Walleye, pike and muskellunge season for the Upper Peninsula, Great Lakes, St. Mary’s River and the inland lakes opened on May 15. The catch-and-immediate release bass season for all Upper Peninsula waters including the Great Lakes also opened on May 15.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: Walleye were scattered and moving into deeper water. Surface temperatures were in the high 50’s and low 60’s. Catch rates near Turtle Island were beginning to slow. Walleye were caught in Brest Bay and off Stoney Point. Try crawler harnesses with bottom bouncers in 20 feet or deeper. Purple beads were also good. Bass and catfish were hitting near Bolles Harbor and the Hot Ponds. A few walleye were caught but it is still a bit early for large numbers of fish.
Detroit River: Continues to be excellent for walleye and white bass are beginning to show up too, especially in the lower river. Walleye anglers are catching and releasing quite a few smallmouth bass. Shore anglers are taking white bass in Wyandotte and Ecorse.
Portage Chain-of-Lakes: Near Pinckney are producing bluegill and crappie. Fish the canals and shallow flats with minnows and jigs. Bass were on the beds and those targeting them have done well along the weed beds in shallow water and around structure. A few pike were taken along the drop-offs on Zukey and Portage.
Lake St. Clair: Water temperatures in Anchor Bay were between 51 and 57 degrees. Catch rates for smallmouth bass in the DNR trap nets have gone way up as the bass have started moving into shallow waters to spawn (see photo). Those fishing south along the Mile Roads caught bass in the warmer water.
St. Clair River: Is producing some walleye near Algonac, Marine City and Port Huron. Jigging artificial minnows has been productive. Some are starting to use bottom bouncers and crawlers.
Lexington: Trollers are taking a mixed bag of trout and salmon. Shore fishing was limited to small perch and bullhead. A couple big pike were also caught.
Port Sanilac: Those trolling caught Chinook, coho, lake trout and brown trout in eight to 40 feet. Spoons and body baits worked best.
Harbor Beach: Fish are scattered because of changes in wind direction. For lake trout, boat anglers will want to head north, south or straight out with dodgers or cowbells with spin glows, peanuts, and spoons just off the bottom or spoons 65 to 70 feet down. For salmon, brown trout and steelhead try spoons off downriggers, 2 or 3 colored lines and offshore boards. Use bright colors when working the mud lines. A few walleye were taken by those casting small body baits from the wall either early or late. Water levels are good.
Grindstone City: Had good catch and release bass fishing.
Saginaw Bay: Has good numbers of walleye being taken in six to 16 feet off Linwood and Pinconning by those trolling harnesses. Very good walleye action was cited off Jones Road in four to six feet or Quanicassee in six to seven feet. Further up the Slot, walleye were hitting crawler harnesses with spinners in 10 to 15 feet off Sunset Bay Marina. Good colors were white, purple, green, chartreuse or brass. A good number of channel catfish have been caught. Shore anglers at Quanicassee and Sebewaing caught freshwater drum or catfish. At Caseville, shore fishing was slow with a few rock bass and the odd walleye. Catch and release bass fishing has been very good.
Tittabawassee River: Walleye fishing is slowing with the average catch per trip between one and three fish. Anglers are casting or trolling blue and silver body baits around Mapleton. Look for white bass in the lower river near Center Road.
Saginaw River: Walleye are hitting on jigs with crawlers or minnows between Essexville and the mouth. This is a place to try if the winds are too strong to get out on the bay.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Kalamazoo River: Is producing steelhead and smallmouth bass at the Allegan Dam. Suckers and catfish are also being caught.
Grand Haven: Boat anglers have their choice between salmon or perch. For salmon, most are trolling in waters out to 60 feet deep however 35 to 45 feet seems to produce the most fish when using 3, 5 and 7 color lead core. Set downriggers 20 to 35 feet with orange and gold spoons. Perch anglers are still taking fish in the 60 foot hole just south of the south pier. Try minnows, spikes or wigglers. Pier fishing was slow for those casting spoons.
Grand River in Grand Rapids: Steelhead are still being caught at the Sixth Street Dam. Walleye were caught on crawlers and body baits. A fair to good number of flathead and channel catfish have been caught on live suckers, cut bait or chicken liver. A few pike were caught on large sucker minnows, spinners or body baits.
Rogue River: Is producing some steelhead at the Rockford Dam.
Grand River at Lansing: Still has some steelhead. Those fishing live bait have caught catfish and pike. A few walleye were caught at Moore’s Park.
Maple River: Continues to produce catfish and suckers.
Muskegon: Boat anglers are trolling for walleye and brown trout in 30 to 70 feet around the piers but the fish were scattered. Try fishing the stained water where temperatures are a bit warmer. Orange and gold spoons or spoons with a gold blade were the ticket. Pier anglers are casting or jigging for walleye but catch rates were slow. The fish cleaning station at the state park is closed because of a water main break. There is no reopen date at this time.
Muskegon Lake: The Cottage Grove launch has one ramp that is open for those looking to launch a boat.
Muskegon River: Has elevated water levels but anglers will still find a fair to good number of steelhead.
Whitehall: Boat anglers trolling for brown trout had little success. A few small brown trout were caught off the pier. Those fishing the channel did manage to catch some walleye when casting plugs. Muddy water has slowed catch rates.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Rogers City: The few boats starting to head out have caught a couple trout or salmon. The water is still pretty cold. Most are heading south towards Swan Bay, Adams Point and Calcite Harbor but staying inside 30 feet of water. Look for the mud line because that is where the warmer water is. For Atlantic salmon and brown trout, use planer boards with spoons and body baits. For lake trout, try dodgers and spin glows near the bottom out deep or high-lining in shallow waters.
Alpena: Fishing in the bay has picked up with anglers taking a mixed bag of walleye, Chinook, lake trout or the occasional Atlantic salmon. Most are trolling spoons or body baits in less than 30 feet in the early morning or evening. Use bright colors as the water is stained. Hot spots were near the mouth of the Thunder Bay River or in front of the marina. The fish cleaning station is open but the restrooms were not.
Thunder Bay River: Fishing has slowed but anglers may still find a stray walleye or steelhead. Anglers at the dam are catching lots of suckers and the occasional steelhead. It seems the run is just about done.
Harrisville: Fishing is good inside and outside the harbor for walleye and steelhead. Morning and evening were best but don’t rule out mid-day. Spoons and body baits were best but fly’s and spawn are worth trying.
Oscoda: Pier anglers are catching good numbers of walleye and the occasional Atlantic salmon. Crawlers or body baits worked best.
Au Sable River: Steelhead are on the beds and most of the fish seem to be fresh. High Banks, the Boy Scout Camp and below the dam are holding the most fish. Try spawn, fly’s or wax worms.
Tawas: Pier anglers are taking Atlantic, Chinook, brown trout and pike outside the wall during the day while night anglers are taking walleye and channel catfish. Minnows and body baits work best. Boat anglers caught good numbers of walleye in 15 to 24 feet between Tawas Point and Alabaster. Chinook salmon were caught in 30 feet. Walleye have been caught off the mouth of the Tawas River when casting body baits at night.
Au Gres: Had excellent walleye fishing between Point Lookout and Point Au Gres. Limit catches were taken in 15 to 25 feet.
Au Gres River: Night anglers are catching channel cats. A few walleye were caught at night near the mouth of Whitney Drain.