The Northeast and Northwest Lower Peninsulas of Michigan offer excellent opportunities for anglers to catch a variety of fish species. From walleye to steelhead, pike to lake trout, these regions are a mecca for fishing enthusiasts. Let's take a closer look at the different fishing spots in these regions, and what anglers need to know to increase their chances of a successful fishing trip.
Tawas: Anglers reported that the majority of walleye catches came from Whitestone Point while trolling. Jigging for walleye off the pier has also started to pick up. Pier anglers reported that darker colors like army green and brighter colors worked well. Singing Bridge was spotty, but some walleye and brown trout were caught. The best lures for catching walleye are white jigs and spoons, and army green and brighter colored lures for trolling. The best time to fish for walleye is early in the morning and late in the evening.
Oscoda/Au Sable: Anglers reported seeing more and more walleye at the mouth of the river. White jigs were performing the best for walleye. Some steelhead were spotted here and there, and Atlantic salmon numbers were increasing a little bit at the mouth. Lake trout off the pier are becoming less frequent. If you're fishing for walleye, white jigs are the way to go. For steelhead and Atlantic salmon, spoons and spinners work well. The best time to fish for these species is during the spring and fall.
Presque Isle: Boat anglers braving the elements were catching lake trout and the occasional Atlantic from the lighthouse to Thompson Harbor in the 30 to 70 feet range. The cold water had the fish scattered through the water column, so spreading the lines out was most productive. Best results came from spoons in watermelon, yellows, orange, and gold. A few Atlantic salmon were caught from the pier while casting spoons in blue/silver, green silver, and orange. A number of pike moved in as well, with some very nice fish in the shallows. If you're fishing for lake trout and Atlantic salmon, spoons are the way to go, and the best time to fish for these species is during the summer months.
Rockport: Anglers targeting the waters around Middle Island were catching lake trout and Atlantic salmon. Orange, golds, and green spoons were productive in 25 to 40 feet down over waters 50 to 80 feet deep. White paddles with chartreuse spin glows were catching good numbers of trout in the lower portions of the water column. The best lures for catching lake trout and Atlantic salmon are spoons and spinners, and the best time to fish for these species is during the summer months.
Alpena/Thunder Bay River: Anglers were getting a good mixed bag of walleye, pike, bass, and occasional brown trout from the pier. Early morning and late evening anglers were having the most success with a wide variety of crankbaits and plastic baits. Anglers on the Thunder Bay River had the best luck jigging for walleye with plastics, crawlers, and jig/minnow combinations. Best results came from 2nd Street Bridge to the 9th Street Bridge. A fresh run of steelhead found their way into the river, and anglers were doing well on fresh spawn and beads at the 9th Street Dam. Boat anglers were doing well catching lake trout and Atlantic salmon in waters 50 to 70 feet. Spoons and flasher/spin glow combos were productive 30 to 40 feet down.
Cheboygan River: The entire barrage was ajar, causing the current to be vigorous. The suckers were swarming in the river, while steelhead were in the vicinity, but catching them was sluggish. The most effective technique was drifting or bottom bouncing fresh spawn sacs or beads. Anglers casted a medley of spoons and body baits, and a few smallmouth bass were seen in the river system.
Rogers City: Anglers aboard boats were successful in hooking some lake trout around the 40 Mile Point, particularly in depths ranging from 30 to 60 feet. They fished their lines near the bottom and throughout the water column. Dodgers, spin glows or spoons in shades of orange, green, or yellow were popular among them.
Ocqueoc River: The most favorable method of fishing was drifting spawn under bobbers or beads in deep holes. Atlantic salmon were caught at the mouth, and there were several smallmouth bass in the river system.
Manistee River: Steelhead were in low numbers, mostly exhausted and returning back to the lake. A handful of steelhead were hooked while bouncing beads, and boat anglers had some success plugging downriver. Suckers were plentiful in the river and caught on various natural baits while sitting on the bottom. Anglers caught some walleye, brown trout, and pike. Water temperatures remained at the low 50s, and water levels decreased over the past week.
Manistee Lake: High winds kept fishing pressure on Manistee Lake at a minimum. Anglers focused on perch, pike, and bass. Minnows and wigglers were effective for perch when jigging or still fishing at around 20 feet. Trolling with body baits proved to be the most successful method for pike. Bass were caught using spinners, soft plastics, and crankbaits while fishing in shallow weeds. The occasional bluegill, black crappie, and rock bass were also caught.
Manistee: Before the high winds and inclement weather, perch were caught by boat and pier anglers between the piers. It took some time to locate the larger perch as most were small. Wigglers were the most effective bait. Late at night, anglers targeting walleye caught a few off the piers. Anglers in the channel caught some keepers while jigging, but they also reported mixed bags and a few undersized walleye. Anglers trolling for salmon and trout found some spring Chinook just outside the harbor and north in 20 to 30+ feet. Brown trout were caught along the shoreline from the harbor to the north, and lake trout were reported in depths ranging from 20 to 70 feet of water.