The return of colder air and even some snow this week will no doubt slow catch rates once again. Areas in the Upper Peninsula still had ice and snow. Suckers are running in most warm-water rivers in the Lower Peninsula right now.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Cheboygan River: Those drifting spawn bags near the dam and walk bridge caught a couple steelhead up to 24 inches.
Sturgeon River: A couple anglers fishing spawn bags and worms at the park in town caught steelhead and brown trout. Anglers were also found off the Rondo Road Bridge and White Road.
Indian River: Those drifting spawn bags caught some steelhead behind McDonalds.
Rogers City: The ice is gone near the boat launch; however, the marina slips still had ice. The boat launch has a dock in. A few boats were starting to head out. Anglers troll body baits that resemble smelt close to shore and near the river mouths.
Presque Isle: The launch ramp still had thick ice and no docks were in. We need rain and warmer weather or a strong northwest wind to push the ice away from the launch.
Alpena: Boat anglers targeting salmon caught lake trout when trolling spoons and spin-glos around Thunder Bay Island and North Point in 50 to 80 feet. Walleye were slow but a few were found by those trolling or casting crank baits from the rocks early or late. A couple brown trout were also caught. The harbor launch was still iced in, but the city launch on the river is open.
Thunder Bay River: Those targeting steelhead at the dam had variable success, but the bite was good when conditions were right. A gate on the dam has been open and fresh fish have entered. Drifting and floating beads, flies, wax worms or spawn were all effective. A few brown trout were caught. A good number of Atlantic salmon were caught in the deeper, slower water on spoons.
Oscoda: Pier anglers caught steelhead and a couple Atlantic salmon. Anglers were still-fishing, drifting spawn or casting spoons and crank baits. A couple walleye were taken on crank baits. White and longnose suckers were beginning to enter the river and were caught by pier anglers using spawn. All the docks are in at the mouth.
Au Sable River: The steelhead action picked up with fresh fish caught throughout the river. Anglers did well when drifting or floating spawn, wax worms, beads and flies such as small streamers and nymphs. Atlantic salmon were caught in the lower half by those drifting spawn and beads.
Higgins Lake: Still had ice; however, it is turning dark which means it is no longer safe and ice fishing is done. Most were heading east or west for suckers.
Houghton Lake: Has large areas of open water and the ice is starting to break up. Ice fishing here is done, and most are now getting ready for open water fishing. The canals have opened up; however, there are no minnows yet and no crappie following them. It still needs to warm up.
Tawas: Those trolling body baits around the artificial reef caught a few lake trout and brown trout. Pier anglers were getting a few walleye at night, but nothing during the day.
Tawas River: Shore anglers fishing at the mouth caught a couple of steelhead and brown trout. Night anglers caught a few walleye.
Au Gres: Boat anglers caught a mix of lake trout, brown trout, Atlantic salmon and walleye. Shore anglers fishing at the end of the breakwall caught a few lake trout, pike and some suckers. Night anglers caught a couple walleye.
Au Gres River: Surf anglers down at Whitney Drain caught a couple steelhead and one odd brown trout when floating spawn bags off the mouth. Steelhead were caught further up in the river as well.
Rifle River: The sucker run is underway, and the hook and line anglers did well; however, the dip-netters said there were not enough fish in yet. A warm rain is needed to get the fish moving. Steelhead were also caught.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Petoskey: Little Traverse Bay is still iced in. There was no fishing in Harbor Springs.
The breakwall has been slow with only the occasional steelhead caught. Most are using spawn bags or wax worms from the D Pier at the mouth of the river.
Bear River: Those targeting steelhead reported very slow catch rates with only a few small fish taken. There was low angler activity at the dam.
Charlevoix: The ice comes in and blows out depending on wind direction. There is still some ice around the shoreline. On Lake Charlevoix, the ice is starting to break up at the ferry launch. No docks were in.
Traverse City: Most of the East Bay was frozen; however, there is no safe ice. One boat attempted to go out jigging near Elk Rapids, but they could not break through the thin ice. The shoreline is starting to open up. On the West Bay the northern section, including Northport, was open. With a west wind, Lee Point should be open soon. Both the Boardman and the Elk River remain slow for steelhead fishing.
Frankfort: A large sheet of ice around the pier was making access difficult. The Elberta Pier was ice free. Water temperatures were still cool at 36 degrees. Steelhead were hitting on spawn. Those trolling in shallow waters caught brown trout on rapalas.
Onekama: The north pier is accessible; however, the south pier is under construction.
Portage Lake: Was 70 percent ice covered and had large sheets of moving ice. Lots of ice on the east end so the city launch was not accessible. The DNR launch on the northwest end off M-22 is open but the docks were not in.
Manistee: Surface water temperature was about 38 degrees. There is one dock in; however, the fish cleaning station is still closed. There is still a lot of ice on the piers but enough has receded to get around. Pier anglers caught steelhead and brown trout with spawn. Those trolling spoons and body baits caught a couple steelhead, brown trout and small coho in 6 to 12 feet.
Manistee River: The steelhead bite slowed with the colder weather. Try slow drifting over the deeper holes in the lower river.
Ludington: The ramp has one dock in, but the fish cleaning station is still closed. Ice on the pier has limited access and anglers need to use caution. Brown trout were caught on spawn. Those trolling the shoreline with spoons and body baits caught brown trout in 6 to 12 feet.
Pere Marquette Lake: Had good yellow perch fishing. Most were using minnows or wax worms.