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Michigan DNR to reopen local field offices Tuesday

Outdoors report

Perch, bass, walleye hitting on live baits

IRON MOUNTAIN — Michigan Department of Natural Resources customer service centers and certain field offices will open to the public Tuesday.

The list includes field offices in Norway and Crystal Falls and customer service centers in Baraga, Escanaba and Marquette, all of which will be starting a three-days-per-week schedule — Tuesday through Thursday — that will last through Labor Day.

These offices sell hunting and fishing licenses and fuelwood permits and answer questions about hunting and fishing regulations, trails and many other outdoor recreation topics.

The DNR last year suspended public access to many buildings and facilities in keeping with coronavirus restrictions. All DNR customer service centers and field offices are now expected to return to their pre-pandemic office hours Sept. 7.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services still recommends that people not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19 wear face masks when in crowded settings outdoors. Also, visitors at DNR facilities and sites may see some DNR employees wearing face masks as a precaution.

Meanwhile, the Rapid River and Manistique Ranger District business office of the Hiawatha National Forest has experienced significant storm damage, with phone and internet services down for the foreseeable future, the U.S. Forest Service reported Friday.

As the summer season nears its peak, local fishing action has been good, said Ken Dabb at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis.

“They’ve been getting a lot of perch on small minnows,” he said. Bass have been hitting leeches, he added.

At this time of the year, some of the best bass fishing might occur during the first hour or so after dark. The Michigan DNR suggests targeting the shallows with a surface presentation and retrieving the lure with a jerking motion.

Anglers on the lower Menominee River reported getting some walleyes from the U.S. 41 bridge in Marinette, Wis. Best time was around sunset and just after dark, the Wisconsin DNR said. Fishing with nightcrawlers or small crankbaits tipped with a piece of crawler worked best.

The Michigan DNR reported this Upper Peninsula activity:

Ontonagon: Anglers fishing out of Ontonagon and Union Bay had to do some searching to find fish but once they were located the fish were fairly cooperative. Trolling spoons was the primary tactic for anglers and lake trout comprised most of the bags that came in. A few stray coho and Chinook were caught as well. The Ontonagon River was producing a few legal walleye for folks who were trolling and jigging but there was a lot of sorting to be done for the legals.

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers in Big Traverse Bay and near south Portage Entry had lots of luck fishing in deeper water for lake trout. Anglers were successful both trolling and jigging for these fish. In Keweenaw Bay, anglers had a tough time battling the winds but those who got out found lake trout in medium depth water. Fishing in Huron Bay was high early in the week with anglers having success east a few miles from the mouth of the bay. These anglers mostly caught lake trout as well. Coho were caught further north up Keweenaw Bay and mostly in the later hours of the day. Shore anglers in Portage Entry found rock bass, perch and smallmouth bass around weeds on the shoreline.

Au Train: Some boats came in with fish and some didn’t. Trolling was effective if you found the fish. Most success was in 170 to 200 feet of water.

Munising: Pleasure boat and traffic has been extremely high. Trailer counts have been well over 50 to 75 boat trailers at peak times in the afternoon with about 10% fishing boats. Lake trout anglers were doing well with limits being reported. Fish are averaging around the 3 to 4 pound range. A few lake trout have been approaching the 15 to 20 pound range. Anglers were doing well with the common areas being fished near White Rocks, Grump’s Hump, and areas along Wood Island Reef. Best depths were around 120 to 150 feet of water. Big Reef was producing some nice catches of lake trout up to 20 pounds.

Grand Marais: Very few boat anglers have been out however the boats that have been out were producing limits of lake trout with most averaging around 3 to 4 pounds. Anglers were targeting Five Mile Reef — shipping lanes and towards AuSable. Best depths were around 200 feet of water.

Little Bay de Noc: Perch anglers were experiencing mixed results. Those that found schools had to work for bites and plucked away to catch fish of a reasonable size.

Big Bay de Noc: Smallmouth anglers were reporting good catch rates. Fishing around the islands showed signs of improvement. Anglers launching out of Nahma were landing multiple large fish. Perch anglers in Ogontz struggled, but some managed to bring in small numbers. Salmon fishing in Fairport was excellent, with some reports of success with steelhead; many targeting 100 to 180 feet of water.

St. Ignace/Les Cheneaux: Anglers in St. Ignace continued to have a hard time finding lake trout close by but are traveling to Boblo Island and were doing well in that area with few being caught around Mackinac Island.

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