U.P. antlerless permits reduced; bass fishing good, trout action up

IRON MOUNTAIN – Upper Peninsula hunters applying for antlerless deer permits will find licenses available in just three units this year – 055 (Menominee County), 122 (Norway unit) and 155 (Gladstone unit).

In each unit, no public land permits are available – only private land permits. Antlerless quotas have been restricted in the U.P. due to the severe winter and the resulting losses in the deer herd, said the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR map incorrectly lists the availability of permits in some areas, reported John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township.

As for fishing, trout action continues to be good and some nice-size crappie have been caught, Grier said.

“Anybody who wants to, can catch a bass,” he added.

Competitors in last weekend’s Badwater Bash bass tournament on the Menominee River were finding the biggest fish in deeper waters, said Walter Roberts at Florence Sport & Bait in Florence, Wis.

Surface baits are attracting musky and pike, he said. Walleye are biting on leeches, but a slow presentation seems to be needed.

At The Sport Shop in Iron River, Don Ciochetto said trout fishing is picking up, as anglers have observed a few small fly hatches.

“I guess the biggest news is no antlerless permits in this area,” he said.

At Midtown Bait & Tackle in Channing, Bob Kennard is well-stocked for this weekend’s Republic Sportsmen’s fishing derby on the Michigamme River.

Witch Lake continues to be good for both walleye and bass, Kennard said. One angler this week landed a 26-inch walleye at an undisclosed location.

“Crawlers are doing well,” he added. “The bass are killing them.”

On Lake Michigan, chinook salmon fishing started to take off the past week along Door County, with anglers were having luck up and down the peninsula, the Wisconsin DNR said.

Musky fishing has been steady in the Northwoods, with several anglers reporting multiple catches per trip.

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

Keweenaw Bay: The bite was slow with only a few salmon caught by those trolling in 30 to 60 feet from the Baraga Marina northward to Sand Point and the Old Mission. A few lake trout, brown trout, splake and rainbow trout were also caught. Most were fishing 25 to 45 feet down with spoons in orange or purple. Those jigging for lake trout had fair success in 180 to 260 feet out from Jentoff’s Dock, Whirl-I-Gig and the pine tree on the north side of Pequaming. In Traverse Bay, anglers were still picking up fair catches of lake trout in the bottom five feet of waters 100 to 150 feet deep near 5, 6 and 7 Mile Reefs or in 120 to 165 feet near Big Louie’s, Gay Point and Hermits Cove. Most are using spoons with purple and white the hot colors. Those jigging caught lake trout in 140 to 260 feet.

Lake Antoine: A lot of panfish are being caught but it is becoming a struggle to find the bigger fish. Boat and shore anglers are catching bluegill, sunfish, yellow perch and rock bass when drifting or floating minnows and crawlers. Bass anglers are still catching some nice large and smallmouth when casting crank baits near the lily pads and grassy areas. Those trolling crawler harnesses have also done well.

Marquette: Boat anglers reported slow fishing for lake trout with only a handful of anglers getting two or three fish near the “Sand Hole” east of the Chocolay River, towards the Sand River and Shot Point. Depths vary but try waters between 100 to 200 feet and deeper. Shore anglers at the Carp River caught a couple small rainbow trout.

Little Bay De Noc: Anglers were at the mercy of the winds which have slowed participation in both bays. Walleye catches were down and the better fishing was still in the southern part between Breezy Point and No-See-Um Creek when trolling or drifting crawlers in eight to 14 feet. Jumbo perch action was fair in 10 to 14 feet between the Second and Third Reefs. Fair to good perch catches off Gladstone and over to the West Bank when using crawlers in 14 to 30 feet. Northern pike were active around the mouth of the Day’s River. Many are trolling crawlers or crank baits in 14 to 20 feet. Salmon anglers reported fair catches north of the Ford River Can when trolling spoons or meat rigs 70 to 80 feet down in 100 to 120 feet.

Big Bay De Noc: Had rumors of walleye caught north of the Big Bay Shoals by those trolling crawler harnesses in 15 to 22 feet. Most anglers were after smallmouth bass but catch rates were down. The better fishing was at Ogontz and Kate’s Bay when trolling or casting plastics, crank baits or crawlers in 10 to 17 feet. At Fairport, feast or famine was the theme for salmon anglers. Most reported baitfish in the shallows however most of the salmon were caught deeper at 70 to 80 feet down in 120 to 150 feet.

Au Train: Had very low angler pressure. Those fishing primarily for lake trout had mixed results.

St. Mary’s River: Raber Bay, Swedes Point, and Maud Bay just north of Detour Village were slow for walleye, yellow perch and smallmouth bass because of the cold water temperatures.

Detour: Lake herring moved in last week and a few boats did manage to take limit catches near Cherry Island, Grape Island, and Howard Island. Red teardrops and wax worms were the ticket.