Northern Michigan Fishery Updates

Mid-July means summertime fishing in Northern Michigan is fin full swing, and the rivers and lakes of Northern Michigan’s outdoors are attracting ambitious anglers throughout the state.  The following is the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Northern Michigan fishery updates for July:


Fisheries in Northern Lower Michigan

  • Harbor Springs: Lake trout were caught 80 to 90 feet down in 90 to 100 feet of water around Harbor Point. Most are using green spoons. Some also reported catching a couple Chinook salmon. Those smallmouth bass fishing have only caught a few sub-legal fish along with some rock bass when using artificial bait.
  • Petoskey: Angler pressure and catch rates for salmon are low. Rock bass, undersize smallmouth bass and some nice catfish were caught near the mouth of the Bear River. Try crawlers, crank baits of soft plastics. A couple bluegill were caught off the D Pier. No thermocline has developed yet.
  • Charlevoix: Lake trout are starting to move deeper in the water column and were caught 60 to 90 feet down in 90 to 100 feet. Boat anglers are fishing from the Cement Plant to North Point but most of the fish were caught at North Point. Try spoons, winged glow bobbers, or cut bait. The odd Chinook salmon has started to show up. One was caught 80 feet down on a flasher and squid. A couple cisco were also caught. Smallmouth fishing in the channel picked up but most of the fish were sub-legal. Try crawlers or leeches near the bottom or artificial scented baits. A couple small rainbow trout and freshwater drum were also caught in the channel.
  • Lake Charlevoix: Currently has a mayfly hatch in progress. Walleye and smallmouth bass fishing was pretty good.
  • Traverse City: The East Bay is producing a few smallmouth bass in the shallows. Lake trout fishing was good for those running spoons 40 to 75 feet down in 50 to 80 feet. Those fishing in the West Bay reported decent smallmouth action when using brown or green tube baits. Lake trout were taken in 50 to 70 feet.
  • Elk River: Still has sub-legal smallmouth bass hitting on tube baits, crawlers, leeches or artificial crayfish. A couple freshwater drum were also caught.
  • Boardman River: Fishing was slow with only a few rock bass, carp and sub-legal smallmouth bass taken on crawlers or leeches.
  • Platte River: Fishing pressure slowed. Those hitting the upper river near the hatchery caught some nice brown trout and small rainbow trout that were feeding on late afternoon fly hatches. There are lots of carp and redhorse suckers. Smallmouth bass were stacked up from the Mud Lake outlet to the Short Arm Trail and at the mouth where anglers were casting crawlers.

 Charter A Boat In Northern Michigan:


  • Platte Bay: Some big lake trout were caught on spoons in 80 feet of water.
  • Frankfort: The early morning bite along the Shelf is producing good catches for those trolling northward. Try the top 80 feet in waters 150 to 350 feet deep with blue, white and purple spoons or blue and white flashers and flies.
  • Onekama: Is producing a good number of Chinook salmon for those trolling green or blue spoons in 150 to 200 feet. Those fishing the Barrel caught lake trout. The fish were both suspended and off the bottom and hitting on flashers with spin-glows and cowbells.Portage Lake: Bass anglers have done well in the shallows and along the drop-offs. Both large and smallmouth were hitting throughout the day. Panfish were slow in the shallows so anglers were targeting waters 14 to 18 feet deep where they caught some bluegill and rock bass.
  • Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Continue to produce a fair to good number of bass and pike right along with some bluegill, perch and crappie.
  • Manistee: Trout and salmon were caught 30 to 80 down in 100 to 200 feet. Boat anglers found good numbers of steelhead in the top 50 feet. Bright colored spoons continue to work well.
  • Manistee River: Still has Skamania near Tippy Dam. Catch rates were fair to good with flies, spinners and rapalas. Anglers will find a good number of brown trout large and small.
  • Ludington: Boat anglers are finding trout and salmon 40 to 90 feet down in 100 to 200 feet. Good numbers of steelhead and lake trout were caught by those using orange, yellow and pink spoons.
  • Pentwater: Had a fair number of boats heading to 400 feet and trolling the top 40 feet. They caught Chinook, steelhead and lake trout. Those targeting salmon in 160 to 200 feet had a harder time finding fish but when they did they caught good numbers when trolling about 65 feet down.

Fisheries in the Upper Peninsula

  • Keweenaw Bay: The bite was slow with only a few salmon caught by those trolling in 30 to 60 feet from the Baraga Marina northward to Sand Point and the Old Mission. A few lake trout, brown trout, splake and rainbow trout were also caught. Most were fishing 25 to 45 feet down with spoons in orange or purple. Those jigging for lake trout had fair success in 180 to 260 feet out from Jentoff’s Dock, Whirl-I-Gig and the pine tree on the north side of Pequaming. In Traverse Bay, anglers were still picking up fair catches of lake trout in the bottom five feet of waters 100 to 150 feet deep near 5, 6 and 7 Mile Reefs or in 120 to 165 feet near Big Louie’s, Gay Point and Hermits Cove. Most are using spoons with purple and white the hot colors. Those jigging caught lake trout in 140 to 260 feet.
  • Lake Antoine: A lot of panfish are being caught but it is becoming a struggle to find the bigger fish. Boat and shore anglers are catching bluegill, sunfish, yellow perch and rock bass when drifting or floating minnows and crawlers. Bass anglers are still catching some nice large and smallmouth when casting crank baits near the lily pads and grassy areas. Those trolling crawler harnesses have also done well.
  • Marquette: Boat anglers reported slow fishing for lake trout with only a handful of anglers getting two or three fish near the “Sand Hole” east of the Chocolay River, towards the Sand River and Shot Point. Depths vary but try waters between 100 to 200 feet and deeper. Shore anglers at the Carp River caught a couple small rainbow trout.
  • Little Bay De Noc: Anglers were at the mercy of the winds which have slowed participation in both bays. Walleye catches were down and the better fishing was still in the southern part between Breezy Point and No-See-Um Creek when trolling or drifting crawlers in eight to 14 feet. Jumbo perch action was fair in 10 to 14 feet between the Second and Third Reefs. Fair to good perch catches off Gladstone and over to the West Bank when using crawlers in 14 to 30 feet. Northern pike were active around the mouth of the Day’s River. Many are trolling crawlers or crank baits in 14 to 20 feet. Salmon anglers reported fair catches north of the Ford River Can when trolling spoons or meat rigs 70 to 80 feet down in 100 to 120 feet.
  • Big Bay De Noc: Had rumors of walleye caught north of the Big Bay Shoals by those trolling crawler harnesses in 15 to 22 feet. Most anglers were after smallmouth bass but catch rates were down. The better fishing was at Ogontz and Kate’s Bay when trolling or casting plastics, crank baits or crawlers in 10 to 17 feet. At Fairport, feast or famine was the theme for salmon anglers. Most reported baitfish in the shallows however most of the salmon were caught deeper at 70 to 80 feet down in 120 to 150 feet.
  • Au Train: Had very low angler pressure. Those fishing primarily for lake trout had mixed results. A few reported catches of three to five fish for a party of two whereas others were having a tough time catching any fish. Some were caught in less than 100 feet but those in 200 feet or deeper had poor catch rates. The best areas were off the Shelter Bay Flats, north of Au Train Island and the Wood Island Reef. Try spoons tipped with cut bait.
  • St. Mary’s River: Raber Bay, Swedes Point, and Maud Bay just north of Detour Village were slow for walleye, yellow perch and smallmouth bass because of the cold water temperatures. Aquatic vegetation is still fishable for mid-July. Northern pike are good in four to six feet along the edge of the weeds around Lime Island but no lake herring to report at Lime Island. A large fly hatch was reported on the east side of Lime Island in the Canadian Marsh. Raber Bay needs more fly hatches to draw lake herring from the deep water. Atlantic salmon were caught on the discharge side of the Power House when trolling or casting two and three-inch rubber minnows. Use baits with a black back and a gray to white belly. Small crank baits also caught fish. The South end of Rotary Park was producing a few rainbow trout for those casting flies just off the current on the south end of the park. Little and Big Lake George were slow for walleye and perch as cold water has shut down the bite.
  • Detour: Lake herring moved in last week and a few boats did manage to take limit catches near Cherry Island, Grape Island, and Howard Island. Red teardrops and wax worms were the ticket. Salmon and trout fishing were good with anglers taking Atlantic and Chinook as well as lake trout from the city launch to the #3 Green Can, around the lighthouse and to the #2 Red Can on the Drummond side. Some boats were continuing another 2 miles south for lake trout. Try red and white, green and silver or purple spoons.
  • Cedarville and Hessel: Pike fishing remains excellent in Hessel Bay when still-fishing with chubs or casting. Musky Bay and Middle Entrance also had good pike action. Some nice perch were caught along the east end of Hessel Bay and the north end of Snows Channel. Mackinaw Bay and Shepard Bay were good for pike and bass when casting in the shallows. Lake herring are showing up. A few limit catches were taken in McKay Bay and Prentice Bay in eight to 14 feet with small caddis flies, wax worms or red teardrops.
  • St. Ignace: Catch rates were poor.

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