Bass fishing leads the way in Dickinson, Iron counties

IRON MOUNTAIN – Anglers in Michigan and Wisconsin can anticipate success with bass if the past week’s steady activity is any indication.

“Everybody is catching some bass,” said John Grier of the Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township. “It’s been a good week.”

Grier mentioned an angler who had landed a big bass on the Menominee River and noted that some catches have been between four-and-a-half and five pounds.

Don Ciochetto of The Sport Shop in Iron River said bass were doing well in Iron County, as were bluegill.

In Florence County, Patti Teske of Florence Sport and Bait reported local success with bass and crappies. She also mentioned several good-sized northern pike caught using sucker minnows.

It continues to be a slow year for trout fishing in Iron County streams, according to Ciochetto, and walleye fishing in the area is down again.

Grier said some walleye were caught in Dickinson County this week, with one angler bringing in three nice fish. He added that panfish and perch have been doing well recently.

Hunters can apply for an antlerless deer license in the Norway unit. This year there’s a license quota of zero for public land and 500 for private land.

Hunters in Iron County are not as fortunate. In 2014, the license quota for both public and private land is zero.

Ciochetto said this has been a big talking point among hunting enthusiasts. The zero quotas are due to the harsh winter, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“This is the first year I can remember without an antlerless season,” Ciochetto said.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported that relatively light rainfall in the state during the last few weeks has allowed stream and river levels to drop a bit, though many northern lakes and flowages continue to be above normal summer levels.

Northwoods fish activity has been relatively steady, according to the DNR. Water temperatures have been hovering in the upper 60 and low 70s on most waters, and this has kept most species spread out from the shallows to deeper water.

The DNR noted that musky action showed a bit of a spike this week, and that northern pike and walleye fishing remained consistent.

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

Keweenaw Bay: A few chinook were caught by those trolling from Sand Point to Carla’s Restaurant. Try 25 to 50 feet down in 30 to 60 feet and trolling speeds between 2.2 and 2.8 mph. Lake trout, brown trout, splake and steelhead were also caught on orange, purple and green lures. Those jigging for lake trout did fair in 180 to 260 feet out from Jentoff’s Dock, Whir-I-Gig and the pine tree on the north side of Pequaming. Traverse Bay had fair catches of lake trout within 5 feet of bottom in 100 to 150 feet along the Mile Reefs or in 120 to 165 feet off Big Louie’s, Gay Point and Hermits Cove. Try spoons in a variety of colors including purple and white. For the South Portage Entry, lake trout were caught from the Lighthouse south to the Red Rocks along U.S. 41 when trolling 25 to 40 feet down in 30 to 60 feet with purple spoons. Lake trout were also caught when trolling in 90 to 180 feet along Farmer’s Reef and Newton’s Reef.

Lake Antoine: Anglers are catching lots of panfish but finding the bigger ones has become a challenge. Those drifting crawlers or using minnows caught bluegills, perch, sunfish, rock bass and the occasional crappie. Smallmouth bass anglers have caught some nice fish when casting crank baits or trolling lures.

Little Bay De Noc: Had fewer anglers as alewife and fly hatches are keeping the fish well fed. The boat launch at Kipling is closed until mid-August so crews can replace the ramp and do some dredging. A few walleye were caught in the “Fingers” which are straight out from the Ford River. Most were trolling crawlers or stick baits in 14 to 25 feet. Fair perch fishing at Gladstone when using crawlers or minnows in 14 to 25 feet and off the mouth of the Escanaba River in 25 feet. Pike anglers caught some big fish 40 inches or more when trolling crank baits or spoons in 12 to 22 feet near the Escanaba ship docks. Salmon fishing was fair to good out near the Ford River Can. Several fish over 20 pounds were caught 50 to 70 feet down in 110 to 120 feet.

Big Bay De Noc: Bass anglers report fewer catches than previous years and cooler water temperatures could be the reason why. Most were fishing the southern end of Kate’s Bay and near Garden Bluff with spinners, crank baits or plastics in 10 to 18 feet. Off Fairport, anglers reported fair to good catches when trolling spoons 50 to 70 feet down in 120 to 140 feet in the “Gap”. Copper was the hot color. Some anglers are doing well but others not so well. Surface waters temperatures were 54 to 56 degrees and somewhere near 44 degrees where the fish are.

Munising: Boat anglers targeting lake trout were also picking up a few splake, brown trout and steelhead. Catch rates for lake trout were slow. Boats were heading east along Pictured Rocks towards Grand Portal, around Grand Island and north of Wood Island.