NOTE TO ANGLERS: This report is intended to give anglers an idea of fishing conditions around the state. The updates come from a combination of creel clerks and other DNR staff around the state and reflect past fishing conditions over the last seven days. Due to the nature of the Great Lakes, fishing conditions on them can change daily if not hourly based on wind and rain events.
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Weekly Fishing Report
Read below or call: 1-855-777-0908
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As we transition from ice fishing to open water fishing, some are getting out in boats while others are targeting the rivers for trout and suckers. Many of the bays and marinas were still ice covered but the ice was not safe.
Most of the rivers in the area including the Belle, Black and Clinton Rivers were running low and clear so the steelhead action was slow because the fish will spook easily.
Lake St. Clair: Some of the marinas and canals still had ice in them making fishing conditions less than ideal. The Harley Ensign launch was ice free. The launches at Fair Haven and Selfridge had some ice to deal with.
St. Clair River: Heavy ice floes are coming down the river. Both the North and the Middle Channels were completely jammed full at the west end.
Port Austin: Had ice in the marina.
Saginaw Bay: Still had a lot of ice however the ice is not safe by any means and anglers should not venture out. The Linwood Beach Marina was closed to both boat launching and shore fishing as the ramp and channel were full of ice. There was too much ice floating on the inner bay and near the Saginaw River mouth to allow boat anglers to get out but a south wind could clear things out over the next few days. Rivers and cuts along the south and east side of the bay were still iced in but should be open soon. Conditions will change from day to day, so anglers with the urge to fish will want to get out there and do some scouting. At Sebewaing, fishing was not great as anglers were sorting out a lot of small perch. Ice at Mud Creek and Caseville made fishing impossible. Suckers should be running in most area rivers so it is time to get out and start spring fishing. The perch have not spawned yet, and will probably move in and out of the rivers and cuts chasing minnows over the next month.
Saginaw River: Perch anglers are doing well in the lower end of the river when using minnows on perch rigs. Several limit catches of 8 to 10 inch fish were reported.
Flint River: Anglers are getting a few suckers.
St. Joseph: A few boat and pier anglers were out.
St. Joseph River: Had good steelhead fishing up near the Berrien Springs Dam.
South Haven: Boat anglers were getting a mixed bag of lake trout and coho straight out in 90 feet. Most fish were taking near the bottom. The coho were incidental catches while targeting lake trout. Steelhead and brown trout were caught by pier anglers fishing tight to the shoreline and not off the end of the pier.
Kalamazoo River: Warmer weather brought out more anglers and they were catching steelhead.
Gull Lake: Had crappie in 8 to 10 feet.
Grand Haven: Windy weather and rough conditions have kept boats off the lake.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Steelhead are present but water levels are low for this time of year.
Grand River at Lansing: Smallmouth bass were hitting on minnows and crawlers near the North Lansing Dam. Though few and far between, the occasional steelhead was caught at the point where the Grand meets the Red Cedar and near the North Lansing Dam when using spawn and spinners.
Muskegon River: Had a decent number of steelhead and there was fairly heavy fishing pressure. The river was low and clear.
Cheboygan River: Was producing a few more steelhead near the dam.
Burt Lake: Anglers were ice fishing but use extreme caution. Maple Bay was producing some perch.
Mullett Lake: Anglers need to use extreme caution if going out on any remaining ice. Warmer weather and rain will deteriorate the already weak ice. Shore ice has started to get thin. Pigeon River Bay has open water so stay off the bay. Fishing pressure has been light. Some were trying for perch in shallow waters but caught fewer than ten fish.
Ocqueoc River: Anglers have caught steelhead in the lower river.
Thunder Bay River: Anglers are starting to catch steelhead. The bite will slow with the cold front but should rebound by the weekend.
Au Sable River: Water levels were low and catch rates were slow. Conditions should improve once we get some warm rain.
Houghton Lake: The ice has broken up and is moving around the lake and piling up along the shoreline. Water temperatures are very cold and no one is fishing.
Tawas: There was not much going on. The boat ramp in the state harbor was iced in, but it should break up soon. Boats heading out from the Tawas River mouth were trolling for lake trout down near Alabaster.
Tawas River: Shore anglers in the lower river were getting some suckers on worms and further upriver they were getting a couple steelhead on spawn sacks.
Au Gres River: Anglers are starting to get some steelhead but the rivers are quite low and a warm rain would help move some fresh fish up the system. The river was frozen over and the boat ramp was un-useable.
Consider all ice in this region to be unsafe. Anglers are starting to fish for steelhead near the mouth of the Boyne River and the Jordan River.
Petoskey: Little Traverse Bay was mostly ice covered but should thaw soon.
Bear River: Had anglers targeting steelhead from the dam down to the mouth. Most use spawn or wax worms.
Torch Lake: Boat anglers have caught some brown trout and Atlantic salmon
Boardman River: Has steelhead.
Betsie River: Was producing the occasional steelhead.
Lakes Cadillac & Mitchell: Still had ice but no fishable ice. Anglers would be wise to wait for open water fishing.
Manistee River: Anglers continue to catch steelhead. Fishing should be good by the weekend.
Ludington: A few boats were starting to head out and target brown trout in shallow waters near shore. Pier anglers should also find some steelhead and brown trout.
Pere Marquette River: Steelhead fishing picked up with the warmer weather and should only get better as the spring rains arrive.
There has been little activity for steelhead on the rivers and there have been no smelt reports. Most of the inland lakes have ice that is deteriorating rapidly.
Marquette: The ice has moved out of the harbor. The Chocolay boat launch was still iced in. Anglers have been catching brown trout and steelhead with spawn and worms in the Chocolay River. The Carp River hasn't had much pressure due to ice conditions but anglers were still trying for steelhead. Boat anglers fishing the Upper Harbor near the bubblers caught a few coho when jigging cut bait.
Menominee River: Was producing some nice brown trout and a few walleye below the Hattie Street Dam and down to Stephenson Island. Large stick baits worked best. The lower river still had some ice cover and the boat launches were still iced in. Very little water was being released from the Hattie Street Dam.
Little Bay De Noc: Had no report this week.
Au Train: The harbor and rivers still have ice in them but it is starting to break up. The boat launch is still not accessible due to ice. There are no reports for the Au Train River or from boat anglers this week. Those fishing the Rock River did catch some coho and steelhead on spawn.
Munising: Anglers were still ice fishing in Munising Bay. Fish were caught but the action was slow with only a few coho and no steelhead. Splake catches were good with most averaging 17 inches. A few whitefish were also caught. Some reported seeing large numbers of herring or smelt through the holes. The best ice was right off the Anna River access. Other areas were unstable.
Munuscong: With the warmer temperatures and rain this week, expect ice around the islands and along the shoreline to start deteriorating. The Coast Guard will begin ice breaking operations this week which means the locks will be opening. Anglers will need to be extra careful if venturing out because when the ships come through the wake will deteriorate the ice. Perch were still being caught but catch rates were slow. They should start to come into the bay soon. Anglers were still-fishing, using tip-ups or jigging with minnows.
Cedarville and Hessel: Still had ice however anglers will need to use caution and watch for pressure cracks and soft ice around the islands. The rivers are up and flowing high so be careful in any area were moving water will be an issue. At Cedarville, a good number of perch were caught but many were small. Anglers are jigging or still-fishing with wax worms, spikes, and wigglers. Muskie Bay and east seemed to be better. Perch were caught in Hessel Bay when jigging or still-fishing with wax worms, spikes and wigglers. Some did well while others were struggling and a lot of smaller fish were caught. A couple splake and burbot were also caught.
Enjoy your catch! Eat safe fish! Learn about eating safe, local and healthful fish from our Great Lakes State at: Michigan.gov/eatsafefish.