Fall fishing can be exceptional but the weather can change quickly especially on the Great Lakes. Rain and windy conditions this week have slowed fishing and limited angler participation.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Harbor Springs: Boat anglers trolling in 130 to 140 feet were marking some fish however could not get them to bite. A cisco was caught in 80 feet.
Petoskey: Had very few boats except for a couple trolling for salmon near the break wall. A few fish were taken near the river mouth or when casting spoons off the beach. Pier anglers fishing before sunrise and after sunset also caught a few fish when casting spoons and stick baits off the clock dock.
Bear River: The last push of fish produced chinook, coho and the odd lake trout up near the dam.
Charlevoix: Boat effort has been low. A couple out trolling for salmon caught cisco instead as it seems the salmon are scattered. Catch rates were spotty at best for those casting or floating spawn in the freighter slip. Wading and casting for salmon near the freighter slip continues to be tough because of high water levels. There are plenty of chinook near the Medusa Cement Plant but getting them to bite was tough. Smallmouth bass fishing in the channel continues but the effort is slowing. A few keepers were taken on worms and minnows. Those casting spoons in the channel after dark have caught a couple salmon.
Frankfort: A few coho were caught in Platte Bay when trolling or jigging. Chinook numbers have dropped as most have made their way into the river.
Portage Lake: Anglers are starting to see a few more perch in some areas but many were still on the small side.
Manistee: Fishing was slow for those trolling the harbor and outside the piers. Those fishing off the pier had little luck. Those not targeting salmon did catch smallmouth bass and panfish.
Manistee River: Is producing a fair number of chinook salmon all the way up to Tippy Dam. Though some fish have turned dark, anglers should find fresh fish with the rain and cooler temperatures.
Ludington: Had slow catch rates. Those fishing at Ludington State Park had little luck. Pier anglers did manage to catch a couple coho. Pere Marquette Lake was also slow.
Pere Marquette River: Anglers are catching salmon as more fish move into the river.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Cheboygan River: Anglers caught chinook and pink salmon when drifting skein and spawn bags or casting spoons, spinners, and crankbaits. Most of the pink salmon were up to 3 pounds and the chinook were 5-17 pounds.
Rogers City: The season is quickly winding down and this will be the last report as most anglers have pulled their boats out. Lake trout season closes on September 30th. Chinook salmon were caught in and around Swan Bay when trolling J-plugs and bombers off planer boards. The fish are starting to turn dark. Those trolling in 40 to 80 feet caught steelhead and the occasional young salmon. Baitfish were found in 40 to 60 feet. Regular size spoons or smaller were taking fish.
Presque Isle: Had very good fishing for steelhead and the odd salmon in that 40 to 80 feet between the two lighthouses and south towards Stoneport. Anglers were using smaller spoons.
Alpena: A couple steelhead and walleye were caught in 30 to 120 feet inside the bay and off Thunder Bay Island and the Nordmeer Wreck. Most were using body baits or smaller walleye spoons. The fish were gorging on smelt.
Thunder Bay River: Chinook, coho, and a few Atlantic salmon and brown trout were caught when casting or trolling spoons and plugs or floating spawn and skein. A few walleye, smallmouth bass, and rock bass were also caught when casting crankbaits.
Yellow perch were caught on minnows and crawlers in the harbor, but anglers had to spend a lot of time and do a lot of sorting to get a few keepers.
Oscoda: Those trolling did manage to catch a couple lake trout, steelhead, and walleye but the fish were scattered. Most were trolling spoons in 40 to 120 feet. Pier anglers caught the occasional walleye, Chinook, or steelhead when casting spoons and body baits. Smallmouth bass fishing picked up and a few nice fish were taken on minnows.
Au Sable River: Anglers will find a few Chinook and steelhead. The occasional Atlantic salmon was caught but the numbers are low, and the bite was slow. Those using minnows or casting crankbaits caught smallmouth bass and pike at the mouth. Channel cats and freshwater drum were caught on crawlers.
Houghton Lake: Had fewer anglers but those heading out did catch crappie and bluegills 2 to 3 feet down along the weed beds. Though the bite was soft, crappie were hitting minnows and bluegills were hitting small leeches, leaf worms and wax worms. A few bigger pike were caught. No word on walleye but this is the time of year when the fish come in closer to shore to feed and can be caught early or late.
Tawas: Those trolling caught a couple walleye near the weed beds around Buoys 4 & 6 with crawlers in 15 to 20 feet. Fish were also found out near the point and south towards Alabaster in 20 to 50 feet with spoons and body baits.
Tawas River: Chinook were seen at Gateway Park but only a few were caught when casting various lures. A couple walleye were caught when casting plastic jigs.
Au Gres: Still had slow walleye fishing and not many anglers were out. There were some good catches of perch even a few limit catches taken straight out from the river in 18 to 22 feet and near the shipping channel in 40 to 45 feet. Fish were found near the Rifle Bar, Pinconning Bar, Saganing Bar and in front of Eagle Bay Marina with minnows in 10 to 20 feet. Largemouth bass were caught in the weed beds just off the river when casting spinners and body baits.
Au Gres River: Chinook salmon were reported in the East Branch at the Singing Bridge access. Several fish were caught upstream when drifting spawn.