DNR fishing report, posted Sept. 11, 2019.

September 11, 2019

DNR fishing report, posted Sept. 11, 2019.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Overall: It’s all about the salmon in this neck of the woods! Rivers like the Pere Marquette, Manistee and Betsie are seeing good runs of Chinook salmon. Pierheads were producing in Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort while Pere Marquette Lake, Manistee Lake and Betsie Bay provided good options for small boat trollers, jiggers and those casting lures or fishing with spawn.

Hamlin Lake: Fishing was slow, but the bluegill fishing was starting to pick up on the upper lake. Bass fishing was decent on the lower lake. Water temps were 64 to 66 degrees.

Ludington: Coho were starting to show up in the Sable River at the State Park. Surface water temperatures were at about 64 degrees. Offshore fishing for Chinook slowed. Anglers were having success with steelhead and coho in 200 to 400 feet of water, 60 to 90 feet down. Spoons and meat rigs worked best. Pier fishing remained slow.

Pere Marquette Lake: Chinook fishing slowed way down and many fish moved into the river.

Pere Marquette River: A good run of Chinooks had begun.

Harbor Springs: Some anglers did well fishing for lake trout around Harbor Point. A few salmon boats trolled inside the point, toward Roaring Brook.

Petoskey: Most boats couldn’t get out due to windy conditions, but some that could caught lake trout. The bay warmed up from a west wind with the temperature break down at 135 feet. Some lake trout were caught around 150 feet down. A few salmon were picked up while casting from the breakwall and piers/docks around the marina. Early morning, evening and overnight were the best times. Anglers used crankbaits, spoons and floating spawn.

Bear River: The flow was at a good level this past week. A lot of salmon (both Chinook and coho) ran mid-week, but not many fish were caught at the dam. Most anglers were using spawn, artificial eggs and flies

Charlevoix: Most boats were targeting salmon, but not many had luck catching fish. Some were marked in 50 to 60 feet of water around the cement plan. Lake trout were marked from 110 to 130 feet down. Fishing in the channel was slow with most anglers targeting smallmouth bass. Most were fishing bottom with crawlers and leeches, both natural and artificial.

Traverse City: In the east bay salmon fishing was hit-or-miss and was generally slow along the banks near the south end. Bass fishing was good during the mid-day hours in various depths, anywhere from 8 to 35 feet. A cisco or two were caught while jigging or trolling. No salmon were reported from the Elk River. During mid-day hours along the peninsula and around Deepwater Point bass fishing was good. On the west bay salmon fishing was slow, a fish or two were caught while trolling the hole at the south end. More coho were caught at the dam on skein and beads. Anglers looking for perch found a few in Sutton’s Bay.

Frankfort: Chinook were reported out front of the piers and in the channel. Fresh fish were moving up the Betsie every night. Anglers heading north to Platte Bay were landing good numbers of coho. Trolling and jigging worked well in close with spinners and spoons.

Platte River: Coho have arrived!

Onekama: No activity to report.

Portage Lake: Perch anglers reported good numbers of fish hitting on worms around the barge area.

Manistee: Surface water temps were at about 65 degrees. Fishing slowed, but some Chinook, coho and steelhead were caught offshore in 150 to 300 feet, 50 to 90 feet down. Spoons, j-plugs and meat rigs were the most successful.

Manistee River: Chinook and coho were both there!

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan: Anglers trolled j-plugs and spoons between 30 and 40 feet and caught Chinook between 11 and 24 pounds. Fish were suspended most days.

Cheboygan River: Anglers tried for salmon while drifting skein and casting crank baits and spoons. Very few Chinook were caught. A few undersized smallmouth bass were caught on worms and crank baits.

Rogers City: Chinook were staging off Swan Bay and Adams Point. Best depths were from the shoreline out to 80 feet. Fish were moving in and out, depending on the conditions. Anglers ran lines throughout the water column and used spoons, j-plugs, bombers and attractors with flies, squids and cut bait. In the shallows, anglers ran highlines with bombers or j-plugs. Elsewhere, some anglers caught a few steelhead, immature Chinook, lake trout, and an occasional Atlantic, walleye or coho. Spoons worked best.

Presque Isle: Limited reports were available, but the best places to fish have been between the lighthouses or south towards Stoneport. Try 50 to 150 feet of water with spoons, j-plugs or attractors with flies, squid or spin-glo’s. Good colors are greens, blues, oranges or glow.

Alpena: A few lake trout, steelhead, Atlantics and walleye were taken while trolling spoons in the outer bay off the north point, 9 mile can and channel in 35 to 60 feet. A few fish were taken deeper off Thunder Bay Island. Blues, yellows, chrome and glow all worked best. Walleye were taken on trolled cranks and crawlers by anglers in 20 to 45 feet off the north shore, North Point and Sulphur Island. Those trolling off the river mouth in early morning and evening caught the occasional Chinook on spoons, body baits and plugs.

Thunder Bay River: Anglers trolling for salmon caught a couple Chinook and the odd coho jack when long lining plugs and cranks. A few smallmouth and rock bass were caught when still fishing or drifting night crawlers.

Oscoda: A few lake trout and the occasional Atlantic were caught when trolling spoons and body baits in 45 to 120 feet. Pier anglers were casting spoons and cranks for Chinook with little success. The occasional walleye or nice smallmouth bass were caught from the pier on body baits and jigs.

Au Sable River: Below Foote Dam, a few smallmouth and rock bass and freshwater drum were caught while still fishing or floating crawlers. The occasional walleye and smallmouth bass were caught while trolling cranks at the river mouth. Waters below Mio Dam cooled to the low 60s and high 50s. Flies imitating the white fly hatch, streamers and mousing at night can be effective this time of year.

Tawas: Pier fishing was slow, but a few salmon were jumping near the harbor in early morning. A few walleye were caught inside the bay near Jerry’s Marina and out near buoys 4 and 6 in 15 to 20 feet of water. Anglers were using crawlers or body baits.

Tawas River: Anglers caught a few small perch and catfish at Gateway Park using minnows and crawlers.

Au Gres: Pier anglers caught a few small perch, some smallmouth bass, pike and bowfin using crawlers or various lures. Those targeting perch caught some nice 8 to 12-inch fish in 25 to 30 feet. They were targeting straight out of the mouth using minnows off perch rigs. Walleye anglers picked up some catch limits past gravely shoals in 45 to 50 feet, mostly on crawlers. A few more were caught in 30 feet between Point Lookout and Point Au Gres.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph: The Chinook and coho runs have begun! A lot of coho and steelhead moved through the Berrien Springs fish ladder this past week with a few Chinook starting to trickle in. Pier anglers caught a few salmon and steelhead, with the most productive technique being the casting of spoons and spinners.

Kalamazoo River: The salmon runs have begun here as well!

South Haven: Boat anglers continued to catch lake trout. The best depths were between 80 and 100 feet of water. Perch fishing was spotty, but a few fish were caught in 32 feet of water. Fish were being caught both north of the piers and south. A few salmon were caught on spoons.

Grand Haven: Boats trolling the channel and in front of the pier heads found a few salmon. Chrome and glow plugs worked best. In the morning lake trout were found, along with a few salmon, in 90 to 160 feet of water. Salmon liked green and orange spoons 30 to 90 feet down. Yellow spin-glo’s worked well on the bottom for lake trout. A few freshwater drum were caught while casting spoons from the pier.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Both coho and Chinook were running.

Muskegon: Anglers trolling in and around the break walls found the Chinook action to be slow. A couple were caught on chrome j-plugs. Boats caught a few salmon and trout 30 to 100 feet down in 100 to 180 feet of water. Green spoons and meat rigs worked best.

Muskegon River: There were some Chinook salmon, but fish could be lethargic following the sea lamprey treatment that occurred on September 9.

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Overall: This area was plagued by strong winds during the past week.

Lake St. Clair: Floating weeds and substantial northeast winds hampered fishing efforts. Smallmouth bass fishing was tough, but sheltered waters near islands proved to be the best. Perch action was fair near the channel mouths. Anglers also had good luck jigging for walleye there. Muskie anglers caught good size fish near the Clinton River. Pike action was good near the dumping grounds.

Lexington: Lake trout, steelhead and a few walleye were taken in 90 to 100 feet. East and south of the harbor were best using spoons on downriggers, lead core and dipsy-divers.

Port Sanilac: Fish and bait were marked south of the harbor in 60 feet of water. Steelhead and walleye catches were reported. Lake trout, steelhead and a few walleye were taken in 80 to 100 feet from the northeast and toward south of the harbor. Most anglers were trolling with downriggers and lead core and spoons.

Harbor Beach: Lake trout and a few steelhead and walleye were taken in 100 to 130 feet while trolling with downriggers and lead core and spoons. Most traveled east to north.

Grindstone City: Lake trout were found in 100 to 135 feet, north of the harbor while trolling with downriggers and lead core and spoons.

Port Austin: Lake trout and the occasional steelhead were caught while trolling past the lighthouse in 80 to 100 feet. Most anglers were using spoons on downriggers and lead core. Pier and shore fishing were not good due to wind and waves.

Caseville: Some walleye were caught out from Oak Point in 35 to 45 feet of water, mostly on crawler harnesses.

Sebewaing: Bluegill were still being caught in the marina and river. Largemouth bass were hitting in the river when casting rubber worms. Some perch were caught from here to Bay Port inside the islands around weed beds.

Quanicassee: Slow fishing was reported with a few anglers looking for yellow perch offshore without much success.

Saginaw Bay: Fishing was slow with no walleye reports and just a few yellow perch. Perch were caught on minnows at Linwood in 18 feet and at Gambils in 15 feet or so. They were also found by all the sailboat buoys in 15 feet.

Upper Peninsula

Copper Harbor: A few anglers got out and had some success catching splake.

Keweenaw Bay: A few salmon, and some splake and lake trout were caught. Those fishing Huron Bay had some success for lakers in deeper water.

Marquette: It was another windy week! Quite a few lake trout were caught, including a 60-pounder. Steelhead and brown trout were also showing up, and salmon seemed to be just starting to make their way back to the area. Anglers were just starting to target the mouths of the Dead, Carp and Chocolay rivers.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye catches were spotty throughout the bay between Garth Point and “Black Bottom”. Anglers reported fair catches off 2nd Reef using crawlers or stick baits in 8 to 14 feet. From the Narrows over to Squaw Point, anglers reported catches using the same bait in 10 to 20 feet. Perch action was slow. The best places for smallmouth bass were Hunters Point and Squaw Point using tubes or other plastics in 8 to 15 feet.

Manistique River: Salmon were in the river, but numbers were low. Fair catches of brown trout were reported when trolling or casting by the spill-over wall.

Munising Bay: No boat anglers were reported. For those who do want to try and head out, they could troll for coho by targeting the west channel and Trout Bay. A few anglers were on the Anna River but not much action was seen.

Grand Marais: Still had low angler pressure. A few shore anglers were starting to check out the Sucker River, but not catches were reported.

Two Hearted River: Coho salmon runs during the past week were light. Water temperatures were in the mid-50s in the river and upper 50s on Lake Superior. Anglers saw a few fish trickling in the river, but with cold northerly winds and cold nights, fish should begin their push.

Detour: Anglers reported catches of Chinook and lake trout around the Detour Reef and lighthouse. Fish were found within 200 yards upstream of the lighthouse. Flashers were used with a 30-inch leader and squid. Salmon were also caught on the east side of Fry Pan Island, while trolling within 15 feet of the concrete wall. Baits were set at 45 feet over 80 feet. Pink salmon were reported while trolling from the green buoy northwest of the lighthouse. Good colors were orange and gold 4-inch spoons, or 3-inch pink and white colored spoons. Good lake trout catches were reported by fishing the 90-foot flat 2 miles south of the lighthouse. The best baits were flashers tied with white and blue spin-glo’s. No Atlantics were reported.

Cedarville and Hessel: Northern pike were caught at the Middle Entrance to the Les Cheneaux Islands. Fish around 28 to 30-inches were caught while still fishing with creek chubs in 18 to 20 feet of water. A few yellow perch were reported by anglers fishing on both sides of the Island #8 Bridge. The best times were from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. while using shiners and worms. At Hessel, some yellow perch were reported from the finger docks at the marina. Twenty-six to 28-inch north pike were caught at Misner Bay while still fishing with creek chubs in 6 to 10 feet.

Fishing Tip: Looking for some fun? Go fishing this fall!

Ask many anglers and they’ll tell you fall is a wonderful time to go fishing as fish prepare for the colder months by ramping up their feeding efforts. Most will target salmon, walleye, perch, panfish and bass and see much success when doing so.

Many fish will return very hungry to their natal streams throughout this month. Check out our salmon page on the DNR’s website for tips on spots to locate them.

Large schools of this species will move from the Great Lakes inland. By the end of September these fish will really be biting. Visit our walleye page to learn more about techniques for targeting them.

Yellow Perch
Both Lake Michigan and Lake Erie provide great opportunities for perch fishing during the fall as the large schools head to shallow water. Check out the perch page to find some great spots to fish for them.

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