Colder weather has been impacting fishing conditions across Northern Michigan. Dive in to learn what to expect if you’re heading out this weekend. 

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.

All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Water temperatures dropped with the cold weather. Water levels in the lakes and rivers are up due to last week’s rain but fishing activity remains low due to the cold. 

Charlevoix: No boats have been out and not many anglers were fishing the channel during the day. A couple lake trout and walleye were caught in the channel after dark. 

Petoskey: Angler pressure was very light at the mouth of the river and on the piers. Those using soft plastics and crankbaits caught a couple pike, smallmouth bass and a sucker off the breakwall when fishing the river side. 

Bear River: Was a bit lower and was at a good level. Angler pressure is way down but local anglers still caught a couple steelhead. There are still a few suckers and planter brown trout but those too seem to be slowing down. 

Harbor Springs: Had a light number of boat anglers going out. Most trips they have done well catching mostly lake trout northwest of Harbor Point. The fish were caught near the bottom in 110 to 120 feet with spoons, flies and spin-glo’s. 

Traverse City: The water is still very cold. In the East Bay, a few Cisco were caught in 30 to 60 feet when casting or jigging blade baits or casting spoons. The occasional lake trout was found in 120 feet. Bass are starting to hit but no big numbers yet and most are still in deeper water. In the West Bay, perch were caught in Northport in 80 to 85 feet with wigglers and crawlers.   

Manistee: Catch rates were hit-or-miss but a few lake trout were caught along with a couple kings. Fish were anywhere from 30 to 120 feet along the shoreline and straight out from the harbor. Pier anglers had little luck. 

Ludington: Good numbers of lake trout were caught straight out, south towards the projects and north to Big Sable Point. Most were in 45 to 80 feet however 55 to 65 feet was the hot spot. A couple steelhead were also caught. Pier fishing was slow. 

Pere Marquette River: Was producing some small trout. 

Upper Peninsula

Ontonagon: Lake trout are becoming a little more active. Primarily coho and lake trout are being caught with a few browns and the occasional steelhead or Chinook. A few anglers are finding fish consistently while most are getting a fish or two per trip. Suckers are in the rivers but there have been no reports of any smelt. 

Marquette: Though the water is cold, and the fishing has been slow, anglers are picking up a few lake trout, Chinook and steelhead. Brown trout are still around and were found in shallow water.   

Au Train: The ramp has been in for a week now. Coho are in shallow water and were hitting on jigs and stick baits with a slower presentation. A few brown trout have also been caught. Chinook salmon were starting to be caught on spoons in the early morning. Steelhead are spawning in the rivers and were hitting on spawn bags.

Grand Marais:  Pier anglers targeting whitefish continue to do well however catch rates are slightly lower and the fish were running a bit smaller. Winds from the north have been favorable however it was taking some anglers longer to catch their limit. Very few boat anglers were out and those that did make it out caught a few lake trout.