Free fishing today, Sunday in Michigan

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Residents and non-residents can fish without a license today and Sunday in Michigan — an annual effort to promote Michigan’s fishing opportunities. All other regulations apply.

This is also “Three Free” Weekend where you can ride off-road trails and visit any Michigan state park for free. The ORV license, trail permit and Recreation Passport fees are waived as well.

Ottawa National Forest’s Henry Lake campground, southwest of Marenisco off of Forest Road 8100, is offering a free fishing derby for youngsters from 8 a.m. to noon today.

“Every day, I’m still hearing good things about trout fishing,” said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township. Walleye reports have been good, too, he said.

Inland lakes are hot spots for panfish and bass while most rivers are offering walleye, northern pike and bass, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.

“They’re catching walleye but they’re mostly undersized,” said Bob Kennard at Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing. “Eddy Lake has been good for bluegill.”

Despite road work on M-95, Kennard’s shop remains open for bait-seekers and raspberry rhubarb pie fans.

“Pike action has been good,” said Jared Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis., noting catches of 36 to 38 inches. Largemouth bass, perch and bluegill have been hitting leeches, he said.

A couple of muskies were caught this week at the mouth of the Peshtigo River, said Ben Olsen, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fisheries technician at Peshtigo.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula fishing activity:

Lac Vieux Desert: Crappie were moving off the beds and were caught with less frequency. Bluegill and sunfish were in the shallows around the weed beds and hitting on natural or artificial plastics. Be ready to sort out the small ones. Some perch were caught including some bigger ones taken on minnows and other natural baits along the breaks. Those targeting perch have also caught a couple walleye. A few muskie anglers were getting out but catch rates were slow.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye fishing slowed with most activity at the mouths of the Whitefish or Escanaba rivers. At the Whitefish most trolled or jigged crawlers in 10 to 18 feet while at the Escanaba they drifted or jigged along the weed lines in 20 feet. Fair catches of perch were reported out from the Gladstone beach area in and around 25 feet using minnows or crawlers. Most smallmouth anglers reported fair catches at best. Best catches were in and around 12 feet using plastics or cranks. South of the Ford River was best along the reeds in 8 to 12 feet. Northern pike were active throughout the bay with several large fish reported caught off the mouth of the Day’s River trolling stick baits in 14 to 18 feet.

Big Bay De Noc: Walleye catches were still good here between the Ogontz Launch and Indian Point trolling stick baits or crawlers w/harnesses in 14 to 21 feet. At the head of the bay by Valentines Creek anglers trolled crawlers harnesses or stick baits in 10 to 16 feet. Some walleye were also reported up by the Little Fish Dam River. Smallmouth bass were active throughout the bay. Near Ogontz good catches came along the weeds casting cranks, spinners or plastics in four to eight feet. Martins Bay had fish also, mostly northern pike. Fish Dam area was best while trolling or casting cranks or plastics in four to 10 feet. South River, Puffy Bay and Garden Bay area all reported smallmouth catches using the same in four to 12 feet.

Munising: Boat anglers took fair catches of Chinook and coho salmon in Trout Bay and west of Grand Island. Most are trolling in shallow waters less than 20 feet deep between 2 and 2.5 mph. A few lake trout were caught in 130 to 150 feet around Wood Island. Water temperatures remain in the mid 40’s. Pier and shore fishing were slow.

Grand Marais: Those trolling have caught lake trout along with a few coho and steelhead. Lake trout anglers did well straight out and along the “Banks” and towards Sable Point. Pier anglers did well for lake whitefish with most taking limit catches, however the fish were small averaging 11 to 12 inches.