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HomeOutdoorsWeekly fishing report: July 21, 2021

Weekly fishing report: July 21, 2021

Michigan DNR

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Walleye were being caught by the state line off of Fermi Power Plant. Anglers were finding lots of weeds down by the dumping grounds. Anglers running crawlers with success were still on green harnesses and catching fish off hot ‘n tots with purple and chartreuse still being productive colors. Bottom bouncers in 27 to 28 feet of water were also doing well for walleye. Yellow perch fishing was starting to pick up. Anglers were finding success out in front of Luna Pier and Toledo Beach. Shiner minnows were getting the best results for yellow perch. Anglers were finding the occasional large channel catfish when fishing out deep off of Bolles. Anglers were catching bluegill by Bolles as well. Freshwater drum are still prevalent, troll faster to avoid them if using crawlers. Largemouth and smallmouth bass were closer to shore.

Lake St. Clair: Walleye and perch action picked up significantly. Perch action was best between the Nine Mile launch and the Canadian border in 15 to 18 feet of water. Perch were also coming in from Anchor Bay and from the water near the mouth of the south channel. Anglers were catching perch on minnows and crawlers. Limit catches of walleye came from the water surrounding the dumping grounds in 18 feet of water.  Smaller catches of walleye were taken from the northeast portions of Anchor Bay and the channel mouths. Most walleye were taken on crawler harnesses, but some were taken on artificial lures. The smallmouth bass action was good near the dumping grounds in 17+ feet of water and near Gross Point.

The northeast portion of Anchor Bay was a hot spot for smallmouth bass action and musky action. Smallmouth bass fishing was good in Goose Bay in 17+ feet of water. Musky were caught while trolling and casting near Gull Island, Goose Bay and near Strawberry Island in 10 to 18 feet of water. Some anglers fished the river channels due to inclement weather and fishing was particularly good where the middle channel meets the north channel near the wreck. Anglers in this location caught smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, perch, pike and musky.

Harbor Beach: Some lake trout were caught out in 150 to 170 feet of water with dodgers and spin and glows running close to the bottom. Steelhead were caught in 150 feet of water on 10 color lead lines off the boards and off the dipsey rods back 150 feet with bright colored spoons. A few salmon were taken in 165 feet of water on spoons 60 feet down. Walleye were caught in 70 to 150 feet of water on small spoons and body baits. Bass were caught close to shore while casting small body baits and spoons.

Saginaw BayWalleye were caught two miles east of the Sparkplug in 24 feet of water on crawlers. Walleye were also caught in 7 feet of water off Finn Road on crawlers. Yellow perch were caught at the Black Hole in 24 feet of water. At Smith Park in Essexville shore anglers were catching channel catfish, freshwater drum and some smallmouth bass from shore with worms.

Fishing off Quanicassee was slow. The slot from Sunset to Sebewaing in 16 to 18 feet of water produced some walleye. Walleye were also being caught east of the shipping channel in 26 to 28 feet of water at the end of Sand Point and off Oak Point. Crawler harnesses, flicker shads and spoons all caught walleye. 

Grindstone: A couple of walleye were caught while trolling north in 30 to 40 feet of water. A couple of steelhead and an occasional lake trout and walleye were caught while trolling off Lighthouse Park in 60 to 120 feet of water. Lake trout were caught in deep water from 150 to 165 feet trolling with leadcore. A few walleye were caught in 20 to 30 feet trolling with crankbaits and bottom bouncers.

Port Austin: Walleye fishing was slow. Anglers reported marking a lot of fish on their electronics that would not bite. The walleye were scattered between 20 to 45 feet but some small schools were found in the same depths. There were some good catches but mostly just two to three fish per boat using both artificial lures and crawler harnesses.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph: Pier anglers were catching freshwater drum by using mostly nightcrawlers. Perch fishing was slow. There were some fish caught in 35 feet of water north of the piers. Salmon fishing was also slow.  

South Haven: The fish were very scattered, but the best water seemed to be around 125 feet. Anglers trolling meat rigs and flies were doing well. Perch fishing was slow. There were a few good catches in 30 feet of water. Pier anglers were catching freshwater drum on nightcrawlers.

Grand Haven: Salmon along with a few trout were being caught 55 to 120 feet down in 80 to 150 feet of water. Salmon were being caught on green and orange spoons along with green flies. A few salmon were caught on glow plugs in low light conditions. Pier anglers casting spoons or deep diving body baits were catching freshwater drum.

Muskegon: Boats were catching a mix of salmon and trout 60 to 120 down in 80 to 160 feet of water. Pier anglers were catching a few freshwater drum while casting spoons. Green meat rigs and flies were working well for salmon.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Rogers City: Lake trout, steelhead, Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon, pink salmon, coho and walleye were all being caught on any given trip. Structured areas were a good place to start. Lake trout moved out to deeper waters. Anglers targeting lake trout were fishing the 70 to 120 feet of water and near the bottom using flashers with spin and glows for best results. Anglers fishing the other salmon and trout were fishing higher in the water column above the thermocline and below it. Steelhead and Atlantic salmon were coming high in the top 30 feet of water. Run leadcores of 3 to 7 colors. Spoons were mostly catching the fish, but some anglers were using dodgers, flashers with flies, squids and cut bait.  Good colors were greens, blues, black and orange, glow stuff early and late. Chinook were caught at first light and last light. The best depths were anywhere from 70 to 125 feet of water. Run lines throughout the water column for best results. 

Rockport: Anglers were catching a mixed bag consisting of lake trout, steelhead, pink salmon, coho salmon, Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon and walleye. The best action was around the Nordameer wreck or closer to Stonport and Presque Isle. Anglers were having to fish deeper water as the nearshore waters warmed up. Best depths were between 80 to 150 feet of water. The lake trout were coming near the bottom with flashers and spin and glows. The rest of the fish were caught throughout the water column. Walleye anglers had some success. It was best to fish early or late in the day. The best depths were 20 to 50 feet of water. Deep diver crank baits were working the best. 

Alpena: Anglers were having success with mixed bag limits mostly consisting of lake trout. Rainbow trout and salmon were still being caught by mostly trolling spoons in 120 to 180 feet of water. Walleye harvest had increased in the bay dramatically as well with anglers catching their limits.

Houghton Lake: Walleye and bass were caught in 12-15 feet of water in East Bay. Anglers were mostly using crawler harnesses and leeches.

Thunder Bay River: Anglers were catching bass, pike, catfish and the occasional walleye. Common methods used were casting stick baits, body baits, and spinners or drifting leeches and night crawlers.

Oscoda: Anglers were catching lake trout, rainbow trout and few coho and pink salmon by mostly trolling spoons between water depths of 120 to 180 feet. Pier anglers were catching mostly bass, freshwater drum and catfish with the occasional walleye using drop shot rigs or floating worms.

Au Sable River: Bass were the most common species being caught while casting stick and body baits. Catfish were caught with drop shot rigs with cut bait or worms. Anglers were occasionally catching walleye and freshwater drum most commonly by trolling crawler harnesses and body baits.

Tawas: Boat anglers were catching walleye near the artificial reef in 15 to 20 feet of water with crawlers and body baits. Walleye and steelhead were caught in 30 to 70 feet of water out near buoy #2 and south towards the Charity Island, and everywhere in between. The fish were scattered, and anglers were spending a lot of time looking for active fish. Smallmouth bass anglers caught some closer to shore near the rock piles in 10 to 15 feet of water off jigs and body baits. Pier anglers caught small perch and rock bass off crawlers and minnows. Anglers at Gateway Park on the Tawas River caught smallmouth and largemouth bass, catfish, freshwater drum and bowfin off crawlers.

Au Gres: Boat anglers caught good numbers of walleye in 14 to 30+ feet of water off crawlers and body baits. The fish were scattered from the Charity Islands all the way south to the catfish hole and Saganing bar. Pier anglers on the Au Gres River caught walleye, pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass and catfish off crawlers, body baits and spinners.

Pine River: Dock and shore anglers on the Pine River caught small perch, bluegill, rock bass, bowfin and freshwater drum off crawlers, body baits and spinners.

Cheboygan River: Freshwater drum was the catch of the week for most anglers with some catching in the double digits. Channel catfish and smallmouth bass fishing was picking up with many exceeding possession lengths. Natural bait continues to be the dominant choice when fishing along the river.

Hammond Bay: A few anglers were catching undersized smallmouth bass and a few rock bass. Crawlers were working well for anglers.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Harbor Springs: Trout were caught mainly from 5 to 7 mile, but some were also caught around Harbor Point. Depths ranged from 100 to 160 feet of water. A couple smallmouth bass boats were still going out and having decent success catching smallmouth bass and rock bass.

Frankfort: Numbers of Chinook were starting to pick up. The early morning bite was more productive than afternoon and evenings. Trolling out front in 100 to 150 feet of water and working the top 75 feet with meat rigs, spoons and flies-n-flashers worked well. Lake trout were caught in the same area on spoons. Steelhead and brown trout were being reported so swapping out lures later in the day may help.

Onekama: Anglers heading straight out to 140 to 200 feet of water and trolling in the top 80 feet were reporting a few Chinook in the early morning. Anglers were fishing into the barrel later in the morning to try their luck on lake trout. Bait pods were working well.

Arcadia: Very nice catches of Chinook, coho, steelhead and lake trout were being reported in front of the golf course. The early morning bite was landing more Chinook with meat rigs catching the bigger fish.

Charlevoix: Lake trout were caught between the cement plant and Fisherman’s Island, from shallow to offshore. Some right on bottom and some suspended 30 to 40 feet up over 100 to 150 feet of water. Chinook were reported at varying depths from 60 feet over 350 feet of water and from 50 to 100 feet down. More smallmouth bass were showing up in the channel in Charlevoix, but most of them were sublegal. There were some nice size bass being caught as well. There were also a few freshwater drum and rock bass caught in the channel. Most anglers were fishing bottom with real or artificial worms. 

Petoskey: A couple lake trout were caught near Little Traverse Bay over 130 to 140 feet of water suspended off a bottom a bit. There were also some nice size smallmouth bass caught by a boat angler casting. Past the mouth of Bear River, a couple smallmouth bass and a small pike off the beach inside the breakwall and off of D Pier by the marina were caught.

Manistee: A few Chinook were caught along the shelf in 120 to 200 feet of water, fishing 40 to 75 feet down, and south towards Big Sable Point. Spoons and flasher fly combos worked well. Lake trout were caught in 100 feet of water while fishing near bottom and in the mix when fishing for salmon. A few steelhead were caught as well, usually from the top 40 feet of water. The north pier remained slow.

Ludington: A few Chinook and coho were caught straight out from the harbor, south toward the Project, and at Big Sable Point. Spoons and flies worked well. The salmon were anywhere from 50 to 100+ feet of water straight out, 60 to 110 feet of water south and at 80 to 160 feet of water off the point. A couple lake trout and steelhead were also in the mix. In the harbor, smaller salmon were caught along with a few freshwater drum while trolling. A few pike were also caught in the harbor from the piers. It appears the early morning salmon bite has been best. A couple Chinook were caught in evening, but it was hit or miss.

Upper Peninsula

Ontonagon: When anglers did find fish, they primarily caught lake trout with an occasional coho mixed in. With the cooler water temperatures, anglers had to fish all over to find active fish. The lake trout coming in were loaded up with smelt with the average fish being in the two to four pound range. Walleye fishing on the Ontonagon River has been very hit or miss as anglers were finding a good number of sub legal fish and fighting to find the legals. Trolling and jigging were productive but make sure to bring extra tackle as the river is a snaggy beast!

Keweenaw Bay: In Huron Bay and Keweenaw Bay, anglers had luck both jigging and trolling for lake trout. Most of the fishing was done in deeper water. A few anglers were also able to catch brown trout and coho in Keweenaw Bay. In Big Traverse Bay, anglers reported success with both trolling and jigging as well.  Most of the fish caught were in water below 150 feet in this area and those surrounding. Near South Portage Entry, anglers reported a good catch of yellow perch, northern pike, smallmouth bass and rock bass.

Marquette: Lake trout catches were spotty. Some anglers found fish in 140 to 180 feet of water. A couple coho and a brown trout were reported being caught.

Munising: Pleasure boat traffic and jet skis have been extremely high. Counts have been over 50 trailers with very few actual boat anglers. However, the boats that were out targeted lake trout with decent catches of five or more fish per party of two and up to some limits. There was a heavy mayfly hatch. Big Reef was excellent with anglers either jigging or trolling and limiting out. Some big fish have been reported in the 15 to 20 pound range. Anglers fishing the reef were fishing the top of the reef and edges.

Grand Marais: Anglers are mainly targeting lake trout and coho and are doing great with most reporting limits of fish. Anglers are fishing mainly towards Five Mile, AuSable, near the shipping channels, towards Caribou Island and Big Reef.  Nice catches of fish averaging around 8 to 12 pounds have been coming off of Big Reef.

Little Bay de Noc: Walleye anglers that launched out of north shore managed to catch a few fish while trolling. Similar experience for those that launched out of the Whitefish River, although most were undersized. Smallmouth bass anglers were having some success. Some anglers fishing off the Gladstone fishing pier were catching perch and pike.

Big Bay de Noc: Smallmouth bass anglers were doing well. Reports of fair to good numbers being caught, along with some respectable sized fish in the mix. Perch anglers had variable success, with some able to catch their limit. Salmon fishing in Fairport seemed slow in comparison to previous weeks, although anglers were still making some contact with fish. Most are targeting depths between 100 to 150 feet of water.

St. Ignace/Les Cheneaux: The Walleye fishing near the mouth of the Pine River was still good. Anglers were catching a lot of smaller walleye mixed in with a few keepers. Anglers in the Les Cheneaux area were reporting that the smallmouth bass fishing was amazing and better than it has been in years. Anglers were having high catch rates and were throwing more legals back than non-legals. Anglers were catching smallmouth bass in Musky Bay and surrounding areas. The perch and pike were biting at the pier in Hessel mostly in the early morning hours. When fishing for walleye near the Pine River, use leaches and just drift.

This report is intended to give you an idea of what is going on around the state. Updates come from Fisheries staff and conservation officers. With more than 11,000 inland lakes, the Great Lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams, not all locations can be listed. However, it is safe to say if a species is being caught in some waters in the area, they are likely being caught in all waters in that section of the state that have that species.

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