Upper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report – July 21, 2021

Ontonagon: When anglers did find fish, they primarily caught lake trout with an occasional coho mixed in. With the cooler water temperatures, anglers had to fish all over to find active fish. The lake trout coming in were loaded up with smelt with the average fish being in the two to four pound range. Walleye fishing on the Ontonagon River has been very hit or miss as anglers were finding a good number of sub legal fish and fighting to find the legals. Trolling and jigging were productive but make sure to bring extra tackle as the river is a snaggy beast!

Keweenaw Bay: In Huron Bay and Keweenaw Bay, anglers had luck both jigging and trolling for lake trout. Most of the fishing was done in deeper water. A few anglers were also able to catch brown trout and coho in Keweenaw Bay. In Big Traverse Bay, anglers reported success with both trolling and jigging as well.  Most of the fish caught were in water below 150 feet in this area and those surrounding. Near South Portage Entry, anglers reported a good catch of yellow perch, northern pike, smallmouth bass and rock bass.

Marquette: Lake trout catches were spotty. Some anglers found fish in 140 to 180 feet of water. A couple coho and a brown trout were reported being caught.

Munising: Pleasure boat traffic and jet skis have been extremely high. Counts have been over 50 trailers with very few actual boat anglers. However, the boats that were out targeted lake trout with decent catches of five or more fish per party of two and up to some limits. There was a heavy mayfly hatch. Big Reef was excellent with anglers either jigging or trolling and limiting out. Some big fish have been reported in the 15 to 20 pound range. Anglers fishing the reef were fishing the top of the reef and edges.

Grand Marais: Anglers are mainly targeting lake trout and coho and are doing great with most reporting limits of fish. Anglers are fishing mainly towards Five Mile, AuSable, near the shipping channels, towards Caribou Island and Big Reef.  Nice catches of fish averaging around 8 to 12 pounds have been coming off of Big Reef.

Little Bay de Noc: Walleye anglers that launched out of north shore managed to catch a few fish while trolling. Similar experience for those that launched out of the Whitefish River, although most were undersized. Smallmouth bass anglers were having some success. Some anglers fishing off the Gladstone fishing pier were catching perch and pike.

Big Bay de Noc: Smallmouth bass anglers were doing well. Reports of fair to good numbers being caught, along with some respectable sized fish in the mix. Perch anglers had variable success, with some able to catch their limit. Salmon fishing in Fairport seemed slow in comparison to previous weeks, although anglers were still making some contact with fish. Most are targeting depths between 100 to 150 feet of water.

St. Ignace/Les Cheneaux: The Walleye fishing near the mouth of the Pine River was still good. Anglers were catching a lot of smaller walleye mixed in with a few keepers. Anglers in the Les Cheneaux area were reporting that the smallmouth bass fishing was amazing and better than it has been in years. Anglers were having high catch rates and were throwing more legals back than non-legals. Anglers were catching smallmouth bass in Musky Bay and surrounding areas. The perch and pike were biting at the pier in Hessel mostly in the early morning hours. When fishing for walleye near the Pine River, use leaches and just drift.

Fishing Tip: A simple method for summer lake fishing

Sometimes we want to go fishing and enjoy getting out on the water, but just don’t want to expend a lot of energy – especially if it’s too hot to work hard at it. Here’s a laid-back way to cover water and find fish you might otherwise miss, without needing complicated gear or a fancy boat. All you need is basic fishing tackle and a watercraft. Even a rented rowboat, paddle boat or canoe can work.

Rig your rod with light line (4- to 8-pound test), tie a small hook on the end of the line (No. 4 or smaller), and add a split shot or two about a foot above the hook. Favorite baits for this method include half a nightcrawler or a baby crawler, leeches or even some of the heavily scented artificial leeches or small plastic worms. Hook the bait in the center of one end so it doesn’t spin when you gently pull it through the water.

Position your boat so the prevailing breeze will carry it along a drop-off or across any area with water depths of at least 12 to 20 feet. Let out enough line, or adjust the amount of weight on the line, so your bait will stay about 12 to 20 feet deep no matter how deep the water is. Then set your rod down against the side of the boat, relax and watch the tip of the rod for a bite. Drop the rod tip when you see a bite and count to three before reeling in and setting the hook with a firm pull. Not too hard!

Many fish, such as bass, walleye, yellow perch, crappie and larger bluegill, will move into deeper water and suspend at their preferred cooler temperature during the hot summer months. Slowly drifting a larger, natural bait at these deeper depths often will pan out.

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lauren B