Northern Michigan Fishery Updates

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Northern Michigan fishery update compiles successes and shortcomings from across the Northern Michigan fishing map. Find fast facts about nearby fisheries below, and get out into Northern Michigan’s outdoors this autumn!

Fisheries in Northern Lower Michigan

  • Harbor Springs: Harbor Point is still producing lots of lake trout anywhere from 50 to 100 feet down in 120 to 160 feet. One boat caught a salmon up near Seven Mile Point when using spoons or dodgers with flies.
  • Petoskey: Surface water temperatures were at 60 degrees and the thermocline was 50 to 60 feet down. Salmon fishing seems to be picking up but some boats are only getting lake trout. Most are fishing near the hospital and water treatment plant but a few were in Bay Harbor and straight out from the marina. Lake trout were scattered everywhere but 70 to 90 feet down produced quite a few. Although most of the chinook were 50 feet down one was caught at 90 feet and a coho was caught 40 feet down. Try spoons, plugs and meat rigs. Pier anglers are still catching smallmouth bass but many were small. Try crawlers, small tube baits, spinners and crank baits.
  • Bear River: Heavy rain and wind seemed like the perfect combination to push fish up into the river however only one steelhead was harvested at the dam. Salmon should start to show up soon.
  • Charlevoix: Boat anglers caught a few lake trout and the odd salmon. Most are trolling near the cement plant and towards Fisherman’s Island. Fish were caught 40 to 60 feet down in 100 feet with spoons and flies. A few lake trout were taken 60 to 80 feet down off North Point but a few were hitting shallow just 20 to 25 feet down. Smallmouth fishing in the channel is good but only a couple keepers were taken with crawlers and leeches on the bottom. Freshwater drum were also caught.
  • Traverse City: In the East Bay, anglers were hooking into a few salmon but overall catch rates were slow. Depths were highly variable with fish caught anywhere from 40 to 115 feet. Catch rates for lake trout were fair. Smallmouth bass were found in 30 to 50 feet. In the West Bay, salmon fishing is slowly picking up. Lake trout action was steady in 90 to 120 feet.
  • Elk River: Still has slow catch rates with only smallmouth, rock bass and freshwater drum for the taking.
  • Boardman River: Had slow fishing as well. Early arrival chinook salmon should start to show up soon. Anglers caught smallmouth, rock bass and freshwater drum.
  • Platte River: Catch rates were slow with only a couple small rainbow trout taken on dry flies up near the hatchery.
  • Loon Lake: Anglers are finding pike and walleye along the west side.
  • Platte Bay: Those trolling caught some big lake trout and yellow was the hot color. Chinook were caught in the West Bay on J-plugs in green with a black ladder back.
  • Frankfort: Chinook, steelhead and lake trout were hitting in 100 to 150 feet. Anglers are trolling the top 80 feet with downriggers or 100 to 140 feet with dipseys and J-plugs. White and blue were hot colors. Salmon anglers are fishing the Herring Hole or heading a bit deeper to waters between 200 and 250 feet deep later in the day. Alewives are now in and around the piers. Shore anglers caught chinook on alewife or glow spoons in the early morning.
  • Onekama: Those heading straight out from the piers and trolling the top 60 feet in 120 to 170 feet have caught chinook and steelhead. The morning bite was best on meat rigs and flies. Red and blue were good colors.
  • Portage Lake: Bass anglers caught some very nice large and smallmouth when fishing around the docks and along the drop-offs.
  • Manistee: Catch rates were starting to improve with trout and salmon caught in the top 60 feet of waters 80 to 160 feet deep. Glow plugs and spoons worked well in low light conditions. Green flies and meat rigs also caught fish. A couple chinook were taken off the piers but catch rates were still slow.
  • Manistee River: A few salmon are pushing their way up as far as Tippy Dam in the Big Manistee. The Little Manistee saw a steady run of salmon. The Weir was put into place last week.
  • Ludington: Salmon and trout action was starting to improve. The better fishing was the top 60 feet of waters 90 to 180 feet deep when using green meat rigs and flies or glow plugs. Pier anglers caught a few chinook or brown trout on glow spoons.
  • Pere Marquette River: Also has some early salmon starting to show up. No big numbers yet but anglers are catching a few. Those fly fishing caught brown trout.
  • Pentwater: Those fishing in 80 to 100 feet seem to do best as the salmon appear to be staging for the run. Fish were caught a mile south of the pier and near the sand dunes at Silver Lake. Meat rigs were the ticket. Pier anglers caught smallmouth bass when still-fishing or casting with minnows.

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Fisheries in the Upper Peninsula

  • Keweenaw Bay: The salmon bite was slow. Those jigging for lake trout found fish in 180 to 260 feet off Jentoff’s Dock, Whirl-l-Gig, out from the pine tree on the north side of Pequaming and along Big Reef. In Traverse Bay, the lake trout bite slowed in 100 to 150 feet along the mile reefs and 120 to 165 feet off Big Louie’s, Gay Point and Hermits Cove. Try 5 feet off the bottom with spoons. The bite was slow for the South Portage Entry for those trolling for lake trout.
  • Lake Antoine: Is producing some nice smallmouth bass for those using top water crank baits. Those drifting crawlers or using minnows and a jig with a piece of crawler have done well. Many were small but some were good size.
  • Marquette: Catch rates were slow and most anglers caught lake trout averaging 4 pounds. Stannard Rock was good with a number of young fish caught. Catch rates were fair near Little Presque Isle, Clay Banks and Granite Island. Anglers had limited success near Shot Point. No salmon yet however a few anglers were starting to spot the occasional chinook near the Carp River. Shore anglers using small spinners and spoons caught a few lake trout.
  • Little Bay De Noc: Walleye catch rates were spotty. At the head of the Bay anglers are trolling crawler harnesses in 6 to 14 feet and switching to stick baits at night. Fish were also caught in 16 to 24 feet along the Second Reef, the Black Bottom and in 12 to 20 feet off the mouth of the Escanaba River. Use crawlers on harnesses. Those fishing off Breezy Point were marking fish in 10 to 14 feet but few were caught. Smallmouth bass fishing was fair to good for those casting plastics, crank baits or spinners in 10 to 12 feet near the mouth of the Ford River. Perch anglers reported fair catches off the mouth of the Day’s River in 12 to 18 feet and the Second Reef in 10 to 20 feet. No salmon reports this week.
  • Big Bay De Noc: Had no walleye catches recorded. Perch action in Garden Bay slowed. Anglers were fishing throughout the center of the Bay in 9 to 14 feet with crawlers. Fair to good smallmouth bass fishing in 6 to 14 feet in Ogontz, 8 to 12 feet near Indian Point and 8 to 16 feet in Kate’s Bay. Most were using plastics or crank baits but some opted for crawlers. Salmon anglers had fair to good catches from the “Gap” and south past Poverty Island. Depths changed daily from 80 to 170 feet while 40 to 90 feet down. Overall this season has been slower than previous years.
  • Au Train: Fishing continues at a slow pace and there have been no salmon to report. Surface water temperatures near shore were close to 60 degrees and the offshore temperatures were in the upper 50’s. Catch rates for lake trout were spotty for those using spoons and cut bait in 120 to 180 feet northeast of Au Train Island near the flats and drop-offs. Try near the bottom along the edge of the reefs near Grump’s Hump, Millers and Wood Island.
  • Luce County: Those stream fishing for brook trout have done well.
  • Manistique Lake: Had good perch fishing.
  • St. Mary’s River: Had a few good fly hatches east of Lime Island, Macomb Island, and Maple Island. Those looking for lake herring and whitefish caught a few limits when jigging artificial flies with #12 hooks in 20 to 40 feet. Raber Bay was slow for legal size walleye with lots of 13 and 14 inch fish caught and released. Bigger walleye were caught along the east side of Neebish Island when using crawler harnesses near the drop-off in 12 to 18 feet. Keeper size walleye were caught off the steel breakwall just below the Sugar Island Ferry Dock. Evenings were best when drifting crawler harnesses. A good number of Atlantic salmon have been caught at the power plant off Portage Street when drifting natural flies on the discharge side. A few pike were taken along the west side near Burnt Island when trolling spoons with a red eye or bucktail spinners. Some reported catching perch at the south end of the Rock-Cut and north of Munuscong Bay at Moon Island when using shiners in 12 to 14 feet.
  • Detour: Was producing a good number of walleye off Swedes Pointe and Maude Bay but most of the fish were smaller.
  • Cedarville and Hessel: Pike fishing remains excellent for those still-fishing with chubs in Hessel Bay, Middle Entrance and along the north shore of Government Bay. Bass anglers casting in the shallows have done very well. Perch fishing was good in 8 feet in Hessel Bay but hit-or-miss in the Moscoe Channel.

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