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Walleye action good; focus shifts to hunting

September 10, 2011
The Daily News

IRON MOUNTAIN - As attention begins to shift toward hunting, fishing pressure continues to decline. But those going out are reporting steady catch rates.

"We're selling a lot of crawlers and fathead minnows," said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost, noting that they sold out of leeches for the season.

Bass and northern were the most active this week, but there were some reports of increased walleye action.

"Fall walleye seems to be picking up now," said Don Ciochetto at The Sport Shop in Iron River.

Bob Kennard at Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing said Way Dam fishermen were catching walleye with leeches.

Anglers on Lake Antoine were using spinners and artifical leeches to catch bass and northern, according to Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle.

"Fishing has been pretty good," he said. "Northern were doing well on the Menominee, and they were catching walleye at Way Dam."

Patti Teske at Florence Sport and Bait reported a "huge" 25-inch largemouth caught Thursday on a crawler.

"The small amount of guys fishing are catching fish," she added. "Some report tons of bluegill, and there were some reports of walleye on the river."

Bear season opens in Michigan today.

No public antlerless deer permits remain in area units, but private-land tags are still available, numbering over 2,000 in unit 122. Hunters can purchase two a day and a total of five.

Leftover turkey licenses remain for the hunt beginning Sept. 15.

Michigan bird hunters may be in for an especially good grouse and woodcock season this fall.

Al Stewart, upland gamebird specialist for the Department of Natural Resources, said spring drumming surveys in the Upper Peninsula found 37 percent more pre-mating activity going on this spring than spring 2010.

Michigan's grouse season opens Thursday. Woodcock season opens Sept. 24. The daily limit is five grouse per day in the U.P. Hunters can take as many as three woodcock per day.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:

Keweenaw Bay: Fishing was slow. A few salmon were caught 40 feet down in the middle of the bay with spoons. The South Portage Entry produced a couple of nice lake trout off Farmer's Reef when trolling downriggers and spoons or surface lines with body baits.

Marquette: Limit catches of lake trout were taken in the early morning from the White Rocks to Granite Island and near the Clay Banks. Try spoons, flies and cut bait within 30 feet of the bottom in 130 to 160 feet of water. A couple coho were caught near the Clay Banks.

Menominee: Salmon and trout fishing were slow. Walleye anglers are catching fish near Green Island. Some were trolling stick baits and crawler harnesses but the bigger fish were caught by jigging minnows. Anglers trolling the drop off on the Wisconsin shoreline picked up some nice walleye when trolling crawler harnesses.

Menominee River: The walleye bite picked up but most of the fish caught were sub-legal. Anglers are trolling stick baits, rapalas and crawler harnesses over the deep holes in the early morning or evening. Fair to good catches were reported from the mouth up past Boom Landing and the Mystery Ship launch. Smallmouth bass, rock bass and freshwater drum were caught when drifting crawlers. Those jigging crawlers or minnows off the breakwall in the early morning caught a few perch.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye were caught off Kipling when trolling or drifting crawlers in 17 to 30 feet of water or the Narrows in 20 to 30 feet. The fish were suspended 6 to 8 feet down in 16 to 20 feet of water along the Black Bottom. Good numbers of fish were marked off Portage Point but catch rates were slow. Those jigging for perch did well along the break in 20 to 30 feet of water while those at the mouth of the Yacht Harbor caught fish on crawlers or minnows in 10 to 20 feet of water. Some big pike were caught just south of the ore docks in 14 to 20 feet of water.

Big Bay De Noc: Is producing fair catches of perch in Goully Bay for those still-fishing crawlers or minnows in 14 to 20 feet of water. Smallmouth bass were caught in Garden Bay, off Ansell's Point and the Bluff. Try plastics or crank baits in 12 to 16 feet of water. Ogontz also had perch but no big numbers yet. No walleye to report.

Au Train: Surface water temperatures have cooled and limit catches of lake trout were caught in 130 to 160 feet of water from Laughing Fish Point and north of Au Train Island. Good catches were also reported near the Wood Island Reef.

Munising: More boats are targeting coho but catch rates were slow as water temperatures remain in the mid 60's. Those trolling are catching small lake trout or splake in and around the bay in 50 feet of water. A couple coho were caught in Trout Bay when using dodgers, flies and spoons. Catch rates were slow at the Wood Island Reef but limit catches of lake trout were reported at the "Grumps Hump" when trolling spoons, dipsies, flies or jigging. Pier and dock anglers are targeting splake but catch rates were slow. Try small spoons, spinners or spawn.

Grand Marais: Those able to get out to the shipping channel caught lake trout in waters ranging from 70 to 200 feet deep. Limit catches were seen on several occasions and the fish averaged 2 to 10 pounds. Most are trolling lures tipped with cut bait. White, watermelon and copper were the hot colors.

Manistique: Most anglers are still heading out to waters 140 to 170 feet deep for chinook salmon. Average fish per boat was 0-3 in five to eight hours of effort.

Manistique River: Boats trolling stick baits, spoons and rapalas have caught smallmouth bass and pike near the mouth. Shore anglers caught bluegill and rock bass off the docks near the city launch.

St. Mary's River: Fishing has been slow for all species around Drummond Island, Kemps Point, Raber Bay, and Lime Island.

Detour: Salmon are still present and averaging 8 to 16 pounds. Most are trolling the shipping channel to the #3 Green Can and the lighthouse or the Drummond Island side to the #2 Red Can or three miles south.



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