IRON MOUNTAIN - The windy start to the week hampered fishing for many anglers, but the bite has picked up since.
"Fish are finally biting," said Pattie Teske at Florence Sport and Bait. "Guys are saying bluegills are beginning to make beds. They've been getting crappie, perch, bass and northern."
Teske reminded anglers that fishing is free in Wisconsin this weekend.
All the waters of the state are open, including state waters of the Great Lakes and rivers bordering Wisconsin. Residents and nonresidents of all ages can fish without a fishing license (or trout or salmon stamps) over these two days. However, all other fishing regulations (length limits, bag limits, etc.) apply.
Tom Bean at Crystal Bait reported quite a few bass being caught this week but added that fishing was slower due to the high winds earlier in the week.
"They're starting after crappie and gills now," he added.
Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle in Iron Mountain said panfishing was good at Lake Antoine.
"They've been getting bluegills. Perch was a little slow," he said, adding that crappie minnows and crawlers were the two most requested baits. "Guys were also getting pike on Badwater, using artificial bait."
Edy and Sawyer Lakes were hot spots this week, according to Bob Kennard at Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing.
"They're using leafworms for panfish on Sawyer," he said. We've been selling a lot of worms and fatheads."
John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost said crappies were coming out of Badwater.
"Anglers are waiting for bluegills to bed, which shouldn't be too much longer here. Peavy has been successful for a lot of guys, too."
Don Ciochetto at the Sport Shop in Iron River said trout fishing has taken off.
"They're getting some real nice browns and brookies," he said. "Panfishing has been good in most places. Haven't heard much on walleye this week."
Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:
Eagle Bay: Shore anglers caught fish when still-fishing with sucker minnows.
Keweenaw Bay: The bite is starting to pick up with a mix of chinook, coho and lake trout taken by those trolling 35 to 55 feet down in 40 to 60 feet of water. Try spoons and body baits when trolling at speeds 2 to 2.5 miles per hour from Old Mission to the Head of the Bay.
Gratiot Lake: Walleye fishing was slow however a few small pike were caught by those casting stick baits in 5 to 9 feet of water.
Marquette: Catch rates for lake trout were still scattered with the better fishing near Shot Point. Those jigging were still north of the white rocks in 180 to 220 feet of water. Fair to good action around Stannard Rock with lake trout averaging 10 to 20 pounds caught by those jigging in 100 feet of water along the break. Surface water temperatures were in the low to mid 40's.
Menominee: Some nice walleye were caught by those trolling the Wisconsin shoreline just south of the river. Most were trolling crawler harnesses at the drop off.
Menominee River: Those casting musky baits just upstream of Boom Landing on the Wisconsin side, were able to catch a few that measured 35 inches. Smallmouth bass were caught and immediately released near Hattie Street because the season does not open until the 3rd Saturday in June. Walleye action was slow.
Little Bay De Noc: Still has good numbers of walleye north of the "Narrows". Walleye were still leaving the Whitefish River and good numbers of fish were marked from Garth Point south to the Kipling Flats. Limit catches were reported by those trolling or drifting crawlers in 8 to 22 feet of water between the Center Reef and the Whitefish River. Those trolling crawler harnesses in 18 to 25 feet of water near the Black Bottom caught walleye. The bass opener was good for those fishing off Garth Point, Hunters Point and the west bank of Gladstone in 6 to 16 feet of water when casting tube baits or crank baits. Perch were caught between the "Narrows" and the Kipling Flats when still-fishing or drifting crawlers.
Big Bay De Noc: Walleye anglers were fishing into the night off Sand Point and the Nahma Golf Course when trolling or drifting crawler harnesses in 10 to 22 feet of water. Good numbers of smallmouth bass were caught in Puffy Bay and South River Bay. No perch to report.
Au Train: Produced fair catches of chinook and lake trout along the shipping channel east of Au Train Island and near Wood Island in waters 130 to 200 feet deep. Good numbers of chinook salmon averaging 20 to 32 inches were caught between Scott Falls and Au Train Point.
Munising: Boat anglers were still targeting chinook and a few coho. One or two fish was considered a successful outing when trolling in 20 to 55 feet of water. Pier and dock anglers caught very few splake. Lake trout were still reported in 150 to 170 feet of water around Grand Island and Pictured Rocks.
Grand Marais: Pier anglers have done well catching whitefish and a couple coho in the early morning when using a single egg or wax worms. Boat anglers had mixed results but a few coho were caught when trolling east or west along the shoreline. Try rapalas or thundersticks. Good lake trout action from the shipping channel a few miles north of the bay.
Manistique River: A couple steelhead along with some white suckers were caught up near the first dam. For steelhead, try floating yarn or casting spinner baits. Smallmouth bass and northern pike were caught near the Municipal landing. Those wading near the dam caught some brown trout but most were too small to keep.
De Tour: Atlantic salmon and lake trout have been caught in the shipping channel and around the lighthouse. Whitney Bay was good for pike. Albany Creek is still producing some brook trout for those using worms.
Cedarville and Hessel: Had good pike action in Hessel Bay and off the marina pier. Smallmouth bass were also caught. Those trolling, casting or still-fishing in Musky Bay caught pike. The Moscoe Channel was a bit slower but pike were hitting.
Carp River: Those fishing upstream caught trout, walleye, pike and white suckers.
St. Ignace: The primitive launch is good for those launching small boats or wading for pike and bass. For lake trout, try the northeast side of Mackinaw Island about 25 to 40 feet down. Chinook salmon were caught over the flats on the west side of Mackinaw Island. Purple was the hot color.