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Outdoors report

Walleye fishing heats up; panfish move deeper

June 30, 2012
The Daily News

IRON MOUNTAIN - Positive fishing reports throughout the area highlight the weekend ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

"Fishing has been really good," said John Grier's Whispering Pines Outpost. "There have been some nice walleye this week. Guys are using crawlers and leeches."

Don Ciochetto at The Sport Shop in Iron River mentioned good perch action.

"Bluegills are still hitting in some spots," he added. "And the trout fishermen are starting to catch a few again. Even walleye has been fair some spots."

The hot weather has warmed up shoreline waters, moving panfish to deeper areas.

"The panfish have moved deeper," said Patti Teske at Florence Sport and Bait. "Guys were also catching northern, bass and a few walleye here and there."

Tom Bean at Crystal Bait also reported some spotty walleye action along with bluegills still being caught.

"They've been using wax worms for bluegills," he said. They're getting some crappies too, using perch and crappie minnows. Lot of bass still being caught."

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said this week that musky activity has continued to improve on northern inland lakes and anglers have been reporting consistent action along weed edges, drop-offs, and in the light density weed beds, with buck-tail and top-water baits the most productive lures.

Panfish action has been fairly consistent, with anglers making some decent catches of crappie, bluegill and rock bass.

White-tailed bucks are in bachelor groups now and showing off some significant velvet antler development.

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

Ontonagon: Fishing is good for lake trout all through out the bay. Many were caught just out from the mouth on the Ontonagon River as well on Spin-n-Glows. Spoons in greens, blues, and oranges have been good colors. A few Coho have also been showing up in the catches. The Ontonagon River is yielding walleye. Bond Falls Flowage is yielding good crappie catches.

Marquette: Anglers did fair over the past week targeting lake trout. Best areas producing were east of Marquette towards Shot Point in depths of 160 to 180 feet of water, the White Rocks and Granite Loma. Good numbers of lake trout were being caught jigging at Stannard Rock producing many fish averaging four to 15 pounds.

Menominee: Most of the boats are targeting Chinook salmon. Salmon and brown trout are being caught in front of the Menominee marina in 50 feet of water. Anglers are also trolling on the north and south side of Green Island with fair to good results. Water levels near the dam are still fairly low which makes for low numbers of fishing effort. Shore anglers near Stephenson Isle were catching a few smallmouth bass, freshwater drum and rock bass. These anglers are using minnows and crawlers while still fishing.

Menominee River: Anglers trolling the Menominee River are getting many freshwater drum, channel catfish, smallmouth bass, northern pike and some small class walleye with a few larger walleyes being caught. Using crawler harnesses or trolling different colored Rapalas are producing the catches this week.

Cedar River: Anglers are getting some limits of Chinook near Whalesback in 100 feet of water. Calm waters and early mornings yield the best results. Most of the fish are 50 feet down but some were caught near the surface. Also those trolling in front of Wells State Park in 50 feet of water are bringing in one to three fish per boat. Watermelon colored spoons worked well this week. Bass anglers are fishing from the mouth of the Cedar River upstream until the water level gets low. Some nice smallmouth bass were caught this week. The goby look-alike was working well along with fishing underneath the M-35 Bridge. Shore anglers near the boat launch also did well dragging crawlers and casting crank baits. Smallmouth bass, channel catfish and freshwater drum were caught.

Little Bay De Noc: Salmon fishing has been good for anglers out by the Ford River buoy trolling spoons in 80 to 90 feet of water and 65 feet down. Spoon colors varied and the Chinook averaged in the low to mid teens in weight. Good smallmouth bass catches reported with the Escanaba Power plant area being best casting cranks or plastics in six to 10 feet of water. Hunters Point also reported fair to good catches in 10 to 18 feet of water. Walleye has slowed mainly because of mayflies and alewife providing good food supplies. Best catches are still in the southern waters from Breezy Point south to Bark River area. Anglers in "Black Bottom" area reported fair catches jigging crawlers in 10 to 14 feet of water in the weeds. Garth Point anglers at the head of the Bay reported good numbers of sub-legal's in eight to 13 feet of water with very few keepers reported.

Big Bay De Noc: A few anglers were walleye fishing at night in Nahma and did fairly well. Bass anglers reported fair to good catches in Ogontz, Poplar Point and Kates Bay. Most cast artificial baits but a few had good success using crawlers. Most were in 10 to 18 feet of water. Excellent Chinook catches in Fairport this week. The winds have been harsh up here in the Bays but when anglers can get out they do great. Anglers are still mainly in 80 to 90 feet of water and 65 to 75 feet of water using a variety of spoons. The season started with a bang and keeps getting better.

Au Train: Catch rates remain consistent from previous weeks with most anglers averaging two to five fish. Anglers report poor fishing off Laughing Whitefish Point and the shipping channels. Fishing was better east of AuTrain Island in 200 to 210 feet of water. Wood Island reef also was a productive area fishing the reef in 200 feet of water.

Munising: An increase in boat fishing activity over the past week with fair weather conditions. Boat anglers are now targeting lake trout almost exclusively. Lake trout anglers spent the majority of their time near Wood Island, catching fish in the two to seven pound range. Reports from Big Reef indicate some nicer fish present there but having to work for your limit catches. Small craft anglers fishing near shore had some success catching mostly sub-legal splake mixed with a few keepers and some whitefish. There were also reports of some smallmouth bass being caught near Grand Island. Pier anglers saw fair results fishing splake primarily still-fishing with spawn, though some fish have also been caught casting. A couple limit catches were reported though anglers were putting in many hours of hit-and-miss fishing. Keeper fish are typically running between one and a half to three and a half pounds.

Grand Marais: Reports fair to poor success fishing from the pier for whitefish while angler effort level has decreased substantially. Fish in the 10 to 13 inch size range have been the typical keepers. Most reliable fishing action has come in the hour around sunrise and the 45 minutes after sunset. No limit catches were reported for the week. Boat angling activity has begun to pick up with anglers targeting lake trout with fair to good success. Lake trout anglers had success fishing in anywhere from 100 to 300 feet of water five to seven miles north of the bay.

DeTour: Catch rates for salmon are still high with crawler harnesses being the most active lures.

Cedarville and Hessel: Herring are excellent in McKay Bay with some anglers limiting out. They are fishing in 10 to 14 feet of water using a teardrop with a wax worm or casting a Swedish pimple.



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