FISHING REPORT: Walleye, bass and panfish activity picks up

By JOHN RAFFEL

Pioneer Sports Network

MANISTEE— Activity, especially for bass, walleye and panfish, is picking up and warmer weather is helping the situation, the DNR said.

Inland lakes in the northern Lower Peninsula were producing some good panfish. Bass were on the beds and were hitting plastics, stick baits and crawlers.

A couple Chinook were caught at Onekama, the DNR said, by those fishing the ‘Barrel’ in the early morning. The fish were going after spoons in the top 80 feet. Lake trout were hitting on cowbells and spin-glo’s near the bottom.

“We have the fresh steelhead summer run, the skamania, are at the dam right now,” Gordon Park of Andy’s Tackle Box in Brethren said. “They came in a couple or three days ago. There’s a lot of smallmouth bass. The summer program is on. The salmon are running early at the Little Manistee. The fishing is up. The bass and bluegills are all on their beds.”

Water temperatures are rising at Portage Lake so the bass and panfish are becoming more active.  A large number of perch were reported but many were small. Catch rates for walleye have slowed with the warmer temperatures.

Crappie were hitting on minnows at Lake Missaukee

“They were getting some nice bluegills at Penny Park,” Dewey Buchner of Don’s Sporting Goods said. “They’re still getting some nice pike and smallmouth bass, and down by the pier, they’re getting a few browns and walleyes at night. At Portage Lake they’re getting a few perch and some walleyes at the channel at night.”

Surface water temperatures at Manistee were about 58 degrees, the DNR said, adding steelhead and lake trout were caught on spoons and cut bait in 120 to 240 feet.  Pier fishing was slow due to baitfish in the harbor.

“Fishing is doing well,” Amy Barkman, of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston, said. “Pine River is shaping up as well but we’re getting them mostly on streamers over there, as well as the little Manistee. Temperatures this week are going to be a little higher, so we’re expecting more bugs, making our dry-fly fishery more favorable.”

The DNR reports Big Platte Lake had good walleye fishing and Platte Bay had fewer anglers but a good number of lake trout were reported in the bay and were hitting on spin-glo’s. The water is warming up, the brown trout may start to move out deeper, the DNR said.

At Frankfort, those trolling early morning and late evening have done well 60 to 110 feet down in 120 to 180 feet straight out and north of the port, the DNR said, while chinook were hitting on mostly spoons but a few were taken on green flies and meat rigs.

Pier anglers reported lots of alewife in the area. Brown trout and Chinook were caught in the early morning.

“We’ve had great catches all week of salmon,” Christine Murphy of the Frankfort Tackle Box. “There were a couple of 20-pounders last weekend. They were like 60 feet to 70 feet down, catching them on spoons. (On Friday) I had a charter go out and bring back 16 lake trout. (Friday) was the first day the water finally warmed up.

“Crystal Lake is doing well. The bass are bedding everywhere. A lot of people are catching bass.”

Surface temperatures at Ludington were at 63 degrees and a good number of Chinook along with a few lake trout and steelhead were caught in 130 to 250 feet with spoons and cut bait. With baitfish in the harbor, pier fishing was slow.

Boats trolling spoons 40 to 70 feet down at Pentwater in 80 to 160 feet caught Chinook, coho and the odd steelhead.  Orange and red were good colors.

Anglers fishing at Pentwater Lake off Longbridge Road caught bluegills, yellow perch, sunfish, and smallmouth bass with red worms.

Boat anglers caught smallmouth bass in five to 12 feet while casting crank baits. Those fishing the channel caught freshwater drum on spoons or body baits and smallmouth bass on jigs tipped with soft-plastics, the DNR added.

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