Free fishing this weekend in Wisconsin; next weekend in Michigan

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — It’s “Free Fun” weekend in Wisconsin as residents and visitors can enjoy free admission to state parks and forests, free fishing, and free use of Department of Natural Resources trails, including all-terrain vehicle trails.

Michigan will offer similar perks June 9-10 during its “Three Free” weekend.

Anglers hitting Wisconsin waters today and Sunday are reminded that while no license is required all other fishing rules apply, such as size and bag limits.

“Trout fishing has been extremely good, still,” said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis. Plenty of northern pike have been caught, along with a fair number of walleye, he added.

Musky action has been picking up. “They’re chasing bucktails,” Whisler advised.

At Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township, John Grier reported more anglers are turning their attention to walleye. The northern pike bite has been good, maybe too good, he said.

A fisherman at Kingsford’s Cowboy Lake got a big pike on the line that managed to “nail his hand” before getting back to the water, Grier divluged. “He let me know the bait worked,” he said.

Bluegills and crappies are moving closer to shore, but smallmouth bass success has been spotty.

Wildlife Unlimited of Dickinson County hopes to have its fishing pier at Lake Antoine up and running sometime next week.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula fishing activity:

Lac Vieux Desert: Panfish anglers continue to see a good number of crappie, bluegills and sunfish in the shallows. The action was fast and furious using artificial or natural baits but be prepared to do some sorting. Perch anglers did decent but the fish are moving around the lake and were difficult to find at times. A few walleye were caught but success was limited when jigging soft plastics and minnows in deeper water. The largemouth bass were starting to move onto the beds and were caught when targeting panfish. Muskie fishing pressure was low and not many fish were caught.

Little Bay De Noc: Still had fair to good walleye catches. Best areas were the mouth of the Whitefish River when trolling a crawler harness or stick baits in 12 to 32 feet, and the mouth of the Escanaba River using the same along the weed lines. Fish were caught throughout the bay as well. The smallmouth opener was off to a good start. Most were fishing in and around the Ford River. Most were casting spinners, crank baits or plastics along the shoreline and rocky areas. Good catches were reported in Gladstone Bay in the shallows, along Garth Point and into the Whitefish River. Several nice catches of perch were taken off Gladstone Beach when using minnows or crawlers in 33 feet. Lots of pike were reported throughout the bay.

Big Bay De Noc: Walleye catches were down some but still good overall out from the Fish Dam River and between Kates Bay and the “Boot” when trolling a crawler harness in 18 to 26 feet or off Indian Point in 16 to 25 feet. Some limits were reported. Good smallmouth catches near Ogontz, St. Martins Island, Nahma, Garden Bay and the South River area in four to 12 feet with spinners, crank baits and plastics. Pike were abundant throughout all areas.

Munising: Boat anglers targeting lake trout reported slow action with only a few caught which could be because of the large number of smelt in the area. Those targeting salmon and steelhead reported slow catches with only a few coho taken along with the occasional brown trout.

Grand Marais: Boat anglers targeting coho and steelhead reported slow catch rates east of the breakwall in 20 feet or less.

Detour: Limits of lake trout along with Atlantics salmon have been caught.

Cedarville and Hessel: Smallmouth bass fishing was excellent at the mouth and along the shoreline in Duck Bay when casting or jigging amber colored crayfish in four to six feet.