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Fish are biting for Wisconsin’s Free Fun Weekend

Outdoors report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Fishing action is picking up, fortunately coinciding with Wisconsin’s Free Fun Weekend today and Sunday.

Park admission fees, fishing licenses and trail passes are waived for all visitors. Fishing regulations still apply, including bag and length limits.

“People are out there, and they’re catching fish,” said Doug Whisler of Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis. “They’re catching some big crappies and a lot of perch.”

A 28-inch walleye was also caught, although most have been small, Whisler said. Depending on the lake, bluegill anglers are finding good numbers of fish on their beds, he added.

With inland waters warming, panfish are being caught on leaf worms and wax worms under a bobber, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.

The possession season for muskellunge opens today in Michigan and the DNR is asking anglers to participate in an online survey.

“Because muskellunge are so elusive in our netting and electrofishing sampling efforts, muskellunge management relies heavily on angler reports to understand more about population abundance and angling success,” said Matt Diana, fisheries biologist in Plainwell.

Current survey and past survey data can be found at Michigan.gov/Muskie. Anglers may fill out one survey per person, per trip and are encouraged to complete a survey for each muskie fishing trip they make.

As a reminder, anglers are limited to taking only one muskie per license year and are required to register their harvest by calling 888-636-7778 or online at Michigan.gov/RegisterFish. Muskie are open to catch and immediate release year-round.

Next weekend is Michigan’s “Three Free” Weekend. On June 12 and 13, residents and out-of-state visitors can fish, ride off-road trails or visit state parks and state-managed boating access sites, all for free.

This Upper Peninsula activity was reported:

— Ontonagon: When anglers can get out, fishing was good. Surface water temperatures were in the high 40s to low 50s depending on wind direction. Anglers are finding lake trout along with a few coho, steelhead, and brown trout in 100 feet of so. Most of the lake trout were on the small side.

— Ontonagon River: Those chasing walleye had success when trolling, drifting, and jigging but they are sorting through a lot of small ones to get a few keepers.

— Keweenaw Bay: Boat anglers caught lake trout, coho and steelhead in deeper water. In Huron Bay, anglers were getting some walleye. Lake trout were caught east of Huron Bay.

— Marquette: Anglers are catching a good number of lake trout in 160 to 200 feet. A few coho and steelhead were also caught.

— Munising: Fishing was slow for boat and shore anglers especially with the northwest winds. Only a few small splake and coho have been caught.

— Grand Marais: Pier anglers continued to do well for whitefish when using a single egg. The odd coho was also caught. Most of the whitefish were 12 to 13 inches. Fishing pressure was high in the morning with lots of anglers out. Favorable winds are from the northwest. Once the winds switch from the south the whitefish will move out. Boat anglers are starting to target more lake trout, coho and steelhead although catch rates were spotty.

— Munuscong Bay: Had good walleye fishing.

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