Weekly Fishing Tip: Go “Hunting” for Fish this Fall
Autumn can be one of the best times of year to seek out your favorite fish species for a day of fun angling. Several species to target this October and November include walleye, perch and trout.
Walleye are thought to be in their best condition in the fall, and can often be found in the river-mouth areas of larger, inland lakes. They’re gathering there to take advantage of baitfish that like to hang out as the weather cools off. Set your sights on 10 to 12 feet deep to find these guys.
Perch will also populate around those same river-mouths, but these fish will likely be much closer to the river than walleyes. Check out depths as shallow as four feet to find them.
Trout will be available in those larger lakes as well during this time period, and can be found in the same areas as the walleye and perch.
Try your luck at some great angling this fall. For more information on the numerous opportunities to fish in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.
Anglers are reminded that all Type 1 and Type 2 rivers and streams along with the Type A and Type D inland lakes closed to fishing on September 30. Lake trout season on the waters of Lake Huron and northern Lake Michigan also closed on September 30. The waters of Lake Michigan between Arcadia and New Buffalo will remain open for lake trout until October 31.
Fisheries Division is asking for your cooperation in completing a survey by the University of Toledo regarding the use of live bait. The purpose of this survey is to find out what factors Michigan anglers consider when choosing live baitfish as some types can be infected with viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) and the disease can be spread to many species including sport fish in the Great Lakes area. The results of this survey will be beneficial to the division regarding future bait regulations. The survey can be found at: http://uac.utoledo.edu/uacsurveys/lecmfs.htm.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: Anglers were coming in with better numbers of perch when fishing 13 to 17 feet of water in Brest Bay or 18 to 22 feet of water around Buoys 1 & 2, off the Raisin River, Stony Point and Bolles Harbor. Emerald shiners worked best. For walleye, try shallow waters near the Raisin River or up near Pt. Mouillee.
Detroit River: Perch are being caught but it is the walleye anglers doing well when trolling crawler harnesses or minnow-type lures in the lower river. Jigging was productive.
Lake St. Clair: Water levels have fallen noticeably over the past three weeks. Boat anglers need to use caution when traveling in shallow waters. Perch fishing has picked up for those using minnows and worms around the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club and out by the shipping channel. Bass fishing was good in shallow waters since water temperatures have dropped over 10 degrees since September 1.
St. Clair River: Bass fishing slowed. Walleye have been caught up near Algonac. The harvest season for sturgeon closed on September 30 but the catch and release season remains open until the end of November.
Lexington: Pier anglers caught the occasional Chinook brown trout or walleye. Many were getting frustrated because they can see brown trout cruising inside the harbor but they are not biting which is not unusual for this time of year. The better fishing is early morning or at night.
Port Sanilac: Boat anglers caught steelhead in 35 to 65 feet of water. Pier anglers have caught the occasional Chinook, brown trout or walleye.
Harbor Beach: Those trolling have caught steelhead 25 feet down in 100 feet of water. The fish are running five to eight pounds. As the lake starts to turn-over, the fish will scatter and you will spend more time trying to locate them. Those trolling the channel off the Detroit Edison Plant caught brown trout. Pier anglers fishing the north wall caught a few walleye towards evening.
Saginaw Bay: Had good perch fishing from several location along the shipping channel including Buoys 17 & 18, 11 & 12 (the Spark Plug), 8 & 9, 1 & 2. The fish are averaging eight to 10 inches at all locations. Shiners remain scarce at local bait shops however if you can get them you will catch perch. Boats from the east side of the bay are crossing “the Bar” to fish in the shipping channel. Some out of Quanicassee were trying in the “Slot” however they were not getting as many as those fishing along the shipping channel. At Caseville, pier fishing for smallmouth bass has been good when the water is choppy, but poor on calm days.
Saginaw River: Anglers are starting to fish for walleye, but success was spotty.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
St. Joseph River: A few salmon and steelhead moved through the Berrien Springs fish ladder. Water levels are low, so boaters need to use extreme caution.
Kalamazoo River: Is producing salmon. Target the deeper holes between the mouth and the Allegan Dam.
Grand Haven: Salmon fishing has slowed. Boats are fishing 80 to 150 feet down in 150 to 210 feet of water with UV paddles and flies. Pier anglers are casting spoons or floating spawn and alewife for a limited number of Chinook, coho and steelhead.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Is producing coho and the occasional Chinook. Fish were caught on spoons, spinners, wobble glows, spawn or flies. The Chinook salmon are not up near the dam yet. The fish are coming in slower this year due to the low water levels. Brown trout should be moving up in the next week or two. Bluegill and crappie were hitting on leaf worms, wax worms or minnows at Millennium Park.
Grand River at Lansing: Is producing coho at the point where the Grand meets the Red Cedar, the Moore’s Park Dam and the North Lansing Dam. Most fish were caught on bright colored spinners such as pink, green, chartreuse or glow. Catfish were caught near Portland.
Looking Glass River: Continues to produce some nice northern pike off Babcock’s Landing. Anglers are using spinners or sucker minnows.
Jackson County: The inland lakes are producing walleye, crappie and bluegills.
Calhoun County: Lake-of-the-Woods was producing a few nice bluegills. Anglers on Duck Lake caught bass and crappie.
Reeds Lake: Those fishing the shallow waters have caught bluegills on poppers. Perch and crappie were caught on minnows or wax worms.
Muskegon: Was slow. Boats are putting downriggers 100 to 200 feet down in waters up to 300 feet deep. They are using white paddles with a UV blue fly and spoons in green or blue.
Muskegon Lake: Was producing walleye for those fishing along the drop-offs.
Muskegon River: Salmon are in the river but the fish were running smaller with an average size of 10 to 14 pounds. The tributaries are now closed to fishing.
Whitehall: The boats are out again and catching coho 70 feet down in 140 feet of water. Some have started to catch steelhead 40 feet down in 120 feet of water.
White Lake: Fish are still stacked up just inside the lake. Try 50 feet of water with yellow, green and red stick baits or double jointed rapalas.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Cheboygan River: Anglers are shore fishing for Chinook all the way down to the lock and dam. Fresh spawn works best. Boat anglers are trolling from the mouth up to the foot bridge.
Rogers City: Weather changes have triggered some good steelhead fishing for those using early summer patterns. The number of fish in Swan Bay is still low. Those targeting them have come up with one or two fish when casting bombers or Cleo’s. Some are trolling J-plugs and bombers off boards in shallow waters five to 20 feet. The better fishing has been for young Chinook and steelhead out from the marina, Forty Mile Point and Calcite Harbor in the top 50 feet of waters 60 to 90 feet deep. The marina and fish cleaning station will be open through October 15.
Presque Isle: Look for baitfish off Big Lighthouse Point, off the red can or just south towards Stoneport. The marina is now closed. The docks are still in at the launch ramp however there is not light for those coming in late at night.
Rockport: Pier anglers caught Chinook when casting Cleo’s or rapalas.
Alpena: Perch and smallmouth bass were caught in the marina.
Thunder Bay River: Pink and Chinook salmon have been caught near the dam and the 9th Street Bridge. Spinners, spoons, rapalas and spawn worked best and the hot colors were green, yellow and orange multi color.
Harrisville: Catch rates were spotty even with water temperatures coming down. Water levels are down in the harbor and sand bars are popping up everywhere. The fish that have been caught were good color and healthy. Try spoons, body baits or spawn in the early morning or late evening. Walleye have been coming in and around the harbor. Most fish were caught after sunset.
Oscoda: Pier anglers are catching fish with spoons, body baits or spawn. The fish are silver and still in good shape.
Au Sable River: Salmon are slow coming into the river as water temperatures were still near 60 degrees and water levels are low. A few were caught behind the bank in town. Brown trout have been caught and steelhead should start making their way up in the next week or two.
Tawas: Those trolling body baits caught some nice steelhead out near Buoy #2. Boat anglers caught perch off Jerry’s Marina and the State Harbor. Pier anglers caught perch on the right day as some days were better than others. Shore anglers and those wading caught Chinook salmon along with the occasional walleye near the mouth of the river. Fish early morning or at dusk.
Tawas River: Is producing trout and salmon especially in the lower river.
Au Gres: Had good perch fishing in 35 to 47 feet of water out near the shipping channel between the Gravelly Shoals and Pointe Au Gres. The fish are running eight to 12 inches. Those surfcasting caught Chinook salmon.
Au Gres River: Anglers are getting some Chinook in the lower river. This is a surprise as Chinook salmon have not been seen there in quite a while. Salmon were caught near the Singing Bridge.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Harbor Springs: Is producing Chinook salmon. Lake trout season is now closed.
Petoskey: Anglers seen fish porpoise near the end of the piers but they would not bite. Boat anglers were casting spoons and crank baits in the same area. Shore anglers are fishing off the pier, wading off the beach or fishing off the docks in the marina. They are using spoons, crank baits with or without joints, spawn or skein under a bobber. Fire-tiger, green and blue were good colors.
Bear River: Had lots of anglers at the dam and downstream. Catch rates were still a bit slow but those using spawn, skein, yarn or crawlers might land a fish. Pink salmon were also showing up and were caught on a single green rubber egg.
Charlevoix: Even though the winds were no longer a factor, few boats were heading out. Those that did were fishing inside the breakwall near the Cement Plant. They are casting long and skinny crank baits or spoons. Those wading near Medusa Creek in the early morning or late evening caught salmon on spoons or crank baits. Spawn and skein still caught fish during the day. Smallmouth bass were caught on minnows or crawlers in the channel.
Boyne River: Has a fair to good salmon run in progress.
Traverse City: A few boats were trolling for salmon. Perch anglers had a difficult time finding fish but a few were caught when still-fishing with minnows or wigglers.
Elk River: Those fishing spawn bags near the power dam caught fish.
Boardman River: Still has a decent number of Chinook and coho. Lake trout have also been caught. Drifting skein under a bobber was the most consistent.
Frankfort: Water levels are still way down and the surface temperatures were still right around 60 degrees. Boat and pier anglers have caught coho, steelhead and brown trout as they move into the area. Those jigging in the bay and near the car ferry landing have caught Chinook salmon.
Betsie River: Inside the bay, boat anglers are trolling or jigging for Chinook. Fish are moving up into the river with plenty of activity noted at the Homestead Dam.
Anglers are reminded that a portion of the lower river and the eastern end of Betsie Bay (also known as Betsie Lake) will close to fishing on October 10, 2012 and remain closed until further notice to protect the fall salmon run. Low water levels in Lake Michigan have caused very low levels in the east end of Betsie Bay, with sand flats becoming exposed. Because of the extremely low water, Chinook salmon are having a difficult time entering the river to spawn. Anglers are being asked to avoid the area. Those walking around on the exposed sand flats are unintentionally spooking the fish, causing them to beach themselves and die before they can enter the river to reproduce. Additional information regarding the closure can be found at http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/MIDNR-538d7e.
Onekama: The Lake level is down far enough that you can stand at the end of the north pier and watch the coho swim by. Boat anglers are getting out and trolling the shoreline to the Barrel. They have caught a few coho and some young Chinook.
Portage Lake: Catch rates for panfish including perch are starting to pick up but most of the fish were small. Try wigglers and worms. Bass anglers are doing well along the drop-offs with several fish ranging four to five pounds.
Manistee: Boats were heading out to waters over 300 feet deep for salmon and steelhead. Try 50 to 90 feet down with orange or green spoons. Catch rates slowed for those trolling around the piers.
Manistee River: Is producing some Chinook and steelhead below Tippy Dam. Early morning was best.
Ludington: Fishing has slowed around the piers but a few Chinook were caught on plugs. A good number of fish are now in Pere Marquette Lake or up in the river. Water temperatures were still 60 degrees. Boats are heading out to waters 200 to 300 feet deep and fishing the top 100 feet of water with orange or green spoons.
Pere Marquette River: Salmon have been caught throughout the river, but the fish are moving slower this year. Some nice brown trout were caught.
Pentwater: Steelhead and lake trout have been caught in the top 40 feet of waters 200 to 400 feet deep. Some also caught the occasional Chinook or coho.
Pentwater River: Anglers are targeting salmon.
Ontonagon: Had very little fishing activity however anglers reported good lake trout action near Silver City. The reefs in and around Union Bay were producing eight to 12 pound lake trout. Anglers are trolling spoons or spin-glows in 30 to 70 feet of water.
Black River Harbor: Boats trolling in 40 to 60 feet of water near the mouth of the river caught coho and steelhead.
Black River: Is producing Chinook and pink salmon just below Rainbow Falls.
Keweenaw Bay: Had good salmon action 35 to 50 feet down in 40 to 60 feet of water or 50 to 65 feet down in 130 to 150 feet. Most of the catch was coho followed by lake trout and steelhead. In Traverse Bay, lake trout were caught between Gay Point and Big Louie’s Point in 130 to 160 feet of water or around Five Mile and Seven Mile Reef in 90 to 140 feet. Those jigging off Big Louie’s Point caught lake trout in 230 to 280 feet of water. Coho and lake trout were caught off the South Portage Entry. Try 60 to 130 feet of water along Farmer’s Reef, Big Reef or Rabbit Island.
Fall’s River: Anglers caught coho and pink salmon when casting spoons and spinners or drifting crawlers and spawn bags.
Marquette: Boat and shore anglers are catching fish. Coho action was fair at the Carp River for those using crawlers with light split shot. A few Chinook were caught. Some caught fish when casting spoons, spinners or stick baits. Lake trout action was fair in 180 to 200 feet of water with fish averaging three to 10 pounds. Lake trout have started to move in closer to shore as they get ready to spawn. Surface waters temperatures were still in the upper 50’s.
Dead River: Had a few more Chinook salmon. Anglers are using flies, light spoons or spinners. No coho to report this week but pink salmon are present and hitting on crawlers or small spoons.
Menominee: Walleye fishing was best in Michigan waters. Follow the shoreline and fish along the drop in 20 to 30 feet of water. A few were fishing Green Island but catch rates were slow. Walleye action was fair off the mouth of the Cedar River when trolling north and south. Try crawler harnesses during the day and switch to reef runners or thundersticks after dark. No reports from Stony Point as water levels at the launch were very low.
Menominee River: Boat anglers caught small walleye. A few more Chinook, pink salmon and brown trout were caught upstream of Stephenson Island. Those fishing downstream of the island caught smallmouth bass and rock bass. Shore anglers at the Hattie Street Dam are catching more trout and salmon.
Cedar River: Water levels were still very low and those trying did not catch anything.
Ford River: Anglers are catching Chinook. Try spawn, spoons or crank baits.
Little Bay De Noc: Had fair walleye catches off Kipling when trolling or drifting crawler harnesses in 18 to 30 feet of water or the Black Bottom and near the mouth of the Escanaba River in 8 to 30 feet of water. Several reported good catches of perch in the same area when using crawlers in 20 to 30 feet.
Escanaba River: Had the better fishing with Chinook salmon caught up near the 1st Dam by those casting spoons, crank baits or spawn.
Big Bay De Noc: Had lots of smallmouth bass anglers fishing between Garden Bluff and Snake Island. They were drifting or still-fishing with minnows, crawlers, tube baits or crank baits in 18 to 25 feet of water. Live bait worked best.
Au Train: Boat anglers caught coho between the Rock River and Shelter Bay. Try 40 to 50 feet of water with spoons or stick baits.
Rock River: Shore anglers caught a few coho at the mouth and below the spillway with spawn or crawlers. Early morning is best. The fish average between 19 and 21 inches. No Chinook salmon to report.
Munising: Boat traffic increased with the better weather. Catch rates have improved some but were still spotty with an average of one or two fish taken along the eastern shoreline. Water temperatures were still 58 degrees. Pier anglers reported slow catch rates for steelhead and coho. Splake have been caught but the fish were running on the small side. The bite stopped at sunset. Some are casting bright colored spoons and spinners while others are using spawn bags. Orange spinners worked best. Those surfcasting managed to catch a few coho.
Grand Marais: Coho and steelhead were caught by those trolling bright colored spoons or spinners. Pier anglers are casting spoons but catch rates were slow. Shore anglers managed to catch coho and steelhead with spawn bags or crawlers.
Two Hearted River: Has excellent coho fishing in the river and off the mouth. Those surfcasting have done well when casting small spoons, small minnow shaped plugs or when drifting spawn bags.
St. Mary’s River: Those fishing Munuscong Bay caught musky around Tea Cup Island, the south end of Rock Cut, and east of Kemps Point when trolling black bucktail spinners or rubber body shad in eight to 12 feet of water. Smallmouth bass were caught around Moon Island. Pike and smallmouth bass were caught off Maple Point, Birch Point and Rocky Point when trolling gold and red deep diving crank baits in six to 10 feet of water. Those fishing Raber Bay caught perch halfway between the launch and Round Island or long the north end of Lime Island. Anglers are reminded that lake trout season closed on September 30.
Detour: A few young Chinook salmon were caught 48 to 60 feet down in 90 feet of water around the lighthouse. The mature fish have moved into the harbor where they are staging before they spawn. Other spots to fish are the Old Coal Dock, north of Detour Village, and northwest of Pipe Island. Yellow perch were caught around Ashman Island, Peck Island, Rutland Island and Scott’s Bay. Spreaders with minnows in 12 to 16 feet of water worked best. Smallmouth bass are hitting rubber tube baits off Bruce Point and Peck Island.
Cedarville and Hessel: Perch fishing has picked up in Government Bay, Cedarville Bay and Musky Bay in eight to 12 feet of water with minnows or crawlers.
Carp River: Is full of pink salmon and also has Chinook mixed in as well. Nunn’s Creek is producing Chinook. Anglers are surfcasting near the mouth.
St. Ignace: Boats out trolling caught some nice Chinook in 60 to 70 feet of water.
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