Upper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report – July 15, 2020

Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers fishing Huron, Keweenaw and Traverse Bays are all reporting similar catches. Jigging for lake trout is producing the highest yield of fish. Those trolling for salmon found a few but caught more lake trout.

Marquette: Surface water temperatures rose to about 70 degrees nearshore and in the mid-60s offshore. With a large fly hatch, lake trout were surface feeding, so the bite was very slow. Most were getting only one or two fish per trip.

Little Bay de Noc: Overall walleye fishing was slow, with the exception of the “Black Bottom” area, where anglers trolling a crawler harness or stick baits in 14 to 35 feet along the east bank had a few limit catches in the early morning. Fair perch fishing between the second and third reefs or south of the “Narrows” using crawlers or minnows in 30 feet. Small bass were caught near the Ford River mouth with crawlers or when casting plastics. A few salmon showed up just north of the Ford River buoy and were found 60 to 90 feet down in 110 feet.

Manistique: Salmon catches were spotty, with most fishing 60 to 105 feet down in 100 to 120 feet around Barques Point. The Chinook are either very big or small with few in between. Anglers are reporting big lake trout this year, with many over 12 pounds.

Manistique River: Walleye anglers reported fair catches on jigs with crawlers or casting stick baits up near the dam and around the breakwall. Smallmouth bass fishing was good for those casting plastics or using crawlers.

Manistique Lake: Fishing slowed in both lakes; however, anglers still were taking limits of panfish in South Manistique.

Munising: Lake trout fishing was very slow due to a large fly hatch. The fish are surface feeding. Few anglers had been out, as many were fishing from Manistique and off Fairport for Chinook.

St. Marys River: Those fishing near Sault Ste. Marie caught Atlantic salmon, whitefish and lake herring. Most were fishing behind the federal powerhouse or the Cloverland Powerhouse. Walleye anglers reported fair catches at Carlton Creek when trolling a purple beaded crawler harness and bottom bouncer in 8 to 14 feet in the early morning.  Carleton Creek is located 1.5 miles south of the Raber Bay boat launch. Straight across Raber Bay, on the north side of Lime Island, try both sides of Round Island when trolling a crawler harness and bottom bouncer in 8 to 10 feet early morning or late evening.

Detour: Limit catches of lake trout were taken 2 miles south of the Detour Reef and lighthouse when trolling a purple and chrome or black and white 4-inch spoon. Best catches came when skipping cannon balls across the 90 Foot Flat. There were no reports of anglers targeting Atlantic or Chinook salmon. Many salmon anglers have switched to lake herring.

Drummond Island: In and around the ferry dock, anglers caught yellow perch on both sides when using worms or minnows in 8 to 10 feet. Lake herring are still being caught in 18 to 25 feet at Ballinger Island, Macomb Island and Butterfield Island when using red or dark brown teardrop jigs tipped with a wax worm or natural fly.

Cedarville and Hessel: There are no reports of yellow perch from Cedarville Bay. For smallmouth bass, fish the Middle Entrance to the Les Cheneaux Islands. Good catches were reported at the mouth of Duck Bay when using gold and silver spinners in 4 to 6 feet. For Hessel, try fishing the finger docks in the marina for yellow perch, as lots of fish were schooling in the area. Be ready to sort through the small ones. Good pike action at the Hessel fishing pier in the early morning. Try the west end of the pier on either side of the flag with creek chubs or large shiners two cranks off the bottom in 8 feet. No reports of lake herring caught in Hessel Bay.

St. Ignace: The occasional steelhead was caught east of Mackinac Island when trolling a meat rig. Surface water temperatures were 66.2 degrees at the surface and 55.1 degrees at 59 feet down. Those drifting worms and leeches near the rapids on the Pine River caught walleye. On the Carp River, those fishing off the wall caught walleye when drifting and bottom bouncing worms.

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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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren B