Bass, walleye, trout highlight fishing action

IRON MOUNTAIN – The weather may be unsteady, but fishing opportunities are plentiful.

“If you can find a good day to go out, overall fishing is really good,” said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township.

Bass are biting and bluegill and trout fishing is picking up, Grier said. A 17-inch brookie was among the week’s best catches.

At Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing, sales of leeches and fathead minnows are brisk as anglers target walleye and panfish on the Michigamme Reservoir.

“They’re catching fish,” said Midtown owner Bob Kennard. “Witch Lake has been good for walleye and bass, and Lake Ellen for bass,” he added.

Walleye fishing in Iron County has improved over the past few days, said Don Ciochetto at The Sport Shop in Iron River. “Some nice lake trout, too,” he said.

Bluegill action has gotten better as the fish move into their beds, although cooler weather has had an effect, he said.

“It hasn’t been a very good year for brook trout,” Ciochetto noted.

Wisconsin conservation wardens are reminding boaters of rules in place to avoid the spread of aquatic invasive species. Boaters must remove all plants from boats and trailers and drain all water from live sells and bilges before leaving a boat landing.

Smallmouth bass action has really picked up on Green Bay with bass being caught at many locations on the bay and lake side. On Sunday, two anglers reported catching 60 smallmouth in six hours, a rate of 10 fish per hour.

Lake Michigan trollers report fish have become more spread out and are moving into deeper water, but good populations of alewife also continue to keep fish near shore. Most report a mixed bag of rainbows, coho and chinook.

Biting flies being reported across Wisconsin, but especially in the north, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The bugs aren’t only bothersome to people but also to wildlife. There have been reports of loons being driven off their nests by the biting flies. In Vilas and Oneida counties there are estimates that 70 to 80 percent of loons have abandoned nests due to extremely high black fly numbers.

Deer being seen during the day are seeking breezier spots to escape the stings and bites.

The Michigan DNR advised boat anglers heading out into Lake Superior to use caution because of scattered ice flows and, believe it or not, icebergs. With surface water temperatures in the low 40s, the ice could be there until the end of the month.

The following fishing conditions were reported elsewhere across the Upper Peninsula:

Ontonagon: Had fair fishing with a mixed bag of lake trout, brown trout, Chinook, coho, walleye and rainbow trout taken by those trolling in 15 to 55 feet. They are using lead core and stick baits. Some also did well when trolling boards with spoons or body baits.

Ontonagon River: Had a few nice catches of walleye ranging 15 to 18 inches. Anglers are trolling body baits.

Keweenaw Bay: Had only a couple pieces of ice in the bay. Those trolling in 30 to 60 feet did manage to catch a few trout and salmon. Splake were caught shallow in four to 15 feet with spoons or body baits in a variety of colors. Splake were caught off the rock dock near the L Anse Marina and at the mouth of Linden Creek. Lake trout were caught by those jigging off the Whirl-I-Gig, Old Mission and off Pequaming. Try 180 to 260 feet of water with a 1/2 to 1 1/2 ounce jig head and cut baits such as a sucker. In Traverse Bay, anglers are trolling for lake trout in 130 to 180 feet off Big Louie’s and Gay Point or jigging in 20 to 260 feet off Big Louie s. Try spoons in a variety of colors. The bite from the South Portage Entry has picked up. Lake trout were taken 50 to 100 feet down in 60 to 130 feet when trolling spoons or body baits. Best speed was between 1.5 and 1.8 mph. Those jigging also caught some nice lake trout.

Lake Antoine: Shore anglers caught bluegills, perch, rock bass and crappie when still-fishing or drifting crawlers, minnows and wax worms. Bass anglers have done well when casting crank baits or trolling artificial baits.

Marquette: Boat anglers heading out 15 to 20 miles or more will need to use caution because of scattered ice flows including some large icebergs still in the area Catch rates were fair to good. Surface water temperatures remain in the low 40s. Chinook were hitting on spoons in less than 50 feet near the Carp River, Chocolay and Sand River areas. Most are using planer boards and high lines. Lake trout were caught mainly north of the White Rocks to Granite Island and towards Little Presque Isle in 150 to 200 feet or deeper. Try spoons with cut bait in the morning. Catch rates for coho were poor.

Little Bay De Noc: Had fair to good walleye catches from the Whitefish River south to the Center Reef when trolling or drifting crawler harnesses with crawlers in 14 to 24 feet as well as between the Second Reef and the east bank at Gladstone when trolling or jigging crawlers in 18 to 30 feet. Walleye fishing was very good off Breezy Point for those using crawlers with harnesses in eight to 10 feet. While some big fish have been caught many are now catching younger fish that range 16 to 19 inches. Smallmouth bass anglers report very good fishing throughout the bay especially near the Ford River. Most of the fish caught were males guarding the beds. Try casting, jigging or trolling plastic crank baits or crawlers along the edge and near structure in three to seven feet. Perch fishing was fair along the beach at Gladstone in 11 to 25 feet and near Kipling in 12 to 23 feet. Crawlers or minnows worked best.

Escanaba River: Reported fair walleye catches for those using crank baits or crawlers along the weed beds in 12 to 20 feet. Pier anglers fishing the river reported several catches when still-fishing with crawlers.

Big Bay De Noc: Walleye catches were good between Valentine Creek and Kate s Bay for those trolling or drifting harnesses with crawlers in 10 to 20 feet. Some did well when jigging along the weeds in shallow water off the northern end of Kate’s Bay. Good to excellent smallmouth action at the head of bay, near Ogontz and the South River area. Anglers are casting, trolling or jigging plastics, crank baits or crawlers in three to eight feet. At Fairport, some of the slips are just being filled as the season is just getting underway. No salmon reports as of yet but the water is cold.

Au Train: Catch rates increased for those targeting trout and salmon. Few coho were taken but small Chinook were caught in waters less than 40 feet deep in the mornings. Surface water temperatures were extremely cold at 40 degrees but warmer near the mouth of the Au Train River and the Rock River. Those trolling between the Brownstone Launch and the Au Train River did best. Lake trout have been caught east of Au Train Island, near the shipping channel and the Wood Island Reef in 150 to 200 feet. A number of lake trout were feeding on freshwater shrimp and insects and were seen surface feeding at night and pre-dawn.

St. Mary’s River: Near Sault Ste. Marie, northern pike action was good for those trolling spoons and bucktail spinners in Bay De Wasaui. Catch rates for walleye were excellent on the north end of Munuscong Bay near the mouth of the Munuscong River in four to six feet.

Detour: Anglers caught steelhead, Atlantic and Chinook salmon around the lighthouse. Try spoons and body baits in orange, watermelon, gold or green.

Drummond Island: Walleye fishing was still very good in the early morning or late evening in Scott Bay. Anglers are using planer boards and bottom bouncers with crawler harnesses in four to eight feet or long-lining with a tiny split shot ahead of a night crawler.

Carp River: Anglers are fishing the Carp River Bridge and McDonald Rapids for steelhead and suckers. The water is still fast and muddy, but anglers are harvesting fish on spawn, red or green spinners and orange yarn.