Thursday, March 17, 2011 Recreational Fishing Report (Michigan)

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Great Lakes Temperature Map

Ice fishing is coming to an end in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula so anglers are advised to stay off any remaining ice. Conditions to the north might hold on for another week or so. Walleye, pike and musky season on the inland waters closed on March 15th however; Saginaw Bay and the Great Lakes remain open all year.

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Had no safe ice and flow ice is keeping boats from heading out. Those shore fishing off Lake Erie Metro Park have caught some perch. Anglers are reminded to park on Kingsbridge Drive and walk down. Bluegills were caught in the marina. Crappie can be found in the creeks around Point Mouillee.

Huron River: Steelhead have been caught near the walk bridge by Huroc Park. Try flies, spawn or a jig and wax worm.

Detroit River: Boat anglers need to pay close attention to flow ice coming down. Perch have been caught in the lower river and in the bays and canals. Most are using perch rigs with minnows.

Lake St. Clair: Had patches of ice along the shoreline that people were fishing. Use extreme caution. There is a lot of open water on the lake.

Saginaw Bay: There’s still a lot of ice fishing activity all over the bay however anglers are reminded to use extreme caution and pay close attention to ice conditions as the weather warms up. Shore ice is deteriorating in many places and pressure cracks are active. In Wildfowl Bay, the cracks have buckled and there is open water in places. Those fishing off Pine River and Palmer Road caught a couple walleye in 12 to 15 feet of water. Perch were in 6 feet of water but many were small. Perch action has picked up just north of Pinconning, off the Bay City State Park, Vanderbilt Park, Sunset Bay Marina and off Thomas Road. Fish from dawn until 11AM, try not to make too much noise, and stay away from the crowd. Perch were caught off Sebewaing and Rose Island.

Tittabawassee River: Boats were fishing below the Dow Dam before walleye season closed. Catch rates were slow as it appears the fish are just not in yet.

Saginaw River: Water levels are fairly fast and muddy so catch rates are slow. The boat ramps at Rust Avenue in Saginaw and Cass Avenue in Bay City are open.


Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph River: Water levels were receding but were still slightly above average for this time of year. A fair number of steelhead have been moving through the Berrien Springs fish ladder. Water temperatures are still cold and the peak of the run has not occurred yet. Boat anglers are fishing below Berrien Springs.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Has a good number of steelhead being caught at the Sixth Street Dam.

Grand River at Lansing: Warm temperatures and light rain should move some steelhead into the area. Fish could be seen at the dams between Grand Rapids and Lansing. Anglers could be catching steelhead by the end of the week.

Muskegon River: Anglers are catching steelhead up near Croton Dam. Most are fly fishing or using spawn.

White River: Had a good number of steelhead in the lower river.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Mullett Lake: Still has ice. Anglers are catching a few perch with minnows and wigglers in shallow waters 15 to 18 feet deep or deeper in 30 to 45 feet of water.

Higgins Lake: Smelt action has picked up off the North State Park and the west boat launch. Perch have been caught in the evening in 10 to 12 feet of water and lake trout were still being caught. Ice near Big Creek is starting to deteriorate.

Houghton Lake: Still has good ice. Walleye season is closed however bluegills were starting to hit along the weedbeds on the south shore. Perch were starting to bite and some big crappie were caught near the Cut River.

Tawas: Walleye and perch fishing were slow. Only a couple pike were speared.

Au Gres: Fishing was generally slow, with only a few walleye taken in 15 feet of water. Anglers were going both north and south of the breakwall, off Booth Road and Point Au Gres.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Crystal Lake: Still has good smelt fishing in 40 to 60 feet of water off Lobb Road and Railroad Point. There is light snow on the ice.

Betsie River: Look for steelhead if temperatures warm and we get rain.

Lake Missaukee: Is producing some good bluegill action.

Lake Cadillac: Ice anglers are still catching crappie.

Lake Mitchell: Is also producing some crappie.

Manistee River: The weekend could bring good steelhead movement.

Little Manistee River: Remains closed to fishing until April 1st.

Pere Marquette River: Should start producing steelhead by the weekend.


Upper Peninsula

Lake Gogebic: Perch fishing was slow with only a few fish taken in waters 6 to 25 feet deep. Those lucky enough to find them did take some fish averaging 12 to 15 inches. Still-fishing with wigglers has been the most productive.

Keweenaw Bay: The lake trout bite was good with limit catches reported out from Whirl-I-Gig Road in 250 to 265 feet of water. The whitefish bite was up and down however on the good days, a mix of whitefish and lake trout were caught east of the Baraga Marina in 80 to 100 feet of water and out from the Pump House in L’Anse in 60 to 90 feet of water. The occasional pike was caught at the head of the Bay in 8 to 20 feet of water. Those fishing out from the Falls River caught a mix of whitefish, coho and rainbow trout in 8 to 15 feet of water. Smelt were caught out from the Baraga Marina.

Marquette: Anglers reported fair catch rates for coho and steelhead near the “bubblers.” A large school of herring were also seen. Try early morning with jigs tipped with crawlers or cut bait. Those trolling crank baits have also caught coho. Ice could still be found along the shoreline from the Lower Harbor to the Chocolay River and beyond. Some caught the occasional splake or whitefish on a single egg. Water temperatures were averaging 33 degrees.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye season is closed and ice fishing season is just about done. There are many areas with open water which is creating hazards for anglers. Northeast of Butler Island is all open water as is Saunders Point and all the way out to the green buoy. Most of the pressure cracks have water coming up through them. Conditions are a bit deceiving because there was still good ice in the upper bay however many areas are now considered dangerous. Perch were still caught in 30 to 40 feet of water when jigging wigglers or minnows off the northern end of the Kipling Flats. Whitefish were taken off Gladstone when jigging minnows or spawn in 30 to 35 feet of water.

Au Train: A few coho and steelhead were caught. Ice has moved into the bay so anglers could be seen off the Rock River however extreme caution needs to be used. Fish were caught in the early morning on jigs with spawn bags or crawlers.

Au Train River: Water levels are rising. The mouth of the river has opened up and ice flows continue to deteriorate.

Munising: Catch rates were slow. Recent snowfall made travel on the ice easier. Anglers are fishing shallow waters for coho, splake and smelt. Coho action in Trout Bay was hit-or-miss but caution needs to be used in this area. Try jigging rapalas and Swedish pimples 10 to 20 feet down in waters 40 to 60 feet deep. Average size was 15 inches. Schools of smelt are being marked but catch rates were slow. Spearing for lake herring was slow. As for splake, a few fish were caught on a single egg, minnows or artificial lures.

Indian Lake: Still had ice and it was covered with 8 to 10 inches of snow in most areas. Anglers are reminded to use extreme caution especially near the mouth of rivers and creeks as well as natural springs. The pressure crack that runs north and south is still causing some issues. Anglers wanting to fish the northeast side of the lake should use Danielson’s Landing. Most anglers are targeting perch with tip-ups and minnows. The perch are showing signs of getting ready to spawn.

Manistique Lakes: Still have ice and anglers heading out. Walleye season is closed but some nice perch in the 12 to 14 inch range were caught.

Munuscong Bay: Perch were caught in shallow waters off Barbeau Point.

Cedarville and Hessel: Perch are being caught in Hessel Bay in 10 to 12 feet of water. Musky Bay is also providing some perch along the west end of the bay and off Rice Point when using minnows and wigglers on a red or chartreuse jig.