IRON MOUNTAIN - Trout fishermen reported success this week, despite higher than normal water levels.
"The water is high and cold," said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township. "There was a 13-incher caught this week."
Don Ciochetto at the Sport Shop in Iron River also said water levels were up.
"It hasn't been terrific yet," he said. "But it started to pick up the last few days."
Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle in Iron Mountain reported that some anglers limited out on trout this week.
"There were quite a few perch being caught on Lake Antoine," he added. "We've selling mainly fatheads and crappie minnows for panfish. Most guys are gearing up right now getting ready for next week's walleye opener."
While the U.P. walleye season doesn't begin until May 15, Wisconsin's inland fishing season opens today - a date as late as possible for the 2011 calendar. State fisheries managers say that's setting up nicely for anglers, because with this year's cold, wet spring, the later opener should lead to warmer temperatures, lower stream flows and more active fish.
The later opener will give walleye, musky and other game fish a little more time to wrap up spawning and move closer to post-spawn feeding binges. They'll be in close to shore, giving shore anglers a chance to find them in the weeds.
The unseasonably cold weather has kept water temperatures down in the low 40-degree range. Walleye have just completed their spawning on all but the largest lakes. Northern pike have also completed spawning and action should be fair.
The cold water temperatures have kept both largemouth and smallmouth bass in deeper water and generally inactive. Perch have mostly their completed spawning and crappie are about two weeks away from spawning, with bluegill and pumpkinseed likely beginning in three to four weeks.
"We've been selling a lot of licenses this week," reported Pattie Teske at Florence Sport and Bait. "There were some legal walleye caught on the Brule. A few guys limited out on trout."
Michigan bear and elk permits are now available. The report from turkey hunters this week was that birds were scattered. It's still not too late to get a turkey tag.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:
Eagle Bay: Shore anglers casting spoons or cut bait have caught whitefish and splake. The docks are in but no boats had been out yet.
Copper Harbor: Had good splake fishing for those jigging cut baits such as sucker or smelt. Menominee were caught off the mouth of the Fanny Hooe River when floating leaf worms or wax worms.
Keweenaw Bay: The bite was slow but anglers did manage to catch a few chinook and coho.
Fall's River: Had a good number of steelhead as water levels come down.
Marquette: Those trolling caught a few coho, steelhead and brown trout on crank baits from the Lower Harbor to the Chocolay River. The fish were in shallow on the windy days however boat control was difficult. The Upper Harbor was still producing a few coho for those jigging with twister tails near the bubblers. Slow fishing for shore anglers near Mattson Park and the coal docks. Lake trout have been caught out near the White Rocks in 130 feet of water and out near Stannard Rock where the fish were a little bigger.
Menominee: Boat anglers are trolling the Michigan and Wisconsin shoreline for walleye and brown trout. Try crawler harnesses for walleye or spoons and rapalas for brown trout.
Menominee River: Those wading and shore anglers caught walleye but brown trout were few. Those targeting suckers caught a good number of fish.
Little Bay De Noc: Water temperatures are warming up and perch fishing has been good for those using wigglers and crawlers in 20 to 30 feet of water just off the Day's River. The Narrows had mixed results in the same depths when using crawlers. Rivers in the area have all crested after the heavy rains. The high and fast current made trout fishing a bit more challenging.
Big Bay De Noc: Had good perch fishing just off the Fishery in Garden Bay in 8 to 10 feet of water. Most are still-fishing with minnows or crawlers. For the bigger fish, try off Ansell's Point.
Au Train: Catch rates have improved with coho taken by those jigging twister tails or trolling crank baits from Shelter Bay to the Brownstone launch in 10 to 20 feet of water. A few lake trout, brown trout and whitefish were also caught. Steelhead and coho were still being caught near the Rock River in the early morning.
Manistique River: Has plenty of white suckers along with some steelhead being caught. Most are using yarn, flies and spinners for steelhead.
De Tour: Yellow perch are still being caught off the Bayside Resort Dock, where anglers can fish at the very end of Tourist Road. Boat anglers are taking perch and a few bluegills in Maxton Bay and Scott Bay. Small minnows were the secret.
Cedarville and Hessel: The marina pier at Hessel had excellent splake fishing and several Atlantic salmon were also caught. No sign of perch yet.
Carp River: The water is cloudy and fast which has caused some flooding. Smelt appear to be done but white suckers are starting to come in.