It is that time of year when fishing reports are harder to come by as most anglers turn their attention to deer hunting. Those heading out for the opening day of gun season are reminded to take along a fishing pole! There is no better time of year to enjoy the opportunities of “blast and cast”. Hunt during the day then target steelhead and whitefish in the evening. Already got your deer, remember late fall and early winter can offer some prime fishing on the inland lakes. You will find big perch, bluegill and crappie as well as walleye, bass and pike.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Boardman River: Is producing steelhead between the mouth and Sabin Dam.
Betsie River: Those braving the cold have caught a good number of steelhead.
Manistee: Those steelhead fishing off the piers or while surfcasting have done well depending on the day.
Manistee River: It’s all about steelhead fishing right now. Catch rates were very good on both the Big and the Little Manistee River.
Ludington: Pier anglers and those surfcasting are catching steelhead. Try floating spawn or casting small spoons and spinners.
Pere Marquette River: Has fresh fish and good catch rates for steelhead.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Thunder Bay River: The opening day of deer season marks what is usually the best week of whitefish action for both pier or river anglers and the whitefish are in. Target the lower river below the 9th Street Dam with ice jigs or other small tackle and wax worms. Anglers can hunt during the day and target whitefish in the evening.
Otsego Lake: Shore anglers caught a few walleye.
Oscoda: Pier anglers have caught the most steelhead. Walleye have also been caught late at night or early in the morning. Try spoons or body baits.
Au Sable River: Steelhead are moving in and out between the pier and Foote Dam. Fish are being caught all hours of the day or night. The fish are healthy and putting up a good fight. Spawn has been the most productive, but small spoons, body baits and plugs are also taking fish. The better fishing was off the pier but those moving up into the river should start to see more fish holding in the deeper holes.
Tawas: Starting with the deer opener on Friday, anglers should be able to find some good catches of whitefish. Pier anglers will want to try ice jigs with a wax worm. A good number of walleye anglers were reported.
Menominee River: With one gate open at the Hattie Street Dam, anglers were catching walleye and whitefish when using jigs with crawlers or minnows in the current. There are plenty of whitefish in the river. Those night fishing off the Cat Walk caught walleye on large rapalas and thundersticks fished in the current.
Little Bay De Noc: Water temperatures are averaging the mid to low 40’s. Most anglers are fishing north of the “Narrows”, the Kipling Flats or the Second and Third Reefs. The better walleye fishing was at night. Anglers are trolling stick baits in waters 8 to 23 feet deep. Some are still getting a few perch along the north end of Butler Island. Try still-fishing with minnows in 10 to 20 feet.
Manistique River: Does not have much in the way of salmon however steelhead are in the river.