Fall can be an ideal time to target panfish as cooler temperatures arrive and aquatic vegetation starts to decline. As a result, these species can be found in much shallower water than usual and will be perfect for targeting.
When choosing your bait for fall panfish don’t be afraid to go with something a little more substantial, such as small plugs and spinners. And of course, the standard hook and worm never hurts!
Be sure to target panfish in their favorite fall locations as well, including by deep weedbeds or near drop-off points.
Traverse City: Chinook and coho were caught in the East Bay. Try 40 to 80 feet down with spoons or plugs. Lake trout were taken by those trolling or jigging in 90 to 100 feet. Good smallmouth action in 20 to 40 feet. A few chinook were caught in the West Bay. Those casting glow spoons near the mouth of the river at night caught fish as well.
Boardman River: Had a decent push of salmon last week. Those drifting skein under a bobber caught a few but overall the bite was slow.
Elk River: Salmon were caught on spawn near the power dam. Hot colors were pink, orange and chartreuse.
Glen Arbor: The number of boat anglers continues to decline but those still heading out have caught a couple chinook off Sleeping Bear Point. The fish have found their way up into the Crystal River. Fish were seen at the tubes, along the gravel and near the log jams.
Platte River: This year’s coho run arrived early and the number of fish is impressive. DNR staff estimate between 10,000 and 15,000 fish at the weir, and it sounds like there are many more in the lower river.
Frankfort: Salmon are in the bay but the bite was slow for those trolling around the breakwalls.
Betsie River: Anglers are doing well but the salmon are moving fast. A good number of males have been caught and the females with eggs were still tight.
Petoskey: Anglers are targeting salmon off the breakwall, the Clock Dock and near the mouth of the river. Try crank baits during the day and switch to glow spoons and crank baits at night. Some are using spawn under a bobber near the mouth. Boat anglers picked up a few chinook and lake trout between the breakwall and the water treatment plant.
Bear River: The amount of salmon in the river has varied over the last week. Anglers are using spawn, yarn, flies and rubber eggs. Orange and yellow were the hot colors.
Charlevoix: Boat anglers are fishing at the Can near the cement plant or trolling near the freighter slip. Try 50 to 70 feet down in 100 to 120 feet. Those casting along the breakwall are using spoons and crank baits. Boats trolling inside the breakwall caught a few fish as did those casting glow spoons at night. Pier anglers are catching smallmouth bass on crawlers and leeches. Salmon were taken on glow spoons at night. Near Medusa Creek, anglers are shore fishing or wading near the cement plant.
Onekama: Catch rates were slow even for those trolling out near the Barrel. They were using spoons, plugs and meat rigs in the top 40 to 80 feet.
Portage Lake: Bass anglers continue to do very well for both large and smallmouth. Panfishing slowed a bit with the cooler temperatures. Anglers were struggling to find keeper size bluegill and perch.
Manistee River: Had a big push of fish. Anglers are catching some large fish when casting flies, crank baits and thundersticks. There is still a good number of fish staging in Manistee Lake.
Cheboygan River: Salmon fishing is starting to pick up with the rain and cooler temperatures. Those trolling will want to try plugs, spoons or flatfish.
Au Sable River: Fish are moving up into the river system. Those fishing in the flies only section between Burtons Landing and the Wakeley Bridge have caught brook and brown trout.