Weather cools, but bass, pike still biting

IRON MOUNTAIN – Much cooler weather has resulted in fewer anglers out on the water and slowed fishing for some species, but not for all.

Despite the relatively quiet week, anglers continued to find success with bass on both Michigan and Wisconsin waters.

“The bass are still hitting all over,” said John Grier of Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township.

Grier added that northern pike are also doing well in Dickinson County, though recent catches were “nothing big.”

Patti Teske of Florence Sport and Bait said that anglers have had luck with pike and bass, as well as bluegill, in Florence County. She said pike catches have been around 20 to 30 inches.

In Iron County, pike, bass, bluegill, and perch have been doing well, according to Don Ciochetto of The Sport Shop in Iron River, though trout fishing in streams continues to be slow.

Grier said that trout fishing in Dickinson County has also been quiet, with many anglers figuring that streams are too low.

As weeds are getting thicker, Teske said that she has seen more anglers switching from traditional hooks to weedless lures.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), fishing for panfish has been very good in the northern portion of the state, with crappie, bluegill and sunfish caught in the shallows using worm or leeches for bait.

The Michigan DNR advises those fishing in shallow water bodies to look for shaded areas provided by vegetation or debris, where many fish species prefer to spend their time.

In addition, many fish species seek relief from the sun by becoming active later in the day, so anglers may want to try fishing at night during the summer “doldrums.”

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

Ontonagon: Fishing was fair with lake trout caught in 25 to 30 feet outside the breakwalls. Fish were also showing up in 60 to 100 feet. Try dodgers with spin-glows or green and orange spoons. Walleye fishing in the river was very slow.

Lake Antoine: Effort was down over the last week. Those fishing caught bluegills, perch and rock bass but most of the fish were small. Bass anglers casting crank baits caught smallmouth however the majority were too small to keep.

Marquette: Had good lake trout action along the Clay Banks, Granite Island and north along the drop-offs in 200 feet of water. Most are using spoons. Fish were caught towards the Sand River in 150 to 200 feet by those using dipsey divers and lead core. Most of the fish averaged three to four pounds.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye anglers reported fair catches. Those trolling crawler harnesses and crank baits in seven to 12 feet in the evening caught fish. Others marked fish in the Breezy Point area but water clarity was high and few fish were caught. Good to excellent smallmouth action between the Ford River mouth and Breezy Point and further south to No-See-Um Creek. Try four to 12 feet with crawlers, leeches, crank baits or plastics. Quite a few large fish were caught. Catch rates for perch were down. The better fishing was in 10 to 20 feet between the Day’s River and the Second Reef when using crawlers. A few jumbo perch were taken in seven to 10 feet off Breezy Point. Salmon anglers are heading south of the Ford River Can and fishing 40 to 80 feet down in 80 to 130 feet.

Big Bay De Noc: Smallmouth anglers had fair to good catches from Porcupine Point to Indian Point when casting or trolling crawlers, leeches, crank baits or plastics in four to 12 feet. Ogontz had similar results in three to eight feet and Kate’s Bay had good catches in 10 to 12 feet. Garden Bay had good to excellent perch fishing about 100 yards from the boat launch. Try crawlers in eight to 10 feet. At Fairport, salmon anglers had fair to good catches but the better locations changed daily. Try 40 to 90 feet down in 80 to 150 feet with copper, meat rigs and spoons. Many are now south of Poverty Island. Even though the fish are moving in and out, we are now at the peak of the salmon season so this is the time to get out there.

Munising: Catch rates for lake trout increased but most were putting in their time to earn their catches. The better spots were along Pictured Rocks, Grand Portal, Grump’s Hump and the Big Reef. Reports from the Big Reef indicate bigger fish are being caught and limit catches were the rule. Fish ranged 12 to 17 pounds. Pier fishing was slow especially for splake.