Big fish, little fish biting after storms

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Spared from the devastating storms that hit northwestern Wisconsin and parts of the Upper Peninsula last weekend, local anglers had success this week catching everything from panfish to musky.

“Panfish action has been excellent,” said Fay Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis. “Both good numbers and size.”

Northern pike fishing was steady, while bass and walleye are hitting though many of the catches are undersized. Musky anglers are reporting “lots of follows and even some catches upwards of 40 inches,” Whisler said.

Crappies in the range of 10 inches were caught at Eddy Lake in Channing, said Bob Kennard at Midtown Bait & Tackle on under-construction M-95. “People have been out pretty steady,” he said.

To the south, Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township reported good catches of walleye, northern, rock bass and smallmouth bass. Crawlers and leeches were the main baits.

Lake Michigan anglers out of Kewaunee, Algoma and Manitowoc were coming back with Chinook, some lake trout, and rainbows, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula activity:

Overall: Brook trout fishing in the small streams was good. Mayfly hatches on some of the inland lakes have slowed catch rates.

Keweenaw Bay: Fishing was good before the storm. Those heading out to fish will have to be careful as there is a lot of debris in the lake and a lot of mud that washed in from the flood waters.

Lac Vieux Desert: Panfish angling has remained active with good numbers of bluegill, crappie and perch caught on crawlers, leeches, minnows and soft plastics with small jigs. Submerged vegetation seems to be the ticket but be prepared to do some sorting. Walleye were found in the deeper holes but the action was slower. A couple legal size musky were caught recently but most anglers were getting pike on crank baits and spinners in five to 15 feet. Largemouth bass were hitting on spinners and soft plastics in four to eight feet.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye action was good at the Whitefish and Escanaba Rivers but many were undersize. Anglers were trolling crawlers and stick baits along the weed beds and near the mouth of the Whitefish River. The Escanaba River was best when trolling or drifting crawlers in 20 feet. Pier anglers on the Escanaba River caught undersize walleye, perch and smallmouth bass. Bigger walleye were caught in the “Black Bottom” area when trolling stick baits in 12 to 24 feet and off Breezy Point in 12 to 18 feet. Smallmouth bass fishing has been tricky this year as some were still on the beds while others were out deeper. The best catches were along the east bank weed line just south of Hunters Point with crank baits and plastics in 16 feet. A lot of small perch were caught throughout the bay and pike seem to be abundant.

Big Bay De Noc: Walleye reports were limited to the “Boot” area at the head of the Bay in 14 to 20 feet when trolling crawlers or stick baits. The smallmouth bass action was tricky here as well but the best areas were from Ogontz south to Martins Bay in four to 12 feet, near the Fish Dam Rivers in and around 10 feet and around Porcupine Point in six to 18 feet when trolling or casting plastics, spinners and crank baits. A few big perch were caught off Ogontz by walleye anglers trolling crawlers in 14 to 28 feet. At Fairport, a few boats targeting salmon had been out but no catches were reported. Water temperatures were still very cold. A few lake trout were taken 80 feet down in 130 feet.

Munising: Boat anglers continue to catch Chinook salmon. They also caught brown trout and the occasional steelhead or lake trout. The Chinook were 17 to 32 inches. Anglers have noted large schools of baitfish in both the east and west channels. Lake trout anglers reported limit catches especially at Wood Island near the edges in 150 feet.

Grand Marais: Lake trout anglers were getting limit catches near the “Banks” and Five Mile Reef.

Manistique Lake: Walleye, bass and bluegills were caught in the south lake.