Michigan river levels running high and fast, DNR says
With the closing of walleye season, more anglers are starting to fish for steelhead and brown trout.
Water levels in many of the rivers are still running high and fast, making fishing more difficult, the state Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday in its weekly fishing report.
Ice fishing continues in the northern regions of the state.
Southeastern Lower Peninsula
Slow fishing continues on Lake Erie. Few anglers have been out due to strong winds. Bluegill, perch and crappie have been caught in the cuts and canals. Light numbers of steelhead have been caught in the Huron River when drifting spawn, wax worms or plugs. Some nice fish have been caught on black and silver Hot-n-Tots. Anglers are fishing the lower river or near Flat Rock.
Anglers are starting to catch walleye in the Detroit River. Water levels are still running a bit high, so anglers should use caution and watch for floating debris or ice on the river. Fish have been caught in the lower Trenton Channel below Detroit Edison near the hot water discharge. Anglers are using a jig and a minnow. Good catches of perch and northern pike were reported in the lower river near Gibraltar in the canals.
In Lake St. Clair, light catches of perch were reported near the mouth of the Clinton River on a bobber and a minnow. Some anglers are shore-fishing from the point near the Harley DNR ramp. A few perch have been caught in Anchor Bay near Selfridge. The St. Clair River is producing fair to good catches of chinook and coho. Anglers are fishing just south of Algonac in about 60 feet of water. Some walleye have also been caught when handlining or jigging.
In Saginaw Bay, the ice is out along the west shore from Erickson Road south to Bay City. Slow fishing near Pinconning. On the east side, strong winds over the last week have broken up the ice. A few anglers have been fishing off Bay Port in air-boats. Fishing on both the Saginaw and Tittabawassee rivers was slow due to strong currents and muddy water. With walleye season closed, anglers are starting to fish for suckers. It may be a bit early, but warmer weather should produce some better fishing.
Southwestern Lower Peninsula
Anglers are fishing off the piers at St. Joe. Light numbers of steelhead and brown trout have been caught on spawn. River conditions were starting to improve on the St. Joe River. Fishing remains slow between Niles and Buchanan. Boat anglers are fishing between Buchanan and Berrien Springs for steelhead. Water conditions on the Dowagiac River have also improved, and the river is now fishable.
No ice fishing as no safe ice was reported in this region of the state.
Fishing was slow in the Kalamazoo River due to high water levels. Anglers have spotted steelhead, but the bite has been slow. Near Grand Haven, anglers are fishing off the piers and starting to catch steelhead. Anglers have caught light numbers of steelhead in Lake Macatawa.
In the Grand River near Grand Rapids, water levels were still high, but are starting to come down. Anglers should use heavier line and bright colors until the waters are back to normal. Steelhead have been caught near the Sixth Street Dam on spawn, yarn or flies. Suckers were just starting to bite. Near Lansing, channel cats have been caught on cut bait. Steelhead action has been very light, but a few fish have been caught near Lyons. The Webber Fish Ladder near Portland will open on Friday. The waters have been too cold for fish to pass, but once the water temperatures get into the 40s, the fish will start to move. A couple of large carp have been caught near the North Lansing Dam.
Anglers fishing at Muskegon have caught light numbers of steelhead and brown trout off the piers. Some walleye have been caught in the waters of Lake Michigan near the channel. In Muskegon Lake, boat anglers are catching perch in 30 feet of water. Though water levels in the Muskegon River have started to drop, the water is still high and turbid especially near Newaygo. Some fresh fish have been caught when drifting spawn or flies over the deeper holes.
Northeastern Lower Peninsula
Few anglers are fishing the inland waters from Cheboygan to Rockport. At Alpena, anglers are catching light numbers of steelhead in the Thunder Bay River. The boat launch on the river is now open, and the walleye will soon be staging in the waters of Lake Huron near the mouth of the Thunder Bay River. Good fishing is expected off the mouth of the Thunder Bay River as the weather gets warmer.
Near Oscoda, steelhead fishing has been fair to good when floating wax worms or spawn. Some are drifting flies below Cooke Dam. The mouth of the river is ice free, and the DNR boat ramp is open.
Anglers are still getting out near Tawas Point and Jerry’s Marina and taking walleye just off the mouth of the Tawas River. A few brown trout along with some perch have been caught behind the state police post. Anglers are cautioned to check ice conditions before going out. The boat launch at Tawas was still iced in.
Anglers continue to catch light numbers of walleye off the mouth of the Au Gres River. Check ice conditions before going out. On the East Branch of the Au Gres River, anglers are starting to catch light numbers of steelhead near the mouth of Whitney Drain. A few suckers have been caught on the Rifle River near Omer.
Good numbers of smelt continue to be caught in Higgins Lake near Big Creek in 15 feet of water. Anglers are using Hali jigs with a wax worm or spike. Perch fishing has been fair. Lake trout and whitefish can be found in 110 to 120 feet of water. Most are fishing just off the bottom with spawn or pieces of minnow. Some whitefish in the 7-pound range have been caught. Rainbow trout can be found when fishing near King Road or Gerrish Park. Anglers will want to target the shallow waters near any warm springs.
Northwestern Lower Peninsula
Fishing continues on the inland lakes in the region. Burt Lake has produced fair catches of perch in Maple Bay near the State Forest Campground. The large perch have been caught in waters at least 30 feet deep. Perch and bluegill can be found in Crooked and Pickerel lakes. Perch fishing was fair in Lake Charlevoix.
At Traverse City, good catches of whitefish have been caught in the East Bay near Elk Rapids when jigging Pimples in 200 feet of water. Fishing has been slow in the West Bay. Thin ice has stopped the ice fishing, and boats are not able to get out. Steelhead fishing has been fair in the Boardman River. Shore anglers are fishing near the mouth of the river when there is no ice present.
Frankfort has open water. Anglers are fishing off the piers and catching light numbers of brown trout and steelhead. Betsie Bay has open water. Anglers have caught some trout in the Betsie River, but the waters are still cold. Fish have been caught at the Homestead Dam on spawn, flies and yarn. Lake trout and perch have been caught in Crystal Lake. Anglers need to watch for thin ice along the shoreline. Fishing in Green Lake was slow. Some perch have been caught on jigs with minnows in 60 feet of water, and the smelt fishing was spotty.
At Manistee, water levels are starting to recede slowly in the Big Manistee River. Lower sections of the river below High Bridge are still a bit dirty, and catch rates were slow. The better action is up at Tippy Dam for boat and shore anglers. Some chrome-colored fish have started to show up in the river along with some smaller brown trout. Anglers are fishing off the piers, but the bite has been slow. In Manistee Lake, boat anglers are catching steelhead on spawn in front of the channel. Portage Lake is producing fair to good fishing for perch and bluegill.
At Ludington, anglers are catching steelhead and brown trout off the piers. The Pere Marquette River is still running high and fast, but should be fishable by the end of the week. Anglers are catching some steelhead on spawn. Unsafe ice conditions remain on Pere Marquette Lake. Areas of spotty ice or skim ice are keeping boat anglers on shore.
Fishing in Keweenaw Bay has been slow because of additional snowfall and high winds. A few anglers found success when fishing for lake trout and herring. In Green Bay off Menominee, additional snowfall with high winds created whiteout conditions, and fishing was pretty much shut down.
Most anglers were fishing the Menominee River. Those casting from shore reported fair success for brown trout and steelhead between the Train Bridge and the First Dam on spinner baits.
Few anglers were counted on Little Bay De Noc. Additional snowfall and ice conditions are making travel difficult. Whitefish have been caught out from the Escanaba Yacht Club and near Sand Point when jigging a single egg in 65 to 80 feet of water. Ice conditions have been poor near Kipling because of snow and slush, and the fishing has been slow. Anglers are reminded that all ice shanties must be taken off the water by March 31st. Anglers may want to start removing some of the shanties in the parking lot at Kipling so there will be more parking spaces available.
Near Marquette, anglers reported good catches of chinook, coho and splake in the upper harbor on lead head jigs. Anglers need to pay attention and watch for the large chunks of ice blowing in and out of the harbor. Catches of whitefish and splake were slow at Munising. Herring have been speared at the mouth of the Anna River. Light numbers of coho and smelt have been taken in Trout Bay.
With temperatures falling below freezing at night, ice conditions on many of the inland lakes has improved, but the fishing has been slow. Perch fishing was slow on the Manistique lakes, with the exception of some good catches reported from isolated areas on both North Manistique and Big Manistique lakes. Perch have been caught in Brevoort Lake on minnows. Near Munuscong, anglers are catching 10 to 13 inch perch in shallow waters 3 to 5 feet deep around Grassy Island.
May your Powder stay dry!