Skip to Main
Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, Oct. 19 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: Only a couple boat anglers trolled out of the harbor. A few steelhead and Atlantic salmon were caught by those trolling small spoons in oranges and golds. A few boats found success trolling for walleye in 12 to 16 feet of water after dark. Shallow running crankbaits in purple, black/silver and blues seemed to work best.

Thunder Bay River: A good number of Chinook and coho salmon were reported to be in the river. Anglers had good catches when drifting spawn and casting body baits from the 9th Street Dam to the bridge. Below the 9th Street Bridge, crankbaits and spoons caught the most fish throughout the day and after dark. Anglers reported seeing more Atlantic salmon in the river, with the best results coming early and late in the day using small spoons and spinners in orange, gold and blue/silver. The occasional brown trout was caught while using body baits in black/gold and black/silver. Those fishing the pier head after dark reported a few walleye being caught on deep diving crankbaits and jigs with minnows.


Ocqueoc River: A few anglers tried for salmon but had little success. Anglers who fished the deeper holes casted spoons, body baits or spinners. Drifting fresh skein below a bobber was reported to be the best.

Au Gres: Fishing pressure was low. Bass anglers reported that they were not successful in catching fish. Perch anglers reported having poor luck as well.

Tawas: Due to high winds, not many boat anglers made it out. The handful of shore anglers who went out did not see much action. Anglers reported a couple of Chinook in the Tawas River, as well as a couple walleye more toward the river mouth. Walleye were also being caught off the pier at the harbor once the sun went down. A few anglers made reports that they saw steelhead being caught at the Singing Bridge.

Cheboygan River: A good number of Chinook salmon were reported to be beneath the dam. However, the majority of them were getting rather dark. Steelhead numbers were reported to be increasing. Recent cold weather resulted in fall pike fishing picking up near the mouth of the Cheboygan River. Anglers who were seeking pike used larger lures and a slower retrieve.


Northwest Lower Peninsula

Charlevoix: Due to high winds, fishing pressure was very low. Those targeting smallmouth bass in the channel reported very limited success. A few perch anglers had success while jigging minnows in Round Lake into Lake Charlevoix.

Petoskey/Harbor Springs: Anglers fishing the Bear River reported slower numbers of salmon and trout. Anglers reported mostly coho harvests, with the occasional dark Chinook. There were reports of increased numbers of lake trout making their way up the river. A few decent steelhead started to show up on a more consistent basis as well. Those targeting perch in Harbor Springs reported slow numbers when fishing with minnows. Note: Anglers catching lake trout can only harvest upriver up to the footbridge that goes over the Bear River. Any lake trout caught in the mouth of the Bear River (“the bobber hole”) are in a closed lake trout fishing zone.

Elk River: Catches seemed to be low; however, several anglers did report catching a few coho. There were also reports that some lake trout and small steelhead were starting to show up.

Leland: Fishing seemed to slow due to the weather conditions. However, those who made it out reported catching a handful of Chinook and coho salmon.


West Grand Traverse Bay: Anglers reported great success when fishing for perch. Using both artificial and natural baits worked well. Some lake trout and salmon were filtering into the bay and were caught on 1- to 2-ounce jigging spoons. J-plugs while trolling also did well. Anglers reported that the bite seemed to slow down as the sun came up.

Frankfort: Both pier and shore anglers reported a few steelhead hitting on spawn. The weather this past week has cooled the water temperatures down, and the weeds were a bit of an issue on some days. Smashed spawn bags from young coho were also being reported.

Onekama: Shore anglers on the North Beach reported slow action on spawn in the early mornings.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Anglers battled windy conditions; however, smallmouth bass anglers reported good fishing when casting tubes or dragging sucker minnows. Yellow perch anglers reported good fishing when they were able to access the lake. The most productive presentation for perch was still fishing minnows. Walleye anglers reported slow fishing. Anglers who fished after dark reported catching some; however, it was a very narrow bite window. Northern pike anglers reported fair to good fishing.


Big Bay de Noc: Smallmouth bass anglers had to battle hard north winds and could only fish in sheltered areas. Drifting sucker minnows along the bottom proved to be an effective way of catching smallmouth bass, as some quality-sized fish were reported.

Carp River: The Carp River was producing mostly steelhead and a few coho. Anglers reported that lures, flies and spawn were all catching fish.

Nunns Creek: Nunns Creek was producing decent numbers of Chinook salmon, but they were running on the smaller side. Lures, especially crankbaits, seemed to be the most popular choice among anglers. Skein and spawn were less popular but also effective.

Munising Bay: High winds resulted in very low fishing pressure. A few anglers fished off the Anna River but had poor success. Anglers reported catching a few coho; however, they were mostly males who were pretty dark and ripe.

Marquette: High winds and rain prevented anglers from making it out on the water. Numbers of Chinook and coho salmon caught on the rivers were beginning to rise even more than the previous week. Individuals going out on the break wall did well at catching lake trout. There were also reports of steelhead being caught in the rivers. Using chartreuse, bright orange and glow spinners all yielded good results.

Ontonagon River: Fishing on the river was reported to be very slow as a result of recent weather conditions. Anglers had some luck in finding walleye and the occasional rock bass. Successful trips occurred at all times of day when the weather permitted. The methods of jigging and trolling reportedly yielded similar results.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: These ports have seen very little activity due to inclement weather. When the weather allowed, some anglers were able to make it out on the lake, bringing in good numbers of lake trout. Anglers had luck catching fish at all times of day. Trolling artificial lures across a variety of depths yielded the best results, as the fish seemed to be dispersed randomly throughout the water column.

Black River Harbor: Strong winds and rain made the lake inaccessible. The few anglers that did make it out on the water were rewarded with a couple lake trout. Successful trips occurred at all times of day as weather conditions permitted. Reports show that fish are being caught in a variety of depths when trolling artificial lures.

South Portage Canal/Superior Big Traverse Bay: Anglers in boats mostly reported catching lake trout while trolling. A few anglers had some very mild success with coho as well. Anglers who were casting near shore also had luck with brown trout and northern pike. As the weather cools and fall continues, expect fall-spawning fish to move to their spawning locations.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Angling pressure from boats declined. Anglers who did make it out on the lake had luck trolling for trout. Some coho and steelhead were caught from shore in various locations around both bays. Anglers who caught fish were using spoons, stick baits and flies. With the bay cooling off and fall in full swing, expect some fall-spawning species to be in shallower.

Les Cheneaux/Detour: Fishing activity was extremely slow at both ports. A few anglers in Hessel tried for salmon at the marina, as well as pike fishing off the outside wall, with little to no luck. There were a few Chinook and pink salmon spotted swimming in the marina in Hessel, but catching them was reported to be tough.

Fishing tip of the week

When bottom bouncing and drift fishing for steelhead and salmon, you don’t always have to reel in your bait at the end of your drift. Allowing your bait to swing across the current and rise up occasionally will trigger strikes from salmon and trout as the bait moves away from the fish, much like a swung fly.

Local Trending News