IRON MOUNTAIN - Walleye and pike season opens today on all Wisconsin and boundary waters.
Because of the warm spring, fishing conditions are more like mid to late May across the state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Fisheries biologists say fish are in a later stage of the spawning cycle than normal and anglers may need to change tactics to match the warmer conditions. Northern pike, walleye, musky and perch spawning seasons went very quickly and all species have mostly completed spawning.
As the water warms into the mid to upper-50s, panfish will move to shallows in greater numbers. In many of the smaller lakes, some nice crappie, perch and bluegill have already been observed in the dark-bottomed bays that get a lot of sun.
Locally anglers are reporting continued action with crappie.
"Crappie are biting," said Pattie Teske at Florence Sport and Bait said. "Some guys were having luck in the badwaters. Walleye has slowed down, kind of that in-between stage."
Don Ciochetto at the Sport Shop in Iron River reports some fishermen having limits of trout.
"Trout has been very good," he said. "There are some nice hatches too, so fly fishermen having been getting out there. Those who are panfishing say crappie are hitting."
John Grier's Whispering Pines Outpost mentioned a lot of people heading out fishing. They also wished to remind hunters that there are plenty of turkey licenses remaining and application for bear permits go on sale beginning today.
Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle in Iron Mountain says he has been selling mainly crawlers and leafworms.
"A few people were limiting out on trout," he said. "Walleye has slowed down a bit, but some guys were getting nice crappie, 12-inches and better, on the Menominee River."
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment reported that the western U.P. is exceptionally dry.
Black crappie are showing up in the shallows of inland lakes while other panfish are waiting in slightly deeper water for stable, warm weather. Many rivers and creeks have sucker runs going on. Some of the cooler streams, including those in the Keweenaw Peninsula, contain decent numbers of steelhead.
Condition reports from across the U.P. follow:
Black River Harbor - Windy conditions have stopped many boats but those brave enough to venture out were still picking up a few coho.
Ontonagon - As more lake trout start showing up, boat anglers are catching fish in 12 to 40 feet of water. Early morning before the wind picks up is best. Catch rates were spotty for chinook and brown trout.
Marquette - Those fishing the upper harbor caught coho near the breakwall and the bubblers. In the lower harbor, the better catch rates were between the breakwall and the mouth of the Chocolay River. A few lake trout were caught near the white rocks, the Garlic River and out towards the "Sand Hole". There were reports of limit catches out near Stannard Rock. Water temperatures remain near 42 degrees.
Little Bay De Noc - Perch were caught off the access site at Masonville Road when jigging wigglers in 20 feet of water. South of the Narrows, anglers were still-fishing with worms in 20 to 30 feet of water.
Days River - The better steelhead fishing was north of US-2.
Big Bay De Noc - Still had fair to good catches of perch in Garden Bay although the fish were getting smaller. Most were still-fishing with worms in 8 to 10 feet of water near the commercial landing.
Big Fishdam River - Has a good number of white suckers.
Au Train - Still had good coho fishing for those trolling rapalas or spoons. The hot spot was between the Red Rock area and the mouth of the Au Train River. Lake trout were also caught however the fish were somewhat scattered. Anglers did catch some nice brown trout and the occasional chinook salmon.
Munising - Boat anglers reported fair to good catches of coho near Pictured Rocks and in Trout Bay when trolling body baits. Pier and shore anglers caught a few splake but the overall catch rates were slow.
Grand Marais - Coho fishing was fair but steelhead fishing has tapered off. Pier anglers were catching more whitefish along with the occasional menominee. A single egg on a hook works best.
Carp River - Anglers are targeting steelhead but the run was slow. Most were still making a day of it by catching white suckers. No word on smelt.