IRON MOUNTAIN - Fishing pressure continues to decline, but anglers heading out this week were catching fish. And as water temperatures continue to drop, fall feeding activity will increase for most species.
"They're were still going for walleye, bass and panfish," reported Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle in Iron Mountain. "Walleye suckers and crawlers were being used."
Lindblom said a 13-inch and a few 17- 18-inch bass were caught at Lake Antoine.
Patti Teske at Florence Sport and Bait reported some bluegill success, but slow fishing overall.
Bob Kennard at Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing also reported a slow week for fishing.
A lot of bird hunters have returned to the area, as Michigan's small game season opened Thursday. John Grier's Whispering Pines Outpost mentioned selling a lot of licenses this week. Bait sales were slow as fishermen turn attention toward hunting.
Grier's shop in Breitung Township has registered 14 bear so far, including one weighing well over 300 pounds.
Don Ciochetto at The Sport Shop in Iron River mentioned an unconfirmed report of a near 400-pound bear taken this week.
"Fishing seems to have winded down for a bit," he added. "Should be a busy weekend in the woods though."
Wisconsin's fall hunting seasons moves into high gear this weekend with the opening of the Canada goose season Friday, and the opening of fall turkey, archery deer, ruffed grouse, cotton tail rabbit and squirrel seasons today.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:
Keweenaw Bay: Catch rates were starting to pick up with lake trout caught in 270 feet of water. A few chinook were caught on orange spoons and green flies in the early morning. In Traverse Bay, chinook and coho were caught when trolling in 40 to 50 feet of water off Buffalo Reef or 60 to 140 feet of water off Five and Seven Mile Reefs. Those trolling spoons in 130 to 185 feet of water off Big Louie's and Gay Point caught fish but those jigging in 170 feet of water caught the bigger fish 10 pounds or more.
Marquette: Surface water temperatures were in the upper 50's north of the White Rocks. Limits of lake trout were caught north of the White Rocks, around Granite Island, Little Presque Isle and along the Clay Banks. The fish averaged 3 and 4 pounds but a couple fish over 20 pounds were also caught within 10 feet of the bottom in 160 to 180 feet of water. Most were caught on spoons. Salmon fishing was slow with only a couple chinook and coho taken.
Carp River: Anglers caught a few small menominee and coho when using crawlers.
Menominee: Walleye were caught near Green Island when jigging minnows or trolling crawler harnesses and stick baits.
Menominee River: Is still producing freshwater drum, rock bass and smallmouth bass. Perch were caught in the early morning when jigging with crawlers or minnows off the breakwall and the marina however most were small. Walleye fishing picked up however many were too small to keep. Anglers are trolling stick baits, rapalas and crawler harnesses over the deep holes in the early morning and evening. Those wading on both sides of the river with a big glob of crawlers have caught sturgeon. Anglers are reminded that sturgeon fishing is catch and release only from the Hattie Street Dam to the end of the breakwalls in Green Bay.
Little Bay De Noc: Walleye anglers are anticipating the fall run and though they are marking and catching fish, they are still waiting for that big push. From the east bank "Narrows" south to the Escanaba River; fish were caught when trolling or drifting crawlers along the weeds in 10 to 20 feet of water but many were sub-legal. Portage Point was best when trolling or drifting crawlers 15 to 25 feet down along the break. Fair to good perch fishing in 10 to 25 feet of water at Kipling, along Gladstone Beach or the Escanaba docks in 25 feet of water. Anglers are catching a lot of freshwater drum this year. No salmon in the rivers yet.
Big Bay De Noc: Most anglers are targeting smallmouth bass. Ogontz, Porcupine Point, Garden Bluff and Ansell's Point were all reporting fair to good catches when casting crank baits, tube baits or plastics in 6 to 15 feet of water. Some have switched to live bait such as minnows.
Au Train: Lake trout anglers were averaging two to five fish per trip just east of Au Train Island and near the Wood Island Reef with spoons in 120 to 140 feet of water.
Manistique: Chinook were caught at the mouth of the river and just past the breakwall when trolling small spoons or rapalas.
Manistique River: Bluegill, rock bass, and smallmouth bass were caught off the docks near the city launch when using crawlers or leeches. Boat anglers are trolling spoons, stick baits or rapalas. Smallmouth bass and pike were caught near the mouth. A few salmon were caught up near the first dam when drifting yarn.
St. Mary's River: In Raber Bay, walleye and pike were slow. A few walleye were caught in the shipping channel off 15 Mile Road when using bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses.
Detour: Some nice 8 to 9.5 inch perch are being caught in 8 to 12 feet of water on south side of Boulanger Island when using minnows. The island is west of Ashman Island in Scott Bay.
Cedarville and Hessel: Good pike fishing from the Hessel pier for those still-fishing with minnows or chubs.
Carp River: Pink and chinook salmon are starting to show at the mouth but anglers need to use caution due to gill nets in the area.
St. Ignace: More anglers were heading out off the Coast Guard Station and the Edison Water Plant for chinook, lake trout and steelhead.