Water temperatures are rising with the extremely hot weather, and fewer anglers were out. The bite is slowing, and as the water warms, fish become sluggish, especially on the shallower inland lakes. While those heading out are fishing deeper water to find schools of fish, some bluegill can be found in shallow water near the beds. Catfish have been caught in the rivers. More specific Northern Michigan fishing updates below.
Remember, all anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license. Buy your license here.
If you’re headed out fishing, please do your part to keep yourself and others safe by following COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines. Go fishing only if you’re feeling well. Practice proper social distancing, staying at least 6 feet away from other people who don’t live in your household. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer.
Fishing Tip: Fishing deep for post-spawn bluegill
After spawning, bluegills will move to deeper water for the rest of the summer, and larger bluegills can be hard to locate. They can be found living near the top of the thermocline (the layer of water between the deep and surface water), where water temperatures approach 69 degrees. Depending on the lake, this depth usually will be somewhere between 12 and 18 feet.
To locate this depth, either use a lake thermometer, available at most larger tackle stores, or contact the nearest DNR office. If the lake has a public access site, fisheries biologists will have surveyed it and will have a temperature-oxygen profile of the lake. This chart will identify the depth with a temperature near 69 degrees.
Try fishing at this depth, where the 69-degree temperature is close to the bottom—usually at the deep edge of weed beds. Use light line (4-pound test or less) tipped with a white ice-fishing teardrop jig baited with a wax worm. Some anglers use slip bobbers, while others fish European style with very long fiberglass poles. Early morning and dusk are most productive.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Mackinaw: Boats trolling around Mackinaw Island and Round Island caught lake trout and steelhead on spoons and meat rigs. Those trolling the straits caught lake trout, steelhead and Atlantic salmon.
Cheboygan: Anglers were getting limits of lake trout, along with a few steelhead and pink salmon, out near Bois Blanc Island when trolling spoons and meat rigs off Lafayette Point. Those trolling spoons caught lake trout in 60 to 110 feet at Reynolds Reef and Spectacle Reef.
Cheboygan River: Shore anglers caught smallmouth bass, walleye and freshwater drum when bottom bouncing worms. Boat anglers caught 15- to 20-inch walleye when trolling or drifting a crawler harness between the walk bridge and the DNR office.
Rogers City: The mixed-bag fishery is in full swing. Anglers are catching lake trout, steelhead, pink and the occasional Chinook, coho or Atlantic salmon in 60 to 130 feet. The fish were scattered, so anglers were moving around and fishing throughout the water column. Spoons worked best, and the hot colors were white, green, blue, orange and green, blue and silver, or glow early and late. Chinook catches were still spotty, with most caught in the evening or an hour before sunrise. Those fishing the top 50 feet found steelhead and salmon. Lake trout were on the small side, but bigger fish were found near the bottom in 70 to 90 feet. Watch for bugs on the surface.
Presque Isle: Anglers did very well catching lake trout, steelhead and pink salmon along with the occasional Chinook, coho or Atlantic salmon or walleye throughout the water column. Run lines in the top 20 feet for steelhead and pink salmon or deeper for lake trout. Green, orange, white, blue, black and white, or glow spoons worked best in 180 to 220 feet. The fish are feeding, so look for bug slicks on the water when heading out.
Alpena: Anglers caught lake trout, steelhead, pink salmon and walleye when trolling spoons, spin-glo’s and flies in 70 to 140 feet off the Nordmeer Wreck, Thunder Bay Island and the Humps. Fish were found throughout the water column, with silver fish coming up higher. Walleye, smallmouth bass and freshwater drum were caught on a crawler harness or body bait in 15 to 40 feet off North Point, in front of the harbor and toward the Black River. Early morning and evening were best.
Thunder Bay River: Is producing smallmouth bass, rock bass, freshwater drum and a few channel cats when drifting or floating crawlers. A few walleye and pike were caught early or late when trolling or casting crawlers and crankbaits. Smallmouth bass and pike were caught in Lake Besser when trolling or casting crankbaits.
Oscoda: Had good fishing for lake trout, pink salmon, steelhead and the odd Atlantic or coho salmon. The steelhead bite was consistent, with a few up to 30 inches taken in 80 to 130 feet or as deep as 180 feet. The fish are scattered throughout and were hitting spoons, spin-glo’s and flies. Green, orange, pink and blue were good colors. A couple walleye were taken on spoons up higher in 50 to 120 feet. Pier anglers caught smallmouth bass, freshwater drum and channel cats on crawlers or crankbaits.
Au Sable River: Water temperatures between Parmalee Bridge, Mio Dam and Alcona Dam are in the 70s, so trout are becoming sluggish. A couple walleye were found between Foote Dam and the mouth when trolling or drifting crawlers and crankbaits. Those casting crankbaits and jigs caught pike and smallmouth. Largemouth were found in the marinas and weed beds. Good catfish action at the mouth in the evening. Smallmouth, rock bass and freshwater drum were hitting crawlers. In Foote Pond, pike and smallmouth were caught trolling or casting crankbaits and floating sucker minnows.
Higgins Lake: Boat anglers continue to find lake trout near the bottom in 100 to 120 feet when trolling or jigging. The perch bite slowed, but fish were still caught in 40 feet or so. Smallmouth bass and rock bass continue to bite.
Houghton Lake: Those targeting walleye along the drop-offs in 14 feet or so have taken a few on a harness tipped with crawlers or leeches. Good blade colors were copper, orange, green or chartreuse. Smallmouth bass were caught along the north shore and near the Cut River. Crappie, bluegills and sunfish were hitting live leeches and leaf worms, but the bite was slow, so target different depths.
Tawas: Had good fishing, even with a mayfly hatch. Lake trout, brown trout, steelhead, Atlantic salmon and a good number of walleye were caught in 50 to 80 feet on spoons, flicker shad or crawlers.
Tawas River: Large and smallmouth bass, along with a few rock bass, were caught on various lures or when using crawlers just off the bottom at Gateway Park.
Au Gres: A few limit catches of walleye were taken in 35 to 60 feet north of Point Lookout, east toward the shipping channel and south of Pt. Au Gres. A few perch were caught by those trolling for walleye.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Harbor Springs: Lake trout were caught near the bottom in 75 to 90 feet north of Harbor Point. Quite a few boats still were targeting smallmouth bass along the shoreline. Rock bass and freshwater drum were caught.
Petoskey: Those targeting lake trout did not have much luck in Little Traverse Bay. The better action was north and south of the bay. The Bear River had lower water levels, and those fishing the mouth caught smallmouth bass, rock bass and bullhead with using worms, minnows and crankbaits.
Charlevoix: The occasional lake trout was found south of the cement plant in 80 to 180 feet. Effort in the channel has switched to smallmouth bass. Those fishing the bottom with real and artificial crawlers or leeches caught both smallmouth and rock bass.
Frankfort: As the waters warms, temperature breaks are becoming more noticeable on the graphs. The salmon bite was slow, with anglers reporting low numbers of marks and hits. Lake trout are hitting in all areas and depths for those using spoons. Most were heading north to the point and trolling in 100 to 225 feet.
Onekama: Those trolling along the “Barrel” caught good numbers of lake trout, but the Chinook bite was slow.
Portage Lake: Anglers are targeting 18 to 25 feet to pick up a few bass and perch.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Had bass boats out early in the morning and the occasional dock angler. Bass and panfish should bite well in these temperatures.
Manistee: The salmon bite has been slow, but a few were caught along the “Shelf” to the north and south of town in 100 to 140 feet. Steelhead and a couple salmon came from 300 feet as well. Salmon were anywhere from 40 to 80 feet down. Lake trout were caught straight out and near the bottom in 80 to 120 feet. Spoons worked best.
Ludington: Fishing was hit or miss. A few salmon and steelhead were caught at Big Sable Point in 100 to 200 feet. Laker trout were found near the bottom to the south in 80 to 100 feet and near the point in 70 to 120 feet when trolling spoons and spin-glo’s.
Keweenaw Bay: Fishing slowed with a mayfly hatch. A few lake trout were caught, but getting them to bite was tough. There were reports of a few Chinook salmon found, along with lots of baitfish, throughout Huron, Keweenaw and Traverse bays.
Marquette: Most were launching from the Upper Harbor and fishing near Granite Island, the Pinnacles and in water up to 200 feet deep, where several nice catches of lake trout were reported. Look for the bugs and fish anywhere from 10 to 50 feet down. Those jigging at Stannard Rock caught lake trout.
Little Bay de Noc: Walleye anglers reported a few catches in the Breezy Point area, but it was getting harder to even mark fish. Most were fishing the mouth of the Escanaba River and Whitefish River, but catch rates were tapering off and most of the fish were undersize. Perch anglers also reported less action, with most in the Gladstone Beach and Kipling area and using crawlers in 18 to 30 feet. The smallmouth bass action was best, and though fewer catches were reported, there was still enough action to keep them fishing. The mouth and into the Ford River reported fair catches when using plastics or crawlers, but most were undersize. Salmon anglers struggled with warm water. Surface water temperatures out by the Ford River buoy were well into the 70s.
Manistique: Most were trying 60 to 80 feet down near Barques Point, and while not a lot of fish were marked, some nice large Chinook were reported.
Manistique River: Was producing some decent smallmouth catches for those casting crawlers, plastics or crankbaits.
Au Train: Surface water is warming into the low to mid-60s. Lake trout were caught along the flats in Shelter Bay when trolling spoons in 80 to 120 feet. Purple and melon were good colors. Most fish were 3-5 pounds, but those jigging caught fish up to 8 pounds.
Munising: With the large fly hatches, lake trout were surface feeding. Those trolling Big Reef on the calm days were getting limit catches along the west end. Fish also were caught near Grand Island, the White Rocks the green can off Christmas in the west channel and near Grumps Hump. While salmon fishing was slow, a couple of Chinook or coho were caught.
St. Marys River: A couple walleye taken in the early morning when casting a jig tipped with a piece of redworm just off the weed beds and rocky points at Round Island. The north shore of Raber Bay was producing pike up to 29 inches when trolling a chrome spoon with a red eye just off the weeds in 8 feet.
Detour: The Atlantic bite appears to have slowed. A couple healthy Chinook salmon were caught when trolling from the green buoy on the northwest side of the lighthouse. Anglers used flashers trailed with silver and white squid baits 45 to 60 feet down in 90 feet. Most have switched from fishing salmon to lake herring.
Drummond Island: A few lake herring were caught on the northwest side at Howard Island, Butterfield and Maple Island when using an 8-ounce red or brown jig tipped with one or two wax worms. Try two cranks off the bottom in 26 feet around Howard Island. Perch were caught on worms and shiners at the mouth of Harbor Island.
Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers are reporting a heavy fly hatch at McKay Bay, located 1 mile west of the Cedarville Stone Quarry. Even so, a fair number of lake herring were caught midday and late afternoon using a teardrop jig tipped with natural fly baits and wax worms. NOTE: McKay Bay is a shallow bay running 12 to 14 feet deep, and it is best to approach a school of fish slowly while trying to position your boat. Prentiss Bay had no reports of lake herring being caught. Good largemouth bass action throughout the Les Cheneaux Islands, especially in shaded areas and near structure. Try gold and silver leaf spinner baits or artificial frogs off the weed beds and lily pads. At Hessel, a few splake were caught south of the marina when trolling orange and chartreuse crankbaits around Goat Island and Wilderness Bay. Splake can be found in water as shallow as 12 to 14 feet if the water temperature is 55 to 58 degrees or colder. Yellow perch are still being caught along the finger docks at the marina. A couple nice smallmouth bass were caught along the outside of the fishing pier in the early morning and midday.
St. Ignace: Had no reports once again. Surface water temperatures were 73.6 degrees. On the Pine River, limits of walleye up to 18 inches were caught by those trolling a crawler harness or body bait; however, anglers were sorting through a lot of small fish. On the Carp River, a couple walleye were taken when bottom bouncing with crawlers.