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Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, Oct. 5 report

Plus, a tip on catching muskie

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 activity was slow. Chinook, coho, steelhead and lake trout were caught by those who targeted 60 to 110 feet of water. Steelhead were caught on bright orange and gold-colored spoons that were used 15 to 30 feet down. Salmon were caught in the middle of the water column in 40 to 60 feet of water. Black/orange, greens and watermelon colors had the best results. Lake trout were caught from the middle of the water column to the bottom on spoons and flasher/spin glow combos. Anglers are reminded that lake trout season closed Sept. 30.

Alpena: Those fishing the pier had some luck casting spoons and crankbaits early and late in the day. Purples, greens and chartreuse-colored baits were the most productive. A few walleye were also caught on crankbaits while fishing after dark. Walleye were reported to have been caught in 12 to 20 feet of water around Sulphur and Grass Islands. The north shore of Thunder Bay also gave up walleye while trolling crankbaits. Dark colors worked best in 15 to 25 feet of water in low light conditions. Anglers reported good numbers of salmon in the shipping channel, but catch rates were low.


Thunder Bay River: More Chinook moved into the river, along with a few coho in the mix. Boat anglers had success trolling large spoons, plugs and crankbaits early and late in the day. Shore anglers had success casting spoons, spinners and crankbaits and drifting spawn. The most productive colors were gold, green, chartreuse and blue/silver baits. A few walleye were caught on crankbaits near the walking bridge after dark and below the 9th Street Bridge.

Rogers City: Angler pressure significantly decreased, but great fishing remained when the weather and winds behaved. The adult Chinook salmon were staging off Swan Bay in waters less than 50 feet. Anglers had a hard time getting these fish to bite, but they caught 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 reported catching young Chinook salmon, steelhead and lake trout, with the occasional coho and walleye. The best depths were anywhere from 55 to 85 feet of water. These anglers were running lines throughout the water column and using smaller spoons of greens, blues, oranges, silver, yellow and glow stuff early and late. The best fishing time was morning or evening hours.

Au Gres: When the water was not too choppy, anglers came back with averages of 10 decent-sized perch. These perch were reported to have been caught out toward the shipping channel. Although most anglers were targeting perch in this area, they did report seeing a few 20-plus-inch walleye. White perch and white bass were also being caught.

Tawas: Fishing pressure was low, as weather kept anglers off the water. A few walleye were caught along with some small perch. At the mouth of the Tawas River, anglers were still waiting on the salmon to really start biting.


Cheboygan River: Good numbers of salmon were reported below the dam, and the bite seemed to improve. Most of the fish were Chinook, but coho, steelhead and pink salmon were also present. Though skein was most effective, some anglers did well with minnow profile crankbaits.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Charlevoix: Fishing pressure for salmon was reported to be very low. Anglers who fished in front of Medusa Creek had limited success casting spoons and drifting skein. Boat anglers targeting salmon picked up the occasional Chinook, lake trout and cisco. Reminder that lake trout season is now closed.

Petoskey/Harbor Springs: Anglers fishing the Bear River reported very good numbers of fish following the rainy weather. Several Chinook, coho, some steelhead and the occasional pink salmon were reported to be caught. Bouncing single beads and black/brown flies produced the best results. Bobber drifting spawn or skein near the mouth of the Bear River also produced decent results. Those who were smallmouth bass fishing near Harbor Springs reported steady numbers on cooler days.

East Grand Traverse Bay: Coho fishing was reported as good due to a large school showing up. Most of the large, adult Chinook were gone, but a few small, immature Chinook were still caught. Cisco fishing was good for those trolling, whereas those who were jigging reported fishing as very poor. Smallmouth bass were still deep in 20 to 40 feet of water, but catches were good. Reminder that lake trout season is closed.


West Grand Traverse Bay: A few coho were caught in the hole in front of the Boardman River. Smallmouth bass fishing was reported as good when fishing in 20 to 40 feet of water. A few perch were caught near Elmwood Marina. Reminder that lake trout season is closed.

Frankfort: Anglers reported low numbers of Chinook out front and off the break walls as most fish moved upriver. Platte Bay was still reporting moderate numbers of Coho at the mouth and in the river.

Onekama: Perch anglers who fished Portage Lake found some luck along the shoreline in front of the camp area.

Manistee: Most Chinook were reported to be in the rivers; however, anglers still reported catching fish offshore anywhere from 80 to 150 feet down. Chinook, coho and steelhead were reported to have been caught with j-plugs, spoons and occasionally on meat rigs. Anglers reported the morning bite as being the most successful.


Ludington: Most of the Chinook salmon were reported to be in the rivers; however, anglers still reported catching fish offshore anywhere from 80 to 150 feet down, sometimes even in 60 feet of water. Chinook, coho and steelhead were caught with j-plugs, spoons and occasionally on meat rigs as well. Anglers reported the morning bite as being the most successful, with most of the fish stopping biting after 10 a.m.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Yellow perch anglers reported fair to good fishing. The use of minnows when drifting was productive. Northern pike anglers reported fair catches when trolling or casting. Walleye fishing success saw an uptick, with drifting crawlers and jigging being the preferred methods. Pink salmon, coho salmon and a few Chinook salmon were reported to be in the tributaries. Drifting spawn, skein and beads were tactics anglers used in the rivers.

Big Bay de Noc: Yellow perch anglers reported fair fishing.

Carp River: The Carp River was still producing fish, but overall, the fishing seemed to slow. More steelhead and fresh salmon should continue to enter the river, but most of the Chinook appeared pretty dark. Anglers reported catching some large-sized fish. The best lures were reported to be spinners for those who did not have salmon eggs.

Nunns Creek: Nunns Creek continued to be slow, though the fishing is expected to pick up soon. Recent rains pushed a few fish up the creek, but most were still out in Saint Martin Bay. Anglers caught some Chinook from the shore and while wading, but numbers were reported to be unimpressive. A few boats targeted salmon in Saint Martin Bay near Nunns Creek, but they had similar results to those shore fishing.

Marquette: Anglers reported the best place for catching lake trout as near the north side of the White Islands. Cooler days seemed to bring the fish back into shallower waters, and anglers trolling in 120 to 140 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 or jigging at around 140 to 200 feet of water. Chinook and coho salmon were caught in around 40 to 70 feet of water, mostly by the Chocolay River and out towards Shot Point. Anglers reported watermelon, multicolored spoons, Bite Me Elmo and bright green as being good lures for lake trout. Gold spoons, bright lime or orange, and moonshine glows were good colors for salmon.

Au Train: Au Train saw a major decrease in anglers, but those who did make it out caught near their limit of lake trout. The coho and Chinook started to see a resurgence in numbers caught. These fish were found in around 40 to 70 feet of water. The best places for anglers to catch fish were near the northwest side of Au Train Island and out toward the Shelter Bay Flats. Anglers trolling between 70 to 120 feet of water saw excellent lake trout numbers. Trolling or jigging bright green or orange/silver spoons or green flasher flies seemed to work well for anglers.

Ontonagon River: Anglers on the river had luck in finding some walleye, rock bass, smallmouth bass and the occasional northern pike. Reports show that trolling artificial lures was the most popular method used. While fish were caught at all times of day, it seemed that the morning and evening hours were the most productive.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: Fishing from these ports was reported to be good. Anglers were consistently bringing in good numbers of lake trout, with an occasional coho salmon thrown in the mix. Reports show that fish were caught at all times of day. Trolling artificial lures was the method of choice among most anglers, with many finding success in shallower waters.

Black River Harbor: Fishing from the harbor was reported to be good. Anglers had no issues in finding good numbers of lake trout and occasional coho salmon. Reports show that fish were caught in a variety of depths, with a slightly higher yield coming from shallower waters. Successful trips consisted of trolling artificial lures and occurred at all times of day.

Munising Bay: The fall bite for coho was reported to be slow, with few fish caught. Many coho were observed by boat anglers in Munising Bay jumping and rolling both in the bay and offshore by the Anna River; however, overall, few fish were reported.

Grand Marais: The fall bite was reported to be very slow for coho. Anglers reported that coho were large and averaged around 6 to 8 pounds, with a few smaller coho reported as well. Shore fishing was also very slow, with low fishing pressure.

Les Cheneaux/Detour: Splake season is now closed, but the last four days of season produced a few nice-sized and nice-colored fish. Anglers who fished in a bass tournament in the Les Cheneaux area over the weekend reported that they were struggling to find fish, let alone anything worth weighing. In Detour, lake trout season closed, and the fishing efforts were slow.

Fishing tip of the week

Known as “the fish of a thousand casts,” the muskellunge can be a tough species to target. Have you always wanted to catch a big one? Check out this tip to try the next time you head out.

When you’re out on the water, consider focusing your efforts on the corners or inside turns of the lake(s) you’re fishing. These spots consist of bends in the bottom that cause a slight point to form. Muskie will often hide out in these spots, especially if it puts them close to deeper water, excellent cover and access to food.

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