Musky action heats up; anglers landing lots of panfish and bass

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Panfish, bass and musky fishing is going well as summer days shorten.

“Lots of panfish all over,” said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township, mentioning catches of bluegill, perch and crappie.

Trout fishing has slowed, but those going out are still finding success, he said.

Musky action has surged on northern lakes and rivers, said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis. “There’s been quite a few caught … and not caught,” he said.

Largemouth bass are hitting top water lures, crankbaits and even artifical worms, Whisler said. The smallmouth bite has been steady as well.

Walleye fishing has been fair, both Grier and Whisler said, noting a few catches ranging from 21 to 26 inches.

Anglers were having the best luck catching walleye using nightcrawlers at depths of 10 to 15 feet, said Ben Olsen, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fisheries technician at Peshtigo.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula activity:

Lac Vieux Desert: Walleye fishing has remained somewhat slow. Those caught were taken in the deeper holes around the lake. Bass anglers reported very good fishing with top-water lures or when casting spinners in the shallows. A couple legal size musky were caught in the deeper holes and when casting along the shallow weed beds. Bluegill, crappie, perch and sunfish were caught in 3 to 12 feet with natural or artificial baits. Be ready so sort through the small ones.

Little Bay De Noc: A few walleye were caught here and there. Fish were found along the “Black Bottom” when trolling a crawler harness in 18 to 24 feet and near the lighthouse in Escanaba when jigging crawlers in 14 to 30 feet. Off Breezy Point, the better catches came in the early morning with a crawler harness along the break in 14 feet. Smallmouth bass catches were fair south of the Ford River and south of Hunters Point when casting crank baits or plastics around the weed lines and rocky areas in 8 to 14 feet. A few perch were taken off Gladstone Beach with crawlers in 18 to 25 feet. A couple salmon were caught 80 feet down in 105 feet near the Ford River Can.

Big Bay De Noc: Smallmouth anglers reported excellent catch rates off Nahma either 2 miles out to the “Rock” or off the golf course and Butlers Point. A good number of limit catches were reported. Those harvesting fish were using mostly live crawlers and leeches while those releasing were using plastics, spinners and crank baits in 6 to 15 feet. Good fishing was also reported in Puffy Bay and Garden Bay and Martins Bay in 6 to 18 feet. At Fairport, catch rates were fair with lake trout and steelhead coming 60 to 90 feet down in 105 to 170 feet. A few large Chinook were also caught.

Marquette: Lake trout fishing picked up with most boat anglers catching fish including some limit catches. The fish seem to be suspended so cover the entire water column when trolling spoons. Chartreuse was the hot color. Most were trolling between the white rocks and Granite Island, Sand Hole and Shot Point. The occasional steelhead or brown trout were caught but very few salmon. Stannard Rock was a hot spot when the weather was good. Anglers caught a good number of fishing ranging 3-9 pounds.

Au Train: Those fishing the east side of Au Train Island were getting a few fish for a couple hours of trolling. Some were making the 28-mile run to the Big Reef and bringing back a good number of fish.

Munising: Boat anglers did well for lake trout along Wood Island Reef and Grand Portal when trolling along the drop-offs in 140 to 200 feet or more. The best trolling speed was about 2 mph with downriggers near the bottom or when using lead core with spoons. Hot colors were fire-tiger, chartreuse and orange fluorescent. Coho and a few brown trout were also caught. Splake fishing was slow, and pier fishing was poor.

Grand Marais: Limit catches of lake trout were reported near Five Mile Reef when trolling along the drop in 180 to 220 feet with assorted spoons and flies. Lake trout were reported in close to shore when trolling west of Au Sable Point. A few coho and brown trout were also caught. Pier anglers had no luck.