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Badwater tourney today; Ford River work planned

Outdoors report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Weigh-in for the Badwater Bass Tourney is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at Vagabond Park on the Twin Falls Flowage in Spread Eagle, Wis.

Up to 50 boats were expected for the one-day Menominee River tournament hosted by the Florence Wild Rivers Interpretive Center.

Final entries in the Crystal Falls Bass Festival fishing contest are due by noon Sunday, with prizes to be awarded at 3 p.m. Sunday at Runkle Lake Park.

Also on tap is the 59th annual Trappers Convention/Outdoor Expo at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba through 4 p.m. Eastern time today.

Anglers in the region are reporting plenty of catches, though most of the walleye and northern pike are on the small side.

“An occasional nice one,” said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis. Leeches are enticing the walleye, while suckers have been working for pike.

Bass fishing continues to be good — both largemouth and smallmouth. “They’re using a lot of plastics and spinners,” Whisler said.

A mixed bag of perch, crappie and bluegill was common for many area lakes, with minnows and worms doing the trick.

Whisler said a couple of muskies were caught-and- released on the Menominee River, measuring about 36 inches.

On Sunday, the Ford River Mouth Boating Access Site about 7 miles south of Escanaba will be closed for a site improvement that runs through Sept. 3, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said. The project includes paving of the access road and parking area and installation of a concrete sidewalk.

These sites also provide boat access to Little Bay de Noc:

— Aronson Island boat launch west of the Escanaba Municipal Marina.

— North Shore boat launch north of Escanaba on the Escanaba River.

— Kipling Boating Access Site in Gladstone.

— Cedar River State Harbor and Boating Access Site in the town of Cedar River.

The closure also will affect anglers who typically fish along the Ford River shore.

For the latest information, updated closure dates and other DNR recreation closures, go to Michigan.gov/DNRClosures.

The DNR reported this Upper Peninsula activity:

Ontonagon: Anglers fishing out of Ontonagon continued to do well while trolling for lake trout. Fish were found anywhere from 30 to 120 feet of water and spoons seemed to be the ticket. A few brown trout and coho were picked up but the primary catch was lake trout. The Ontonagon River was producing a few legal walleye but there was a lot of sorting for anglers trolling and jigging. Piers anglers were finding a few legal fish and the occasional sturgeon while using crawlers. Union Bay has not been very busy but the anglers fishing out of there have had similar success to Ontonagon.

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers had lots of luck catching lake trout in the afternoons while trolling in deeper water in both Keweenaw Bay and Huron Bay. Some anglers were still able to reel in the occasional coho. In Big Traverse Bay, anglers had some luck trolling in medium depth water for lake trout.

Au Train: Fishing was slower this past week. Some lake trout were caught jigging on the flats. Anglers did better trolling in deeper water.

Marquette: There was heavy boat traffic this past week. Anglers had to work to catch fish. Some lake trout and coho were caught.

Munising: Fishing pressure again was low with most boats going to Fairport/Manistique for Chinook salmon. There were a few boat anglers going out for lake trout and doing well with not always limits but five or six fish per party of two. Areas to target have been towards Grand Portal, or the west channel near White Rocks trolling to Wood Island Reef. A few boats went to Big Reef and did well with a few limits reported. Shore anglers have caught a few splake, but overall fishing was slow.

Grand Marais: Fishing pressure was low, however a few boats went out for lake trout did well with most reporting limits. The best locations were Five Mile Reef, towards shipping lanes and AuSable Point. There was no activity off the pier.

Little Bay de Noc: Anglers fishing for walleye have had little to no success. Reports of mostly undersized fish being caught. Perch anglers were finding some action when using worms in shallow waters. Shore anglers along the Ford River were catching smallmouth bass.

Big Bay de Noc: Smallmouth fishing has experienced an uptick. Anglers report fair to good success when launching out of Nahma or Ogontz. Perch anglers were able to land some small numbers in Ogontz Bay. Salmon fishing in Fairport has been good.

St. Ignace/Les Cheneaux: The smallmouth bass fishing in the Cedarville area has been phenomenal. Anglers were catching their limits of splake within the west entrance. Splake were found where the gobies are. Smallmouths were still in shallow waters on their beds. The fish biting at the rivers in St. Ignace seem to be early in the morning or late afternoon.

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