Despite the heat, anglers score
IRON MOUNTAIN — Water temperatures are rising in the hot weather, which can cause fish to become sluggish in shallower lakes.
Anglers, however, are still finding success, with some big catches reported over the past week, said Fay Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis.
Leading the way was a 45-inch northern pike, along with a 42-inch, 25-pound musky.
“They’ve been catching some decent-size walleye on leeches,” Whisler added. Perch catches in the range of 10 to 12 inches have also been reported, while area streams are yielding brook trout 12 to 14 inches.
While most anglers are fishing deeper water to find schools of fish, some bluegill can be found in shallow water near the beds, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.
Conservation officers say they have noticed an increase in boating this summer. Over the Fourth of July weekend, officers placed an emphasis on preventing drownings by enforcing life jacket requirements aboard vessels.
“It seemed to be just as busy if not busier than previous Fourth of July holidays,” said Conservation Officer Rob Freeborn, who patrolled Lake Michigan from Manistique to Fairport.
Weigh-in begins at 2 p.m. today at Vagabond Park on U.S. 2 in Spread Eagle, Wis., for the annual Badwater Bass Tourney. Social distancing is recommended.
The Michigan DNR reported this Upper Peninsula fishing activity:
Keweenaw Bay: Fishing slowed with a mayfly hatch. A few lake trout were caught but getting them to bite was tough. There were reports of a few Chinook salmon found, along with lots of baitfish, throughout Huron, Keweenaw and Traverse bays.
Marquette: Most were launching from the Upper Harbor and fishing near Granite Island, the Pinnacles and in water up to 200 feet deep, where several nice catches of lake trout were reported. Look for the bugs and fish anywhere from 10 to 50 feet down. Those jigging at Stannard Rock caught lake trout.
Little Bay de Noc: Walleye anglers reported a few catches in the Breezy Point area, but it was getting harder to even mark fish. Most were fishing the mouth of the Escanaba River and Whitefish River, but catch rates were tapering off and most of the fish were undersize. Perch anglers also reported less action, with most in the Gladstone Beach and Kipling area and using crawlers in 18 to 30 feet. The smallmouth bass action was best, and though fewer catches were reported, there was still enough action to keep them fishing. The mouth and into the Ford River reported fair catches when using plastics or crawlers, but most were undersized. Salmon anglers struggled with warm water. Surface water temperatures out by the Ford River buoy were well into the 70s.
Manistique: Most were trying 60 to 80 feet down near Barques Point, and while not a lot of fish were marked, some nice large Chinook were reported.
Manistique River: Was producing some decent smallmouth catches for those casting crawlers, plastics or crankbaits.
Au Train: Surface water is warming into the low to mid-60s. Lake trout were caught along the flats in Shelter Bay when trolling spoons in 80 to 120 feet. Purple and melon were good colors. Most fish were 3 to 5 pounds, but those jigging caught fish up to 8 pounds.
Munising: With the large fly hatches, lake trout were surface feeding. Those trolling Big Reef on the calm days were getting limit catches along the west end. Fish also were caught near Grand Island, the White Rocks the green can off Christmas in the west channel and near Grumps Hump. While salmon fishing was slow, a couple Chinook or coho were caught.
St. Marys River: A couple walleye taken in the early morning when casting a jig tipped with a piece of redworm just off the weed beds and rocky points at Round Island.
Detour: The Atlantic bite appears to have slowed. A couple healthy Chinook salmon were caught when trolling from the green buoy on the northwest side of the lighthouse. Anglers used flashers trailed with silver and white squid baits 45 to 60 feet down in 90 feet. Most have switched from fishing salmon to lake herring.
Drummond Island: A few lake herring were caught on the northwest side at Howard Island, Butterfield and Maple Island when using an 8-ounce red or brown jig tipped with one or two wax worms.
Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers are reporting a heavy fly hatch at McKay Bay, located 1 mile west of the Cedarville Stone Quarry. McKay Bay is a shallow bay running 12 to 14 feet deep, and it is best to approach a school of fish slowly while trying to position your boat. Prentiss Bay had no reports of lake herring being caught. Good largemouth bass action throughout the Les Cheneaux Islands, especially in shaded areas and near structure. Try gold and silver leaf spinner baits or artificial frogs off the weed beds and lily pads. At Hessel, a few splake were caught south of the marina when trolling orange and chartreuse crankbaits around Goat Island and Wilderness Bay.
St. Ignace: On the Pine River, limits of walleye up to 18 inches were caught by those trolling a crawler harness or body bait; however, anglers were sorting through a lot of small fish.