Marquette, Mich.– Fewer anglers were out because of the cold temperatures and strong winds. Shore anglers will likely encounter ice in the cuts and canals with temperatures dropping down below freezing at night. Warmer temperatures next week should help improve the bite. Anglers are reminded that walleye fishing on the Saginaw River closed on March 15 and will not re-open until Saturday, April 28.
Keweenaw Bay: Fishing has been slow. Those targeting lake trout had limited success. A few coho were caught in 10 to 15 feet. A couple nice brown trout were caught in 50 to 60 feet. Smelt fishing was very good both day and night on the Baraga side of the bay.
Little Bay De Noc: Ice remained in most areas but that will change fast in the coming weeks. A few were still taking vehicles out however it is not recommended especially now that the shoreline ice will break-up fast. With walleye season closed, anglers are targeting perch or whitefish. The best perch catches were near Kipling between the Second and Third Reefs in 24 to 30 feet when jigging wigglers or minnows right on the bottom. For whitefish, the best area was off Sand Point when using minnows or spawn in and around 80 feet.
Marquette: Ice was still present at the Upper Harbor bubblers. Those fishing the open water did well for coho but were dragging boats across the ice to get to the open water. This is very dangerous and is not recommended. Fishing on the Carp and Chocolay Rivers was very slow as the water levels are low and clear and the steelhead have not shown up yet. Only a couple brown trout were caught.
Au Train: Fishing pressure was very light as few have been out. Those fishing the Au Train River caught a couple coho but no steelhead.
Munising: The bay still had ice. Coho salmon catches have increased the last few days with a few limits reported. Smelt are still schooling in large numbers with catches varying up to two gallons. Trout Bay had some shove ice but was still fishable. Splake and whitefish action was very slow. Night anglers targeting burbot did well with most fish averaging 22 to 24 inches.
Cedarville and Hessel: Those fishing around the Les Cheneaux Islands reported good pike and splake fishing with splake up to eight pounds taken on minnows in 18 feet and pike 24 to 36 inches taken in 10 to 15 feet. Perch fishing was a bit harder as most fish were only five inches. Anglers were using minnows, spikes, and wigglers. The area still had ice however always be cautious.
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Lake Erie: Boat anglers continue to take walleye including some limit catches in 15 to 20 feet in Brest Bay. Most were using husky jerks.
Detroit River: Some anglers were getting two to four walleye on jigs and minnows in the Trenton Channel. Boat anglers will still need to watch for occasional ice coming down the river.
Lake St. Clair: Fishing activity has been very limited due to cold temperatures and northeast winds. Most of the canals and marinas still have some lingering ice. Good reports came in from shore and a few boat anglers catching panfish and perch in the canals. As for boat launches, Harley Ensign is open with four docks in. Selfridge is open but no docks were in and anglers were still not able to launch at the Clinton River Cutoff. Fairhaven was still iced in.
St. Clair River: Also had limited fishing activity because of the cold and windy conditions. The launch in the North Channel had no docks in yet. At Marine City, the large tree was removed and crews were working on removing the root system. No docks were in yet as they cannot be put in until the buoys are in due to navigation hazards when exiting the launch. The buoys cannot go in until the large ice slabs clear the river.
Saginaw Bay: Perch fishing is still not underway in the cuts and rivers around the bay as it is still early and the water in the bay is still cold with lots of floating ice. Perch were caught inside the basin at Eagle Bay Marina at the end of Sagatoo Road but anglers should bring a spud. Floating ice continues to hamper those trolling. Boat anglers were getting perch and walleye around Spoils Island and around the range light just lake-ward of the river mouth. A few six to eight inch perch were caught in the channel at Finn Road but most of the rivers and cuts may be iced over in the early mornings. The Thomas Cut and Allen Cut had a lot of fishing pressure but most of the fish caught were small. Fishing in the Sebewaing River and marina was slow with just a few perch and the odd crappie caught. The perch at Mud Creek were small. At Caseville, perch fishing was slow in the marinas and those casting hardware or still-fishing with minnows caught a few lake trout or the odd brown trout, steelhead, whitefish or burbot. No reports yet on the sucker runs but they should start soon.
Saginaw River: Anglers are reminded that the river is considered inland water and walleye season along the entire river closed on March 15 and does not re-open until Saturday, April 28. Boat anglers fishing for perch in the lower river did well with eight to 10 inch fish taken on perch rigs and minnows. Shore anglers near the cement plant in Essexville caught a few. Be sure to check the Exceptions to General Regulations by County in the Fishing Guide for seasonal gear restrictions for the river and its tributaries.
Southwest Lower Peninsula
St. Joseph River: Water levels have dropped and the steelhead fishing should only get better as the weather improves and water temperatures begin to warm. Boat and shore anglers are getting some fish.
Kalamazoo River: Anglers caught steelhead and walleye up near the Allegan Dam. A fair number of suckers have also been caught.
Grand Haven: Pier anglers were getting the occasional steelhead. Boat anglers caught some perch south of the piers in 50 to 55 feet.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Water levels are back to normal and anglers are still getting some steelhead. Some perch were caught in Felix Bayou near Spring Lake.
Rogue River: Water levels are low. Steelhead anglers caught fish one day and none the next. Grand River at Lansing: Did not have much to report. The odd steelhead was caught but the fish are scattered and catch rates were not consistent. A couple fish were spotted at the North Lansing Dam.
Muskegon: Pier anglers caught some steelhead and brown trout but the action was not fast and furious by any means. Muskegon Lake: Perch have been caught along the west side in 42 to 45 feet just south of the channel. Anglers were using minnows or wigglers. Not many but a few anglers managed to take limit catches.
Muskegon River: Steelhead numbers are slowly picking up but will remain on the slow side until it warms up. Some perch were caught above the Davis Bridge.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Cheboygan River: Had a couple anglers fishing at the dam but the bite was poor and no fish were seen.
Mullet Lake: Still had some people on the ice but the pressure cracks are opening up. Extreme caution needs to be used.
Black Lake: Had no reports for the week. There is still ice but the thickness is unknown. Most access sites are usable but caution needs to be used. Anglers should also be cautious of open water around the lower Black River.
Higgins Lake: Between Point Detroit and Flag Point which is the area that becomes very narrow and divides the north and south basin; there are currents that chew the ice up quickly. Anglers should avoid the area. Watch the ice out from Big Creek because of the current. Lake trout anglers were still out. Smelt were caught on the north end or in front of Cottage Grove during the day. Some decent size perch were caught in 20 to 30 feet on the south end of the Sunken Island.
Houghton Lake: No one was out fishing. There is open water in many areas now with more opening up. Any remaining ice will most likely not be safe. It is time to get ready for open water fishing.
Au Sable River: Is running low and clear. Those using streamers in the lower river should find a small number of steelhead in the late morning or afternoons when it warms up.
Tawas: Pier anglers did catch some Atlantic salmon and lake trout with large minnows or when casting various lures. Boats trolling and vertical jigging down near Alabaster were getting both lake trout and walleye in 10 to 20 feet.
Tawas River: Shore anglers fishing downstream of US-23 did catch a couple steelhead and a few suckers.
Au Gres: Walleye were staging just off the river mouth and those trolling were doing well including some that were taking limit catches.
Au Gres River: Those fishing down at the Singing Bridge (Whitney Drain) caught some steelhead and one Atlantic salmon in the lower river and in the surf.
Pine River: Perch fishing in the lower river was slow and the fish were small.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Overall: Fishing conditions were not ideal. The rivers are low, clear and cold which is making it tough for anglers to target steelhead. While the inland lakes still had some ice, the thickness is variable and those planning to head out will need to use extreme caution.
Lake Charlevoix: The ice was holding. Perch anglers were doing okay along the South Arm in the morning hours.
Boardman River: Was producing some steelhead for those using spawn, a jig and wax worm or small spinners.
Manistee: When they can get out, boat anglers are finding some coho and brown trout when trolling in shallow waters along the beach. Pier anglers were picking up a couple steelhead and brown trout as well.
Big Manistee River: Anglers are trying and catching a few trout but fishing conditions have not been angler friendly. Those fishing the lower river reported decent fishing. Catch rates should improve in the next few weeks. Ludington: A few hardy anglers trolling or pier fishing caught steelhead and brown trout. Those trolling were in 10 to 20 feet along the beach.
Pere Marquette River: Water temperatures in the 30’s have slowed fishing. A warm up next week should help to get the bite going again. Anglers were using spawn, wax worms, and beads.
**Fishing Tip: Fishing the Detroit River Many anglers have their go-to spots for springtime fishing, but what about checking out the Detroit River?
According to many, in late March and early April the lower Detroit River is a great location to catch walleye in decent quantities. As April moves on fish move further upriver, but the opportunities are still bountiful.
As many are aware, several of Michigan’s Great Lakes waters have become world famous for walleye. The Lake Erie-Detroit River-Lake St. Clair-St. Clair River system is outstanding, drawing anglers from across the country in spring and early summer – will you be joining them?
For more information for fishing for walleye or any other species, visit our fishing page online.
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