Northern Michigan Fishing Report Sept. 9: Fall Fishing Takes Shape

Inconsistent late-summer weather has made things difficult for anglers, especially on the big waters. The recent storms and strong winds will change fishing conditions. Fall fishing is beginning to take shape.

Remember, all anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license. 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 (at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live in your household) and keep a face-covering handy for when social distancing cannot be maintained. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Yellow perch fishing is getting underway on the large inland lakes in Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties. The action is not full speed yet, but anglers are finding fish on their fall feeding grounds.

Harbor Springs: Anglers continue to fish around Harbor Point and east, where lake trout, Chinook and coho were caught. Lake trout and cisco were caught near the bottom north of Harbor Point in 100 to 110 feet.

Petoskey: Though salmon fishing was very slow, boats were still trolling from the breakwall to Bay Harbor. The few fish taken were found deep at 100 feet down. A few salmon were seen jumping inside the breakwall. Pier anglers targeting salmon reported low catch rates. Those fishing along the beach caught a couple fish when floating spawn or casting crankbaits.

Charlevoix: Boats targeting salmon reported slow action, with only a couple caught 100 feet down in 120 feet. Salmon were seen inside the breakwall and near the slip at the cement plant, and a couple were hooked in shallower water when trolling or casting. A few lake trout were caught near the Red Can at South Point in 120 feet and out near Nine Mile Point in 170 feet. Some are starting to shore fish near the cement plant freighter slip, but the water level is so high this year that it is very difficult to get to areas where anglers normally would fish in waders. Smallmouth fishing in the channel was a bit tough, but the bigger fish typically stay in the channel area through October. Try crawlers or leeches on the bottom.

Boyne River: Salmon are moving in and are being found at the dam and at the mouth.  Multiple kings were checked at the mouth of the river along with a few coho.

Boardman River: Had reports of coho and chinook being caught.

Frankfort: The weather has restricted access, but those trolling the pier heads and jigging in the bay have caught fish. Coho were reported in Platte Bay.

Betsie River: Chinook salmon are moving into the river at a steady pace.

Portage Lake: Had no angler activity due to the weather.

Manistee: Fishing was slow. Anglers marked fish in close and around the piers. The action shifted to jigging in Manistee Lake. Those trolling the channel had little luck but marked some salmon.

Manistee River: Salmon fishing was decent, with fresh fish moving up into the river.

Ludington: Chinook salmon were caught near the pier heads and at Big Sable Point by those using spoons and J-plugs. A couple coho and steelhead were caught in 180 to 280 feet when boats could get out.

Pere Marquette Lake: Boat anglers trolling and jigging caught a few Chinook salmon.

Pere Marquette River: Also had decent salmon fishing, especially in the lower stretches. A couple nice steelhead have also been caught.

Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay: Strong winds have hampered fishing. When anglers could get out, fish were marked, but the action was spotty, with the majority getting a few lake trout. A few Chinook, coho and steelhead were also caught.

Little Bay de Noc: Most walleye anglers were fishing the Minneapolis Shoals and Round Island area. Night anglers reported the best catches using a crawler harness or stick baits in 12 to 25 feet. A few anglers reported catches when trolling the same around the Center Reef in 18 to 24 feet. Fair perch catches at best in the Gladstone beach area in 20 feet or along the First Reef in 10 to 25 feet with crawlers. Pike were active near Escanaba when trolling spinners in 14 to 16 feet near the lighthouse.

Manistique River: Boat and shore anglers are targeting salmon. They are seeing fish, but the numbers are lower than previous years. Shore anglers did best up near the dam when casting J-plugs and crankbaits. Those using spawn caught the occasional brown trout. Several pink salmon were reported as well. The occasional walleye continues to be caught by boat anglers casting a jig and crawlers up at the rapids.

Munising: Gusty winds made fishing difficult. Boat anglers trolling for coho in the west channel, Munising Bay, Trout Bay and off Christmas had no luck. Shore anglers targeting splake had very few catches.

St. Marys River: Fishing was good for pink salmon. Walleye fishing slowed, but some were still caught in the shipping channel.

Detour: Lake trout and pink salmon remain steady at the Detour Reef and lighthouse.  Pink salmon are scattered throughout the water column. Try 25 to 35 feet down while the salmon are along the 90-foot flat and hitting orange and white spin-glo’s behind flashers.

Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers reported a few catches of yellow perch at Island #8 when using worms and shiners. Try fishing near the bridge that connects Hill Island Road to the island. Fair catches reported in Musky Bay in 8 to 12 feet at Connors Point. Northern pike fishing was fair at the Middle Entrance to the Les Cheneaux Islands when using creek chubs and large minnows in 18 to 20 feet. A couple walleye were caught at Les Cheneaux Point. Try a jig with a white or chartreuse twister tail or a minnow under a slip bobber in 6 to 12 feet in the early morning or late evening. Largemouth bass were hitting spinners under the docks throughout the islands. At Hessel, yellow perch fishing was fair at the finger docks in the marina, but anglers were sorting out the small ones. A few splake were also caught on natural spawn bags or small orange and gold spoons.  Wilderness Bay was producing a few splake and rainbow trout when trolling orange and chrome spoons off Coates Point in 22 to 28 feet.

Carp River: Anglers were drifting spawn or casting crankbaits and spoons for Chinook.  A few fish up to 8 pounds were caught. Walleye and perch anglers were still drifting worms, but catch rates are starting to slow as the salmon move in. A few pike were caught at the mouth.

Nunn’s Creek: Had no fishing updates; however, anglers can wade at the mouth and try casting a blue and silver or green and silver Cleo for salmon.

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