Michigan Recreational Weekly Fishing Report – 9/18/2008

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 Great Lakes Temperature Map

Great Lakes temperature map

All the rain helped push more salmon into the rivers however many of the rivers in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula are experiencing very high water levels which has caused flooding in many areas. Anglers are urged to not only wait until the water levels recede before attempting to fish but to also pay close attention to any warnings issued by the Health Department regarding water quality issues.


Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie – The lake is high and muddy. The few anglers venturing out did manage to find some small perch in 19 feet of water off Stony Point. Fishing should pick up once the waters clear up.

Detroit River – Has muddy water however anglers are catching perch and a few walleye. A lot of catfish have also been caught.

Huron River – Is running high and fast but anglers are catching some steelhead. Good bluegill action in the backwaters.

Lexington – Lake trout are still being caught in waters up to 100 feet deep. Pier anglers are trying for salmon but the fish have not come in yet. No perch to speak of.

Port Sanilac – Boat anglers report limits of lake trout but perch fishing remains slow.

Harbor Beach – Is still producing limits of lake trout. Pier anglers are starting to try for salmon however the fish have not come in yet. Bass are still being caught.

Grindstone City – Is still producing limits of lake trout.

Port Austin – Limits of lake trout are still being caught in 90 to 110 feet of water off the tip of the Thumb. Some have also taken the occasional steelhead.

Saginaw Bay – Perch have been caught around the Spark Plug and near Buoys 15, 16 and 18. Some nice perch were taken from the weedbeds on the edge of the Callahan Reef in 8 feet of water and about two or three miles northwest off the mouth of the Quanicassee River. A few walleyes were caught on a crawler harness in the Slot however anglers were doing more fishing than catching.


Southwest Lower Peninsula


The rivers in this area of the state are flooded and un-fishable. Conditions are dangerous around the dams due to the risk of failure. Anglers should stay off all rivers in Southwest Michigan until flood waters recede.

St. Joe River – Had a really good run of coho however water levels are high and the river is not safe to fish.

Dowagiac River – Is flooded and un-fishable.

Paw Paw River – Look for good numbers of coho after the waters recede.

Kalamazoo River – Water levels are high and the river is not safe to fish.

Rabbit River – Is flooded and un-fishable.

Thornapple River – Is flooded and un-fishable.

Grand River at Grand Rapids – Water levels are high and fast however anglers are still catching coho when dropping and drifting flies. Be advised that the Ottawa County Health Department issued a no-contact advisory for the river after sewage and storm water overflowed into the river in Grand Rapids.

Grand River at Lansing – Is running high and muddy. Before the water levels came up, anglers did mange to catch a few salmon in the Lansing area. Try drifting spawn or jigging spoons in the deeper holes when the water levels come back down.

Reeds Lake – Reported fair to good action for crappie and the pike are starting to bite good as they prepare for colder weather.

Muskegon – Perch have been caught on minnows north of the piers in 10 to 30 feet of water. If the waters are cool, anglers will find fish. A few salmon were caught.

Muskegon Lake – Boat anglers caught a few salmon. Bluegills are biting and the largemouth bass fishing was very good from the weedbeds out to 20 feet of water.

Muskegon River – Water levels are up but the river is fishable. Anglers are taking salmon when casting spoons or crank baits near the mouth.


Northeast Lower Peninsula

Rogers City – The primary focus is salmon fishing in Swan Bay. The fish are turning dark and should be running up the Swan River soon. Fish have been caught in shallow waters 15 to 30 feet deep when using J-plugs and bombers off boards in the early morning or after dark. Green and pearl have been good colors. Those fishing the top 35 feet of waters 40 to 70 feet deep are taking a mix of chinook, coho, atlantic and steelhead. Good colors were green, blue, orange, purple or anything that glows.

Presque Isle – Has very good fishing for young chinook salmon. Coho, atlantic, lake trout and steelhead were also caught off the Red Can and around the lighthouse. Stoneport is producing some fish but anglers will want to use caution around the fishing nets. The fish caught have been full of smelt and alewife.

Alpena – When boats can get out, steelhead and lake trout have been caught in 80 to 100 feet of water. The steelhead are close to the surface.

Thunder Bay River – Anglers have been fishing off the pier, the docks and around the Alpena Marina. A few salmon were caught around the Ninth Street Dam.

Harrisville – A few salmon have been caught in and around the harbor. Boats venturing outside the harbor are staying in 25 to 50 feet of water and trolling J-plugs or spoons in a variety of colors. Shore anglers and those in small boats are floating spawn under a bobber or casting spoons and body baits. Lake trout season is slowly coming to an end as fish were caught in 85 to 120 feet of water.

Oscoda – Pier fishing was limited but fish were caught in the early morning and late evening when casting spoons. Hot colors were orange and silver or blue and silver.

Au Sable River – There have been some walleye caught in the river, but dredging has slowed the number of anglers attempting to fish.

Tawas – Pier fishing was slow, with a few small perch and one or two walleyes taken. Boat anglers caught a few perch from the weedbeds off Jerry’s Marina and a few walleye were caught near Buoys 4 and 6.

Au Gres – A couple chinook salmon have been caught in the surf off the Singing Bridge access site. The walkways along the Whitney Drain remain closed for renovation. Walleye fishing is very slow so most anglers are now switching over to perch fishing. Some 8 to 10 inch perch were caught straight out near the shipping channel in 30 to 40 feet of water.

Au Gres River – Water levels are running high and fast. The river might be fishable by the weekend.

Rifle River – Water levels are high and the current is fast.

Higgins Lake – Few anglers have been out as many have turned their attention to bird hunting. Those fishing have managed to catch lake trout and perch. Those hunting are doing well for woodcock.

Houghton Lake – Cooler nights have the northern pike biting. Minnows and large crank baits are taking fish. Walleye action remains steady.


Northwest Lower Peninsula

Petoskey – Pier anglers caught a few fish when floating spawn just off the bottom.

Charlevoix – Just a few salmon were taken by boat anglers trolling the shallows with J-plugs, reef runners and thundersticks. Target the drop-off and fish the top 50 feet of water. Shore anglers took fish in the early morning and late evening when using glow spoons. Spawn on the bottom produced fish near the Cement Plant.

Glen Lake – Is booming with perch anglers taking limit catches while still throwing a lot of fish back. The perch have started to school and several fish over 10 inches have been caught. The best location changes with the wind but stick to the north end of Big Glen between the Yacht Club and the entrance to Fisher Lake. Try wigglers, minnows or shrimp in 20 to 30 feet of water.

Frankfort – Has fair to good chinook and coho fishing in front of the piers in 150 to 170 feet of water. Steelhead can be found out deep in 320 to 350 feet of water. Pier anglers are casting alewife rigs or white and glow spoons. Those fishing off the old Elberta dock caught fish on spawn. Anglers are catching fish in Platte Bay however there is no indication yet of a large run.

Betsie River – There are many fish in the river! Anglers were catching the most from River Road all the way up past the Homestead Dam.

Onekama – The Shelf is still producing good catches of chinook. The Barrel is producing fish in the early morning but after the sun comes up, anglers are fishing 45 to 50 feet down in waters 120 to 160 feet deep while trolling white and glow J-plugs and green, orange or blue spoons. Pier anglers have caught chinook and coho in the early morning when using alewife.

Portage Lake – Good numbers of panfish are still being caught in the deeper waters on the east end of the lake. Good walleye and pike fishing. The walleye bite is better at night and the pike are hitting on small spoons and body baits throughout the day.

Manistee – Anglers are catching chinook salmon in front of the piers and in the harbor. The best baits are glow and pearl J-plugs. Pier anglers are also catching chinook when casting glow spoons.

Manistee Lake – Boat anglers are taking some nice chinook salmon.

Manistee River – Has fishable numbers of salmon although peak conditions are not here yet. Spawn, flies and small spoons are taking fish.

Hamlin Lake – Good fishing continues with limits of bluegill taken in 6 to 12 feet of water off the Boy Scout Camp and in Pete’s Bayou.

Big Sable River – Fishing slowed since the first big run but chinook are stacked up below the highway bridge. Fish are on the gravel but not bedding. Some anglers are using alewife while others are drifting spawn under a bobber. Those surfcasting at the mouth are using spawn bags however Mepps and Cleo’s were taking more fish. There are a good number of suckers below the dam.

Ludington – Boat anglers are catching chinook salmon in front of the piers and between the Bath House and the Pointe in 30 to 80 feet of water.

Pere Marquette River – Has fishable numbers of salmon although peak conditions are not here yet. Spawn, flies and small spoons are taking fish.


Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay – The bite has been slow for the most part. A few chinook, coho and lake trout were taken by those trolling about halfway down in waters 60 to 100 feet deep between Sand Point and Carla’s Café. Those jigging found a few lake trout in 120 to 240 feet of water. A nice pike was caught in Huron Bay. In the South Portage Entry, anglers have caught coho and lake trout in 60 to 90 feet of water between the Farmers Reef and the Jacobsville Lighthouse.

Falls River – There have been reports of some pink salmon in the river.

Marquette – The past week was good for lake trout fishing with many boats catching their limit in shallow waters. Salmon fishing continues to be slow however a few more chinook were caught along with a couple steelhead.

Dead River – Coho salmon have been seen.

Carp River – Coho and steelhead are in the river.

Green Bay – The chinook have started to move closer to shore. Fish were caught on the Bay side when fishing off the pier with small Cleo’s. Good colors were silver with green or blue. Smallmouth bass were caught off the pier and walleye were caught straight out from the marina on perch colored harnesses.

Ford River – Salmon are starting to show up around the mouth and several walleye anglers have caught them. The launch on the river is closed to all fishing until the construction is done.

Cedar River – Yellow perch and smallmouth bass were caught when drifting with crawlers or crank baits. Walleye were caught near the mouth when trolling a crawler harness in 15 feet of water.

Little Bay De Noc – Walleye action was spotty but fish were caught off the First Reef when trolling crawlers in 10 to 16 feet of water and in the flats near Brach’s Cabins. The Black Bottom produced a few fish however more fish were marked to the south around the East Bank in 14 to 26 feet of water. Good perch fishing in the flats out from Brach’s Cabins and off Gladstone Beach when fishing the drop-off. Excellent smallmouth action around Hunters Point.

Big Bay De Noc – No walleye to report this week but the smallmouth bass anglers are just getting started around Snake Island. Only a few catches to report so far but the fish were big. Most are drifting minnows 15 to 25 feet down along the break. Perch fishing was fair off the southern end of Ogontz when jigging worms in 8 to 14 feet of water. Salmon season is winding down off Fairport. A few chinook were still being caught on spoons 40 to 60 feet down in 100 to 120 feet of water.

Au Train – Lake trout were caught in the flats and along the Wood Island Reef.

Munising – The coho are starting to move in.

Grand Marais – Coho and steelhead were caught when trolling in the bay and out towards the Sable Point Lighthouse.

St. Mary’s River – Has good numbers of pink salmon between the Power Plant and the tour boat docks. Anglers are casting or jigging Swedish Pimples and spoons. Good walleye action in the early morning when trolling a bottom bouncer with a crawler harness and blades. Some nice yellow perch were caught in the weedbeds across from the ferry dock on Neebish Island. Good smallmouth action off the southeast corner of Sugar Island in 20 feet of water.

De Tour – Chinook and lake trout are still being caught in the shipping channel. Green and blue spoons worked well. Walleye are still being caught around Peck Island, Rutland Island, Scott Bay and north of the city launch. Off Drummond Island, perch were caught in 6 to 8 feet of water near Ashman Island and Harbor Island.

Cedarville and Hessel – Fishing has been slow but chinook can still be found 50 to 80 feet down when using hammered silver spoons with chartreuse or black. Small orange and gold spoons also caught fish.

Carp River – A couple pink salmon were caught by the Mackinaw Trail Bridge which is down near the mouth.