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Hook & Hunting

Where the fish are biting this week, April 11 report

Plus, a tip on how to catch your own nightcrawlers

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

Oscoda: Pier anglers caught good numbers of Atlantic salmon, lake trout and brown trout while fishing minnows on bobbers and close to the bottom. Spoons and spinners of various colors were all productive throughout the day. Steelhead action slowed, but a few fish were still caught on fresh spawn. A few walleye were caught while casting crankbaits in low light conditions. Weather permitting, those in boats did well on lake trout, Atlantic salmon and walleye. Medium diving crankbaits and standard-size spoons in oranges, gold/green and chartreuse worked well in waters 15 to 40 feet deep.

Au Sable River: The AuSable River still had good numbers of steelhead being caught by anglers. Fresh spawn and plugs caught the majority of the fish near the Foote Dam. A few fresh Atlantic salmon were caught in the lower river on bright-colored spoons, spinners and plugs.


The sighting of the first blue-winged olives is a promising sign, and anglers can expect trout to become more active as they begin to feed on emerging insects. With water temperatures slightly warmer than usual, the first Hendrickson hatch could occur at any time now. These hatches are typically in the afternoon, but do note that they can also occur in the morning under the right conditions. Check in with the local fly shops for the latest information on hatch timing and insect activity.

Cheboygan: A few chrome steelhead were reported to be running up the river. Anglers who had the best luck reported using steelhead spawn bags, wax worms and beads, and were drifting in about 6 feet of water. Fish were cooperating the most on days that were cloudy, but still on the warmer side. Just off the river’s mouth in Lake Huron, there were reports of some coho salmon and walleye activity.

Rogers City: Fishing pressure was low due to cold and windy conditions on Lake Huron. Stained water was reported to be out in front of the marina. Anglers fishing from the wall with spoons and body baits found some success. Using bright colors like yellows and oranges in 60 feet of water or less was reported to work well.

Ocqueoc River: Anglers who fished for steelhead had limited success. Fish were reported to be trickling in, with anglers getting prespawn fish as well as fish already spawned out. Anglers were drifting spawn bags under bobbers in the deeper holes for the best results.


Harrisville: A good number of Atlantic salmon and steelhead were found around the harbor. Shore anglers had success using spinners, spoons and minnows. Boat anglers caught a good number of coho salmon, Atlantic salmon, steelhead and lake trout. Short lead cores and long lines worked well in 20 to 60 feet of water. While orange, watermelon and gold/green spoons worked well for silver fish, chartreuse, orange/white and golds worked better for lake trout.

Alpena: Good numbers of steelhead were still being caught from below 9th Street up to the dam. Drifting fresh spawn and beads was the most productive early and late in the day. Pier anglers reported catching a few Atlantic salmon and brown trout while casting spoons and crankbaits. A few walleye were caught in low light conditions when casting a variety of crankbaits. Boat anglers caught a few walleye while jigging swim baits near the mouth of the river. Those trolling the bay found scattered Atlantic salmon, brown trout and lake trout. Fish were reported to be in depths of 20 to 50 feet of water throughout the shipping lanes.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Frankfort: Anglers fishing the piers with fresh eggs reported moderate numbers of steelhead off the north pier from both the inside and outside. Anglers who trolled the pierheads caught a few brown trout, coho salmon and northern pike. Anglers who ventured out a bit deeper reported catching lake trout in 35 to 45 feet of water. The early morning bite was reported to be a little bit better than the afternoon.

Onekama: Anglers who launched in Onekama and trolled south to Bar Lake reported some activity, with steelhead and brown trout in 15 to 30 feet of water.


Manistee: Pier fishing was reported to be slower. A few lake trout, steelhead and a couple brown trout were caught while using spawn and spoons. Those trolling outside the harbor picked up very few brown trout and a couple lake trout; fishing was slow.

Charlevoix: Anglers fished in the channel as well as on the ends of the piers with little to no luck. Anglers were reported to still be waiting for the first cisco bite of the season.

Petoskey: Anglers fishing the Bear River reported low numbers of small steelhead making their way up the river. Anglers fishing flies had some luck while bottom bouncing, while those floating spawn reported very low numbers, primarily in the morning. The very occasional brown trout, northern pike and lake trout were reported to be caught.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Perch fishing was reported to have been good, with limit catches in 42 to 48 feet of water off of Vagabond. Most of the females were still tight, with only a very small number with loose eggs. They should be moving toward shallow water to begin spawning as soon as temperatures are around 40 degrees. Minnows were outperforming crawlers. There were lots of small walleye around, so anglers should expect to move around a bit to find areas where there aren’t so many. The perch were reported to be in good numbers, so finding spots without small walleye isn’t a problem.


Manistique: Anglers reported catching steelhead in the river. Drifting beads seemed to yield the best results.

Marquette: Recent fishing for coho salmon on the break wall seemed to slow. Boat anglers who made it out on Lake Superior had some luck fishing for coho salmon and reported catching a good number of brown trout by the mouth of the Carp River. Anglers who were floating down the Chocolay River did well catching steelhead and brown trout. The Carp River picked back up again for steelhead. Spawn bags and wax worms seemed to work well for steelhead in both the Carp and Chocolay rivers, along with orange beads and some spinner action. Trolling blue and silver spoons as well as tiger-stripe-patterned Rapalas seem to be popular for catching coho salmon in the lower harbor. Buckeye jigs on the break wall were also reported to work well.

Au Train: The boat launch is now up and running with the dock in, and the launch has been dredged. Boat anglers on Lake Superior caught a couple coho salmon and steelhead. Anglers were also catching steelhead and coho salmon at the mouth of the rivers. Blue and silver spoons were reported to work well for coho salmon. Tiger-striped or bright orange and gold double-jointed Rapalas worked well for brown trout and steelhead out by the northwest side of the island and close to shore by the river mouths.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers reported catching some trout and salmon on boats and from shore. Most fish caught were lake trout, and they were typically caught during jigging and trolling trips in water deeper than 70 feet. Some splake, brown trout and rainbow trout continued to be caught from shore while casting spoons and leaving natural bait on the bottom. In the coming weeks, begin looking for smelt moving close to shore along with trout and salmon that will be feeding on them!

South Portage Entry Canal/ Big Traverse Bay: Anglers were trolling and jigging for lake trout, coho salmon and brown trout with varied success. Anglers found these fish when trolling near shore in waters shallower than 100 feet and while using spoons, stick baits and plugs. Most successful fishing trips were during the early morning hours.

St. Ignace: The Carp River was reported to see some fishing activity; however, there were still no smelt reports. Keep an ear out for talk about the smelt running up the Carp River; it may be happening soon with warmer weather.

Les Cheneaux/Detour: Anglers caught a few splake at the marina in Hessel, mostly on smelt. Good fishing days were reported to have been very hit or miss. There were also a few anglers who trolled in Wilderness and Hessel bays and were able to catch a few splake on stick baits. There was no fishing activity reported in Detour. The smelt being used by anglers mostly came from Lake Superior. There was yet to be a run in the Carp River or at Nunns Creek; however, anglers were keeping a close eye on both areas.

Ontonagon River: Fishing on the river was reported to be slow and difficult as a result of high turbidity and low visibility in the water. Very few anglers were on the river due in part to water conditions, weather and accessibility. Reports from those who made it out indicated that few fish were caught.

Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: Access was limited at these ports due to weather conditions. High winds, flurries and cold temperatures limited fishing efforts greatly.

Black River Harbor: Fishing efforts out of the harbor were strong when weather permitted. Coho salmon and brown trout were reported to be caught by shore anglers, while boat anglers reported catches of coho salmon, brown trout and lake trout when trolling.

Fishing tip of the week: How to catch your own nightcrawlers

Are you interested in catching and keeping your own nightcrawlers? It’s fairly easy to do – just follow these simple steps:

  • Know where to look. Scout locations such as parks, playgrounds and open, grassy areas after a good rain. Look for nightcrawler castings (the little piles of dirt they leave behind), and then plan to visit again following the next good rain.
  • Know when to collect. Nightcrawlers are best caught an hour or so after dark. Bring the right equipment. Nightcrawlers are sensitive to vibrations, so wear lightweight shoes. They’re also sensitive to bright light, so consider rigging your flashlight with a red cover over the lens.
  • Store them properly. When you catch nightcrawlers, just lay them on top of some storage bedding – don’t mix them in. This will allow you to remove sick or dead ones more easily.

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