Walleye and pike season for the Upper Peninsula Great Lakes, inland waters and the St. Mary's River opened on May 15. Trout fishing was still slow in the northern regions due to the cold nights and cold river temperatures. The action should pick up in the next week or two.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Carp Lake River: In Emmet County was producing a good number of suckers for those using worms and flies.
Harbor Springs: Had no boats and the dock at the launch was not in yet at the beginning of the week.
Petoskey: Had no boat anglers. A couple of steelhead were caught near the mouth of the river when using spawn and beads. The Bear River was still running a bit high. Rumor has it a few pike and smallmouth bass are already down past the mouth.
Angler effort has dropped off but a couple of steelhead were caught at the dam. A good number of suckers were still up near the dam.
Charlevoix: The dock is in at the township launch on Lake Michigan near the cement plant and the fish cleaning state at the Ferry Boat launch is open. Fishing effort was still low. A couple of boats looking for lake trout caught nothing. Not many were fishing the channel during the day; however, some were casting or trolling for walleye after dark.
Traverse City: Lake herring were caught in the East Bay between Acme and Deepwater Point in 45 to 50 feet. Those targeting them along the peninsula had no luck. Smallmouth bass were caught at the south end of the bay. Perch anglers had no luck. In the Elk River, steelhead were found at the dam by those using spawn or drifting beads. There are a few bass and plenty of suckers in the river. In the West Bay, those targeting perch in Northport, Suttons Bay, south of Elmwood or in Bowers Harbor could not find them. Lake herring were caught near Bryant Park. Walleye were observed under the docks in Northport. The Boardman River has a light number of steelhead and plenty of suckers.
Frankfort: Had good numbers of lake trout hitting on spoons and body baits in the harbor and along the shoreline. Brown trout and Chinook salmon were also reported now that water temperatures were in the low 40s and climbing.
Portage Lake: Water levels were a little high, but anglers caught a respectable number of perch near the channel. The bigger fish were hitting on minnows. Those targeting walleye reported some activity, but not many were caught.
Manistee: Surface water temperatures were holding near 40 degrees. Lake trout fishing was very good in 30 to 60 feet. A small number of Chinook salmon were also coming in. Pier fishing was slow; however, night anglers caught a decent number of walleye at night.
Manistee River: Steelhead are still being caught mainly on the gravel. Most are bottom bouncing with spawn or using beads and nymphs. Brown trout were caught.
Ludington: Surface water temperatures were near 40 degrees. Lake trout fishing is on fire right now, with fish caught in 30 to 60 feet. Many were coming in with limit catches in a matter of hours. The best fishing was south of the port. A small number of Chinook salmon were also caught. Pier fishing was slow.
The walleye and pike opener should be good as water temperatures move up to the low to mid 40s. Water levels in the rivers were still high but starting to recede and clear up. Steelhead fishing was still slow.
Copper Harbor: Fishing has been somewhat slow at both Copper and Eagle Harbor. At the piers, anglers are getting a few splake on natural and artificial baits but getting them to bite was not easy. Morning or evening seem to produce a few more fish.
Keweenaw Bay: Smelt are running sporadically and those there at the right time are getting some fish. Trolling was hit-or-miss because of the large number of smelt in shallow waters. Those using medium stick baits did catch a few coho, brown trout or splake. Those targeting lake trout had limited success. The key is to hit the feeding window and stay on top of them when you find them. Trolling near the South Entry in 6 to 40 feet produced a few coho and trout on stick baits. A couple Chinook were also caught. Huron Bay was producing coho and trout when trolling stick baits in shallow water. Steelhead and suckers are in the rivers.
Marquette: Boat anglers are still doing well between the Lower Harbor and the mouth of the Chocolay River. Most averaged three to five fish with a mixed bag of Chinook, coho, brown trout and splake in 15 to 40 feet. The best bite was early morning.
Chocolay River: Water levels in the upstream sections were quite high. Most anglers are launching boats from the small marina near Harvey and heading out to the mouth of the river and trolling.
Little Bay De Noc: Perch anglers reported fair catches in the “Narrows” in 30 to 38 feet and around the Third Reef in 32 feet with crawlers or wigglers. Good smallmouth bass catches were reported off the mouth of the Ford River with plastics around the rocks and along the shoreline. The walleye opener should be good and much the same as last year. The mouth of the Whitefish River could have some of the better trolling options with crawlers in about 18 feet. The Escanaba River was good last year and probably will be again this year. Bass anglers reported good numbers of walleye around the mouth of the Ford River so this area should also be good. Very few walleye were caught over the winter because of the unfishable ice conditions so the opener should be good. The rivers are high and fast.
Manistique: A few boat anglers were targeting steelhead and brown trout just outside the mouth of the river, but few were caught.
Manistique River: All the gates are now closed at the dam and could be closed for two weeks due to the installation of lamprey traps by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Water levels are very low and accessible below the dam. Steelhead anglers reported excellent catches along the wall when casting spawn, beads or yarn. The fish are visible to anglers now and that can make it a little harder to catch them. Walleye fishing here is usually better mid to late June.
Detour: A few lake trout and Atlantic salmon were caught between Fry Pan Island and the lighthouse with chrome and blue crank bait 10 to 15 feet down in 60 to 80 feet. All the docks are in and the boat ramps are in great shape.
Drummond Island: Anglers were still reporting good catches of yellow perch in Scott Bay with worms or shiners in 4 to 6 feet. When still-fishing does not work, try drifting or trolling.
Cedarville and Hessel: No yellow perch were caught in Cedarville Bay, Musky Bay or Government Bay. There was not much fishing effort for perch west of the Cedarville launch off Meridian Road. Most perch anglers were fishing the Hessel Marina. Those fishing in and around the finger docks caught fish ranging 7 to 9 inches. They were hitting on worms, shiners or wax worms. The occasional Atlantic salmon, steelhead or walleye were also caught. A good number of splake were also caught from the fishing pier with both natural and artificial spawn, frozen smelt or minnows a foot or two off the bottom in 8 feet. On May 17, the wooden connector bridge that goes to the marina finger docks will be put into place so anglers will have access.