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Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, Sept. 28 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: Anglers reported good success for Chinook, coho, steelhead and lake trout. Trolling lighthouse to lighthouse was good in depths of 60 to 100 feet of water. Green/white, black and chartreuse spoons worked well for salmon 40 to 55 feet down. Early and late in the day had the best results, with the occasional fish being caught throughout the day. Spoons that were run high in the water column caught a good number of steelhead, with oranges, golds and watermelon being the go-to colors. Lake trout were caught from 50 feet of water down to the bottom on a wide variety of spoons and spin glows. A few walleye were caught from the new lighthouse to Thompson Harbor. Chinook were seen from Thompson Harbor into North Bay in 10 to 30 feet of water. A few fish were caught while long-lining body baits.

Alpena: Anglers found success fishing the pier for Chinook before and after dark on glow spoons and body baits. Those trolling the cement plant to the turning body had hit-or-miss success. A few walleye were caught along the north shore in 16 to 25 feet of water. Purple, black and yellow body baits worked the best when trolled late in the evening. Anglers reported marginal success on Chinook and coho fishing in 50 to 70 feet of water. Baitfish were plentiful and on the move, which made fish difficult to find at times.


Thunder Bay River: Boat anglers trolled spoons, plugs and crankbaits with moderate success for salmon. Green, chartreuse and black/silver worked well. Anglers reported catching a few nice pike along with the occasional walleye. Those fishing from shore reported moderate success casting spoons and crankbaits in fire tiger, green and silver. Floating spawn caught a decent number of fish at the 9th Street Dam and below the 9th Street Bridge.

Rockport: Anglers caught limits of lake trout when fishing in 100 to 140 feet of water. Those who headed up to Stoneport caught both Chinook and steelhead.

Rogers City: Angler pressure significantly decreased, but great fishing remained. Adult Chinook salmon were staging off Swan Bay in less than 50 feet of water. Anglers reported having a hard time getting these fish to bite, but did catch a few before sunup and after sunset. Anglers ran mostly bombers and j-plugs off highlines behind boards. Anglers who fished deeper waters reported catching a mixed bag. They caught young Chinook salmon, steelhead, lake trout, and an occasional coho and walleye. The best depths were anywhere from 55 to 85 feet of water. Anglers had the best results when locating the bait fish and fishing around them. Anglers ran lines throughout the water column. Running smaller spoons of greens, blues, oranges, silver, yellow and glow stuff early and late was best.

Ocqueoc River: A few anglers were targeting salmon and drifting spawn under bobbers. Fishing was slow, but anglers did report catching a few.


Au Sable/Oscoda: Anglers reported catching coho and some Chinook salmon at Foote Dam. Using spoons and stick baits yielded the best results. The mouth of the river slowed down, with most salmon caught in the early morning and late evening. The occasional walleye was caught at the mouth of the river. Boat anglers did not report having good luck.

Au Gres: Wind and choppy water conditions kept boat anglers off the water for a few days. Prior to the windy conditions, anglers caught some nice-sized perch in 30 to 40 feet of water, as well as a handful of walleye.

Tawas: Windy conditions kept anglers off the water and the fish from biting. A few walleye were caught here and there, as well as some smaller perch.

Cheboygan River: Shore fishing below the dam was very inconsistent. Only one dam gate was open, which improved the spillway currents for those bobber fishing with skein/spawn bags. Anglers reported mornings as better than evenings. The vast majority of fish were caught on skein, although spawn bags, artificial eggs, crankbaits, spinners and flies have all caught fish.


Northwest Lower Peninsula

Charlevoix: Anglers targeting salmon near Medusa Creek had limited success fishing in front of the mouth. Spoons and drifting spawn and single eggs produced the best results for anglers. Those fishing the piers had limited success targeting smallmouth.

Petoskey/Harbor Springs: Anglers who were targeting lake trout near 9-Mile Point had some success fishing closer to shore. Trolling spoons and flies produced good results. Those trolling for salmon near Petoskey had limited success; however, Chinooks, coho, lake trout and cisco were all reported. Anglers fishing the Bear River reported good numbers following days after rain. Chinook, coho, steelhead, brown trout and lake trout were all reported up the river. Bass anglers reported slow but steady numbers of smallmouth near shore in Harbor Springs.

East Grand Traverse Bay: Chinook salmon catches dwindled, but there was still a fair number of coho being caught. A few cisco started to show up in the catches, but numbers still seemed to be down. Smallmouth bass fishing was decent, with good numbers caught in 25 to 40 feet of water. Those targeting lake trout did well in 90 to 120 feet of water.

West Grand Traverse Bay: Chinook salmon catches slowed, but there still seemed to be a good number of coho around. Smallmouth bass fishing was good in 30 to 40 feet of water. Lake trout fishing was good around Marion Island. Using 1- to 2-ounce jigging spoons early in the morning before sunrise seemed to get the best bite. Anglers reported that they were starting to see many good-sized perch while using perch minnows and small jigging spoons. Anglers also reported seeing many fish, and large schools of bait fish were marked in the bay.


Leland: Anglers reported seeing lake trout come into port. Many anglers stuck to trolling 1 to 3 miles out from the harbor. Coho and Chinook were in, with many being seen off the docks in Leland. J-plugs and meat rigs while trolling at 2.5 to 3 mph early in the morning seemed to be the ticket. Anglers casting for salmon off the docks in Leland found some luck when throwing thunder sticks.

Frankfort: Chinook were caught out front and off the break wall. Water temperatures were on the high side, but the bite slowed and the Chinooks were getting dark. Trolling in 40 to 70 feet of water and setting lines 25 to 40 feet down with plugs and flies worked the best. Anglers reported small schools of coho around the pier heads, as pier anglers caught them on spoons. Inside the harbor and off the bridge, anglers caught Chinook on spoons, spawn and jigging skein. Pier anglers reported that the best action was from 1 to 3 a.m.

Onekama: Anglers trolling the barrel area caught a few lake trout off the bottom in 90 to 110 feet of water on cow bells.

Big Manistee River: Salmon were reported to be throughout the system up to Tippy Dam. Numbers were moderate, as conditions in the river were very low and clear.

Salmon are currently being collected at the Little Manistee River Weir, and egg take operations will be conducted over the next few weeks. If you are interested in seeing the egg take operations, you can check the Little Manistee River Weir hotline at 231-775-9727, and select prompt 8.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Yellow perch anglers reported fair fishing, with the best results in the morning hours. Anglers reported that foggy or overcast days extended the bite window. Walleye anglers reported a tough bite, with few fish to speak of. Anglers caught a few coho and Chinook salmon in the rivers. Smallmouth bass fishing was good, both in terms of quality and numbers.

Big Bay de Noc: Yellow perch anglers had some success, although overall catch varied based on conditions. Minnows on perch rigs or on bobbers was the most widely used tactic to target these fish. Smallmouth bass anglers reported fair fishing.

Carp River/Nunns Creek: The Carp River received more fishing pressure than Nunns Creek, though they both were producing fish. McDonald Rapids was more popular than the mouth of the Carp River. Fly fishing with egg/bug patterns was the primary fishing method on the Carp River, while Nunns Creek was mostly stick baits and spoons. Chinook, pink salmon and an occasional steelhead were caught in the Carp River, while Nunns Creek was all Chinook salmon. Shore anglers reported fishing trips as successful.

Marquette: The best places for catching lake trout were reported as near the northeast side of the White Islands. Warm weather seemed to push the fish back out into deeper waters, and anglers who were trolling in 120 to 180 feet of water were catching the most lake trout. 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 watermelon, multicolored spoons and bright green were good lures to use for lake trout, while gold spoons, lime and moonshine glow spoons were good colors for salmon.

Au Train: Au Train saw a major decrease in fishing pressure; however, those who made it out caught near their limit of lake trout. Numbers of coho and Chinook salmon caught saw a decrease due to high temperatures. Anglers who did catch salmon went out to deeper water. The best places for anglers to catch fish were near the northwest side of Au Train Island and out toward the Shelter Bay clay banks. Anglers were trolling or jigging in 70 to 120 feet of water. Some Chinook and coho were caught in around 70 feet of water while trolling at slower speeds. Anglers also reported that trolling or jigging bright green/silver spoons in 80 to 120 feet of water was successful for lake trout out by the clay banks.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers reported more frequent catches of Chinook salmon, coho and steelhead in the bays. The most successful anglers were trolling with spoons and flies and caught fish on both presentations. Fishing early mornings or in the few hours before sunset produced good salmon bites. Fish were caught anywhere between 15 feet from the surface to 80 feet down in a wide range of total depths. Lake trout catch was steady; however, fewer boat anglers were targeting lake trout. Salmon were spotted in local rivers, and more should come with the season winding down.

Big Traverse Bay/South Portage Canal: Anglers reported more and more salmon being caught, especially in the early hours of the day. Most fish were caught while trolling with artificial lures, and the fish seemed to be moving into waters 70 feet and shallower. Spoons and flies were the most reliable presentations to use. Fish were also reported to be moving from the lake into nearby rivers, and some anglers had success from shore. Anglers reported fishing early in the morning and later in the afternoon as the best times of day for salmon.

Ontonagon River: Anglers fishing on the river had luck in finding some walleye, smallmouth bass and the occasional rock bass. Successful trips occurred throughout the day without bias. Reports state that the walleye bite was slowing as we creep into fall. The method of choice by anglers was trolling artificial lures.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: Fishing efforts out of Ontonagon dropped, while Union Bay saw an increase of anglers. Successful trips consisted of boat anglers bringing in good numbers of lake trout, with the occasional coho salmon and brown trout thrown in the mix. Trolling artificial lures across a variety of depths was the key to success, as reports indicated that fish were dispersed randomly throughout the water column. Anglers had luck catching fish at all times of day.

Black River Harbor: Anglers reported catches of primarily lake trout along with an occasional coho or Chinook salmon. Trips were successful at all times of day. Reports show that fish were caught in a variety of depths when trolling artificial lures. However, it seemed that shallower waters yielded slightly more success.

Munising Bay: Fishing pressure was low. Boat anglers reported slow action, with only a few coho caught. Shore anglers reported no action. Water levels dropped due to a strong seiche and southerly winds.

Grand Marais: Fishing pressure was low. Boat anglers who did make it out caught a few lake trout. Surface water temperatures remained warm at around 60 degrees.

Les Cheneaux/Detour: Anglers in the Cedarville area reported catching a few perch. There were a few splake in the marina at Hessel, but the water temperature was still way too warm for them to come in well. There were a lot of smallmouth bass reported to be hanging around the marina area, as well as big schools of baitfish. In Detour, anglers caught lake trout out in the flats, as well as a few Chinook salmon around the lighthouse. A few anglers headed upriver to Raber Bay and trolled for walleye.

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