Very few anglers have been out because of the weather. Until spring is here to stay, those heading out, especially the boat anglers, are reminded that water temperatures are very cold, and hypothermia will set in fast. Be safe and wear a life jacket.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Cheboygan River: Anglers caught steelhead at the dam when drifting or bottom-bouncing spawn bags. Atlantic salmon were caught when drifting spawn bags at the dam or casting spoons at the DNR Office. Accidental walleye were caught. The water levels are high and current is fast at the dam. All the gates have been open this week.
Rogers City: Cold, windy and wet weather has kept anglers off the lake.
Presque Isle: The launch ramp is ice free; however, no docks are in yet.
Alpena: Lake trout have been caught by anglers trolling spoons and spin-glo’s.
Thunder Bay River: Steelhead were caught when floating or drifting spawn, beads and flies. Atlantic salmon were taken by those casting spoons.
Oscoda: Lake trout were taken by anglers trolling spoons and spin-glo’s in 50 feet or deeper. A few Atlantic salmon were caught closer to shore. Pier anglers caught steelhead when drifting or still-fishing with spawn.
Au Sable River: Is producing steelhead and a few Atlantic salmon when drifting or floating spawn, wax worms, flies and beads. Fly anglers were swinging streamers.
A few suckers were caught. Water temperatures were near 40 degrees.
Au Gres River: Surf anglers down at Whitney Drain caught steelhead as well as those fishing further upstream.
Rifle River: Steelheads are being caught in both the lower river and upstream. Sucker fishing continues as well.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Traverse City: Attention Anglers: As of April 12, the daily possession limit for lake trout in Lake Trout Management Unit MM-4, which includes both the entire East Bay and the West Bay, has been changed from two fish to one fish. This regulation will remain in effect until the season closes Sept. 30. Windy conditions made it difficult for boat anglers that were just starting to head out. Steelhead fishing was slow in both the Elk River and the Boardman River.
Manistee River: A warm rain should help the steelhead bite. Fish have been caught at Tippy Dam.
Hamlin Lake: Ludington State Park has started raising water levels on the lake. It will take a few weeks to get the levels back up but rain this week should help speed up the process. Only a couple boats had been out, and those anglers caught bass. Most anglers don’t start fishing here until the water levels are up.
Marquette: More boats were starting to head out now that the ice is gone. Most were trolling between the breakwall in the Lower Harbor to the Chocolay River. Coho, brown trout and a few splake were starting to show up and were caught off the breakwall. Water temperatures were about 34 degrees in the lake and near 38 degrees in the rivers. Catch rates have been slow in the Dead River and Carp River. Water levels have been fluctuating daily with most area rivers on the high side. Expect levels to rise even more as the temperature warms up.
Chocolay River: Had slow fishing. Anglers are trying but few fish have been caught.
Those lucky enough to catch fish were getting some fresh steelhead. The boat launch at the marina is ice-free; however, no docks are in yet.
Little Bay De Noc: Most of the Bay was still iced over; however, the ice is dangerous and no one should be going out on it. Several have started fishing the piers at the Escanaba North Shore launch and hoping for steelhead or brown trout, but no catches were reported. The transition to open-water fishing could take some time with the cold temperatures at night. Boats could be launched at the Ford River and the North Shore launches but no docks are in yet and floating ice could be a hazard. Steelhead anglers have started fishing the Day’s River and the Ford River but not much to report yet. All area rivers are open and flowing fast.
Manistique River: Steelhead anglers reported good numbers of fish before the snowstorm. Water levels are high and fast, making it much harder to wade or see fish. Catch rates dropped but there are still a lot of fish to be caught. Most were casting spawn bags near downed trees or gravel areas. The boat launch is open and the docks are in for those early birds. The cleaning and disposal station are not open yet.
Detour: Snow and ice are still occupying the boat launches in Detour Village. Gusty winds caused a lot of the snow to melt in Detour and the eastern Upper Peninsula; however, no docks were in yet.
Drummond Island: Ice is still holding at the mouth of the Potagannissing River and Maxton Bay. We need warmer temperatures with an east wind to blow the ice from Maxton Bay before boats can get out. There are still a few yellow perch being caught on the west side of Peck Island in 18 to 20 feet with wigglers, wax worms and shiners. Anglers are reminded to check ice conditions before traveling out on any ice. Wind direction and warmer night time temperatures can change ice conditions dramatically.
Cedarville and Hessel: There has been no fishing effort in Cedarville Bay. The launch on Meridian Road is full of ice, and there is no dock in. Musky Bay has open water and the shoreline ice is pulling away. Snows Channel has ice breaking up this week and conditions are becoming dangerous.
Hessel had reports of a few yellow perch caught at the far east end of Hessel Bay, about 1 mile from the Hessel Marina, with minnows, wigglers and wax worms in 8 to 15 feet. Early morning was the most productive. Splake fishing was slow. Warning: Straight south of the Hessel Fishing Pier at Haven Island and Cube Point, the ice is pulling away from shore. Open water is appearing throughout the west side of Marquette Island and Wilderness Bay.