Panfish, trout catches highlight fishing action

IRON MOUNTAIN – Fall-like weather earlier this week got fish more active, but as it warms the bite could slow, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.

Area anglers landed some limit catches of crappie and bluegill, said Fay Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis.

“The bluegills were suspended in about 10 feet of water,” she said. Worms were the typical bait.

Trout anglers also found some success and walleye were biting, though most of the fish were small, Whisler said.

With summer in full swing, the Michigan DNR suggests targeting bass later in the evening. Some of the best bass fishing this time of year occurs during the first hour or so after dark, when bass tend to move shallow in search of an easy meal.

Try targeting them in the same areas you would at other times of the day, using a surface lure retrieved with a jerking motion.

The DNR reported this Upper Peninsula activity:

Keweenaw Bay: Those able to get out on the nice days were rewarded as both Keweenaw and Traverse Bay provided ample lake trout for those primarily jigging. The few trolling also caught a few fish.

Marquette: A few more lake trout, along with the occasional coho, were caught. Although catch rates were still slow, some boats were getting four to six fish per trip mostly near Granite Loma Farms, Little Presque Isle, the “Sand Hole” and Granite Island. Fishing near Shot Point was poor; however, anglers were marking more fish. While some fish were too small, a few over 20 pounds were also caught. Fish were also caught at Stannard Rock, where water temperatures were in the low to mid 60s.

Little Bay de Noc: Walleye and perch catches were up across the bay. Walleye were caught near the mouth of the Whitefish River, Kipling Reefs, “Black Bottom” and Breezy Point when trolling stick baits or a crawler harness. The reefs were best at night or daybreak in 10 to 30 feet. Anglers reported lots of undersize fish along with a few keepers in the northern waters. Perch anglers reported fair to good catches, mainly in the Kipling area with crawlers in 8 to 25 feet. Northern pike were active on the northeast side of Saunders Point when trolling or casting crankbaits, spoons and spinners. Good smallmouth bass catches off the mouth of the Ford River and a bit south when casting plastics along the weed beds and rocks in 4 to 12 feet.

Manistique: Salmon anglers had to cover a lot of water to find fish. Lake trout were found deep at 80 to 110 feet down in 120 to 150 feet with flies or spoons. A few Chinook salmon were caught 70 to 90 feet down in 110 feet southeast of the buoy.

Manistique River: A few Chinook have entered the river, and although it is early, it is not uncommon for this area. Walleye anglers reported excellent catches up near the dam spill-over when casting jigs and crawlers. Many limits were reported. Good smallmouth action near the breakwall when casting crawlers or plastics. The cooler evenings seem to improve the bite.

Munising: Those targeting lake trout were fishing the West Channel, near the White Rocks and Wood Island Reef when trolling in 120 to 150 feet, but few fish were caught. Pier anglers also reported slow catches.

Grand Marais: Lake trout fishing was good, with limit catches reported. Most were fishing Five Mile Reef, the shipping lanes and near Au Sable Point.

Raber: Anglers reported steady catches of walleye from the north side of Lime Island in 12 to 14 feet when using a jig tipped with a chartreuse twister tail. Also try between Round Island and Lime Island. For musky and pike, try trolling or casting your favorite spoons along the north side of Raber Bay. Target 6 to 8 feet just off the weed beds.


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