Lake sturgeon season on Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River opens on July 16.  Harvest is limited to one sturgeon per angler per year. A harvest tag is no longer required; however, anglers that harvest a fish are required to report the harvest within 24 hours. The season on the Detroit River also opens on July 16; however, all sturgeon caught here must be released immediately. Additional information including how to report a harvested sturgeon can be found on page 15 in the Michigan Fishing Guide.

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie

Walleye fishing had picked back up in Brest Bay, off the River Raisin and up near Stony Point in 24 to 26 feet. Some managed to get limit catches when trolling a copper, purple, chartreuse or lime crawler harness with a bottom bouncer 50 to 65 feet back. Those targeting walleye have also caught white bass, white perch, some large channel cats and freshwater drum. A few perch anglers caught 20-30 fish when jigging minnows in 22 to 25 feet off Buoys 1 and 2. Those fishing the Hot Ponds were getting 15-20 channel cats in just a few hours with crawlers or minnows.

Lake St. Clair

Anglers caught walleye at the mouth of the South Channel in 20 feet. A 4-ounce weight seems to work better and a 2-ounce weight. The fish have been hitting right as the bait comes off the bottom and the bite was light. Anglers have also caught some perch. Other walleye anglers did fair in front of the Brandenburg launch in 14 feet before the sun comes up. Hot colors were bronze, green or copper. Legal size musky were caught off the Dumping Grounds in 19 feet when casting artificial baits.  Smallmouth bass fishing has been great everywhere.

Lexington and Port Sanilac

Lexington had no fishing report, as most of the boating activity was pleasure boats. At Port Sanilac, some perch were caught along the weed beds in 22 feet, north of the water tower in 41 feet and off the trailer court in 40 feet. Lake trout were caught with spoons on the bottom in 70 to 90 feet.

Harbor Beach

Lake trout were caught straight out and north of the harbor in 80 to 130 feet with dodgers and spin-glo’s near the bottom or spoons 40 to 80 feet down. Hot colors were orange, pink and black. Salmon and steelhead were caught on bright colored spoons. Try 5, 7, and 10 colored lead lines working from the top to 80 feet down.  A few walleye were taken in 50 to 80 feet north of the harbor. Try spoons, Hot-n-Tot’s, worm burners or a crawler harness. Bass were still hitting spoons and body baits close to shore.

Grindstone City

The walleye action was spotty as some caught 2-4 per boat while others managed 8-9 per boat. Most were caught in 28 to 40 feet.

Saginaw Bay

Some walleye were caught in 12 to 14 feet at the Pinconning Bar, in 22 feet near Buoys 1 and 2, near the old Dumping Grounds with a crawler harness, in 16 feet a half mile north of Spoils Island with crank baits or a crawler harness, a half mile east of the island with a crank bait or flicker shad, and in 15 feet along the Callahan Reef with a crank bait or spoon. Off Quanicassee, the fish were scattered.  Off Sebewaing, a few were caught on both edges of the Coryeon Reef and along the Slot in 16 to 18 feet.  Walleye were taken in 10 feet in Wildfowl Bay. At Port Austin, a couple fish were taken in 17 to 38 feet but the better action was near Oak Point in 35 to 40 feet.

Saginaw River

Catfish and smallmouth bass were caught near Smith Park.

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

Smallmouth bass fishing picked up in the rivers as water levels have dropped and cleared up.  The Grand, Kalamazoo, and St. Joseph Rivers should all be good.  Try white rooster tail spinners, small crank baits, twister tail jigs, or nymph flies in the deep runs and riffles.

St. Joseph

Good numbers of coho were caught well past 100 feet of water. Lake trout and the occasional salmon were caught in and around 110 feet. Those trolling near the piers caught steelhead. Try orange or green spoons. Perch fishing was getting better until the lake rolled over. Some fish were still being caught but anglers had to search for warmer water. Pier fishing was steady with steelhead caught on alewife under a bobber.

St. Joseph River

Walleye fishing has improved with some nice fish caught.

South Haven

Salmon fishing slowed. A few lake trout were caught in and around 80 feet. Perch fishing was good with a decent number caught in 20 to 30 feet north and south of the piers. Pier fishing was spotty but a couple steelhead were caught on alewife. Freshwater drum were caught on crawlers and small jigs.

Grand Haven

Boat anglers caught lake trout and a couple salmon when trolling 30 to 70 feet down in 90 to 150 feet. Lake trout were caught on yellow spin-glo’s and the salmon were hitting on orange and green spoons. Pier action for steelhead was slow.

Grand River at Grand Rapids

Water levels are down but anglers are still getting some fish. Bass are being caught on a variety of live and artificial baits including crayfish patterns. Those targeting catfish continue to do well with live or cut bait.

Grand River at Lansing

Continues to produce smallmouth bass. Anglers did well near the Portland Dam with a crayfish imitation or live and artificial leeches. Some are getting channel cats but catch rates were sporadic. The pike are scattered throughout. Those targeting carp seemed to catch more fish on worms and leeches.

Muskegon

The salmon and trout action was slow but a few fish were taken 30 to 80 feet down in 80 to 160 feet with yellow spin-glo’s and orange spoons. Pier anglers casting body baits caught a couple freshwater drum.

Muskegon Lake

The walleye bite was slow. Pike were hitting on the east end and those targeting bass in the channel did well on the bottom in 27 feet. Bluegills were caught in 4 to 8 feet in the bays and coves. Perch have been caught however most were very small. Anglers have caught lots of freshwater drum.

Muskegon River

Water levels are low and clear, but anglers report good bass fishing.

Mona Lake

Those targeting bass here have actually done better along the sand bar out in Lake Michigan when using crawlers and leeches.

Whitehall

Salmon and steelhead fishing was slow, but those trolling spoons 40 to 80 feet down in 80 to 150 feet did catch the occasional Chinook or steelhead. Good numbers of lake trout were taken on spoons or spin-glo’s near the bottom. Pier anglers caught large and smallmouth bass while casting body baits or soft plastic swimbaits.

White Lake: 

Panfish anglers caught bluegills and sunfish in 8 to 18 feet when floating red worms or using dropper rigs tipped with wax worms.

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan

Chinook, Atlantic salmon and lake trout were caught on spoons and cut bait along the Straits.

Cheboygan River

Had lots of anglers catching smallmouth bass, walleye, rock bass, freshwater drum and bullhead when drifting worms at the DNR Station or Bois Blanc parking lot. Those casting soft plastics or crank baits also caught fish. All the chutes at the dam are closed so anglers were bobber fishing or casting crank baits.

Hammond Bay

A few anglers fishing off Nine Mile Point caught Chinook salmon and steelhead when trolling spoons in 90 feet. Shore anglers were casting soft baits and crank baits but had no luck.

Rogers City

The summer fishing patterns are setting up with a deeper thermocline where anglers have caught Chinook and lake trout along with the occasional steelhead or Atlantic salmon. Run lines throughout the water column while focusing both above and below the thermocline with spoons or dodgers and flies. Good colors were green, blue, chartreuse, green and blue, silver and blue or glow early and late. The fish are eating 2-3 inch smelt and sticklebacks. A couple anglers heading out to 250 feet found bug slicks and caught Atlantics, steelhead and lake trout.

Alpena

Salmon and trout anglers did best off Nine Mile Point, the wreck and Thunder Bay Island when running lines throughout the water column in 60 to 120 feet. Anglers are deploying downriggers, leadcore, copper, and dipseys with spoons. Hot colors were green, blue, orange and glow early or late. Many of the trout and salmon anglers were opting to fish Presque Isle and Rockport as it is a much shorter run to good fishing grounds. Walleye were hit-or-miss. Some were caught around Grass Island, south towards Black River, Scarecrow Island and near the marina when using a crawler harness or body baits.

Thunder Bay River

Shore anglers targeting walleye at night did not have much luck with crawlers and leeches. Instead they caught a good number of smallmouth bass, drum and rock bass. Boat anglers trolling a crawler harness caught a few walleye.

Black River

Northern pike were caught by those casting large inline spinners and crank baits near the mouth of the river. Walleye anglers were trolling body baits or a crawler harness in the late evening between Black River Island and Scarecrow Island.

Harrisville

Walleye anglers found fish in 15 to 25 feet when jigging at the humps between Greenbush and Harrisville or trolling body baits and crawler harnesses with bottom bouncers off Sturgeon Point. Early mornings and late evenings have been best. Lake trout were caught in the bottom 15 feet or 30 to 40 feet down in 80 to 100 feet.

Oscoda

Good catches of lake trout were taken out at the ledge and between the Au Sable River mouth and Greenbush in the bottom 15 feet as well as suspending 30 to 50 feet down in 80 to 120 feet. Meat rigs, spoons, and dodgers with spin-glo’s or peanuts have all been effective. Steelhead fishing picked up and anglers found them along with the odd coho or Chinook salmon when trolling spoons 30 to 55 feet down in 90 to 120 feet. Atlantic salmon were caught on spoons 20 to 50 feet down in 100 to 120 feet. Suspended walleye were also caught in the top 20 to 40 feet. Orange, chartreuse, chrome and purple were good colors.  Pier anglers caught drum, smallmouth bass, channel cats and the odd walleye when still-fishing with crawlers at night.

Au Sable River

Walleye were caught in the holes near Oscoda but the bite was slow and the fish caught were sub-legal. Those drifting crawlers or casting twister tail jigs and crank baits caught smallmouth bass. Rock bass and drum were taken when drifting crawlers. Channel cats were hitting on crawlers in the evening. Those still-fishing with minnows in Cooke Pond caught smallmouth bass near the dam. Water temperatures below Mio were still in the mid 70’s but the stretch between Grayling and Mio had fishable temperatures.

Higgins Lake

Perch were caught around the Sunken Island and out from the South State Park in 35 to 40 feet or deeper. Anglers are picking up a good number of rock bass and smallmouth bass. For lake trout, some are trolling with downriggers but many are jigging sand kickers and Swedish pimples just off the bottom in 90 to 110 feet. No word on brown trout or rainbow trout.

Houghton Lake

The walleye bite slowed a bit and the fish were not as big but anglers were still getting a few in 9 to 14 feet. Crank baits, flicker shad, Hot-n-Tot’s or a crawler harness with crawlers and leeches were still producing. Hot colors were pink, purple, orange, red and chartreuse. Bluegills were caught in 10 to 12 feet. Lots of pike and some rock bass were also caught. Many were fishing in the East Bay and the surrounding area or along the south shore weed beds.

Tawas

Lake trout and walleye were caught north of Au Sable Point in 25 to 70 feet with small spoons. Walleye were caught on spoons, body baits or crawler harness in 35 to 55 feet off Buoy #2 and beyond the Crib when trolling in 60 feet. Bass were caught on worms and artificial baits inside the marina.

Au Gres

Walleye fishing slowed but anglers were still getting some fish straight out in 25 to 35 feet and north towards the Charity Islands with a crawler harness or small flicker shad. A few perch, pike, freshwater drum and bowfin were also caught. Out from Eagle Bay Marina, walleye were caught in 12 to 14 feet along the Saganing Bar.

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Harbor Springs

Had lots of bass anglers. Most were casting in shallow waters from the east end of Little Traverse Bay and along the shoreline to Harbor Point. Catch rates were hit-or-miss but some did well and caught some good size fish.

Petoskey

Boat anglers caught lake trout and lake herring 50 to 80 feet down from Bay Harbor to the breakwall. Fishing pressure at the dam in the Bear River was still nonexistent as the water level remains very low. Fishing down near the mouth was fair as anglers caught freshwater drum, smallmouth bass, rock bass, bullhead, catfish, bluegills and a small walleye. Most are using worms and stick baits.

Charlevoix

Boat pressure was very low and the few that went out were lucky to catch a couple very small lake trout south of the channel. Those fishing in the channel are now targeting smallmouth bass as it appears the lake herring are just about done.

Smallmouth numbers should increase from here on out. Most are using real or artificial worms and leeches or small spoons. A good number of freshwater drum and some suckers were also caught.

Traverse City

The best lake trout fishing in the East Bay was in the early morning on the north side of Deepwater Point, south of Willow Point, near Wilson Road, and north of Old Mission. Anglers are trolling or jigging. Lake Herring were also caught when trolling.  Bass were caught in 6 to 18 feet near Elk Rapids and off the State Park. In the Elk River, bass were caught near the dam and at the end of the rocks with leeches and tube baits. In the West Bay, those fishing off Northport did well for lake trout. Fish were also caught south of Bowers Harbor and near Power Island. Bass were caught around the islands, south of Bowers Harbor and near the M-22 launch. Action on the Boardman River remains slow with only a few bass or panfish caught up near the dam and the mouth.

Glen Arbor

Boats heading out were getting some limit catches of lake trout. Chinook salmon are starting to show up as well.

Frankfort

Windy conditions have rolled the lake over and the baitfish scattered to smaller pods throughout the bay. Those trolling in Betsie Bay caught Chinook and steelhead that have moved in to feed on the mayflies.

Arcadia Lake

Pike fishing slowed as most anglers were only getting a couple per trip. A handful of perch and bluegills were caught on worms.

Portage Lake

The water is warming and recreational boating is steadily increasing. Bass, perch and panfish are being caught when the wind cooperates.

Manistee

Surface temperature readings were about 70 degrees. The south pier remains closed. Small numbers of steelhead were caught by pier anglers using spawn. Lake trout were caught in the bottom 80 to 100 in 120 to 200 feet. Spoons and flies worked best. Chinook salmon fishing was slow however the ones caught have been quite large.  Fishing for adult Chinook will only improve as we move through July. Catch rates for steelhead were spotty.

Ludington

Lake trout were caught on spoons and flies in 120 to 250 feet. A small number of Chinook, coho and steelhead have also been caught. Pier fishing was slow.

Pere Marquette Lake

Small numbers of Chinook salmon are starting to show up for those trolling in the lake and the channel.

Pentwater

Fishing was slow but anglers picked up a few Chinook salmon, lake trout and steelhead when trolling spoons in the bottom half of waters 100 to 150 feet.

Pentwater Lake

Bass anglers caught good numbers of smallmouth bass in 6 to 12 feet when casting crank baits along the weed lines. At Longbridge Road, smallmouth bass and panfish were caught on red worms or drifting crawlers along the bottom.

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Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay

The E coli warnings have been lifted for fishing in this area. A few Chinook salmon were caught in 70 to 200 feet with spoons or a flasher/fly combo in the early morning.  In Traverse Bay, a few lake trout were caught in 100 to 150 feet when trolling spoons.  For the South Entry, the action was slow but a couple Chinook and brown trout were caught in 75 feet in the evening. The water is still dirty from all the flooding but is clearing up a little more each day.

Lac Vieux Desert

Walleye fishing remained slow. The bigger fish were found in the deeper holes when trolling or jigging artificial baits. A couple legal size musky as well as smaller fish were caught by those putting in the time and casting large lures over the weed beds. Pike and largemouth bass were caught around submerged vegetation when casting spinners and crank baits. The vegetation in both Indian and Rice Bay is coming in thick. Panfish were hitting on live and artificial baits in 6 to 12 feet.

Little Bay De Noc

Walleye fishing slowed with an abundance of food from fly hatches and alewife. The best reports came from Breezy Point and south to No-See-Um Creek when trolling a crawler harness or rapala in 14 to 28 feet. A good number of small perch were caught in the Butler Island area and south to the Escanaba Yacht Harbor with crawlers along the weeds lines. The Escanaba River still has a lot of undersize walleye but several nice pike were reported by those trolling crank baits or spoons near the mouth. A few anglers were looking for salmon but the best catches were close to Wisconsin waters and the Washington Island area.

Big Bay De Noc

Had few walleye anglers. Some were fishing in the “Boot” and south to Big Bay Shoals but no fish were caught. The bay had mostly smallmouth bass anglers taking fair to good catches off the golf course in Nahma in 10 to 16 feet and Puffy Bay in 8 to 14 feet with plastics and spinners. Fish were caught off Ogontz but they were small.  Pike are still abundant. Off Fairport, anglers were marking fish right along with baitfish but catch rates were slow. A few were found 80 feet down in 130 feet near Poverty Island.

Marquette

Fishing was steady, with a good number of lake trout caught along with the occasional coho and steelhead when trolling spoons near the “white rocks” and Granite Island. Most were 20 to 50 feet down in 120 feet or more.

Au Train

Also had good fishing including a few limit catches taken when jigging off the East Bank in 160 feet or trolling near Laughing Fish Point where the fish were suspended at 20 to 50 feet. Most of the lake trout were 2-5 pounds.

Munising 

Most boat anglers did well for lake trout with limit catches taken near Wood Island Reef and the Grand Portal Reef in 150 to 180 feet. Salmon fishing and pier fishing were slow with the warmer water temperatures.

Grand Marais

Boat anglers reported limit catches when trolling for lake trout with assorted spoons and flies off Five Mile Point, the Big Reef, ten miles out from Au Sable Point and about seven miles out near the shipping channel in 160 to 200 feet. A few were jigging but the bite was better for those trolling. Most fish were 3-5 pounds. The salmon action was poor. Pier anglers had some good days for whitefish when the wind would bring fish in near the breakwall. A single egg works best.

Detour

Most of the fishing effort has been for lake herring and whitefish in Detour and the waters surrounding Drummond Island. A few Menominee were caught 36 inches off the bottom in 25 to 30 feet at the southwest entrance to Whitney Bay. Most are using a red teardrop tipped with a wax worm. Lake herring were caught along the southern borders of Bow Island and Arrow Island located on the north side of Drummond Island. The sun warms these waters first generating more fly hatches which attract fish.

Cedarville and Hessel

Young anglers are catching rock bass and sunfish from docks or boats in 4 to 6 feet around the weed beds. Largemouth bass were also caught when casting spinners.  Those targeting Menominee and lake herring throughout the Les Cheneaux Islands had a few catches. Menominee were caught in 30 feet off the stone quarry and Leach Island with a brown and red teardrop tipped with a wax worm about three cranks off the bottom. Lake herring were caught in the Moscoe Channel with the same in 8 feet.  Off Hessel, a few yellow perch were caught off the docks in the marina in 8 feet. A couple 25-28 inch pike were caught off the east end of the fishing pier when casting red and white spoons or still-fishing with creek chubs.

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Fishing Tip: Fishing with crankbaits

Many anglers love to fish with crankbaits (also known as plugs), a type of hard-bodied fishing lure. Below are some criteria to think about when selecting a crankbait.

Body Shape
Fat-bodied crankbaits that are shorter will displace more water and create more vibration. Many anglers prefer this type of crankbait when fishing in dark water or at night.

Thin-profile crankbaits glide through the water with minimal resistance. This option is great when fishing clear water and targeting species that are sight feeders.

Buoyancy
Crankbaits with less buoyancy are better suited for water with minimal cover and clean bottoms while those with more buoyancy are better for fishing around cover.

Crankbaits can be a great lure option when targeting walleyes, bass or muskellunge (among other species). Consider trying one out during your next fishing trip!

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