May 21st Michigan DNR Fishing Report

This coming Saturday May 23rd is the opening day of bass season on the Great Lakes and all the inland waters except Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River and the Detroit River which do not open until the 3rd Saturday in June. The early catch and release season has been very good so the opener this weekend should also be good. Muskie fishing has started to heat up and the warmer weather should produce some good bluegill action.


Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie – Walleye were caught in 20 to 24 feet of water off Stoney Point and straight out from the launch at Bolles Harbor when using bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses. Largemouth bass fishing was good in the marinas between Bolles Harbor and Toledo Beach.

Huron River – Trout fishing has slowed however walleye are still being caught.

Detroit River – Walleye fishing is winding down. Hand-lining seems to be taking the most fish right now. Shore anglers are catching white bass.

Lake St. Clair – Rock bass are being caught in good numbers from shore. Walleye were starting to show up off Metro Beach.

Lexington – Some nice perch mixed in with some smaller ones were caught off the pier. Bullheads are also biting.

Harbor Beach – A few chinook were caught between the north gap and the Cemetery when fishing close to shore in 25 to 60 feet of water with spoons. Good colors were blue, silver or green glow. Chinook were caught off the north wall near the marina when casting body baits. Lake trout were caught about 25 feet down in 30 to 80 feet of water north and south of the port. Steelhead were hitting bright colored lures. Be sure to get the lines out away from the boat. Catch rates for brown trout were slow. Try long lines with body baits in the shallows. Walleye could be found close to shore in 20 to 60 feet of water. Try offshore boards with a crawler harness and the release set light. For perch, try inside the channel or out by the lighthouse with minnows.

Grindstone City – The bass opener this weekend looks to be good with so many fish being caught and released.

Port Austin – Boats were taking walleye in 20 to 40 feet of water while pier anglers found fish off the wall when fishing at night. Smallmouth bass were hitting on tube baits and artificials.

Saginaw Bay – Walleye fishing was good in 20 feet of water around the Spark Plug. Finn Road, Jones Road and Knight Road were also good spots when using a crawler harness in 4 to 6 feet of water. Good walleye action off Quanicassee when using a crawler harness or Hot-n-Tots in 10 to 14 feet of water. Boat anglers off Sebewaing have caught some limits straight out, off Lone Tree Island or Thomas Reef. Anglers saw fish off Bayport however weeds and debris made fishing a challenge. Try trolling between North Island and Sand Point.

Saginaw River – Some walleye were caught near the Independence Bridge when using minnows or twisters. Channel catfish were caught off the stone docks near Essexville.

Tittabawassee River – Walleye were caught near Gordonville Road. Smallmouth bass were also caught and released.

Sebewaing River – Has lots of largemouth bass and crappie activity.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

Dowagiac River – Trout fishing has picked up as water levels come down.

St. Joe – Boat anglers are catching chinook, coho and lake trout when they can get out. Pier anglers found a few walleye when fishing at night.

St. Joe River – Walleye were hitting on crawlers near the mouth.

Paw Paw – Trout fishing has started to pick up.

Kalamazoo River – Water levels are coming down and anglers are picking up smallmouth bass and channel catfish. Brown trout fishing on smaller streams has been good.

Lake Macatawa – White bass are still hitting. The walleye and crappie fishing should be good by the weekend. Target the lily pads in shallow waters for bass.

Grand Haven – A good number of salmon have been caught in 90 to 115 feet of water. The fish are aggressive and hitting on flies or spoons. If alewife are in, look for salmon around the piers. A few perch were caught on wigglers in 60 feet of water.

Grand River at Grand Rapids – Fishing continues to improve as water levels recede. Look for catfish near the dam. Pike action has been good and the bass opener this weekend should be good. Look for bluegills and crappie in the backwaters as warmer weather sets in.

Grand River at Lansing – Water levels are down and anglers are catching walleye, northern pike and channel cats.

Lake Ovid – Crappie fishing was good for boat anglers.

Muskegon -Boat anglers were still catching salmon in waters 90 to 115 feet deep with spoons or flies. The city closed fishing access on the south pier until the railing is installed. No perch reports.

Whitehall – Those trolling continue to catch chinook, coho and lake trout. Start shallow and head out deeper as it warms up.

White Lake – Panfish action should be good this weekend.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Mullett Lake – Anglers are still targeting northern pike, walleye and smallmouth bass in the north end of the lake.

Rogers City – Lake trout are there if anglers can get out. Start in shallow waters 15 to 30 feet deep and be ready to head out deeper as the fish have been moving in and out. Try long lines in the shallows or downriggers 5 to 10 feet off the bottom out deeper. Cowbells and spin glo’s caught fish. In shallow waters, try mixing spoons and body baits for brown trout, lake trout or atlantic salmon.

Presque Isle – Lake trout and brown trout should be in the North Bay.

Rockport – Those trolling close to shore and around the harbor have caught some trout in about 25 feet of water with orange and green body baits.

Alpena – Walleye anglers continue to catch fish night and day when using body baits that resemble perch or smelt. Target waters 14 to 25 feet deep.

Thunder Bay River – Walleye have been caught at night when drifting flies. Steelhead are hitting on flies or spawn. A few atlantic salmon were also caught.

Harrisville – When boats can get out, lake trout were caught in 50 to 65 feet of water north and south of the harbor. Try anything that resembles smelt.

Higgins Lake – Once boats are able to get out, look for the big perch because not many have been out fishing for them. Look for smallmouth bass activity.

Houghton Lake – A few walleye were still being caught when boats could get out. The bass opener should be good in the shallows along the weed beds. The crappie and bluegill bite should also pick up by the weekend.

Au Sable River – Walleye are in the river and good catches are being reported. Anglers are using natural bait with crawlers working anytime day or night. After dark, body baits with a rattle seem to work best.

Tawas – Pier anglers are catching a few walleye in the evening and northern pike through the afternoon. Smallmouth bass were caught and released. Boat anglers trolling a crawler harness found walleye near Buoy #2 and Alabaster.

Au Gres – Limits of walleye were taken by those trolling bottom bouncers with crawlers in waters about 35 feet deep.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Lake Charlevoix – The perch should be spawning in the next few weeks.

Bear River – Is still producing the occasional steelhead.

Lake Bellaire – Water temperatures are in the 52 to 54 degree range. Walleye were caught at night when trolling near the mouth of the Intermediate River and the Grass River outlet. Try a crawler harness, jigs or rapalas in 5 to 20 feet of water. Those targeting bass have done well along the east side of the lake when casting spinners, tube baits, stick baits and grubs in 6 to 20 feet of water.

Traverse City – Whitefish have been caught in both bays when boats can get out. In the East Bay, whitefish and lake trout were caught when jigging in 100 to 160 feet of water with a pearl Swedish Pimples. In the West Bay, lake trout were caught when trolling or jigging in 70 to 150 feet of water between the Boardman River and Marion Island. Jigging was best in the early morning.

Elk River – Steelhead were caught on spawn or wax worms. Walleye are hitting on body baits after dark.

Boardman River – Anglers can find a variety of fish such as suckers, carp, pike, smallmouth bass and steelhead below the Union Street Dam.

Leland – Lake trout were reported in 60 to 80 feet of water. The boat ramp will be open for the holiday weekend however parking may be an issue due to construction at the marina.

Platte Bay – Catch rates have started to improve with trout and salmon caught near the mouth of the river when trolling or casting plugs that imitate minnows. The brown trout are 3 to 5 pounds, lake trout up to 10 pounds and chinook up to 20 pounds.

Frankfort – Had good lake trout action all the way up to Pt. Betsie in 35 to 110 feet of water. Brown trout are still being caught by anglers trolling inside the harbor and just outside the piers. Try trolling with gold/orange and silver/black spoons or small body baits. Pike were caught off the pier in Betsie Bay when fishing just before dark.

Arcadia – Small brown trout have been caught off the mouth of the river and along the shoreline between the Golf Course and the Herring Hole when using planer boards and plugs. Limits of lake trout were taken just off the bottom in 20 to 40 feet of water when using green spoons. Big chinook salmon were caught off the shelf.

Onekama – Boat anglers fishing north and south or up near the Barrel have caught chinook, lake trout and brown trout. A few walleye were caught off the piers at night.

Portage Lake – Those trolling or casting for pike have caught good numbers of fish along the weed beds and the drop-offs. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass along with a few rock bass have been caught in the shallows. Bluegills and crappie were still deep but should start to move into the shallows as it warms up.

Manistee – The fish cleaning station is open at the city launch. Salmon and trout are being caught out near the Ledge. Most are using green or blue spoons in 40 to 80 feet of water. A few brown trout were caught around the harbor and the shoreline.

Ludington – Boat anglers are catching chinook salmon and trout when trolling in 50 to 100 feet of water.


Keweenaw Bay – Those able to get out have caught chinook, coho and lake trout 50 to 80 feet down in waters 60 to 100 feet deep. Try green, gold and orange spoons or herring dodgers with flies. Up in Traverse Bay, lake trout were caught in 220 to 240 feet of water when using white jigs with cut bait.

Fall’s River – Some steelhead were still being caught on spawn bags or yarn flies.

Menominee – A few walleye were caught by those trolling the shoreline in both Michigan and Wisconsin waters.

Menominee River – Walleye were caught on the Wisconsin side hear the Hattie Street Dam which provides shelter from the wind. Boats were jigging in 7 to 10 feet of water and catching fish. Suckers are still in the river but not in big numbers. No trout or perch were reported.

Cedar River – Look for walleye at the mouth. There was some effort for steelhead near the first rapids, but no fish were caught.

Little Bay De Noc – The walleye opener was slower than usual because of the weather. Fish were caught along the entire stretch between the Escanaba River and Whitefish Point however the best reports came from the First and Second Reefs. Most are trolling stick baits in 20 to 40 feet of water or jigging crawlers in 16 to 23 feet of water along the edge of the reef. Perch and many sub-legal walleye were caught in the Narrows.

Day’s River – Was producing good catches of steelhead east of the highway to just south of the Golf Course.

Au Train – Lake trout and coho were hitting in 55 to 75 feet of water.

Munising – Water temperatures are still cool so anglers are working the shoreline near the hospital for chinook salmon.

Grand Marais – The pier is still producing some whitefish when winds blow out of the west/northwest. Boat anglers have also caught fish when trolling in front of the subdivision that is east of Lonesome Point.

Drummond Island – The walleye and pike opener was slow with only a few pike taken in Paradise Point Bay when drifting frozen smelt in 4 to 8 feet of water. Smallmouth bass were caught near the mouth of the harbor when fishing in 6 feet of water around the rock piles. Though water levels are higher this year, caution still needs to be used around the rock piles and reefs.

Cedarville and Hessel – Those casting off the pier or trolling in the bay with minnows and smelt are targeting splake but also bringing in the occasional atlantic salmon and yellow perch. The northern pike opener was fantastic for those fishing off the piers, the bays and the channels.

Carp River – Some are fishing the mouth for steelhead and white suckers but the bite was slow

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