Category: Hunting & Fishing

Weekly Fishing Report: November 28, 2013


Little Bay De Noc:  This will be the final report for 2013. Very cold temperatures have started the ice making process but no fishing yet! Anglers are waiting and if the cold weather persists, ice fishing will not be too far off. More anglers are now targeting whitefish.

Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas to Begin Hunter Self-Registration

Beginning this week, southeast Michigan’s Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas (MWHAs) have shifted to self-registration in lieu of managed draws for the remainder of the duck hunting season, the Department of Natural Resources announced today.

Cold temperatures and widespread freezing on the MWHAs have resulted in fewer birds and low hunter turnout, prompting managers to move to a self-registration system.

Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area in Pinconning has already begun self-registration. Fish Point Wildlife Area in Unionville and Pointe Mouillee State Game Area in Rockwood will begin self-registration today, Nov. 27. Shiawassee River State Game Area in St. Charles will go to self-registration on Thursday, Nov. 28, and Harsens Island Managed Waterfowl Area on Harsens Island will start self-registration Friday Nov. 29.

Instead of participating in a drawing each morning or afternoon, hunters will select zones on a first-come, first-served basis. A self-registration kiosk will be set up outside the MWHA office. A registration card with the names of all party members and the hunt zone selected must be filled out and submitted before going into the field. All other MWHA rules apply, including hunt times.

Self-registration will continue until the end of the regular season Dec. 8 or until the water re-opens. Hunters should phone ahead for the latest conditions and to check the status of the draws.

Hunters can still earn punches and get punch cards and leg bands for the Wetland Wonders Challenge at these MWHAs. Hunters should call the headquarters at the MWHAs they plan to visit in order to arrange a time to obtain these items.

For more information on the Wetland Wonders Challenge, these and other Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas and to learn about hunting conditions at each area, visit

Upper Peninsula Fishing Report for This Week from The DNR

Little Bay De Noc:  Few anglers have been out but those targeting walleye at night have caught fish from the reefs near Kipling. They are trolling stick baits in 10 to 24 feet of water at night or crawler harnesses with crawlers during the day in 18 to 30 feet. A few perch were caught on minnows in 10 to 20 feet around Butler Island. Water temperatures were holding in the low 40’s. 

Weekly Fishing Tip: Where to Find Northern Pike in Michigan

As the temperatures continue to cool, fishing for northern pike will continue to pick up. Pike are extremely popular during the ice fishing season but are readily available throughout much of the year.

Northern pike

There are many notable northern pike fisheries located throughout Michigan, including on Muskegon, Portage and Manistee lakes and also Michigamme and Houghton lakes. But this species can be found in many lakes and virtually all larger rivers in the state.

Please note there are many regulations for northern pike regarding minimum size and possession limit. Be sure to read up on this species in the 2013 Michigan Fishing Guide.

Weekly Fishing Report

Upper Peninsula Fishing Report

Marquette:  Anglers report good coho action with a couple limit catches reported.  A few chinook and lake trout were mixed in.  Anglers are trolling in waters less than 40 feet deep outside the Lower Harbor breakwall and the Carp and Chocolay Rivers.

Dead River:  Is producing pink salmon between the mouth and the 550 Bridge.

Carp River:  Catch rates were fair with a few coho caught on crawlers or stick baits in the early morning.  No chinook salmon to report.

Chocolay River:  Is producing a fair to good number of coho for those using spoons, stick baits or spawn sacks between M-28 and the mouth.

Menominee:  Bay anglers were trolling for trout, salmon, and walleye in 25 to 35 feet.  For trout and salmon try spoons and for walleye try rapalas or crawler harnesses.

Catch rates for walleye were slow but a few trout and salmon were caught near the Menominee Marina.

Menominee River:  Most anglers targeting trout and salmon are upstream between Stephenson Island and the Hattie Street Dam.  They are drifting spawn and yarn or casting small spoons.  Some walleye were caught in the early morning or evening when trolling rapalas, crawler harnesses or jigs with crawlers.  Shore anglers drifting crawlers or minnows continue to catch smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, channel cats, suckers, bluegill and perch.  Sturgeon season closed on September 30th.

Little Bay De Noc:  Windy conditions have kept many boats at bay.  A few walleye were caught along the Black Bottom and the East Bank in Gladstone. When trolling or drifting crawlers in 18 to 27 feet.  Perch anglers did well in Kipling and near the mouth of the Day’s River with crawlers in 13 to 16 feet of water.

Escanaba River:  Is producing good numbers of chinook salmon.  Most are wading out near the 1st Dam and casting spoons, spinners or crank baits along the rapids.

Big Bay De Noc:  Continues to see plenty of smallmouth bass anglers fishing between Snake Island and Snail Shell Harbor.  Most are drifting minnows in 15 to 30 feet.  No walleye to report.  A few perch were caught off the mouth of Garden Bay in 18 to 25 feet.  Crawlers worked best.

Au Train:  The few boats heading out did catch coho and lake trout.  Salmon were caught in less than 30 feet of water near the Rock River and lake trout were taken along the drop-off east of Au Train Island.

Two Hearted River:  Has a fair to good number of salmon.  Those surfcasting at the mouth caught chinook and coho.  The occasional steelhead has been caught.

St. Mary’s River:  Most of the walleye anglers are now targeting perch however a few walleye were still being caught on the east side of Lime Island where the channel narrows down between Hart Island and Lime Island.  They are using bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses in 12 to 18 feet.  Muskie were caught by those trolling large black and yellow bucktail spinners in 8 to 10 feet along the rock ledges on the east side of Lime Island.  In Sault St. Marie, anglers trolling bottom bouncers with purple beads and smiley blades caught fish off 6-Mile Road.

Drummond Island:  Perch are schooling in and around most of the Islands in Scott Bay.  Fish were caught on the south end of Ashman Island, just out from the yellow house in 12 to 14 feet.  Minnows and popcorn shrimp worked best.  Those drifting minnows along the south end of Grape Island caught a few walleye in 12 feet of water off the red buoy.   Smallmouth bass were suspended in 12 to 14 feet on the northwest side of Burnt Island.  Anglers are jigging green and brown tube baits just off the rock ledges.

Cedarville and Hessel:  Few anglers were in Hessel Bay but the perch fishing was good along the east end and in Government Bay.  At Cedarville, perch fishing was excellent in Musky Bay and Snows Channel for those using minnows and worms in 6 to 10 feet of water.  Pike fishing remains very good for those casting along the weed beds or fishing with chubs.  Bass fishing has been excellent.  Lake trout and splake season closed on September 30th.

Carp River:  Has a lot of anglers and they are harvesting a good number of fish. Chinook and pink salmon are hitting on small Cleo’s or spawn bags.  Some of the fish were 20 pounds or more.

DNR Weekly Fishing Report August 8, 2013

Keweenaw Bay: Those trolling have done well for Chinook, coho, lake trout and steelhead when trolling between Sand Point and the red rocks. They are using spoons in black, white, raspberry, chartreuse, gold, blue or anything that glows. Go 25 to 75 feet down in 30 to 80 feet. Near the South Portage Entry, a good number of lake trout, coho and steelhead were taken by those trolling near the lighthouse, Mud Banks, Farmers Reef, Newton’s Reef or Big Reef. Those jigging in Traverse Bay caught lake trout in 170 to 220 feet off Gay Point and Big Louie’s Point. Those trolling took lake trout between Gay Point, Big Louie’s Point and Hermits Cove. Go 60 to 145 feet down in 80 to 150 feet. Salmon were caught 25 to 50 feet down in 30 to 60 feet.

Marquette: Surface water temperatures were in the upper 50’s. Lake trout and coho were caught on high-lines in 200 to 230 feet north of the white rocks and north of Granite Island. Some came in with limit catches of lake trout. Those fishing near Shot Point caught fish in 120 to 180 feet when using spoons and assorted flies with cut bait. Some went out to Stannard Rock and caught fish. In general, the fish averaged four to five pounds however a few were 20 pounds. The coho were two and a half pounds and 18 to 20 inches long.

Menominee: Those trolling for salmon north and south of Green Island were not having any luck. A few salmon were caught 60 to 80 feet down in 120 to 150 feet east of Sturgeon Bay. Anglers are picking up some salmon out near Washington Island and Rock Island. Try different colored spoons with flashers 50 to 60 feet down in 120 feet of water. A few boats launching from Stoney Point were fishing near Chambers Island but catch rates were very slow.

Menominee River: Was producing walleye, smallmouth bass and a good number of freshwater drum.

Cedar River: Is producing smallmouth bass, northern pike and freshwater drum. Anglers are drifting crawlers or casting crank baits.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye fishing was still on the slow side. Those fishing the southern waters had fair catches when trolling crawler harnesses in eight to 14 feet between Round Island and the “Fingers”. Perch fishing was fair to good near Kipling and Butler Island when still-fishing with crawlers in six to 23 feet. Smallmouth bass action was fair off the mouth of the Ford River in six to 14 feet. Try plastics, crank baits or spinners along the weeds. A few salmon were caught out by the Ford River Can when trolling spoons or cut bait 50 to 65 feet down in 135 feet.

Escanaba River: Walleye anglers trolling or drifting crawlers in 18 to 25 feet caught fish but many were sub-legal.

Big Bay De Noc: Had no walleye catches to report. Perch fishing was fair when using crawlers in eight to 24 feet in Fayette Harbor. Smallmouth bass were caught in eight to 14 feet off Ogontz and in Kate’s Bay when using crank baits or plastics. Salmon fishing off Fairport was fair. Some fished 40 to 60 feet down in 150 feet south of Poverty Island while others fished 50 to 60 feet down in 110 to 300 feet. They are using a variety spoons or cut bait.

Au Train: Surface water temperatures remain cool in the upper 50’s. Northwest winds have made fishing difficult and catch rates were slow. Those able to get out were lucky to get two to five lake trout in five hours of fishing. Try just off the bottom in 150 to 200 feet of water.

Munising: Lake trout were slow and the salmon action was fair to poor. Most are fishing Munising Bay, Trout Bay and Murray’s Bay in waters less than 100 feet deep. A couple coho were caught in Trout Bay. Pier anglers have taken some limit catches of splake when still-fishing with spawn.

Grand Marais: Pier anglers targeting whitefish are still-fishing with a single egg in the early morning. When boats can get out, lake trout were caught five to seven miles north along the shipping channel in 150 to 250 feet. The fish averaged two to five pounds.

St. Mary’s River: Walleye were caught in Raber Bay near Carlton Creek. Anglers are trolling crawler harnesses with blue blades. Those trolling in 28 to 30 feet along the shipping channel caught walleye when using bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses. Most of the fish were caught between Buoy 25 and the old bell buoy.

DeTour: Chinook, lake trout and steelhead were caught between Frying Pan Island, the #3 green can, the lighthouse and the #2 red can. Anglers are using silver and green flashers with small flies or spoons in black and chartreuse, purple and yellow, white with a red nose, or green with black dots.

Drummond Island: Had good catches of walleye and smallmouth bass in Scott Bay when fishing on the northwest side of Peck Island. A few walleye were caught around Bay Island in Maxton Bay when drifting or jigging crawler harnesses just off the weed beds in eight to 12 feet. For pike, anglers are trolling or casting chrome spoons in the weed beds around Grape Island. Moving west of Maxton Bay to Sims Point, a few yellow perch were caught in eight to 14 feet around Arrow Island.

Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers are targeting perch in eight to 12 feet of water around Haven Island. Some nice catches were reported in front of the marina dock and from the east end of Hessel Bay. Fair catches were taken in Musky Bay, Middle Entrance and the Moscoe Channel. Pike fishing was very good in Hessel Bay, Snows Channel, the west end of Musky Bay, and Government Bay. Most are still-fishing chubs. Bass fishing is good all over. Salmon were fair in the Yacht Entrance in 40 to 70 feet.

St. Ignace: When they can get out, boat anglers are fishing from the old fuel tanks, the flats and the Coast Guard Station. Fish have been caught around the islands. Try green flashers with flies or spoons in purple and pink, white and gold, green, white, and yellow.

Upper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report

Marquette:  Anglers are fishing in 160 to 200 feet of water between the White Rocks and Granite Island. Fish were also caught in 180 feet near the Sand Hole. A couple Chinook salmon were taken in 50 feet or less near the upper harbor and towards Shot Point. Water temperatures were in the low to upper 50’s.

Menominee:  Anglers are still waiting for the salmon to start biting. Those fishing out near Washington Island and beyond were lucky to catch one fish.

Menominee River:  Walleye are still being caught but many were on the small side. Anglers are catching smallmouth bass, pike and freshwater drum.

Cedar River:  Has good smallmouth bass fishing but many were small.

Little Bay De Noc:  Walleye fishing was fair. Anglers did best along the “Black Bottom” when trolling or drifting crawler harnesses in 18 to 25 feet. Fish were also caught along the reefs near Kipling in 20 to 30 feet. Perch were caught near Kipling in eight to 14 feet however most of the fish were small. Pike were hitting on spinners in 17 to 25 feet between the Day’s River and Brach’s Cabins. A few smallmouth bass were caught off the mouth of the Ford River by those casting spinners or tube baits in 10 to 15 feet. Salmon were caught 30 to 40 feet down in 50 to 60 feet of water near the Ford River Can.

Big Bay De Noc:  Anglers are still taking a fair number of smallmouth bass in Nahma, Kate’s Bay and Garden Bay. Use crank baits, spinners or plastics in 14 to 22 feet of water or go shallow along the weed beds. A few perch were caught in Garden Bay and Fayette Harbor. Most are drifting or still-fishing crawlers in eight to 16 feet of water. Off Fairport, Chinook were caught 30 to 60 feet down in 50 to 110 feet of water when trolling spoons or cut bait.

Manistique Lake:  Anglers have caught walleye and pike.

Au Train:  Had fair lake trout action with anglers taking three to six fish per boat. Surface water temperatures are in the mid to upper 50’s as opposed to last year at this time when water temperatures were close to 70 degrees.

Munising:  Most were fishing early for lake trout in Munising Bay, Trout Bay and Murray’s Bay in waters less than 100 feet deep. Fish up to nine pounds were reported but overall the bite was slow. Pier fishing was light as catch rates for splake were slow.

Grand Marais:  Pier anglers targeting whitefish in the early morning were not having much success as most of the fish were in the nine to 12 inch range. Most are still-fishing with a single egg in the early morning or evening. When boats can get out, lake trout were caught five to seven miles north of the bay and the shipping channel in 150 to 250 feet of water. Pike fishing was slow.

St. Mary’s River:  Fly hatches were moderate in Raber Bay. A few walleye were caught at Raber Point and Carlton Creek. Most are trolling crawler harnesses near the weed beds in 12 feet of water.

DeTour:  Those heading out to the red and green cans or around the lighthouses have caught Chinook and lake trout in the early morning. Try spoons in colors like white with orange dots, green and gold, blue and silver, yellow, green or white. Lake herring and a few
whitefish were on the east side of Long Island.

Drummond Island:  Has good walleye fishing in Maxton Bay. Fish were caught in the evening until dark in eight feet of water near Bay Island which is just south of James Island. Most are trolling pencil plugs. Walleye and smallmouth bass were caught in 12 feet of water on the northwest side of Peck Island. Most are jigging crawlers and tube jigs. Pike were caught in six to eight feet around Grape Island in the early morning. Lake herring were still being caught near long Island, Maple Island and Butterfield in 27 to 30 feet of water. The bite may not last much longer as the fly hatches are slowing down.

Cedarville and Hessel:  Anglers are still taking a limited number of perch in Hessel Bay, Musky Bay, Cedarville Bay, Snows Channel and the Middle Entrance. Good numbers of pike and bass have also been caught.

St. Ignace:  Boat anglers are fishing the backside of Mackinaw Island for trout and salmon. Most are trolling in 150 feet of water. 

Weekly Fishing Tip from Michigan DNR: Fishing with Crankbaits

Many anglers love to fish with crankbaits (also known as plugs), a type of hard-bodied fishing lure. Below are some criteria to think about when selecting a crankbait.

Body Shape
Fat-bodied crankbaits that are shorter will displace more water and create more vibration. Many anglers prefer this type of crankbait when fishing in dark water or at night.

Thin-profile crankbaits glide through the water with minimal resistance. This option is great when fishing clear water and targeting species that are sight feeders.

Crankbaits with less buoyancy are better suited for water with minimal cover and clean bottoms while those with more buoyancy are better for fishing around cover.

Crankbaits can be a great lure option when targeting walleyes, bass or muskellunge (among other species). Consider trying one out during your next fishing trip!

This tip was adapted from Michigan Outdoor News.

Eastern Lower Peninsula Water Bodies Stocked with Nearly 1.7 Million Walleye

The Department of Natural Resources announced today its annual walleye pond harvest and stocking of walleye fingerlings in east-central and northeast Michigan has been completed. The DNR Fisheries Division’s Southern Lake Huron Management Unit stocked nearly 1.7 million walleye fingers in 30 inland lakes located in 20 counties.

Walleye ponds are a critical component of the DNR’s fisheries management and have been used for several decades. There are dozens of walleye ponds located throughout Michigan, and all rely heavily on the support of sportsmen’s organizations.

Walleye fingerlings are reared in small ponds for 50 to 60 days, where they eat tiny aquatic animals called zooplankton. They are harvested and stocked into public waters when they are 1.5 to 2 inches long. These fish will grow to legal size in four to five years.

“These ponds are an excellent collaborative effort involving the DNR and local angling groups” said Jim Baker, Southern Lake Huron Management Unit supervisor. “These organizations help out financially and supply volunteers to help with fertilization, pond maintenance and fish harvest.”

Sportsmen’s organizations that collaborate with DNR on the walleye-rearing program for east-central and northeast Michigan include the Saginaw Bay Walleye Club, the Arenac County Walleye Club and Walleyes for Iosco County.

See a complete summary of this walleye stocking, including specific counties and lakes.

See a complete summary of this walleye stocking, including specific counties and lakes.

Upper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report from DNR

Keweenaw Bay: Salmon have been caught by those trolling 25 to 100 feet down in 150 to 240 feet of water between Sand Point and Carla’s. Try flies and spoons. Those fishing the South Portage Entry caught a few lake trout when trolling or jigging near Farmers Reef, Newton’s Reef or the Big Reef. A couple coho, Chinook and lake trout were caught from the Entry south to the Red Rocks near the Roadside Park or the white breakwall in the early morning. Salmon were caught 30 to 140 feet down in 150 to 170 feet of water near the lighthouse. Those jigging for lake trout in Traverse Bay did well near Hermits Cove, the Gay Stacks, Big Louie’s Point and the reefs when trolling spoons in 130 to 160 feet or using jigs with cut bait in 130 to 220 feet.

Marquette: Those targeting lake trout had success in waters less than 100 feet deep near Shot Point. Fish were also caught near the “White Rocks, Granite Island and the “Sand Hole” in 180 feet. A few salmon were caught but catch rates were down. Near shore surface water temperatures were in the low 60’s and the offshore waters were in the mid to upper 50’s.

Menominee: Those fishing Green Bay have marked baitfish along with some bigger fish but catch rates were very slow. Off the Cedar River, boat anglers are targeting trout, salmon or walleye but catch rates were not good.

Menominee River: Had fair catches of walleye, smallmouth bass, rock bass, channel cats and freshwater drum. Anglers are jigging with crawlers and minnows or trolling crawler harnesses and rapalas.

Cedar River: Had fair to good smallmouth bass fishing and fair northern pike action. A lot of fish were small however some bigger ones were caught by those drifting crawlers or casting crank baits.

Little Bay De Noc: Angler participation was low due to the alewife and mayfly hatch contributing to the food supply. Walleye reports were spotty at best with a few catches reported off the Second Reef when jigging or drifting crawlers in 18 to 25 feet. Walleye and some perch were caught off Gladstone Beach in 14 to 23 feet. Catch rates were spotty between the mouth of the Escanaba River and the “Black Bottom” in eight to 25 feet. South winds produced some walleye around Breezy Point for those trolling or drifting crawlers in 10 to 16 feet. Lots of freshwater drum have been caught. Some are heading out for salmon but few fish have been caught. Fair catches of smallmouth bass off Hunters Point, the west side of Gladstone Bay and south of the Ford River. All are trolling or casting crank baits or plastics in 10 to 12 feet of water.

Big Bay De Noc: Walleye catches slowed however the best area to fish was Sand Bay off Nahma when trolling crawler harnesses in 14 to 20 feet. Smallmouth bass fishing slowed in Garden Bay and Kate’s Bay. Several northern pike were caught near Ansell’s Point. Try trolling crank baits in 15 to 20 feet. Salmon off Fairport is still slow. Surface temperatures out deeper were as low as 41 degrees.

Au Train: Most anglers are targeting lake trout or using high-lines for salmon outside Au Train Island and along the east shoreline near Au Train Point. Catch rates were slow. Surface water temperatures are now in the low 60’s.

St. Mary’s River: Walleye fishing was good near Raber Point when trolling planer boards and crawler harnesses just off the weed beds in four to six feet of water and near the mouth of the Gogomain River when trolling or jigging crank baits and twister tails in three to four feet. Closer to Barbeau, a few muskie were caught near Teacup Island when trolling large crank baits in eight to 10 feet. Atlantic salmon and herring are showing up in Sault Ste. Marie.

DeTour: Early morning is the best time for trout and salmon when trolling spoons. Hot colors were green, orange, watermelon and gold. Fish are being caught between the launch and the #3 green can, around the lighthouse and over near the #2 red can by Drummond Island.

Drummond Island: Catch rates for lake herring were very slow. Good smallmouth action around Harbor Island for those using crawlers or jigging dark green and brown tube baits.

Cedarville and Hessel: Hessel Bay is very good for northern pike. Try still-fishing with chubs along the south shore, the east end of Hessel Bay or the south shore of Musky Bay. Perch fishing was slow in Musky Bay, the Middle Entrance and Cedarville Bay. Prentice Bay is usually the hot spot for lake herring however no fish were reported.