Angler numbers are dropping around the state as many people are deer hunting or waiting for first ice, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday in its weekly fishing report. Late fall and early winter is still a good time to fish especially for steelhead, whitefish, pike and bass. Walleye are usually in the shallows while panfish can be found in the backwaters.

Alpena: Boat anglers fishing the reefs in Thunder Bay are taking some nice whitefish. Try small ice fishing jigs with small minnows or wax worms at dusk and dawn.

Thunder Bay River: Boat and shore anglers will find steelhead and a few brown trout up near the dam. Anglers should also be targeting whitefish in the area.

Au Sable River: Continues to produce steelhead with many fishing between the mouth and Foote Dam. Some are floating spawn or wax worms while others have done well fly fishing. Whitefish can now be found in the lower river and were hitting on wax worms. A few walleye were taken near the mouth by those casting rapalas.

Higgins Lake: A couple boats are still out trolling for lake trout. A nice fish was caught just off the bottom in 80 to 100 feet of water and the fish was full of smelt. If minnows are hard to find, try using anything that looks like smelt.

Tawas: Those fishing off the state dock have caught fair to good numbers of whitefish. Minnows and wax worms were the ticket. Boat anglers have also done well in the bay. Steelhead and walleye might also be found.

Au Gres: Those fishing off the piers and small boat anglers are taking a good number of whitefish when floating wax worms, minnows or a single egg under a bobber.

Charlevoix: Is still producing steelhead for those floating spawn bags just off the bottom near the Medusa Plant. Whitefish are also in the area and hitting on a single egg or wax worms.

Manistee River: Recent rain will help, however water levels were still low. The fish spook easily in clear shallow waters, so target the deeper holes. Try light line with flies, small spoons and small jigs with spawn or wax worms.

Pere Marquette River: Steelhead fishing should improve some after the rain. Some are fly fishing while others are drifting, mainly in the lower river.

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