Michigan walleye season off to fair start; trout rivers still high
IRON MOUNTAIN – Spring fishing started this week in the U.P. and by most accounts it was a good opener.
The Upper Peninsula seasons for walleye, northern pike and muskellunge; and the catch-and-immediate-release bass season for all Upper Peninsula waters opened Wednesday.
John Grier at Whispering Pines in Breitung Township said he had some good reports on walleye fishing.
“A couple of guys caught their limit each,” Grier said. “Overall we’re off to a good start.”
Grier said he’s selling lots of minnows and some leeches.
At Florence Sport and Bait in Florence, Wis., Patti Teske said she heard good things as well.
“The walleye opener in Michigan seemed to be pretty good,” Teske said. “Guys were having real good luck with fatheads.”
Teske said anglers were catching some bass on the fatheads, too, although they couldn’t keep them.
Don Ciochetto at The Sport Shop in Iron River expects things to start picking up in the coming days.
“Haven’t heard too much yet,” Ciochetto said. “This weekend should really be the start. We need a little more warmer weather for things to pick up.”
Ciochetto said he’s spoken to at least one angler who had a good opener this week and caught some walleye on an unnamed lake in Iron County.
By most accounts the water is still too cold, high and dirty on most area rivers for successful trout fishing.
“Guys are going out and they’re able to wade,” Ciochetto said. “But as far as fly fishing goes there just aren’t a lot of hatches yet.”
Ciochetto said fly fishermen might try the muddler minnow if they’re venturing out this weekend.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said water temperatures in most Northwoods lakes should climb into the 50s as warmer weather arrives.
Bass fishing was great this week off Door County. Bass were being caught on both the Green Bay and lake sides with anglers reporting success from piers and boats on a variety of baits. Yellow perch fishing opens Monday on Green Bay and its tributaries.
The Michigan DNR reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:
Keweenaw Bay: Those trolling in shallow waters near the mouth of the Falls River did catch some salmon. Pier anglers caught coho and steelhead when casting lures or spawn bags.
Falls River: With water levels receding, anglers picked up a couple rainbow trout. The smelt run started. Some anglers said they put in a lot of time to get a couple gallons while others said they hit the run at the right time. Lake trout were caught in Little Traverse Bay by those trolling. Fish were also caught by those jigging in 140 to 170 feet of water out from Hermits Cove.
Silver River: Had reports of smelt.
Ravene River: Had reports of smelt but not sure how long the action will last.
Marquette: Fishing was slow for those trolling crank baits or stick baits. A few coho and smaller brown trout were taken between the Carp River and the Chocolay River. Anglers are reminded that the Upper Harbor is closed for dredging. The tentative completion date is early July. Boat anglers will have to use the Lower Harbor launch.
Carp River: Had few anglers once again because of the strong current.
Sporley Lake: Near Gwinn – the road is impassable due to washout and ruts. A construction crew will get there when the road restrictions are lifted.
Greenwood Reservoir: The spillway is like a water fall with no barrier. Boaters that are not paying attention could float off the edge.
Menominee: Those targeting walleye and brown trout had fair catches when trolling along the drop off in Michigan and Wisconsin. Some boats were anchoring in front of Seagull Bar Park and jigging. Those trolling north or south off Stoney Point caught some walleye and brown trout in 10 to 14 feet of water. Early morning was best with rapalas. Use caution when leaving the launch due to low water levels. Those trolling for trout in 8 to 14 feet of water near the Cedar River had slow catch rates.
Menominee River: Catch rates for walleye were slower but persistence paid off with at least one walleye per boat. Fishing from Stephenson Island upstream to the Hattie Street Dam was difficult because of the high water levels and the amount of water coming over the dam. White suckers were caught near the dam.
Cedar River: Some were steelhead fishing between the mouth and the Cedar River Campground but no fish were caught. They were casting spoons and spinners or floating yarn and flies. The walleye as well as the catch and release bass openers should be good.
Little Bay De Noc: Perch fishing picked up along the northern end of the bay for those using minnows and wigglers in 18 to 23 feet of water just off the green buoy. The “Narrows” also reported a few catches using crawlers and minnows in 30 feet. The walleye opener this week looked good especially near the mouth of the Whitefish River and near Kipling.
Big Bay De Noc: Had perch in Garden Bay but spawning is done so the number of fish caught has dropped. Anglers were still-fishing with minnows and crawlers in 6 to 12 feet of water in front of the Fishery. Many were anticipating a good weekend for walleye. Try fishing the head of the bay up by Tylene’s and out to the “Boot”, out by the Sand Pit near Nahma and over by the East Bank near Ogontz.
Au Train: Had good action over the last week for those trolling shallow running crank baits and stick baits in less than 20 feet of water. Catch rates were average between the Brownstone Launch and the Au Train River where they caught mainly coho, steelhead and brown trout. Those fishing near the mouth of the Rock River with spawn picked up couple steelhead.
Munising: Catch rates were just fair. Pier anglers caught a couple splake and steelhead when casting spawn. When boats can get out, they did manage to take a couple coho, steelhead and maybe a chinook. Shore anglers caught a couple steelhead or splake.
Grand Marais: The upper parking area is still blocked with construction debris. Strong winds produced enough wave action to remove the remaining snow and ice off the end of the pier. Those fishing off the pier caught a mix of whitefish, menominee, coho and steelhead. The whitefish were 12 to 15 inches but some bigger ones were caught. Coho were about 16 inches. Those surfcasting off the beach caught a couple coho. Boat anglers reported slow catch rates. Be sure to use caution when navigating around the newly completed breakwall. The water is very shallow between the shoreline and the south end of the breakwall. Watch for rocks in shallow waters on the bay side of the wall.
Two Hearted River: Has trout despite the high water levels.
Sucker River: The mouth has rerouted itself and is now coming out directly at the end of Cemetery Road. This allows much easier access.
DeTour: The water was cold and muddy. Temperatures here dropped from 85 to 35 degrees and the area received three inches of snow with the cold front.
Drummond Island: Yellow perch have been caught off Monahan’s Dock. Worms or small perch minnows worked best.
Carp River: Has been producing a good number of steelhead. Anglers are using fly rods with artificial baits, spinners or spawn. Hot colors were green, pink and red.