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HomeOutdoorsWeekly fishing report: April 7

Weekly fishing report: April 7

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Detroit RiverLimit catches of walleye are becoming more the norm this week throughout the river as temperatures reach into the low 40’s. Anglers are vertical jigging plastics with or without minnows.    

Lake St. ClairWater temperatures are in the mid 40’s currently. Smallmouth bass anglers have had success fishing deeper water with either slow presentations or blade baits. The extreme southern end of the lake is still holding walleye as they transition to and from the Detroit River. Yellow perch anglers are still doing well in the warmer shallow waters of marinas and river mouths.

St. Clair RiverWater clarity has improved this week, but temperatures are still cold.  Catches have not been consistent, but anglers are catching walleye, coho salmon and the occasional steelhead. Both vertical jigging and trolling have produced fish.

Saginaw Bay: In the lower Saginaw Bay, anglers fishing for walleye are jigging at the mouth of the Saginaw River in 16 feet around the range light and also trolling around Spoils Island with flicker shads. Some walleye are being caught. Yellow perch are being caught on perch rigs, with average size 8-10 inches. Some yellow perch are also being caught upriver at the mouth of the Bay Agg cut.

Very slow fishing in the Sebewaing River and Marina. Most anglers are looking for perch and not finding any. Bayport had very little fishing activity. In Mud Creek, a few perch were caught, but anglers are catching lots of small perch to keep one or two. At Port Sanilac, an occasional coho was caught trolling, but the water is dirty from the winds and fishing has been slow. The pier in Port Sanilac has been slow as well.

A few perch have been caught in the Caseville area, with many of those being small. An occasional keeper-sized perch can be caught. Perch fishing has been getting slower over the last week for keeper-sized fish. 

A reminder that if you are heading out fishing, don’t forget to keep safe by following COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines. Go fishing only if you’re feeling well. Practice proper social distancing (at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live in your household) and keep a face covering handy for when social distancing cannot be maintained. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer.

Anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a 2021 fishing license as of April 1. The 2021 Michigan Fishing Guide is available online.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph River: Continues to produce good numbers of steelhead.

Kalamazoo River: Continues to produce good numbers of steelhead.

Muskegon: Pier action is slow for browns and steelhead. Anglers trolling the shoreline are catching a few lake trout, brown trout and coho salmon. Chartreuse/silver and orange/gold body bait have been producing.

Grand Haven: The Harbor Island boat launch is open. Pier anglers have caught a few brown trout and round whitefish on spawn. Boat anglers have found the yellow perch action to be hit or miss. Minnows and spikes have been working well.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Alpena: Anglers caught a few lake trout when trolling spoons and body baits in 10-30 feet of water off the north shore and out from the river mouth and harbor. A few smallmouth bass were caught by anglers casting body baits. 

Au Sable River: A few steelhead and suckers, as well as the occasional Atlantic salmon, were caught this week and have been taken by anglers floating and drifting beads, spawn, flies, small chunks of skein and casting spoons. The river was low and clear and could use rain to bring some more fish in. 

Rogers City: A few boats took advantage of the calm and light wind over the weekend.  A couple of lake trout were taken in 40 feet of water and shallower. Anglers were running body baits and spoons, mostly off boards. All anglers fished south toward Swan Bay. Right now, any river water will help, as it’s usually a degree or two warmer. 

Thunder Bay River: A few steelhead were caught by anglers floating and drifting spawn bags and beads. 

Oscoda: Fishing was slow on the big lake. Anglers casting body baits from the pier caught the occasional walleye, but fish were somewhat scarce. The occasional lake trout, steelhead and Atlantic salmon have been caught from the pier by anglers casting body baits and spoons. 

Hammond Bay: The boat launch dock is still out of the water.

Cheboygan: The boat launch docks are still out of the water, and the fish-cleaning station is closed.

Ocqueoc River: Light angling activity up to the lamprey weir. Anglers report seeing few fish, and only rumors of catches reported. River anglers are hoping rain will bring in some fish.

Cheboygan River: A few anglers out targeting steelhead, pike and suckers. Some anglers reported hearing of fish caught a couple weeks ago, but things have been slow recently. The dam has only one chute open, so current has been light. River anglers are hoping rain will bring in some fish.

Houghton Lake: On the canals, anglers are getting some small crappie.

Tawas: It has been slow fishing, but there were a few Atlantic salmon and pike caught off the state dock. Anglers are fishing with minnows and casting body baits. At Gateway Park on the Tawas River, it was really slow and only a few suckers were caught with crawlers.

Boats trolling out in the bay and south toward the mouth of the East Branch of the Au Gres River reported slow fishing. There were a few brown trout, steelhead and coho salmon caught with body bait in close to the shoreline in 5-10 feet.

There were some steelhead and brown trout caught in the surf at Singing Bridge access. Still fishing spawn in the surf and drifting spawn and casting lures in the river.

Au Gres: It was slow with just a few steelhead, brown trout and lake trout caught off the break wall at the mouth of the Au Gres River. Anglers are casting spoons and body baits.

Boats trolling out near Pt. Lookout and Whitestone Point caught a few walleye in 10-20 feet off body baits.

Few reports of some good smelt dipping at the end of Foster Road. There were a few boats going out of the Pine River launch who reported a few walleye in 17-22 feet using body baits. Some perch were caught inside Eagle Bay Marina while using minnows.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Stream steelhead fishing remains tough, with all northwest Lower Peninsula rivers low and clear right now. The forecasted rain should bring the peak of the season. When the winds are down, some Lake Michigan pier anglers and trollers are catching brown trout off the ports of Ludington and Manistee.

Petoskey: The docks are not in yet at the public launch in Petoskey. Water levels are noticeably lower near shore in Petoskey this year. The bobberhole water looks 2 feet down. Anglers are targeting Steelhead on the break wall and in the bobberhole (mouth of Bear River) mainly. Success has varied, with the weekend being a bit slower. But there have been steelhead caught in both locations over the last week, mainly on spawn bags and beads. There are still a lot of planter brown trout hanging around at the bobberhole.

The Bear River level has been low. There were some nice steelhead caught late last week at the dam and downstream, but numbers fell over the weekend. There were a mix of males and females, with many males ripe and many females still in skein. Most anglers are using spawn bags, beads and flies.

Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay: The seagulls were actively “hunting,” flying low, looking down and searching the waters. There was a north wind, which was putting a good chop on the water surface, so it’s likely that the gulls are having a hard time seeing anything, but there was a good congregation of gulls at the Falls River and other area creeks. 

Cedarville: One boat angler was drifting crawler harnesses off Pleasant Point, targeting perch with no success. They were also casting spoons for a chance of pike with no success.

Hessel: One angler fishing off the pier with spoons and minnows for splake with no success.

Carp River: There were a few people fishing off the pier and also at McDonalds Rapids, but the catch success is unknown this week.


Fishing Tip: Let’s catch some crappie! Crappie are among the most difficult pan fish to pattern because of their tendency to suspend in the water column, except in the spring. During this time, crappie move to shallow water – sometimes in water only a couple feet deep – to spawn, so there isn’t a lot of water column to suspend in. Crappies like both minnows and jigs. The easiest way to fish for them is to suspend the bait under a bobber, halfway between the surface and the bottom, around any sort of cover – weeds, brush, dock pilings … whatever. Anglers who prefer a more active approach can cast with jigs and swim them back or fly fish with minnow-imitating streamers. Just think shallow in spring. For more information on crappie fishing, visit the crappie page on the DNR’s website.

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