‘Terrific’ trout fishing; panfish bite improves

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Trout are still biting, good numbers of walleye are being caught, and panfish action is on the uptick as anglers hit the water for the Memorial Day weekend.

“Trout fishing continues to be terrific,” said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township.

Grier also reported bluegill catches in about eight feet of water and “lots of walleye” coming from both lakes and rivers.

“As long we don’t get any bad storms, it should be good,” he said of the weekend’s fishing prospects.

Wisconsin’s trout season is also going nicely, according to Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence.

“A lot of people are catching their limit, both browns and brookies,” he said. Spinners and worms are the common baits.

Crappie have been found in shallow water and anglers were taking some good-size northern pike, Whisler added. “Pretty decent numbers of walleyes, but they’re starting to run a little smaller,” he said.

Wisconsin’s northern zone musky season opens today. Many fish over 40 inches were netted and released during Department of Natural Resources spring assessments.

Today is Michigan’s large and smallmouth bass opener on inland waters and the Great Lakes.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula fishing activity:

Keweenaw Bay: Fishing was good one day and poor the next. The smelt have moved out to open water. Steelhead and brown trout were caught when trolling throughout the water column in 40 to 60 feet. There has been very little lake trout activity this spring. In Huron Bay, walleye fishing was slow but a few pike were caught. In Traverse Bay, windy conditions have slowed angler effort. It seems most of the fish in the area are in the bay right along with the large schools of smelt.

Lac Vieux Desert: The bite was good with anglers getting lots of panfish around the weed beds. Natural bait as well as soft plastics were producing fish but there was a good a deal of sorting required. The majority of fish were crappie followed by perch, bluegills and sunfish. A few walleye and some pike were caught. Not many muskie anglers as the water was fairly cool.

Little Bay De Noc: The best walleye catches were still in or near the rivers in the area. Good catches including some limit catches were reported in the Escanaba River using a jig and crawler or a crawler harness along the river banks and channels. Fair to good catches were reported around the mouth of the Whitefish River when trolling stick baits or a crawler harness in 10 to 17 feet and along the Ford River when trolling or using a jig and crawler near the mouth. Those out in the Bay managed to catch a couple on a crawler harness or stick bait in 14 to 16 feet near Breezy Point. Pike were active throughout the bay especially around Butler Island when trolling stick baits and crank baits in eight to 14 feet, near Gladstone Beach with crawlers and minnows in 25 feet or north of the Day’s River in 17 to 32 feet.

Big Bay De Noc: Walleye catches were good for those using stick baits in six to eight feet near the mouth of the Ogontz River and those trolling a crawler harness or stick baits in six to 10 feet near the Little Fish Dam River. Both areas produced limit catches of 17 to 22 inch fish. A good number of largemouth bass were also caught so the opener should be good. A large number of pike were also reported in the area.

Marquette: Fishing has started to pick up as anglers were taking a good mix of Chinook, coho, brown trout and steelhead. The best fishing was between the Carp River and the Chocolay River in 10 to 20 feet with small spoons or body baits. A few splake and suckers were still being caught in both the Carp and the Chocolay Rivers.

Munising: Boat anglers reported good catches of coho along with some lake trout, salmon, steelhead and brown trout. Shore and piers anglers were getting a good number of splake on spawn, spoons and shallow running stick baits.