Upper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report – July 9, 2020

Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay: Fishing slowed with a mayfly hatch. A few lake trout were caught, but getting them to bite was tough. There were reports of a few Chinook salmon found, along with lots of baitfish, throughout Huron, Keweenaw and Traverse bays.

Marquette: Most were launching from the Upper Harbor and fishing near Granite Island, the Pinnacles and in water up to 200 feet deep, where several nice catches of lake trout were reported. Look for the bugs and fish anywhere from 10 to 50 feet down.  Those jigging at Stannard Rock caught lake trout.

Little Bay de Noc: Walleye anglers reported a few catches in the Breezy Point area, but it was getting harder to even mark fish. Most were fishing the mouth of the Escanaba River and Whitefish River, but catch rates were tapering off and most of the fish were undersize. Perch anglers also reported less action, with most in the Gladstone Beach and Kipling area and using crawlers in 18 to 30 feet. The smallmouth bass action was best, and though fewer catches were reported, there was still enough action to keep them fishing. The mouth and into the Ford River reported fair catches when using plastics or crawlers, but most were undersize. Salmon anglers struggled with warm water. Surface water temperatures out by the Ford River buoy were well into the 70s.

Manistique: Most were trying 60 to 80 feet down near Barques Point, and while not a lot of fish were marked, some nice large Chinook were reported.

Manistique River: Was producing some decent smallmouth catches for those casting crawlers, plastics or crankbaits.

Au Train: Surface water is warming into the low to mid 60s. Lake trout were caught along the flats in Shelter Bay when trolling spoons in 80 to 120 feet. Purple and melon were good colors. Most fish were 3-5 pounds, but those jigging caught fish up to 8 pounds.

Munising: With the large fly hatches, lake trout were surface feeding. Those trolling Big Reef on the calm days were getting limit catches along the west end. Fish also were caught near Grand Island, the White Rocks the green can off Christmas in the west channel and near Grumps Hump. While salmon fishing was slow, a couple Chinook or coho were caught.

St. Marys River: A couple walleye taken in the early morning when casting a jig tipped with a piece of redworm just off the weed beds and rocky points at Round Island. The north shore of Raber Bay was producing pike up to 29 inches when trolling a chrome spoon with a red eye just off the weeds in 8 feet.

Detour: The Atlantic bite appears to have slowed. A couple healthy Chinook salmon were caught when trolling from the green buoy on the northwest side of the lighthouse.  Anglers used flashers trailed with silver and white squid baits 45 to 60 feet down in 90 feet. Most have switched from fishing salmon to lake herring.

Drummond Island: A few lake herring were caught on the northwest side at Howard Island, Butterfield and Maple Island when using an 8-ounce red or brown jig tipped with one or two wax worms. Try two cranks off the bottom in 26 feet around Howard Island.  Perch were caught on worms and shiners at the mouth of Harbor Island.

Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers are reporting a heavy fly hatch at McKay Bay, located 1 mile west of the Cedarville Stone Quarry. Even so, a fair number of lake herring were caught midday and late afternoon using a teardrop jig tipped with natural fly baits and wax worms. NOTE: McKay Bay is a shallow bay running 12 to 14 feet deep, and it is best to approach a school of fish slowly while trying to position your boat. Prentiss Bay had no reports of lake herring being caught. Good largemouth bass action throughout the Les Cheneaux Islands, especially in shaded areas and near structure. Try gold and silver leaf spinner baits or artificial frogs off the weed beds and lily pads. At Hessel, a few splake were caught south of the marina when trolling orange and chartreuse crankbaits around Goat Island and Wilderness Bay. Splake can be found in water as shallow as 12 to 14 feet if the water temperature is 55 to 58 degrees or colder. Yellow perch are still being caught along the finger docks at the marina. A couple nice smallmouth bass were caught along the outside of the fishing pier in the early morning and midday.

St. Ignace: Had no reports once again. Surface water temperatures were 73.6 degrees.  On the Pine River, limits of walleye up to 18 inches were caught by those trolling a crawler harness or body bait; however, anglers were sorting through a lot of small fish.  On the Carp River, a couple walleye were taken when bottom bouncing with crawlers.

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Fishing Tip: Fishing deep for post-spawn bluegill

After spawning, bluegills will move to deeper water for the rest of the summer, and larger bluegills can be hard to locate. They can be found living near the top of the thermocline (the layer of water between the deep and surface water), where water temperatures approach 69 degrees. Depending on the lake, this depth usually will be somewhere between 12 and 18 feet.

To locate this depth, either use a lake thermometer, available at most larger tackle stores, or contact the nearest DNR office. If the lake has a public access site, fisheries biologists will have surveyed it and will have a temperature-oxygen profile of the lake. This chart will identify the depth with a temperature near 69 degrees.

Try fishing at this depth, where the 69-degree temperature is close to the bottom – usually at the deep edge of weed beds. Use light line (4-pound test or less) tipped with a white ice-fishing teardrop jig baited with a wax worm. Some anglers use slip bobbers, while others fish European style with very long fiberglass poles. Early morning and dusk are most productive.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren B