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HomeOutdoorsWeekly fishing report: May 18, 2022

Weekly fishing report: May 18, 2022

walleye fishing
Photo credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Tawas: On the pier at the State Harbor, there were some smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and Atlantic salmon caught while casting body baits, spinners and spoons. Some bluegill and rock bass were caught off crawlers. At Gateway Park on the Tawas River, there were some largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pike, and drum caught while casting jigs, spinners and body baits. Some smaller perch were caught off minnows. There were some coho salmon, Chinook salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout and walleye caught earlier in the week out past Buoy #2, and out in the bay in 20 to 40 feet, off body baits and spoons. Bass anglers were doing very good on smallmouth bass in the bay along the shore out near the point and down near the Charity Islands while casting spinners and plastics.

Alpena: Lake trout fishing improved. The best fishing was around Thunder Bay Island in 30 to 70 feet of water. There were a couple of limits taken of lake trout. Anglers were running a variety of lines some high, some low and some in between. Spoons were on the higher lines while flashers and Spin-N-Glo type flies were on the deeper lines.  There were a few stray Atlantic salmon and steelhead caught as well. Anglers were fishing lines high off planer boards. Good spoon colors were green, orange, blue and silver and brighter colors. 

Thunder Bay River: A couple fresh steelhead were caught at the dam while drifting beads from bobbers and bottom bouncing. The suckers were decreasing but a few remained. Anglers were catching smallmouth bass and bullheads targeting steelhead and walleye. The walleye fishing was very slow. Anglers were casting body baits late in the evening with very little success. 

Au Gres: Walleye fishing was good with some limits caught near the big Charity Island, the green can (buoy #5.), Whitestone Point, out in front of the Au Gres River mouth, Pt Au Gres, and south out in front of the Pine River in and out near the catfish hole. Both body baits and crawler harness were getting fish in 10 to 30 feet of water.

Houghton Lake: Anglers reported catches of crappie. Walleye were caught in the evening along the shoreline.

Rogers City: Anglers were catching lake trout and a few limits were reported. The best water depths were in 30 to 60 feet of water. Anglers were using spoons off planer boards or using downriggers with dodgers and cowbells with Spin-N-Glos. The fish were scattered, and anglers had to do some searching. The lake trout were around structured areas like 40 Mi Point up the lake and Adams Point down the lake. 

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Portage Lake: Bass were reported on beds and pan fish were getting a little more active on the east end of the lake. Walleye anglers were reporting some activity at night off the south breakwall.

Onekama: Anglers in the barrel and in front of the golf course were picking up lake trout near the bottom.

Pere Marquette: Northern pike fishing was excellent in the lower river and in Pere Marquette Lake. Anglers fishing from small boats, canoes, and kayaks were picking up nice size northern pike while using spinners, spoons and body baits. Those using flies were catching fish on large streamers.

Ludington: Anglers trolling for brown trout reported slow fishing. A few Chinook were starting to show up south of the port in 60 to 80 feet of water. In the mix came a few lake trout, a couple cohos and a steelhead. Anglers reported that spoons worked best. Better numbers of salmon were coming from Pentwater and around Little Sable Point. Pier fishing was slow, but a few panfish were caught.

Cheboygan River: Only one gate was open at the dam, so the current and flow had changed. Anglers reported catches of mostly smallmouth bass, pike and some walleye. Many suckers remained in the river as well. A jig with a plastic trailer (or natural bait) was a good choice for catching many of the species currently in the river. Anglers should work the jig slowly near the bottom as the water was still relatively cold.

Frankfort: Water temperatures moved into the 50s and the alewives started moving into the harbor. With the increase in bait, anglers were reporting catches of lake trout, brown trout, Chinook salmon and northern pike.

Upper Peninsula

Little Bay de Noc: Anglers targeting yellow perch reported a noticeable slowdown in the bite, but most were able to catch fair numbers. Areas targeted were near the Days River, off Kipling and just north of the Gladstone Marina. Smallmouth bass fishing improved with the warmer weather. Anglers were targeting the river mouths. Shore anglers on the Ford River reported success.

Manistique: Steelhead anglers reported good fishing on the river. Most anglers were drifting beads but some were using spawn.

Keweenaw Bay/Huron Bay: Anglers were successful while trolling in near shore and mid depth waters. Some anglers were catching pike in near shore waters while casting with artificial baits. When anglers were trolling, the main catches were coho salmon and Chinook salmon. Anglers reported the occasional catch of rainbow trout and brown trout while trolling but the catch had been less than that of Chinook and coho. While trolling for salmon, anglers should try staying in waters less than 50 feet and use body baits or spoons.

Traverse Bays/ South Portage Canal Entry: Anglers were having luck catching lake trout and rainbow trout with the occasional brown trout and Chinook salmon. Most anglers were trolling in waters between 20 to 70 feet of water. Anglers who were not trolling had either been jigging for lake trout or casting for pike. Near shore fish were responding to both natural and artificial baits so be sure to give multiple presentations.

Munising: Boat anglers had some good days with some other days with very low catches. Anglers were mainly fishing coho, however a few anglers started to target lake trout.

Grand Marais: Pier anglers were consistently doing well with northwest winds with limits reported. Anglers were fishing with single eggs. Anglers reported good catches in the morning and there was a night bite with a few limits reported. With south winds, shore anglers reported slow fishing. Boat anglers reported limits of coho, but it was also hit or miss. Anglers were targeting lake trout with some nice fish up to 12 lbs.

Marquette: Fishing pressure on the Carp and Chocolay rivers decreased. The steelhead seemed to have either returned to the lake or made their way further upstream. Boat anglers were successful catching coho, Chinook, brown trout and lake trout. Trolling with orange spoons, stick baits or flickers seemed to have been the best options for success. For the best chance to have success fishing offshore, try fishing in the morning hours before 11:00 a.m. to noon. Coho, Chinook, and brown trout were caught near the break wall and offshore in between the Carp and Chocolay rivers in shallower water. Lake trout were caught near the upper harbor, mainly in deeper water.

Carp and Pine rivers: The walleye and pike opener was reportedly very slow but it is expected to improve in the coming weeks. Fishing appeared to be slightly better on the Pine River. Drifting natural bait was a safe bet for pike and especially walleye.

Au Train: The steelhead moved out of the mouth of the Rock River, but there were still opportunities to catch some steelhead as they trickled downstream back into the lake. Anglers should try drifting spawn sacs or beads for best chances. Some catches of coho out of the mouth of the Rock River were reported. Shore anglers had success using spawn and crawlers. Boat anglers had success catching coho, Chinook, brown trout and lake trout. Anglers fishing east of the Brownstone Boat Launch caught coho and Chinook salmon. Anglers fishing west from the Brownstone Boat Launch caught coho, Chinook, brown and lake trout. For coho, Chinook and brown trout, try casting or trolling using spoons or flickers nearshore for best success. For lake trout, try jigging cut baits in deeper water (~150+ feet).

Les Cheneaux/Detour: Anglers were catching splake on spawn off of the pier in Hessel, along with a few perch. They were also catching a few pike off the pier. There were many sightings of bass, along with some Atlantic salmon at the pier. The Detour area was slow with few anglers going out fishing.

Whitefish Bay: Anglers were catching salmon, trout, walleye and pike. Several coho salmon were caught with a mix of dock/pier fishing and trolling methods. Fishing closer to shore proved more successful at 10 to 15 feet depths. Both natural and artificial bait landed fish; orange was the hot color. Opening day of walleye and pike produced several good-sized fish near the mouth of the Tahquamenon River. Brook trout, musky, and different species of bass were caught and released in the Whitefish Bay area.

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Walleye fishing was slow out from Sterling State Park. Walleye moved to deep water, over 20 feet. Anglers going out to the Michigan, Ohio and Canada border intersection and following the Michigan-Ohio line south on the Michigan side were using bottom bouncers with crawler harnesses provided some decent success. White perch and white bass were out in droves. Using crawlers resulted in catching more of those opposed to artificial lures on average. Green was the hot color.

Detroit River: Many anglers on the river were bottom bouncing with crawlers but anglers jigging with artificial jigs, minnows, or a combination of both were having fair success. Anglers bottom bouncing near the Ambassador Bridge had the best luck in 25 to 30 feet using 3/4-ounce weights. Successful anglers downriver were trolling in 17 to 20 feet of water. Blue ice was still hot for anglers using artificial jigs. White bass were in thick downriver and were shallow in as little as 8 feet of water. Anglers fishing for them were limiting out. Ecorse was still pretty hot near the steel mill and Wyandotte near Fighting Island but still on the U.S. side. Anglers were releasing smallmouth.

Saginaw Bay: Anglers fishing on the east side of the bay out from Quanicassee reported slow activity. Walleye were caught in 8 to 10 feet of water and more fish were starting to be caught in 17 to 18 feet of water in the slot up towards Sunset and off Fish Point. Anglers had to cover a good amount of water to find active walleye. Walleye were caught on both body baits and crawler harnesses. At the Spark Plug, walleye were caught while tolling in 26 feet of water, at Sailboat Buoy A in 20 feet while trolling with crawlers and out in front of the State Park in 10 feet trolling with crawlers. Largemouth and smallmouth bass were caught in the marinas on the lower part of the Saginaw River. Bass anglers were casting all sorts of spinner baits and were doing very good averaging around 60 to 80 fish per boat.

Tittabawassee River: Overall fishing was slow on the Tittabawassee River. The warm weather increased the water temperature causing a majority of the walleye to head downstream to deeper cooler water. The rain over the past week left the river muddy and difficult to fish. Many anglers switched to targeting white bass as the run usually peaks right now, but fishing for them was slow too.

Harbor Beach: Salmon and trout were caught in different depths of water 35 to 45 feet of water and deeper water 90 to 100 feet of water while using spoons with leadcore, downriggers and some long lines.

Lexington: Anglers were reporting slow action while trolling for salmon and trout. The fish were scattered and seemed to be in all different depths. The better catches were in 75 to 90 feet of water. Best results occurred while using leadcore with spoons.

Port Sanilac: Anglers were trolling and setting lines in about 25 feet of water and working their way out to deeper water to the northeast with downriggers, leadcore with spoons. A few salmon and trout were caught from the breakwalls while casting artificial lures and while fishing with minnows.

Port Austin: Anglers had success fishing from the break wall in the early morning catching walleye, Atlantic salmon, cohos, steelhead and catch and release smallmouth bass. Anglers were casting body baits and fishing with minnows.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph: Boat anglers targeting salmon had good fishing. Anglers were catching most fish on spoons. Catches were mostly coho and steelhead. There were a few Chinook and lake trout mixed in as well. The fish were very scattered and spread out.  Boats were fishing from 40 feet of water to well beyond 120 feet of water. Pier anglers were catching a lot of channel catfish. Anglers were also catching an occasional coho.   Nightcrawlers were catching the catfish while spawn was catching the coho. Perch fishing was very slow. Anglers fishing the St. Joe River were doing well for walleye.   Drifting nightcrawlers seemed to be working best.

South Haven: Boat anglers targeting salmon had fair fishing. The fish were spread out from 30 feet of water to deeper depths. Most boats were trolling spoons. Lake trout were caught in 60 to 70 feet of water. Pier fishing remained slow but there was an occasional coho caught on spawn. Perch fishing was slow.

Muskegon: Boats were doing well catching salmon 35 to 90 feet down in 120 to 200 feet of water. Green and blue spoons were working well along with white flies. A few salmon were caught on meat rigs.

Grand Haven: The salmon action was good 30 to 120 feet down in 130 to 240 feet of water. Boat anglers reported the yellow perch action to be slow. Pier anglers were catching a few coho salmon on alewives or while casting orange spoons.

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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