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Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, Oct. 12 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

Alpena: Anglers who fished the pier for perch came back with low catches. Those near the lighthouse had the best results with minnows and worms early in the day. A few Chinook, coho and the occasional Atlantic salmon were caught while casting spoons and crankbaits. Using colors such as golds, chartreuse and green/silver seemed to work best. Walleye anglers found fish in 14 to 18 feet of water when fishing from the north shore and from the river mouth to Grass Island. Crankbaits trolled early and late in the day had the most success.

Thunder Bay River: Good numbers of Chinook and coho salmon were reported to be in the river system, from the mouth up to the 9th Street Dam. Those trolling the lower portion of the river did well when using plugs and spoons. Anglers casting spoons and crankbaits and drifting spawn had good catches on and off throughout the day from the bicycle bridge to the dam. Several Atlantic salmon and brown trout were caught. Anglers reported a few walleye being caught while casting body baits after dark. Smallmouth bass were found around the 2nd and 9th Street bridges while using minnows and jigs with crawlers.


Rogers City: Fishing pressure was low, as angler activity has pretty much finished on Lake Huron for this season.

Ocqueoc River: Fishing was slow, but a few salmon were caught when casting with spoons, spinner baits and body baits. Drifting fresh spawn under bobbers in the deeper holes worked as well.

Au Gres: Prior to the cold weather, many anglers were catching their limit of walleye as well as a good number of 12-plus-inch perch. Anglers also caught bass, sheepshead and catfish. Once the cold weather arrived, fishing effort was minimal.

Oscoda/Au Sable: Fishing pressure seemed to be increasing on the river. A few coho and Chinook salmon were caught; however, it was difficult to get them to bite. Anglers reported seeing steelhead make their way into the river, with some anglers getting strong hits on spinners. There were also reports of anglers catching walleye at night near the mouth of the river.


Tawas: Due to a poor weather, no boat anglers were out fishing, and only a few shore anglers made it out. Those who did fish reported catching a few perch at Gateway Park using minnows.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Salmon fishing was reported to be in full swing on all northwest Lower Peninsula streams, with fresh fish coming in and fish on the gravel.

Egg-take operations at the Little Manistee Weir concluded this week, with the final day of egg take scheduled for Oct. 10.

Big Manistee River: Good numbers of salmon were reported to be throughout the system, and a few steelhead were beginning to show up.


Tip: Steelhead anglers should expect increased opportunities on the beach, piers and river systems as more frequent cold fronts and strong northwest winds push these fish nearshore. Casting spoons and spinners along with all natural baits such as spawn bags will produce action from these aggressive fish.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Some salmon remained in the tributaries. Fishing pressure on the lake was noticeably down. Anglers targeting walleye reported fair fishing. Methods used included drifting and trolling crawler harnesses, as well as jigging reaction baits or jig heads. Yellow perch fishing was reported as fair to good.

Big Bay de Noc: Angler activity was down. Those who did venture out reported good smallmouth bass fishing. Anglers reported catching small numbers of yellow perch, but they had to work hard for those bites.

Marquette: Anglers reported that the best place for catching lake trout was near the north side of the White Islands. Anglers who trolled in 120 to 140 feet of water caught the most lake trout near the White Islands. Anglers who trolled for lake trout around Granite Rock had the most luck trolling or jigging at around 140 to 200 feet of water. The numbers of Chinook and coho salmon caught began to rise, and they were caught between 40 to 70 feet of water mostly by the Chocolay River and out toward Shot Point. Pink salmon were still being caught at the mouth of the Carp River. Anglers reported watermelon, multicolored spoons, Bite Me Elmo and bright green as being good lures for lake trout while 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 almost everyone who did make it out seemed to catch near their limit of lake trout. The coho and Chinook salmon started to see a resurgence in numbers being caught. Anglers seemed have the most success when focusing their fishing in 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, while anglers fishing for salmon were in the 40 to 70 feet of water depth range. Anglers reported trolling or jigging bright green or orange/silver spoons or green flasher flies as working well.

Ontonagon River: Inclement weather limited opportunities for those looking to fish the river. The few anglers who did get out had some luck in finding walleye. Successful trips occurred throughout the day when conditions permitted. Reports show that the methods of jigging and trolling yielded similar results.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: These ports saw little fishing effort due to recent rains and high winds on the lake. Anglers who took advantage of weather windows brought in good numbers of lake trout. Trolling artificial lures across a variety of depths was the key to success, as anglers reported catching fish throughout the water column. Anglers caught fish at all times of day when the weather permitted.

Black River Harbor: Fishing efforts out of the harbor were very low as a result of recent harsh weather. Very few anglers made it out on the lake, but those who did reported catching decent numbers of lake trout. These successful trips occurred at all times of day, weather permitting. Reports show that fish were caught in a variety of depths when trolling artificial lures.

Les Cheneaux/Detour: Fishing in both ports was extremely slow. However, there were some reports of Chinook and pink salmon swimming around the marina in Hessel.

Fishing tip of the week

Fall is a great time to target smallmouth bass with Great Lakes pier fishing, a tactic underutilized by many anglers. As the lakes and rivers cool, minnows will congregate around the piers. Large, educated river smallmouth migrating downstream in the fall often will drop their guard when gorging on minnows at the river mouth, allowing some very nice fish that otherwise would be very slow to bite to be taken on minnows.

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