With increasing temperatures across Michigan, anglers, boaters and lakefront property owners may discover dead fish or other aquatic animals. While such sights can be startling, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone that it is common — summer heat conditions can cause fish and other creatures such as turtles, frogs, toads and crayfish to die.
The public is welcome to report fish kills using the Eyes in the Field website; such reports are valuable to the DNR’s ability to manage the state’s aquatic resources. If you suspect a fish kill is due to nonnatural causes, call the nearest DNR office or Michigan’s Pollution Emergency Alert System at 800-292-4706.
All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.
All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Presque Isle: Trout and salmon were found all around the Presque area. While some anglers were taking lake trout and Atlantic salmon in 15 to 25 feet, others were finding them over 60 to120 feet. Cooler water had fish scattered from top to bottom. Spreading the lines out throughout the water column was productive. Some nice Chinook were taken on flasher/fly combos as well as spoons in black/green, purples and greens. Higher sets of orange/silvers, gold/green, and watermelon had taken the majority of steelhead and Atlantic salmon. A few walleye were reported to be hanging around Thompson Harbor and some off the shallow structures. Presque Harbor was holding a good number of smallmouth bass along with some pike, rock bass and the occasional Atlantic salmon.
Tawas: Anglers reported good numbers of walleye while trolling in 50 to 60 feet of water. Some were noticed in Tawas Bay. Anglers at the mouth of the Tawas River were catching some perch and smallmouth bass.
Rockport: Anglers were having success trolling the waters around Middle Island. Trout, Atlantic salmon, and Chinook salmon were being taken all throughout the water column in 50 to 70 feet of water. UV orange, green, and purple/gold spoons had the best results. Stoneport was giving up nice steelhead along with other silver fish. The 2- 5 color lead cores were taking majority of fish. More pink salmon were showing up as of late.
Alpena: The walleye bite dropped in Thunder Bay as the water temperatures dropped. While a few fish remained close, anglers were struggling to find any success. Best results were around Scarecrow Island in 16 to 30 feet of water. Slow trolling crawlers were taking fish during daylight hours while mid to deep diving crankbaits were getting action after dark. Little to no action was found near Whitefish Bay and the north shore. Very few boats were targeting trout and salmon but those that did had good success around Thunder Bay Island. Trout were taken near bottom in 70 to 90 feet of water on dodgers and spin glos. A few Chinook salmon were also taken with Atlantic salmon in the same waters fishing higher in the water column. Spoons in gold/green, orange and watermelon were working well.
Thunder Bay River: Fishing pressure was low on the river. Anglers were taking a few walleye while jigging swimbaits, crawlers and leaches between the Second and Third Street bridges. Catfish, carp, freshwater drum, and smallmouth bass were caught from the pier head all the way to the 9th Street Dam.
Oscoda/Au Sable: Walleye were caught while trolling in 50 to 60 feet of water and anglers were starting to see a rise in numbers of walleye off the pier. Anglers were also targeting more catfish at the mouth, but only a couple were caught.
Cheboygan: In the Cheboygan River, walleye fishing was slow below the dam. Anglers were lucky to land one to two fish. Smallmouth fishing was poor this past week. Out in Lake Huron, lake trout fishing was limited by poor weather. Boat anglers who got out toward Bois Blanc and the reefs didn’t have much success. Some anglers reported that surface temperatures had decreased.
Rogers City: The water was beginning to warm up a little so fish were moving out. With the unstable weather, anglers should start looking for fish around structured points, especially for lake trout. Anglers were fishing up the lake near 40 Mile Point or down the lake near Adams Point. Anglers were also fishing straight out of the harbor on the humps or near Seagull Point. The best depths were anywhere from 50 to 80 feet. Anglers should fish the entire water column for best results. Flashers or attractors with spin glos for the lake trout as well as spoons worked well. Good colors were oranges with silvers, greens, and yellows on the spoons. The Atlantic salmon were high in the water column. Anglers should try fishing the top 15 to 25 feet. Fish liked the regular sized and slim sized spoons. Bright colors oranges, orange and silver, orange and green were working well. The Chinook salmon, coho and steelhead were coming in on lines ran throughout the water column targeting everything.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Manistee: Salmon fishing was very slow this past week. Very few Chinook salmon were caught. A few brown trout were caught on the south pier while using alewife. The perch action was hit or miss on the north pier. Anglers had a hard time looking for summer run steelhead.
Ludington: Salmon fishing was very slow with minimal numbers coming in. A few Chinook salmon were caught to the south in 75 to 100 feet of water while fishing 25 to 50 feet down. A few steelhead were caught near Big Sable Point, all from the top 30 feet. The perch action on the pier was hit or miss.
East Grand Traverse Bay: The tip of East Bay off Mission Point continued to give up limit catches of lake trout with occasional cisco mixed in when trolling. Green Spin Doctors with black dots with blue or green Whirly Gigs with fly worked best. Casting gold blade baits in 20 to 40 feet of water off the northwest tip of Mission Point was excellent for cisco.
West Grand Traverse Bay: Anglers were targeting smallmouth bass and releasing what they caught. The area was starting to get very busy with pleasure boaters as we’re coming into the summer season. The Northport boat launch is now open.
Leland: Anglers targeting lake trout in shallow waters were successful. Many anglers caught limits, most being good size fish. The Chinook salmon were slowly trickling in, typically caught on spoons and spinners. Anglers reported that they were not marking much for bait at all. The water temperature did cool down some in the past week, which seemed to of slowed the fishing down slightly.
Charlevoix: Anglers targeting cisco on the piers had good overall success throughout the weekend and into the beginning of this week. Several limits of cisco, as well as many fish over 20 inches were reported. Anglers were having most success casting shiny spoons while using a combination of jigging, casting, and jerking their baits near the bottom of the channel. Those fishing the Charlevoix Trout Tournament had very good success landing lake trout both north and south of Charlevoix while trolling between 50 and 200 feet deep. Boat anglers also reported a fair number of Chinook salmon, steelhead and the occasional Atlantic salmon.
Petoskey/Harbor Springs: Anglers targeting bass in Little Traverse Bay reported steady numbers of smallmouth bass, primarily fishing on the eastern end using soft plastics on beds. Anglers targeting lake trout found most of their success northwest of Harbor Springs in 65 to 120 feet. The occasional cisco was landed.
Little Bay de Noc: Trolling or jigging were effective for walleye, with anglers reporting slow to fair fishing. Gladstone, Escanaba and Ford rivers were areas where anglers had some success this week. Smallmouth bass fishing was good. Anglers reported that there were no remaining fish on beds. Baits that imitate gobies were productive.
Big Bay de Noc: Smallmouth anglers reported good fishing, while perch anglers reported slow fishing. Salmon anglers fishing Fairport were contacting Chinook salmon and steelhead.
Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers were out in force this last week as the weather allowed for a lot of access to the bays. Anglers were able to catch lake trout, coho, Chinook salmon and brown trout during the last week. Most fish were caught while trolling during the early hours of the day however some fish were biting during all fishing hours. Anglers had luck with artificial baits and mostly in deeper water.
Big Traverse Bay/South Portage Canal: Anglers were able to find a few salmon during the last week, however the lake trout dominated the catch. Anglers were trolling and jigging. Fish were caught both near the canal and north from the Big Traverse Bay. Fish were caught all throughout the water column and were caught throughout most of the day.
Pine River: Anglers targeting walleye had moderate success. Some anglers from shore and boats caught limits, though the weather was colder, and the bite had slowed down. A few keeper perch were also caught. Due to the naturally muddy waters of the Pine River, live natural bait was the most effective. Crawlers and leeches were commonly used.
Les Cheneaux/Detour: Anglers in the Hessel area were picking up very few perch at the marina. They were being very picky. There was a bass tournament last weekend with a winning three bag fish of 12.82 pounds. The largest smallmouth was 5.7 pounds and heaviest largemouth was 4.7 pounds. There were 46 bass brought in by 22 boats. In the Detour area, anglers were catching Atlantic salmon and a few Chinook salmon as well while trolling around the lighthouse.
Munising Bay: Boat anglers continued to do well with catches of coho salmon and the occasional Chinook salmon and lake trout while targeting salmon. Very few splake, brown trout, or rainbow trout were reported. Anglers were doing well during the morning hours but also in the evenings. Pier fishing was slow with few fish reported.
Ontonagon River: Although fishing over the past week was hit-or-miss due to weather, anglers were able to find respectable numbers of walleye in the river. Trolling was the primary method of fishing used by most, while jigging also yielded good results for those who prefer it. Early mornings seemed to be the most productive fishing hours, but fish were caught at all times of the day. Anglers jigging for whitefish at the mouth of the river reported a slower bite, with occasional fish still being caught.
Ontonagon/Silver City/Union Bay: Some rain and wind had slightly limited fishing on the lake over this past week. Despite the weather, fishing was great with anglers finding good numbers of fish on a regular basis. Trolling artificial lures in shallow waters resulted in common catches consisting of lake trout, coho salmon, Chinook salmon, steelhead and brown trout. Successful trips occurred at all times throughout the day.
Black River Harbor: Some varying weather conditions in the area contributed to low fishing efforts at the harbor over the past week. Anglers who made their way out on the lake had some success finding lake trout and coho salmon. Long trips on the water were the key to success as it seemed the bite was very sporadic over the course of a day. Trolling artificial lures in relatively shallow waters was the method for those who had successful trips.
Grand Marais: Pier anglers reported good catches of coho while fishing whitefish on single eggs. Whitefish fishing was fair with some spurts for evening bites but in general slow. Boat anglers continued to report fair to good catches of coho and lake trout while trolling outside the harbor to first break. Lake trout fishing was reported to be good near AuSable and the shipping channels.
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Lake Erie: Fishing slowed down slightly with the hatch of the mayflies beginning, with anglers coming in with a few fish short of their limits. Anglers going to where the Ohio, Canada, and Michigan boarders meet were seeing the most success. Anglers that were using pink and purple crawler harnesses with bottom bouncers were seeing the most success. Those using spoons were also doing well. Freshwater drum were out in droves. They seemed to hit less often on artificial rigs.
Saginaw Bay: Walleye were caught in front of the Au Gres River while trolling with crawlers in 32 feet of water. Walleye ranging from 20-22-inches were caught. Walleye were also caught three to four miles east of the Sparkplug while trolling with crankbaits and crawlers. Some walleye were also caught in the shallows from the mouth of the Kawkawlin River to out in front of the Bay City State Park. Smallmouth bass were caught in the lower part of the Saginaw River and channel catfish were caught on worms and shrimp in the hot ponds off Jones Road. The slot was producing good to very good catches of walleye from the south end and up past Sebewaing in 14 to 17 feet of water. Some anglers were starting to fish east of the shipping channel and out over the bar. The deeper water areas produced slightly bigger fish but less overall numbers. Walleye were also being caught around the narrows and off the tip of Sand Point. Crawler harnesses were the most consistent while body baits and spoons were catching walleye as well.
Harbor Beach: Rock bass were caught from the break wall while jigging with nightcrawlers.
Port Austin: A few smallmouth bass were caught from the break wall and along the Bird Creek while casting small artificial lures.
Port Sanilac: The occasional Atlantic salmon was caught from the break wall while casting artificial lures.
Southwest Lower Peninsula
Muskegon: The salmon action continued to be slow. A few Chinook salmon were caught 30 to 100 feet down in 110 to 200 feet of water. A mix of green spoons and flies were producing salmon catches.
Grand Haven: Boat anglers were finding the salmon action to be hit or miss. Salmon were found 30 to 100 down in 100 to 190 feet of water. Spoons worked well in colors of orange and green. Pier anglers were catching a few steelhead on shrimp. Anglers casting spoons for freshwater drum did well. The best action occurred in low light conditions.
South Haven: Pier anglers were catching steelhead. Fishing was a little on the slow side, but fish were being caught on shrimp fished under a bobber. Perch fishing was slow. Boat anglers targeting salmon were catching a few Chinook salmon. The fish seem to be spread out, but 75 to 100 feet of water seemed to be decent. The fishing was slowing but fish were still being caught. Spoons and meat rigs seemed to be performing the best.
St Joseph: Pier anglers were catching decent numbers of steelhead. Almost all fish were caught on shrimp or alewives under a bobber. Anglers were also catching freshwater drum and a few catfish. Perch fishing was slow. The lake was fairly rough, so few boat anglers were fishing on the lake. Boat anglers that were fishing close to the piers were catching steelhead and an occasional coho in 30 to 50 feet of water.
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.