populated with pike, so the ones there may have a chance to grow fairly large. Also consider locations that have special regulations like size limits.

Lastly, focus on bodies of water that have a good base of fish that pike feed on – particularly other species that prefer cooler water.

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