IRON MOUNTAIN - The pleasant weather isn't the only positive for this holiday weekend, as area anglers are reporting good action all over.
"Fish are biting good," said Patti Teske at Florence Sport and Bait said. "Guys are catching walleye. Bass are biting well, and the bluegills are getting in the shallows to make their beds."
While bass season opens today in Michigan, many fishermen are going after bluegill.
"I'm starting to get good reports on bluegills," said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost. "Walleye is getting better, and there are a few guys getting crappie."
Grier recommends wax or small red worms for bluegill.
"Folks are catching gills and crappie right now," said Tom Bean at Crystal Bait in Crystal Falls. "There have been a few nice walleye caught this week. Sucker minnows and leeches seem to be working."
Bob Kennard at Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing and Don Ciochetto at the Sport Shop in Iron River also report bluegills on beds.
"Guys have really been cleaning up," Ciochetto said.
Kennard suggested leaf worms for bluegill. He also said action was good for walleye and northern on southern Marquette/northern Dickinson County lakes.
Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle in Iron Mountain said lots of panfish have been caught along with some walleye.
"They're catching pike on the river too," he added. "We're selling a lot of crappie minnows, fatheads and crawlers. Leafworms too."
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment indicated that success from the early catch and release bass season should mean a strong opener. The agency reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:
Ontonagon - Lake trout fishing has been exceptional. Most fish were caught 10 to 20 feet off the bottom in 80 to 100 feet of water. A few smaller chinook were caught in deeper water. Walleye fishing has started to pick up.
Keweenaw Bay - The bite has been good with those trolling picking up a mix of coho, chinook and lake trout. Most were fishing 35 to 65 feet down in waters 40 to 70 feet deep from the head of the bay to Sand Point and up around Old Mission. Whitefish were caught east of Baraga in 80 to 105 feet of water. In Traverse Bay, the bite was hit-or-miss but those jigging in 150 to 185 feet of water did catch fish from Gay Point to Hermits Cove.
Marquette - Lake trout were caught near the white rocks and the Sand Hole in 150 to 180 feet of water. Stannard Rock had excellent catch rates but the fish were running smaller this week, averaging 5 to 10 pounds.
Little Bay De Noc - Catch rates were good for the walleye opener however most fish were just legal or too small to keep. Most were fishing deeper waters from the head of the bay and north to Saunders Point. Day anglers used harnesses with crawlers in 20 to 30 feet of water and night anglers used crank baits. The bigger fish were caught as far south as Round Island when trolling crank baits in 4 to 14 feet of water. The night fishery has started with boats going out an hour or two before dark and trolling crank baits in 20 to 35 feet of water out from the Second Reef or straight out of Kipling. A few perch were caught off the mouth of the Day's River. The bass opener this weekend should be good as smallmouth are staging for the spawn.
Big Bay De Noc - Walleye anglers were struggling. The areas that usually produce well every year were not. The better catches were coming from out near the Boot, the Sand Pit or just off the Nahma Golf Course when trolling crank baits in 15 to 25 feet of water. The walleye appear to be moving out earlier this year so look for Ansell's Point to produce earlier. The bass opener should be very good with lots of fish reported in South River Bay, Ogontz Bay and around Porcupine Point.
Indian Lake - Anglers were mainly trolling crawler harnesses for walleye along the north end of the lake. Catches were slow but some did well when fishing late afternoon with a harness and leech. Some nice brown trout and lake herring were caught on the south end near the mouth of the Indian River when trolling tiger or perch colored rapalas. Pike were caught but most were small. A few nice perch were caught at the north end of the lake when still-fishing with a worm.
Au Train - Surface water temperatures were in the low 40's. Lake trout fishing was fair with some limits of 2 to 3 pound fish reported. A few fish over 10 pounds were caught in the shipping lanes. Anglers are trolling in 150 to 200 feet of water however the fish appear to be scattered.
Munising - Trout and salmon fishing slowed as water temperatures moved up into the low to mid 50's. Lake trout fishing was slow but most anglers were focusing on chinook. Pier and shore anglers caught the occasional splake when casting lures or still-fishing with natural baits.
Grand Marais - Catch rates for whitefish were slow with the onset of warm weather. Those fishing at night caught smaller fish on a single egg.
Munuscong Bay - Walleye are now hitting on crank baits trolled in 4 feet of water between the Waters Edge Resort and the mouth of the Gogomain River.