Weekly Fishing Tip: What to do when walleyes pick upclose-up of walleye caught in Michigan
Walleye fishing is picking up steadily in the large inland lakes in northern Michigan. Some of these lakes include Burt, Mullett, Black, Long, Grand and Hubbard.
Many anglers who fish these lakes over the years are learning that by this time of the year, it is best to troll for walleye with lines that are elevated in the water column. Many think of walleye as a benthic, or bottom, species. While this is true at times, this species will come a long way up in the water column to hit your presentation. More so, they will often suspend in the water column based on forage.
The mayfly hatch has begun on these lakes, so expect to find these fish anywhere from five to 15 feet off the bottom, focusing your crankbaits or crawler harnesses in that region, instead of along the bottom. You might be surprised how well you can do.
Keweenaw Bay: Had good fishing with anglers taking a mix of coho, Chinook, rainbow trout, lake trout, splake and brown trout when trolling 30 to 50 feet down in 40 to 60 feet of water. Most are trolling between the Baraga Marina or the L’Anse Marina and the head of the bay. Some were trolling as far north as Carla’s Restaurant on U.S.-41. Trolling speed was between 1.8 and 2.3 mph. In Traverse Bay, anglers fished off Big Louie’s and Gay Point for lake trout in 130 to 180 feet with spoons but the bite was slow. A couple fish were taken by those jigging in waters 20 to 260 feet deep off Big Louie’s Point. No report for the South Portage Entry.
Lake Antoine: Pier, shore and boat anglers have caught a good number of panfish when still-fishing or drifting with live bait. Most of the fish were smaller but boat anglers did catch some very nice bluegills, yellow perch and crappie. The bass fishery is still producing some nice large and smallmouth for those casting crank baits near the weeds.
Marquette: Dense patchy fog is making it hard to anglers to get out. A couple steelhead were caught at the mouth of the Carp River. Catch rates for salmon dropped with only a few Chinook or coho taken. Lake trout action was fair. A few anglers had good catches near the Sand River and Shot Point when using spoons in 100 to 160 feet. Those fishing deeper had little success. Catch rates were slow for those fishing near the Sand Hole and north of Granite Island towards the “Clay Banks”. Surface water temperatures were in the low to mid 40’s.
Little Bay De Noc: South to southeast winds created good walleye conditions between the Ford River and Breezy Point. Walleye anglers reported good to excellent catches using crawler’s with harnesses in eight to 10 feet. Some went south down by Round Island and reported the same in six to 14 feet. The rest of the Bay reported less action although catches were reported at the mouth of the Escanaba River, the east bank in Gladstone and the First and Second Reefs in Kipling. Most catches were in 14 to 28 feet with crawler harnesses. Smallmouth catches were down and fewer anglers were fishing them. The Ford River area is still best with fair catches in six to eight feet with plastics, spinners and crawlers. A few largemouth bass were caught in Kipling along the West Bank using spinners in 10 to 14 feet. Perch fishing was fair with minnows or crawlers in 10 to 14 feet at Kipling, 20 to 26 feet along the Narrows and 14 to 20 feet up by the Days River. No salmon to report.
Big Bay De Noc: Smallmouth bass catches were down. Garden Bay, South River, Ogontz and up near the Fish Dam Rivers all reported similar results for those casting and trolling plastics, crank baits, spinners or crawlers in six to 12 feet. The walleye started moving south and catch rates were fair. Fish can still be found at the “Boot” and out to Kate’s Bay but some are further south by Garden Bluff. Best catches were in eight to 18 feet using crawlers with harnesses. Fairport had a few anglers trying to salmon but catch rates slow. Water temperatures remain cold with surface temperatures in the mid 50’s but 70 to 80 feet down were in the mid to high 30’s.
Au Train: Boat anglers launching at the Brownstone landing continue to do best for lake trout with catches averaging from one to some parties limiting out. Fish were caught from the Shelter Bay flats along the edge in 140 to 180 feet to east of Au Train Island and near Wood Island. Most are using downriggers but some are using planer boards or dipseys and high-lines for salmon. Catch rates for Chinook did drop off over the past week but a few were still targeting them near the mouth of the Au Train River and along the shore near Scott Falls. Dense fog due to cold water temperatures has restricted anglers from venturing too far from shore.
Munising: Boat anglers caught a mix of Chinook, splake and lake trout but catch rates have slowed. Most are fishing in Munising Bay and around Grand Island. Surface water temperatures were 45 to 52 degrees. Pier angling was slow and catch rates were poor with only a couple small splake taken on worms or spawn.
Grand Marais: Pier angling dropped off as catch rates decreased dramatically. The average size of whitefish also decreased. Some did catch the occasional coho, pike or menominee. Evening was better than morning fishing. Boat angling activity has shifted mainly to lake trout fishing. Excellent catches were reported north and west of the bay from three to six miles out in the shipping channels and near Sable Point. Most of the fish were between two and four pounds but a few bigger ones were also caught and several reported limit catches. Shore anglers near the marina reported slow catch rates with only a few coho, pike or steelhead caught.
St. Mary’s River: Fishing is getting better for Atlantic salmon as we approach the month of July. Eight and 10 pound fish are being caught throughout the day casting fly type baits or trolling slender crank baits four to six feet below the surface along the entire length of the discharge side of the power plant. Lake whitefish are also being caught drifting wax worms on the discharge side. In the bay off Lake Nicolet, a few walleye were caught in the evening in four to six feet when using bottom bouncers, gold spinner blades with crawler harnesses. Lake George had excellent pike fishing when trolling six-inch crank baits in and around Gem Island and Hay Pointe. It seems the walleye fishing has slowed. The water is still cold in Raber Bay and near Lime Island. No walleye to report. Maud Bay is producing some nice smallmouth bass 16 to 18 inches. Try jigging tube baits off the rocky points in four to six feet.
Detour: Had no reports on walleye off Sweets Point. Again, cold water temperatures seem to slow the bite. Those heading out caught a few Atlantic salmon, lake trout and Chinook around the lighthouse when using blue, green and white or gold spoons.
Cedarville and Hessel: Those fishing with chubs for pike are doing well along the south and east shores of Hessel Bay and off the marina pier early or late, in Musky Bay, Middle Entrance, and along the north shore of Government Bay. Perch fishing in Cedarville Bay is fair, and bass fishing remains good. Try casting spinner baits in shallow water.
St. Ignace: The city launch and the Carp River have been slow.