Anglers still catching panfish

IRON MOUNTAIN – Anglers are still catching plenty of panfish – from nice-sized bluegill to perch – and have been doing well catching northern this week as well. Walleye fishing success is harder to come by and trout fishing remains slow.

At Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township, John Grier said a lot of anglers are going out and getting ready for what should shape up to be a good weekend.

“We’re real busy,” Grier said. “There are a lot of guys going out fishing, I know that. A lot of bass fishing right now, and a lot of panfishing, too.”

Grier said Friday afternoon he was selling suckers and leeches at a good pace. He reported the Groveland Mine ponds are a good spot for fishing right now and Way Dam is producing good fish as well.

At Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing, Bob Kennard said things are slowing down a bit at the shop.

“We’re still going through a lot of bait and seeing a lot of out-of-towners going fishing,” Kennard said. “Peavy Falls has been a good spot this week.”

At the Sport Shop in Iron River, Don Ciochetto said trout fishing seems to be down quite a bit over years past. “I don’t know if it’s because there’s less people going out, it’s just been really slow,” Ciochetto said.

He did talk to anglers who were catching plenty of bluegill and perch this week.

The Wisconsin DNR, in its weekly report said a suitable summer weekend awaits Wisconsin, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities, including angling, padding, camping and hiking.

Cooler weather has impacted anglers success across Wisconsin, including the Upper Chippewa Basin. Water temperatures have dropped to the lower 70s to upper 60s on most lakes and this has changed some of the regular fish patterns. Bass have continued to provide the most consistent action and success could be termed fair to good.

With the cooler temperatures, the mid-day period has produced the best catches, with soft-plastic baits and scented worms being the most productive.

A late summer pattern has set up on the western end of Lake Superior. The fantastic lake trout and salmon fishing that had been occurring in the spring and early summer has slowed considerably as fish disperse, and generally move deeper.

The Michigan DNR reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:

Keweenaw Bay: Catch rates were hit-or-miss but anglers did manage to catch Chinook, coho and lake trout. Fish were caught between Sand Point and the red rocks when using spoons 25 to 75 feet down in 30 to 80 feet. Trolling speeds were between 1.2 and 2.6 mph. Those jigging for lake trout did best out from the pine tree on Pequaming Point. Boats trolling near the Lighthouse, Farmers, Newton’s and the Big Reef took a fair number of coho and lake trout 25 to 70 feet down in 30 to 90 feet. Traverse Bay anglers are jigging for lake trout in 170 to 220 feet off Gay Point and Big Louie’s Point or trolling 60 to 145 feet down in 80 to 150 feet. Fish were also caught near Five Mile and Six Mile Reef.

Marquette: Surface water temperatures are averaging 60 degrees. Most anglers are targeting lake trout because few salmon were caught. They are heading north towards Presque Isle and the Clay Banks and using spoons or flies tipped with cut bait. Lake trout were averaging four pounds but a few were up to 12 pounds. A large fish weighing in at 34 pounds was caught last week! Some lake trout were caught out near Stannard Rock.

Menominee: Those heading out to the Whalesback and Green Island for salmon have not had much luck. Many were switching to walleye fishing. They are trolling north and south along the first drop off.

Menominee River: Those trolling crawlers or rapalas have caught smallmouth bass, walleye, pike, catfish and freshwater drum.

Cedar River: Anglers caught some nice smallmouth bass right along with the small ones when drifting crawlers, artificial shad or crayfish.

Little Bay de Noc: Walleye fishing was slow. Anglers were trolling or drifting crawler harnesses or rapalas in 18 to 23 feet of water near the mouth of the Escanaba River. When the weather allows, boats were heading south to Round Island, the “Fingers” or the Minneapolis Shoals. Those trolling crank baits in the early morning caught fish in 10 to 18 feet. A few nice perch were taken in 18 to 25 feet off the mouth of the Escanaba River. Perch fishing was fair to good around Butler Island but the fish were smaller. Try minnows or crawlers in six to 23 feet.

Escanaba River: Has had the most consistent walleye fishing. Anglers are trolling or drifting crawler harnesses or rapalas.

Big Bay De Noc: Bass fishing was fair off Ansell’s Point and Garden Bluff. Anglers were fishing six to 28 feet of water with crawlers and minnows. Some were trolling or drifting crank baits, spinners or plastic baits along the weeds. Ogontz had smaller fish. Perch anglers in Fayette reported several nice catches in the harbor when using crawlers along the weeds in eight to 14 feet. Those salmon fishing at Fairport picked up the occasional large fish. Some are fishing out deep but most were trolling spoons 60 feet down in 80 to 120 feet of water along the “Gap”.