Spring fishing is getting started at least in most of the Lower Peninsula. Look for catch rates to improve as temperatures rise and we get more rain. Ice conditions are deteriorating on a daily basis now so anglers need to use extreme caution.
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Lake Erie: ATTENTION WALLEYE ANGLERS – The daily possession limit for walleye in the Michigan waters of Lake Erie will be as follows: April 1 through April 30, 2011 the limit will be five (5) walleye. Beginning May 1, 2011 through April 30, 2012 the limit will be six (6) walleye. Water temperatures are anywhere from 34 to 40 degrees depending on location. Walleye fishing is behind this year due to the extended cold temperatures. Most anglers are jigging or trolling in Ohio waters of Maumee Bay and around Turtle Island with jigs and minnows, hair jigs or blade baits.
Huron River: Steelhead were caught between Flat Rock to Rockwood. Remember, walleye season is closed. The catch and release trout fishing which opened on April 1st is going well.
Detroit River: Walleye fishing is just getting started. The new walleye possession limits for Lake Erie DO NOT apply to the Detroit River. The daily possession limit here will continue to be five (5) fish.
Clinton River: Anglers caught suckers along with a few pike in the Spillway however pike season is closed. Steelhead are moving up into the river as fish were caught at Yates Park in Rochester Hills.
St. Clair River: Still has lots of flow ice coming down.
Lexington: Those trolling have caught chinook and lake trout on body baits in 10 to 14 feet of water. Pier anglers caught perch and a few lake trout inside the harbor.
Harbor Beach: Still had ice in the harbor.
Grindstone City: Was unfishable as there is still ice in the harbor.
Saginaw Bay: Ice fishing is pretty much done. Some are shore and dock fishing for panfish in the marinas. It is about that time to start fishing the cuts and lower rivers for perch. If anglers wait to hear the perch are biting, it will be too late, and they will miss the opportunity. A few lake trout and whitefish were caught by those fishing off the pier at Caseville.
Flint River: Sucker runs are underway. Anglers are reminded that walleye season is closed.
Shiawassee River: Sucker runs are underway.
Southwest Lower Peninsula
St. Joseph: Boat and pier anglers continue to take limits of coho along with a few brown trout.
St. Joseph River: Continues to produce steelhead and a few brown trout.
South Haven: Boat and piers anglers were taking limits of coho along with a few brown trout.
Kalamazoo River: Still has good steelhead movement from the mouth to the dam.
Grand Haven: Was producing the occasional coho, steelhead or brown trout.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Steelhead is the word with good numbers of fish being caught on spawn, flies and yarn. Orange, pink and chartreuse were good colors. Try to 6 to 10 foot leaders with extra weight up near the dam.
Grand River at Lansing: Steelhead were caught near the dams such as Webber and Moore’s Park. Try spawn, crawlers, and flies. Hot colors were orange, chartreuse and pink. Those fishing near Ionia caught steelhead in Prairie Creek. Some are looking for catfish but most are steelhead fishing.
Maple River: Is producing a few suckers.
Muskegon: Catch rates were hit-or-miss for pier anglers but some did manage to catch steelhead, brown trout or coho. Most were using spawn.
Muskegon River: Water levels are high and muddy. Steelhead are still being caught but fishing was a bit more challenging with the current conditions.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Burt Lake: Still had ice.
Mullett Lake: Still had ice and is producing some perch. Extreme caution needs to be used.
Ocqueoc River: Is open but those fishing have not had much luck. Water levels are low, clear and cold.
Rogers City: Is still iced in but should open up soon so boat and shore anglers can get out and start targeting Atlantic salmon and brown trout.
Rockport: Some were casting body baits off the pier for Atlantic salmon but no fish were caught. Typically these fish are caught in the spring when still-fishing with large grey minnows.
Alpena: The bite is slow with only the occasional brown trout or Atlantic salmon caught when still-fishing with large grey minnows in the warm water discharge off the Lafarge Plant.
Thunder Bay River: The launch ramp in Alpena is open but the marina ramps are iced in. Anglers drifting spawn and flies up at the Ninth Street Dam had no luck.
Higgins Lake: Is giving up smelt, perch and lake trout.
Harrisville: The harbor was still iced in. A few walleye and steelhead were caught off the breakwall by those casting spoons or body baits.
Oscoda: The pier was iced over but the rocks were accessible. Some walleye were caught just outside the mouth of the river in 20 to 30 feet of water when using crawler harnesses, small spoons or body baits.
Au Sable River: Steelhead, brown trout and suckers have been caught at the mouth. Steelhead were caught near the Whirlpool, High Banks and Rea Road.
Tawas: Pier and boat anglers are taking lake trout, steelhead, brown trout and walleye. Catch rates were fair.
Au Gres River: Is high and muddy. A couple steelhead were caught in the river and in the surf near the Singing Bridge.
Rifle River: Suckers runs are going good. Steelhead have started to move up into the river.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Harbor Springs: Great numbers of perch are again showing up this year for the late ice fishing season off Ford Park. With any luck, anglers will still get about a week of fishing before the ice starts to deteriorate.
Petoskey: Little Traverse Bay is still locked in with ice but should start to open up in the next couple of weeks.
Bear River: Steelhead are starting to show up at the mouth and adjacent harbor.
Boyne River: Steelhead activity was picking up
Jordan River: Is producing some steelhead. Try wax worms or wigglers.
Elk River: Steelhead were caught in the bypass in front of the power dam. Try wigglers under a bobber at first light.
Traverse City: Some of the launches in both bays are still frozen but could be thawed out by the end of the week. Lake trout were caught in the East Bay when jigging Swedish pimples in 115 feet of water off Elk Rapids. In the West Bay, anglers are catching perch out in front of the Boardman River in 90 feet of water. Catch rates were slow but should start to pick up soon.
Boardman River: Does have some steelhead present but few fish have been caught. Try drifting wax worms at the mouth and the Union Street Dam.
Frankfort: Low water levels had anglers fishing off the piers where steelhead and brown trout were caught on spawn just before first light. Steelhead are staging near the car ferry landing before they start their run up the Betsie River.
Portage Lake: Still had ice however it is quickly deteriorating.
Lake Missaukee: Still has ice with fair to good bluegill action.
Lake Cadillac: Ice fishing was still going strong for crappie in the early morning or late evening.
Lake Mitchell: Is also producing some crappie.
Manistee: Two docks are in at the First Street Launch. Boat anglers have caught some brown trout and steelhead when trolling the shoreline with small spoons or jointed body baits. Pier anglers caught fish when using fresh spawn.
Manistee River: The recent rain and snow melt should help push more fish into the river. This could be the weekend that anglers have been waiting for.
Ludington: Has one dock in on Loomis Street. Those trolling the shoreline have caught steelhead and brown trout. Try body baits in natural colors. Pier fishing has been slow.
Pere Marquette River: Fishing was slow and water levels were low. Rain in the forecast should help. Anglers are drifting flies on the gravel from Rainbow Rapids to the Lower Branch Bridge.
Pentwater: Catch rates off the piers were hit-or-miss.
Pentwater River: Steelhead anglers had better luck as fish have already moved up into the river.
Lake Gogebic: Perch could be found just off the bottom in 25 to 27 feet of water. Still-fishing with wigglers worked best. Ice conditions are changing daily so use caution. Stay away from areas with moving water.
Keweenaw Bay: The bite was good but tapered off. Chinook and coho were caught out from the Falls River and Perch Corner however ice conditions have deteriorated off L’Anse and Baraga.
Marquette: Warm temperatures improved catch rates with limits of coho and a few chinook caught just before daybreak. Coho were 15 to 17 inches and were hitting on jigs with spinner combos or twister tails and cut bait.
Carp River: Steelhead could be found upstream.
Menominee River: Had slow catch rates. Anglers were casting rapalas from the Cat Walk, deck and the stairs near the Hattie Street Dam for steelhead, brown trout and walleye. Those wading near Stephenson Island caught few fish. Boat anglers jigging with minnows have caught walleye in the deeper holes. The only boat launch open at this time is the Stephenson Island launch. The bay is still iced over.
Little Bay De Noc: The ice is melting slowly as temperatures rise. A couple anglers ventured out near Kipling however anglers are encouraged to stay off the ice. Be patient, it could save your life! Some of the river ice has just started breaking up.
Big Bay De Noc: Ice conditions are pretty much the same as Little Bay. The Ogontz area is mostly open water. Boat anglers could be launching soon.
Au Train: Anglers caught coho when jigging spawn straight out from the mouth of the river however ice conditions are deteriorating everyday so use extreme caution.
Munising: Catch rates have started to increase as more anglers head out. Warmer temperatures mixed with rain are deteriorating the ice. Shoreline ice around Sand Point and the Grand Island dock have begun to break up and areas with soft ice can be seen along the shoreline especially near the mouth of the Anna River. The heavily fished areas are getting harder to reach. Catch rates for coho picked up with some limits reported. Try jigging rapalas or Swedish pimples with cut bait 10 to 30 feet down in 40 to 60 feet of water. A few smelt were caught by those jigging for coho. Look for whitefish in shallow waters when bouncing a single egg just off the bottom. Perch and splake fishing were slow. Herring can be seen under the ice but those spearing did not have much luck.
Indian Lake: Anglers are targeting yellow perch in 5 to 7 feet of water in Lange’s Bay. Most are putting in a lot of time to walk away with 6 to 12 keepers.
Manistique River: Some are trolling spoons near the mouth for steelhead while others are casting spoons and rapalas while wading near the first dam.
St. Mary’s River: Anglers are doing well for perch in Maxton Bay when using minnows in 6 feet of water off Kempenians Resort. There is still ice in most of the bays but stay off any ice that reaches out to the swift current.
Munuscong Bay: Had a few anglers fishing near Grassy Island and Fowlers Bay. Look for perch between Dan’s Resort and Bois Blanc Point.
DeTour: Anglers are steelhead fishing just west of the river near the Albany Creek rock pile. A couple nice fish were caught on spawn bags or stickbaits. Green and silver were good colors. At DeTour Village, the docks were still iced in.
Cedarville and Hessel: Reported excellent perch fishing around Cedarville and in Musky Bay in 10 to 12 feet of water. Use caution.
Nunn’s Creek: The mouth has open water but no word on smelt yet.
Carp River: Both shorelines have open water but no reports yet.
St. Ignace: Had no activity to report. The city launches and the Pine River were still iced in.