Spinners for trout, leeches for walleye

IRON MOUNTAIN — Trout fishing remains good, with some anglers landing browns in the 18-inch range and brookies around 14 inches.

“Spinners have been working really good,” said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis.

Otherwise, Whisler said, walleyes are hitting leeches; northern pike have been caught on crank baits and spinners; bluegills are liking worms or wax worms; and bass are responding both to top-water lures and leeches.

Storms earlier this month pushed the Peshtigo and Oconto rivers up by more than two feet, but they are now back to more normal levels, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said. In Marinette, Menekaunee Harbor anglers reported catching northern pike and walleye.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula activity:

Lac Vieux Desert: A few small walleye were caught while targeting perch with jigs in eight to 15 feet. The deeper holes are being targeted for walleye and a few legal size fish have been caught. Muskie anglers had limited success but the pike were quite active and chasing the muskie lures. Largemouth bass were found on the weeds in shallow waters with soft plastics or crank baits. Pike were also caught right along with the bass. Fewer bluegills and sunfish were on the beds as the fish move to deeper water. Perch and crappie were found in eight feet or deeper. For panfish, try minnows, leeches or crawlers and jigs with soft plastics.

Little Bay De Noc: The best walleye fishing was still reported off the mouth of the Whitefish River when trolling crawlers in 12 to 16 feet, off the Escanaba River along the weeds and near the “Black Bottom” in 14 to 22 feet though many fish were undersize. Fish were also caught along the reefs near Kipling and Breezy Point but the numbers were fewer. Fair to good smallmouth action was reported with some large fish taken from Squaw Point to Hunters Point, along the weeds in Gladstone Bay and the Escanaba River. A good number of fish were still on the beds and the better catches were in three to six feet with plastics. Several steelhead were caught by walleye anglers trolling off the mouth of the Whitefish River. Pike and freshwater drum were abundant throughout the bay.

Big Bay De Noc: Walleye anglers were fishing the “Boot” straight out from the Fish Dam Rivers with crawler harnesses in 16 feet but catch rates were spotty. Most were targeting smallmouth bass around Porcupine Point, Kates Bay, Puffy Bay and the South River area. Catch rates were fair when using plastics in three to eight feet. Good pike action was reported in Martin’s Bay and South River when using spoons or crank baits in six to 12 feet. Off Fairport, anglers caught Chinook salmon 70 to 80 feet down in 130 feet off Poverty Island. No big numbers yet but several fish were in the 20 pound range. Water temperatures are still quite cold.

Marquette: Boat anglers targeting coho fished primarily the lower harbor near the green can, towards the Carp River and the mouth of the Chocolay River in 50 to 60 feet. Brown trout were also caught in this area. Lake trout anglers fished the “White Rocks”, the “Sand Hole” and towards Granite Island. No limit catches but most were getting about five fish in a five-hour trip. Water levels in the Carp and Chocolay Rivers were still quite high with a strong current after runoff from the heavy rains.

Munising: Boat anglers were still getting a few Chinook west of the channel and towards Au Train in the early morning. The fish averaged three to five pounds. Brown trout were also caught. Lake trout anglers caught fish in 140 to 22 feet with flies or jigs and cut bait. Pier and shore anglers caught a couple whitefish and splake.

Grand Marais: Boat anglers did well for lake trout off Big Reef, Au Sable Point and the 7 Mile Reef with limit catches reported. Pier anglers were targeting whitefish though catch rates were down and most of the fish were less than 12 inches.

Detour: Anglers have caught eight to 12 pound Atlantic salmon with lead core and dodgers 15 to 25 feet down. The key is to keep the trolling speed between 3.5 and 4 mph.