Huge smallmouth caught; perch biting

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — The forecast calls for a chance of thunderstorms through Tuesday, making for shifting conditions as summer fishing winds down.

A seven-pound smallmouth bass catch was the highlight of the week, said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis.

“That’s a big one,” he said — only a couple pounds shy of the Wisconsin record.

A few other big bass were caught as anglers used drop shot rigs with artificial worms to target largemouths, Whisler said. Crappies were biting in deeper water on live bait and smaller jigs, while perch were also going after live bait.

Musky fishing was fair with no big catches and walleye action has slowed. A good number of northern pike were caught, including some incidentals while bass fishing, Whisler said.

Boat anglers continue to have limited success on walleye with crank baits, catching more freshwater drum than targeted species, said Ron Rhode, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fisheries technician at Peshtigo.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula activity:

Lac Vieux Desert: Fishing slowed in this area but anglers have been chasing panfish using natural or artificial bait. Sublegal walleye were being caught, but overall fishing for them was slow.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye anglers reported good catches from the Escanaba River area south to Round Island. The bite was best in early morning or late evenings, usually in and around eight feet of water. Perch anglers reported fair catches with some large size fish coming in. Catches at Kipling were reported in 22 to 30 feet using minnows or crawlers while at Gladstone Beach they were in 18 to 25 feet. At the ship docks in Escanaba anglers reported spotty catches with still fishing with minnows in 28 to 32 feet. Northern pike were active, especially around the river mouths. Smallmouth bass anglers reported good catches throughout the bay with the best areas are Squaw Point in 10 to 12 feet, the mouth of the Escanaba River in 16 to 20 feet, and south of the Ford River along the weed lines in six to 10 feet using plastics, crawlers or minnows. Those targeting salmon found a few out by the Ford River buoy, mostly in 90 to 110 feet and 50 to 80 feet down.

Big Bay De Noc: This past week’s smallmouth bass fishing was reported as fantastic. The Ogontz area and south to Martins Bay reported catches in three to 10 feet using plastics, cranks, minnows and leeches. In the Nahma area, straight out to the Rock was also good in and around eight feet. Garden, Puffy and Kates bays reported good catches using the same gear in four to 10 feet.

Fairport: Salmon numbers were low but anglers reported better catches in 105 to 130 feet and 60 to 80 feet down from the Gap and north off Point De Tour. Smallmouth bass anglers reported fish off the west side of Little Summer Island while casting plastics in two to six feet.

Marquette: Most boats found good numbers of lake trout in deeper water between White Rocks and Granite Island in 130 to 200 feet while trolling dodgers, spin-glows and various spoons. A couple Chinook were caught on high lines running 40 to 60 feet down. Lake trout were caught out at Stannard Rock as well.

Au Train: Lake trout were being caught east and north of the Au Train Island, however most catches were hit-or-miss. Most anglers trolled in 130 to 150 feet. Wood Island Reef was still producing good catch rates.

Munising: Surface water temperatures have been increasing coming in in the mid-60s to almost 70 degrees offshore and nearshore in the low 70s. Pressure was low from boat anglers but those out were reporting lake trout in fair numbers.

Grand Marais: Water temperatures offshore were in the upper 60s to near 70 degrees. Lake trout fishing was good, however very few boats were out. Lake trout were biting from Big Reef to Five Mile Reef. No salmon were reported.

Detour: Fishing slowed during the past week, but anglers did catch lake trout 1.5 miles south of Detour Lighthouse.