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Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, Sept. 14 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: Fishing pressure was low; however, those who made it out had good success. North Bay to Black Point was good for Chinook, coho, steelhead and lake trout. Salmon were caught from 40 to 70 feet of water while fishing the middle of the column. Using J-plugs and spoons in yellows, greens and blues was the most productive. Lake trout were found in 50 to 100 feet of water closer to the bottom. Fishing with watermelon, white and chartreuse spoons caught good numbers of fish. Steelhead were scattered in all depths in the top 30 feet of water, with oranges and golds being the most productive colors.

Rockport: Anglers caught their limits of lake trout while fishing in anywhere from 90 to 130 feet of water. The walleye bite slowed, but anglers reported the best bite being at night. Salmon were caught, but not in great numbers. Anglers found the majority of them in 30 to 60 feet of water.


Alpena: Walleye anglers had success fishing from Whitefish Point to Thunder Bay Island. Gold, purple and black/silver body baits caught fish in the evenings from 15 to 25 feet of water. Partridge Point and Sulphur Island produced walleye after dark on crankbaits in 10 to 15 feet of water. Anglers had luck catching Chinook in the bay while running longlines with plugs, body baits and spoons on short lead cores. Black, purple and chartreuse were most productive early and late in the day. Pier anglers had success casting glow spoons and body baits after dark.

Thunder Bay River: A few walleye were caught near Mill Island Park while casting body baits after dark, with fire tiger patterns yielding the best results. Anglers who targeted Chinook had hit-or-miss success trolling plugs and casting spoons early and late in the day. A few fish were caught by anglers who drifted spawn between the dam and 9th Avenue Bridge. Due to warm water temperatures, no large numbers of fish were reported.

Rogers City: Chinook salmon were staging off Swan Bay. Early in the morning or later in the day seemed to be better fishing. Anglers were long-lining bombers and J-plugs off planer boards. The best depths were inside 40 feet of water. Anglers reported heavy presence of bait fish, with immature salmon, steelhead, lake trout and walleye feeding on them. The best bite was reported to be in the evening as the sun is going down, with the best depths being where the bait was located, in around 50 to 70 feet of water. Anglers who used greens, yellows, blues and glow stuff early and late have had good success. Anglers used downriggers, dipsies and lead core as well.

Au Gres: Perch anglers did not seem to have much luck, but those who did reported using natural bait, such as jigging minnows.


Oscoda/Au Sable: Not many anglers were out on the water, but those who made it out reported catching steelhead and walleye in around 100 feet of water. Pier anglers reported an increase in the amount of Chinook and coho salmon caught off the pier. Anglers reported that using spoons at dawn and dusk seemed to work best.

Cheboygan: Salmon fishing improved in Cheboygan, but the run was not yet in full swing. Both the pier and the dam produced fish for shore anglers, with spawn, spoons and jointed crankbaits being the most popular lures. The current was fast due to three dam gates being open, which made floating a bobber more difficult. Boat anglers targeted salmon in the river channel and lake trout around the nearby reefs. The best salmon fishing continued to be at night or early morning, though they could be caught at any time.

Tawas: Walleye anglers were content with their catch when trolling both natural and artificial bait at around 70 feet of water. A couple coho salmon made an appearance and were caught by anglers using spoons.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Charlevoix: Salmon anglers had most of their success fishing near Medusa in the early morning. A variety of casting and trolling spoons, jigging and drifting spawn produced results. Rains earlier in the week pushed fish inland, resulting in several bites near the pier heads and into Lake Charlevoix. Good numbers of Chinook salmon, some coho and a few extra steelhead were reported. Those targeting bass in the channel reported slow results on keepers.


Petoskey/Harbor Springs: Anglers targeting salmon in front of the Bear River had some success trolling a variety of plugs, flies and spoons. Chinook, coho and a few nice steelhead were reported while fishing from boats. Those fishing in the Bear River found success during and immediately after the heavy rains. Slow but steady success following the rains produced good-sized Chinook, small coho and a few steelhead. Anglers fishing on the north side of Little Traverse Bay reported a few lake trout, Chinook and the occasional bass up shallow.

Frankfort: The Chinook were moving into the river as lower numbers were caught out in front of the pier heads and off the break walls. Anglers did, however, report good numbers in the harbor. In Platte Bay, coho numbers were at peak, as anglers reported catching their limit in the early morning while trolling, jigging and casting.

Onekama: Anglers reported Chinook activity out front and in the Barrel in 40 to 60 feet of water and set lines in the top 30 feet of water. Darker Chinooks were reported, resulting in slowed angler pressure.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Perch anglers reported catching a few, although success and location of active schools varied from day to day. It was not uncommon for areas that held fish one day to be scarce the next, with searches required for any degree of success. Walleye anglers reported a tough bite, likely due to the unstable weather conditions. Anglers also reported having limited success farther south, by the Cedar or Bark rivers.


Big Bay de Noc: Smallmouth bass anglers out of Nahma had some luck and reported catching a few large smallmouth bass. Both perch and walleye anglers reported fishing as slow.

Carp River/Nunns Creek: The Carp River was reported to be producing more fish than Nunns Creek. Anglers at both locations were most successful when wading and casting spoons or drifting salmon eggs. The most popular access points for the Carp River were at the mouth or just upstream a few miles at the McDonald Rapids.

Marquette: Anglers reported that the best place for catching lake trout was near the northeast side of the White Islands. Warm weather seemed to push fish back out into deeper waters. Anglers who were trolling in 120 to 180 feet of water caught the most lake trout near the White Islands, while anglers who trolled for lake trout around Granite Rock had the most luck trolling or jigging at around 120 to 200 feet of water. Anglers reported catching Chinook and coho salmon in 100 or more feet of water. Watermelon, silver and red multicolored spoons, cow bells, and bright green and blue flasher flies were good lures for lake trout while gold spoons, lime or green crank baits, and moonshine glows were hot colors for salmon.

Au Train: Several anglers reported catching near their limit of lake trout. Fish were being caught in deeper water, with the best places for anglers to catch fish being near the northwest side of Au Train Island and out toward the Shelter Bay clay banks. Green spin and glows in around 80 to 120 feet were successful for lake trout by the clay banks. Anglers who were trolling or jigging in 70 to 120 feet of water or were trolling along the flats caught the most lake trout. Also, trolling cowbells in around 145 feet of water with sucker meat or smelt had good success for some anglers north of Au Train Island. Chinook and coho salmon were caught at around 70 feet of water while trolling at a slower speed of around 1.8 mph. Anglers reported that black/gold or orange spoons and a pink flasher fly was hot for the coho and Chinook.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers were steadily bringing in lake trout with the occasional coho. Anglers reported most fishing taking place during morning hours, with most fish caught near the top or bottom of the water column regardless of depth. Anglers had most of their catch on artificial lures such as spoons and while trolling. Water temps were moving between cool and warm, and some angler reports indicated fish moving toward the bays.

Big Traverse Bay/South Portage Canal: Anglers continued to catch scores of lake trout, with silver fish being found farther north. Those fish are expected to be moving into closer water in the coming weeks, with the changing season. Water cooling off showed some fishing moving slightly south following those cool temps. Anglers were mostly trolling with spoons and flies, and fish were caught in the upper third of the water column. Anglers reported morning trips being the most successful.

Ontonagon River: Fishing on the river was slow over the past week. Anglers had some luck in finding walleye and the occasional yellow perch. Anglers reported success mostly in the morning hours, with the bite slowing as the day went on. Anglers reported that both jigging and trolling yielded similar results.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: Anglers brought in a good mix of lake trout, coho salmon and the occasional brown trout. Anglers reported that trolling artificial lures across a variety of depths was the key to this 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 out of the harbor were high over the past week. Anglers who made it out on the lake were rewarded with good numbers of lake trout and an occasional coho salmon. Successful trips occurred at all times of day, and fish were caught in a variety of depths when trolling artificial lures.

Munising Bay: Fishing pressure was low, but a few anglers reported catching small numbers of cohos. Pier fishing off the Anna was slow, with no reports of any coho or splake.

Grand Marais: Fishing pressure was low, with very few coho caught by boat anglers who did make it out. Anglers did, however, report that the coho were good-sized, with fish over 6 pounds. A few boat anglers tried for lake trout and did well offshore near the shipping channels. Large clouds of baitfish were still reported to be present.

Les Cheneaux/Detour: Fishing pressure was slow in the area; however, anglers in Hessel managed to catch a few perch around the marina and around and within Musky Bay. Splake were not caught yet, and the pike fishing from the pier was reported as very slow. Anglers reported catching a few lake trout around the east entrance. In Detour, anglers were catching a mixed bag of salmon and lake trout along with a few walleye. Anglers mainly trolled around the lighthouse and in the flats. There were also a few pike caught toward the north around the islands.

Escanaba: The Escanaba River was giving up limits of coho salmon from the dam down to the bay.

Fishing tip of the week

Do you carry a first-aid kit with you while you’re out fishing? You never know what can happen, so it never hurts to be prepared. If you’re interested in putting together a kit, be sure to include the following:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Hemostat
  • Compresses
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Medical tape
  • Compression bandage
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Antibiotic wipes
  • Eye-wash fluid
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen

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