Weekly Fishing Report: Walleye Fishing Season Opens on Great Lakes

Michigan fishing met its match this week as rain and strong winds throughout the Great Lakes and Michigan’s inland lakes make it almost impossible for boat and shore anglers to fish. That won’t last and this weekend gets a big boost as May 15th marks the opening day for walleye, pike and muskie on the Upper Peninsula inland lakes, Great Lakes and the St. Mary’s River. Here’s the Michigan DNR’s weekly fishing report that tells you who caught what and where in Michigan fishing last week.

Northwest Lower Peninsula Michigan Fishing Report

Petoskey – Strong winds have kept boats off the bay.

Bear River – Anglers can still find fresh steelhead showing up with most fish caught in the morning. Try fresh spawn or any type of egg pattern to entice these fish to bite.

Traverse City – Has no report. Boats can not get out.

Boardman River – Has no report. Recent rains have left the water muddy.

Frankfort – Chinook salmon have arrived and those fishing straight out from the lighthouse have caught several when trolling in 50 to 75 feet of water with spoons, flies or plugs. Orange was the hot color. Lake trout were also caught.

Portage Lake – Bluegills were caught on the east side by those using wax worms along the weeds. Some of the fish were good size and a few limit catches were reported. Pike fishing was slow with few keepers taken. Walleye action was slow during the day but was starting to pick up in the evening and after dark.

Manistee – Boat and pier fishing has been slow. A few chinook and lake trout were caught in the top 50 feet of waters 100 to 200 feet deep. Orange spoons worked best. Brown trout action has slowed for those trolling the shoreline.

Ludington – Boat anglers found a few salmon and trout when trolling in 50 to 100 feet of water off Big Sable Point. Brown trout action was slow. The Loomis Street fish cleaning station is now open.

Northeast Lower Peninsula Michigan Fishing Report

Mullett Lake – Walleye season opens on May 15th. Pike anglers were trolling stick baits near Topinabee Village or north of Long Point in 24 to 30 feet of water but no fish were caught.

Rogers City – Lake trout have been caught in waters 10 to 50 feet deep from Calcite to Adams Point. Those fishing shallow are trolling cowbells with spin-glows and high-lining with a small amount of weight. Out deeper, they are trolling the same baits about 5 feet off the bottom. Some are using planer boards with 1 or 2 colors of leadcore and high-lines with small spoons or body baits. Good colors were orange and gold, chartreuse and silver, blue and silver, orange and copper or green. Atlantic salmon, steelhead and brown trout were also caught. Look for good lake trout fishing when surface water temperatures reach 45 to 50 degrees. Boat anglers heading west of the harbor need to use caution and be on the lookout for commercial fishing nets in the area.

Presque Isle – A few lake trout were caught in shallow waters less than 25 feet deep when high-lining with cowbells and spin-glows off the big lighthouse.

Rockport – Boat anglers caught lake trout and Atlantic salmon in 10 to 15 feet of water. Boats were trolling straight out, to the north and around Middle Island. Chartreuse was a good color.

Thunder Bay River – Steelhead action was good for shore anglers fishing by the Ninth Street Dam. They are catching fresh fish on spawn, wax worms, beads or pink jigs. Word has it walleye were hitting on black and red flies fished off the Ninth Street Bridge at night.

Harrisville – Mostly shore anglers this week due to the weather. Walleye fishing was steady but most fish were caught in the evening or at night. Body baits and spoons are working well. Good colors were orange and gold, fire-tiger and clown.

Oscoda – Is still producing steelhead and Atlantic salmon off the end of the pier. Steelhead are hitting on the body baits used for walleye.

Au Sable River – Walleye are in the river and catch rates were up. Limits were caught between the boat launch and the mouth when using crawlers or body baits.

Higgins Lake – Once the weather breaks, look for lake trout along the drop-offs while trolling cowbells, body baits or live bait. For perch, try fishing around the Sunken Island.

Houghton Lake – The latest cold front and windy conditions scattered the fish and shut the bite down.

Tawas – A few walleye were caught off the pier at night. For the most part, boats have not been able to get out due to windy conditions. When they could, a couple walleye were caught down near Alabaster.

Au Gres – Walleye are scattered in 20 to 30 feet of water between Point Au Gres and Whitestone Point. Those slow trolling with crawler harnesses took fish.

Au Gres River – Had slow fishing except for a few bass and catfish caught.

Upper Peninsula Michigan Fishing Report

Black River Harbor – Windy conditions were not good for anglers however much needed rain should improve fishing in the area.

Ontonagon – Boat anglers able to get out had trouble locating fish. The mud line should be a good place to fish in the week ahead.

Keweenaw Bay – The bite was hit-or-miss. Those trolling in the morning caught salmon 35 to 60 feet down in waters 40 to 80 feet deep between the head of bay and Old Mission. Most are trolling spoons or body baits off downriggers and dipsy divers. Those fishing near the South Portage Entry caught a mix of chinook, coho and lake trout when trolling near the lighthouse in 40 to 60 feet of water with spoons and body baits. A few lake trout were caught in 155 to 220 feet of water. Try jigs with cut bait.

Marquette – A few chinook, lake trout and brown trout were caught when trolling. Splake were caught on a single egg by those fishing off the lower harbor breakwall.

Little Bay De Noc – Some perch were still being caught off the sandbar near the Day’s River. Use worms or wigglers in 20 to 25 feet of water. Off Sanders Point, fish were caught in 20 to 30 feet of water. Anglers anticipating the walleye opener are reporting the fish are scattered and might be harder to locate this year.

Big Bay De Noc – Had low angler participation and no fishing reports. Those anticipating the walleye opener might want to fish from the head of the bay south to the "Boot".

Au Train – Those able to get out were trolling for coho and lake trout however few fish have been caught.

Munising – Boat anglers have started catching more chinook along with a few coho. Shore anglers caught a few splake and menominee.

Grand Marais – Boat anglers have caught a mix of salmon and trout when they can get out. Lake whitefish were hitting on a single egg. For menominee, try natural baits on sunny days.

De Tour – Anglers are still trolling the #3 green can for lake trout, chinook salmon and Atlantic salmon. Some nice fish were caught using stick baits or spoons. Good colors were green, silver, purple or fire-tiger.

Cedarville and Hessel – Anglers in Hessel are fishing the bay and the pier for Atlantic salmon and splake. Catch rates were good for anglers casting minnows or small spoons. Water temperature in the bay is still 53 degrees which helps to keep the splake in close to shore.

Carp River – A couple steelhead were still caught on spawn bags between the mouth and the McDonald Rapids.

Southeast Lower Peninsula Michigan Fishing Report

Lake Erie – Those able to get out did catch walleye in 18 feet of water near Bolles Harbor when trolling or drifting bottom bouncers. Orange and purple were good colors.

Detroit River – Walleye continue to head back down to Lake Erie. The better fishing has been in the lower river near the mouth. Most are hand-lining at night. Fair to good numbers of white bass have been caught.

Lexington – Salmon and lake trout are there for the taking when boats can get out. Try waters 20 to 40 feet deep and be willing to move around as the fish are scattered.

Port Austin – When boats can get out, they were getting fair numbers of lake trout along with the occasional coho, chinook, and pink salmon in 20 to 40 feet of water.

Saginaw Bay – Boat anglers have not done well because of all the bad weather. The Callahan Reef gave up a few limit catches of walleye before the bad weather moved in. Anglers were fishing in 5 to 12 feet of water. Those fishing the Slot caught a few walleye and catfish. At Caseville, pier anglers caught walleye at night. Smallmouth bass were caught and released.

Tittabawasse River – Was high and muddy after recent rains.

Saginaw River – Jigs and crawlers caught a few walleye, bass and freshwater drum.

Quanicassee River – A few catfish were caught during the day and at night.

Southwest Lower Peninsula Michigan Fishing Report

St. Joe – Boats out fishing 55 feet down in 120 feet of water were catching brown trout. Yellow and green were good colors.

St. Joe River – Anglers are fishing but no reports have come in.

Hall Lake – In the Yankee Springs Recreation Area was producing some panfish.

Grand River at Grand Rapids – Is still producing some big channel catfish. Try chicken liver, crawlers or cut bait. Crappie have been caught on minnows, wax worms, twister tails, and beetle spinners. Good numbers of smallmouth bass have been caught and released. For pike, try floating suckers or casting large spoons and body baits. For walleye, anglers are trolling small rapalas or body baits up the river and drifting crawler harnesses back down.

Grand River at Lansing – The North Lansing Dam was good for smallmouth bass. Moore’s Park is still producing a good number of channel catfish in the 2 to 5 pound range. Pike were caught near the point where the Grand meets the Red Cedar. Once it warms back up, look for panfish in the backwaters.

Maple River – Is still producing good catches of channel and flathead catfish. Those fishing off the bridge in Maple Rapids have also caught crappie.

Lake Ovid – The catfish are feeding which is good news for anglers targeting them. Try crawlers, cut baits, chicken liver or small bluegills. Crappie and bluegill were also caught before the cold spell.

Reeds Lake – Is still producing crappie, pike and bluegills.

Muskegon River – Still has some walleye hitting up near Hardy Dam. Boat anglers are trolling or drifting.