Walleye taken on leeches; free ORV weekend in Michigan

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Walleye fishing is picking up, along with northern pike action, as summer weather holds on.

Walleye were found at depths ranging from shallow weed edges to as far down as 20 feet, said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis.

Leeches were the most popular bait, with anglers using them on crawler harnesses or floating jig heads.

“Bass fishing has just been steady all year,” Whisler added. “Pike have been hitting spoons and spinner baits.”

At Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township, John Grier had a report of a big northern attaching to an angler’s hooked walleye. “He got it against the boat before it slipped off,” Grier said, noting the size was about 32 inches.

Grier also had good reports on walleye, as well as bluegill and crappie.

Whisler said a few perch were caught on crappie minnows.

Lake Michigan anglers were targeting brown trout north of Marinette, Wis. Depths of 40 to 60 feet were popular with fish caught 20 to 30 down on stinger spoons of various colors, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Michigan residents and out-of-state visitors looking for an off-road adventure can explore trails today and Sunday during Free ORV Weekend.

All off-road vehicle rules and laws still apply, but riders on designated routes and trails do not need an ORV license or trail permit. A Recreation Passport still is required where applicable.

Wisconsin hunters are reminded that bonus antlerless deer harvest authorizations will be available for purchase starting at 10 a.m. Monday.

The Michigan DNR reported this Upper Peninsula activity:

Portage Lake: Walleye anglers were getting fish. Target the drop-offs and weed lines. Shore anglers may find a few fish at night near the bridge.

Keweenaw Bay: Good numbers of lake trout were caught by those trolling or jigging. Anglers were starting to see Chinook and coho as well. Fishing depths and tactics are still sporadic, but if you find significant changes in water temperatures, drop some spoons and put in a little time; you just might catch some fish.

Marquette: Lake trout fishing was still hit-or-miss as lots of fish were marked but they did not want to bite. Boats had better luck near Granite Island in 120 to 170 feet where the fish were in the bottom 60 feet. No reports of salmon, but we should start seeing some fish anytime now.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye action picked up for those trolling or jigging in 14 to 30 feet along the reefs. There are still a lot of undersize fish in the area. The best catches were near the “Fingers,” Minneapolis Shoals in 18 to 26 feet or near Round Island in 10 feet when trolling crawlers and stick baits. Fair perch catches near the Second Reef with crawlers in 10 to 14 feet and off Gladstone Beach in 18 feet. Pike were caught throughout with the best catches taken near Kipling along Butler Island, near the coal docks and between the mouth of the Escanaba River and the Municipal docks with spinners and crank baits. Smallmouth bass slowed; however the better catches were up near Garth Point and along the banks of the rivers when using plastics. Salmon anglers were having a tough year, but some were still trying. Salmon along with baitfish were marked just north of the Ford River Buoy in 50 feet, but no fish were caught.

Big Bay De Noc: Bass fishing picked up.

Manistique: Salmon anglers reported very few catches. Many are starting to check the staging areas north of the Buoy and closer to the launch. Northern pike anglers reported excellent catches near the mouth of the river when trolling spinners or crank baits along the breakwalls. Shore anglers casting crank baits were also taking fish.

Manistique River: The walleye action slowed; however a few fish could still be found up near the Paper Mill when casting jigs with a crawler. There were reports of a Chinook salmon caught in the river, so the early stages of the run are beginning.

Munising: Fewer anglers were out as lake trout fishing was slower. Target the White Rocks, Wood Island Reef and Grand Portal. Those heading out towards Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore will want to keep a safe distance from the cliffs, especially after a massive section of the cliff fell into Lake Superior recently. It happened between Miners Beach and Mosquito Beach, where the cliffs are 200 feet high.

Grand Marais: Fishing pressure has been low. Surface water temperatures within the marina were in the upper 60’s. Those targeting lake trout reported fair catches from Five Mile Reef to Au Sable Point.

St. Marys River: Was producing Atlantic salmon and whitefish behind the Cloverland Powerhouse. Walleye have been caught throughout the river.

Detour: When the weather cooperated, anglers caught Atlantic and Chinook salmon within 300 yards of the lighthouse. Chinook were caught near Fry Pan Island. The thermocline at Detour Reef was at 45 feet in 80 to 100 feet. Atlantics prefer a 4-inch spoon in orange and chartreuse or pink and white, while the Chinook were hitting 5-inch spoons in blue and chrome or purple and black with a white ladder back.

Cedarville and Hessel: Pike anglers reported fair catches when trolling in Snows Channel and from Dollar Island to Connors Point with large bucktail spinners with yellow spotted blades in 6 to 8 feet. A chrome spoon with a red eye did well just off the weed beds in 4 to 6 feet in the early morning. Fish were also found between Little La Salle Island and Peck Bay in 18 to 20 feet with creek chubs or large minnows. Some nice large and smallmouth bass were caught when casting spinners and crank baits around the docks throughout the Les Cheneaux Islands. Hessel had reports of yellow perch moving into the finger docks in the marina. Fish 8-10 inches were caught on worms and shiners. A few lake trout and Chinook were caught at Goose Island.