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Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, March 21 report

Make sure you have your license for the season

The new fishing license and regulation season kicks off April 1, so anglers need to be sure they have purchased a new license for the fishing season in order to enjoy Michigan’s great fishing opportunities. The 2024 fishing licenses are valid through March 31, 2025. Fishing licenses can be purchased at or by downloading the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app and purchasing your license on the app.

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

Au Gres: Poor weather seemed to keep many anglers away, however those who made it out over the weekend reported catching many little yellow perch, with a few keepers mixed in.


Oscoda: Pier anglers had success catching steelhead, lake trout and the occasional Atlantic salmon. Using fresh spawn continued to work best when targeting steelhead, while anglers casting spoons caught a few lake trout and Atlantic salmon. Blue-silver, green-silver, and orange-colored spoons seemed to yield the best results. Boat anglers found lake trout, Atlantic salmon and a few walleye in 15 to 30 feet of water. Green, orange, and chartreuse spoons had best results when trolled behind planer boards on short lead cores. A few walleye were caught early and late in the day when trolling body baits. Some of the most productive colors included fire tiger, black-silver and blue-silver. There had been no reports of smelt yet.

Au Sable River: Moderate action was reported throughout the river to Foot Dam. Steelhead were caught on spawn, wax worms and spinners. Boat anglers fishing plugs and spawn did well in the deeper runs. A few Atlantic salmon were caught while running bright colored spoons and plugs in the lower portions of the river.

Tawas: Fishing was reported to have slowed at the State dock. Some anglers reported catching a few lake trout and whitefish, but it was minimal. Boat anglers caught a couple lake trout and brown trout out in the bay.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Frankfort: Wind and waves kept most anglers off the piers and beaches. However, when the weather did cooperate, anglers reported catching a few steelhead and brown trout from the piers when using spawn.


Betsie River: Rough weather pushed a good run of fresh steelhead into the river, as anglers reported moderate catches at Homestead Dam.

Manistee: High winds and large waves kept anglers off the lake.

Ludington: Anglers reported catching brown trout while trolling in the harbor and outside the pier heads to the north. A mix of brown trout, steelhead and coho were caught off the north pier while using spawn.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: The Bay was reported to be virtually all open water other than a few shallow coves and floating icebergs. Anglers fishing for walleye the week prior to the close of the season reported slow fishing.


Le Cheneaux: Anglers fishing for splake reported catching a few off the pier at the Hessel marina, as well as within Wilderness and Hessel Bay. Poor weather conditions towards the end of the week slowed fishing.

Marquette: Boat anglers were able to make it out on Lake Superior, however there was still skim ice in the mornings. Anglers reported success when fishing for coho salmon along the break wall as well as trolling along it. Trolling with blue and silver spoons and tiger striped Rapalas seemed to work well. Anglers fishing the Chocolay River reported success when fishing for steelhead and brown trout. The Carp River was also reported to be consistent, with a few decent steelhead being caught. Using spawn and wax worms on jigs seemed to work well for steelhead in both rivers.

Au Train: Fishing pressure was very low on Lake Superior, however those that made it out reported catching coho salmon, steelhead and brown trout. Blue and silver spoons did well for coho salmon, while tiger striped or bright orange double jointed Rapalas worked well for brown trout and steelhead out by the island.

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers had luck when jigging and trolling for a variety of species. While jigging most anglers caught whitefish and lake trout with the occasional splake and Chinook salmon mixed in. Some anglers who were trolling found luck with coho salmon. Shore fisherman caught splake and steelhead when casting spoons and fishing with spawn bags. Fishing in low light hours when the water was clear seemed to be the best time to fish.


Fishing tip of the week: Fishing Michigan’s piers & breakwalls

Michigan’s numerous piers and breakwalls offer great fishing opportunities throughout the year. Anglers often participate in this activity to target a variety of species, with trout and salmon being two of the most popular.

If you decide to partake in this type of fishing, you’ll need a high-quality rod and reel. Technique-wise you’ll want to vary the depth and speed of your retrieves and consider fan-casting as opposed to casting perpendicular to the pier/breakwall.

There are lots of bait options to consider, including spawn bags with steelhead, trout or salmon eggs; live alewives; or night crawlers. You’ll also want a long-handled net to aid in landing your catch!

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