IRON MOUNTAIN - The summer fishing season is finally upon us. Bass season on Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters begins today, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources expects the opener to be a good one.
Meteorologists predict weekend temperatures to crest in the high 70s, although there may be some showers.
John Grier of Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township said anglers have been reporting success with smallmouth and largemouth bass, and that trout fishing has been very good.
He had also heard of a few northern pike that were hooked, though "no big ones yet."
Grier also mentioned another creature doing a lot of biting recently - and it isn't a fish.
"Everybody complains about the mosquitoes," he said.
Anglers in Florence County have had been doing well with bass and northern pike, according to Patti Teske of Florence Sport and Bait.
Teske said crappies have been biting in some areas, walleye have been caught in the Brule River using worms, and a few trout have been landed - though those catches have been smaller. Her son recently hooked an almost 50-inch musky.
Overall, fishing in the area has been somewhat slow. Teske suspected the recent rain and cool weather may be a factor.
Don Ciochetto of The Sport Shop in Iron River also reported a relatively quiet fishing week, most likely due to weather.
However, Ciochetto said bluegill fishing has been good the past week, and bass and walleye fishing has been especially good. Several northern pike catches in Iron County have been reported. On the other hand, trout fishing in Iron County streams has been generally slow.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported that heavy rains resulting from strong storms, including several confirmed tornadoes in southern area of the state, have water levels on the rise.
Prior to the storms, some very good fishing continued to be reported in the Northwoods, with northern pike activity at an all-time high on some Bayfield County waters. Walleye and panfish activity continues to be strong at many locations.
Smallmouth bass and musky activity was increasing on river systems, but due to higher water, fish are scattered and not just in the deeper holes where they are typically found.
Even though things have greened up and more natural food is available, wildlife managers continue to receive reports of nuisance bear activity. If bears continue to visit an area, the DNR urges residents to take down bird feeders and remove anything else that may attract them, such as garbage, pet food and grills.
The Michigan DNR reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula.
Keweenaw Bay: The ice is finally gone and the bite is slow but steady for Chinook, coho, rainbow trout and splake. Anglers are trolling in 20 to 60 feet with a mix of spoons and body baits in a variety of colors. Lake trout were caught by those jigging off the Whirl-I-Gig, Old Mission on U.S. 41 and Pequaming. Try 180 to 260 feet with a three-quarters to one-and-a-half ounce jig with cut bait. Lake trout anglers in Traverse Bay caught fish off Big Louie's and Gay Point when trolling spoons in 130 to 180 feet. Those jigging off Big Louie's Point caught fish in 20 to 260 feet. The South Portage Entry was good for lake trout off Farmers, Newton's and the Big Reef when trolling 50 to 100 feet down in 60 to 130 feet. Try spoons or body baits. Salmon were caught by those trolling 15 to 25 feet down in 20 to 30 feet along U.S. 42.
Lake Antoine: Was producing some nice bluegills and perch. Anglers had to move around to find them but once they did, catch raters were fair. Most are drifting crawlers or a jig and crawler. Bass anglers are happy with the number of fish caught and the size. Most are casting crank baits from a boat. Shore anglers are catching lots of panfish but most are running small. No word on Pike.
Marquette: Had good lake trout action but the Chinook, brown trout and splake were a little slower. Lake trout are hitting on assorted spoons east of the port, north of Granite Island and near Little Presque Isle. Best area for Chinook and brown trout was east of the Chocolay River towards Sand River and Shot Point. Surface water temperatures were in the upper 40s but low 50s closer to shore. Those shore fishing at the Carp River reported slow fishing.
Little Bay de Noc: Had fair to good walleye action throughout. Several fly hatches may have slowed catch rates but overall fishing was good in 18 to 30 feet along the Kipling Flats and the Second Reef or 12 to 18 feet off Garth Point. Some also caught fish near the Escanaba River and the Ford River. Smallmouth bass anglers reported good catches near the mouth of the Ford River when using plastics, crank baits or crawlers in three to seven feet. Perch anglers had mixed results. The better fishing was in 18 to 23 feet near Kipling or 16 to 34 feet near Gladstone. Crawlers and minnows were the ticket.
Big Bay de Noc: Walleye anglers reported good catches at the head of the Bay. Anglers were trolling crawler harnesses in 13 to 18 feet just north of the "Boot" and into Kate's Bay. Smallmouth bass fishing had mixed results. Fish were caught in Kate's Bay, Garden Bay, the Fish Dam River, and the South River area - most of the fish were males. Anglers used plastics, crank baits and crawlers in three to 10 feet when casting or trolling. Several nice catches of pike were taken between Ansell's Point and Kate's Bay by those trolling crawler harnesses or crank baits in 10 to 14 feet. At Fairport, a few anglers have started salmon fishing. The better catches came 60 to 80 feet down in 90 feet in the "Gap" when using dipseys and spoons. It is still early and water temperatures were 46 to 50 degrees.
Evan Reid's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.