Salmon run strong in Pere Marquette

The upper flies-only stretch of the PM is seeing a strong run of salmon with the occasional steelhead in the mix. The usual assortment of flies are working well — eggs, green caddis, egg sucking leeches, etc.

Avoid walking on the active redds so those salmon can reproduce. And do what you can to fairly hook the salmon. While tempting to play a snagged fish, it reduces their ability to spawn. Plus, you have a much better chance to land that picture-worthy fish when it’s hooked in the mouth.

Michigan DNR Fishing Report for September 27, 2018

Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph River: Appears to have a decent number of Chinook and coho.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Anglers were still catching a few coho and the occasional Chinook in both the Grand and the Rogue River.

Grand River at Lansing: Had fishing activity at the Webber and Portland Dams. Anglers were targeting coho when drifting spawn and crawlers or casting small spoons.

Muskegon River: Anglers are picking up a few salmon throughout including up near Croton Dam.

White River: Anglers casting body baits or drifting skein in the lower end for salmon reported spotty catch rates. Chinook salmon were caught up near Hesperia.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan River: Anglers have caught Chinook salmon between eight to 17 pounds at the dam with spoons, crank baits and skein. There had been reports of pink salmon, but those reports were not confirmed. Smallmouth bass were caught on worms or crank baits in eight to 15 feet.

Thunder Bay River: A few Chinook were spotted up near the 9th Street Dam but no big numbers yet. Anglers were casting spoons and body baits or drifting spawn under a bobber, but no fish were caught because the water was too warm.

Au Sable River: The lower river cooled to the mid to high 60’s but fishing was still pretty slow with very little success. Anglers were targeting Chinook by casting spoons or floating spawn bags and skein. An unconfirmed Atlantic salmon was reportedly caught, and a couple smaller steelhead were spotted moving up the river. Smallmouth bass and a few large bluegills were caught when drifting or still-fishing with crawlers.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Bear River: While there has not been much rain to bring water levels up, strong winds seemed to help push fish into the river. Anglers caught mainly Chinook and coho along with a couple small steelhead at both the mouth and the dam when using spawn, artificial eggs and flies. Salmon were caught off the piers and the docks around the marina as well when casting spoons or stick baits after sunset and before sunrise.

Boyne River: Had a run of fresh chinook salmon after recent storms got them moving again. Some steelhead were caught near the mouth.

Jordan River: Has trout and salmon.

Platte River: With the north winds last week, the coho salmon have really moved up into the lower river. DNR staff have passed fish and will continue to do so to get more fish up to the weir. This should allow anglers to do well. Staff estimated that there were currently 20,000 fish or more at the lower weir.

Betsie River: Anglers are still getting Chinook salmon however the numbers have slowed and the ones being caught are quite dark.

Manistee River: Brown trout, walleye and pike have started to bite again.

Pere Marquette River: Continues to have a fair to good number of Chinook salmon including some large fish. The occasional steelhead has also been caught.

Pentwater River: Those drifting egg flies or casting body baits caught the occasional Chinook salmon in the early morning.

Upper Peninsula

Manistique River: Is producing salmon, trout and a few walleye. The Chinook are turning dark.

Two Hearted River: Water temperatures were in the low 50’s. Anglers trolling just in front of the mouth or fishing from shore caught a couple coho. Salmon are slowly beginning to show up, but we need cooler temperatures and rain.

Michigan DNR Fishing Report for September 13, 2018

Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph River: A good number of steelhead, coho and Chinook salmon were moving through the Berrien Springs fish ladder at the beginning of the week. While there were some Chinook, most were coho and steelhead.

Black River: A few salmon were starting to move up into the river. Boat anglers caught a couple Chinook when trolling.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: The rain and cooler temperatures pushed a few more fish up into the river. Anglers were getting Chinook and some steelhead up near the Sixth Street Dam. Most were using a variety including spawn, spinners, thundersticks, Cleo’s and flies.

White River: Anglers casting body baits or spinners in the early morning caught the occasional Chinook salmon in the lower stretches.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan River: Anglers trying for salmon did not have much luck. There were a few splashes up near the dam, but harvest numbers were low. Most were floating spawn, drifting worms or casting crank baits and spinners. Those targeting walleye while drifting worms caught a few smallmouth bass. There is one gate open at the dam. Water temperatures were in the low 70’s.

Ocqueoc River: Had few anglers. Salmon were starting to stage near the mouth however there was build up at the sand bar.

Thunder Bay River: Anglers are trying for salmon but very few are in the river yet. Fishing has been very quiet as we wait for cooler temperatures to bring down the water temperature.

Tawas River: Has produced the occasional Chinook salmon.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Bear River: Water levels dropped and were in good shape. Though anglers were getting some Chinook near the dam, the action did slow. A couple small steelhead were caught. Most were using spawn bags, flies and artificial eggs. Another push of salmon could come with rain and cooler temperatures.

Lake Charlevoix: Boats were starting to fish near the Belvedere Club. Those trolling for salmon caught a few fish. Rumor has it a few Chinook were starting to show up in the Boyne River.

Traverse City: A few Chinook and cisco were caught in the East Bay when trolling out from the launch and to the south. Lake trout were also caught when trolling around Deepwater Point. In the Elk River, a few salmon were caught in the morning up near the dam. There are plenty of smallmouth bass in the river. In the West Bay, salmon fishing was slow at the south end with only a couple Chinook caught when trolling. Lake trout were taken by those jigging along the west side of the island and south of it. Bass fishing was slow but a few were found in 20 feet. Small perch were found in Bowers Harbor, south of Elmwood and in Sutton’s Bay. On the Boardman River, salmon fishing was slow but a few Chinook were taken on spoons or body baits up at the dam either early morning or evening. A few Chinook and coho were caught below the new pedestrian bridge which is just below the weir. Skein and spawn worked best.

Frankfort: Those jigging or trolling the bay reported lower numbers however Chinook were still being caught as the fish are moving into the Betsie River at night. Very good numbers of coho were caught in Platte Bay when trolling or jigging in 80 to 100 feet. Pier anglers caught Chinook and coho when casting glow spoons or black spinners early and late.

Betsie River: Anglers caught Chinook salmon all the way up to the Homestead Dam, but the action was starting to slow.

Manistee River: Chinook and some coho have been caught up near Tippy Dam. The rain and cooler weather had brought in some fresh fish. Most were using spawn, skein, flies or spoons.

Pere Marquette River: Continues to produce a fair to good number of Chinook salmon including some very large fish.

Upper Peninsula

Manistique River: Was producing some walleye and salmon.

Marquette: Lake trout fishing continues to be good. More anglers are starting to target both the Carp and the Dead River but most had no luck.

Au Train: Lake trout fishing is still very good just north of Au Train Island when trolling or jigging. Some were starting to troll up high for salmon near the mouth of the Au Train River but very few had any luck.

Munising: Very slow fishing in general with only a few small splake caught by those trolling for coho. Surface water temperatures dropped to the low to mid 60’s. Lake trout anglers continue to do well towards Wood Island and near Big Reef with most fish averaging around five to six pounds. Rivers were high and turbid.

Yep, it’s salmon season on the PM

Now’s the time to start finding those fresh salmon in the holes in Pere Marquette. Based on what we saw this weekend in flies-only stretch, the salmon have just barely begun working the gravel beds. That means you’ve got to fish the dark water. Not every hole has fish but many of the expected (and unexpected) holes will have fish. Certainly more salmon on are on the way.

They kings are big! They’ll take you for ride, so rig up appropriately.

Plus, it looks like may trout have started keying in on eggs and small streamers. Great opportunity to hook up with large browns in the drop-offs.

Michigan DNR Fishing Report for September 5, 2018

Southwest Lower Peninsula

St. Joseph River: Had very little salmon movement. The lower river had some decent walleye fishing for those trolling small crank baits.

Black River: Has had very little salmon movement as it has been too warm.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: A few salmon were caught up near the Sixth Street Dam however the fish were few and far between because of the warm water. Anglers are using a mix of spawn, spinners, Cleo’s, thundersticks or flies.

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan River: The gates at the dam have been open for the past week and Chinook salmon have started to move into the river. A few were caught on spoons, crank baits and spawn bags.

Thunder Bay River: Had rumors of a couple Chinook and Atlantics caught up near the dam at night but no fish were verified.

Au Sable River: The upper river from Grayling to Alcona Pond had cooled so trout should be feeding more aggressively. Try streamers and terrestrial flies this time of year.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Overall: Those targeting salmon are reminded that snagging is illegal. Treble hooks are also illegal unless attached to a true lure. For additional information look on page nine in the 2019 Michigan Fishing Guide under “Artificial Lure”.

Bear River: Near Petoskey had quite a few anglers targeting salmon at the dam. Chinook were taken on spawn or flies. Undersize trout were also caught.

Traverse City: Fishing in the East Bay was hit-or-miss. Salmon and lake trout were caught south of Deepwater Point towards Acme Creek or north and south of the M-37 launch in 80 to 130 feet. A couple cisco were caught. Lakers were caught by those jigging around Deepwater Point in the early morning. Bass were taken in 10 to 20 feet. From Elk Rapids, salmon were marked but lake herring were caught straight out from the marina. The Elk River was slow. A few salmon are in the river but very few had been caught. In the West Bay, mornings were best for salmon. Those trolling caught fish at the south end from the hole out from the Boardman and north of the hole and slightly west towards Elmwood. Perch fishing was slow around the island and Lee Point, but a few were caught in Northport. On the Boardman River, salmon have been caught on spawn, skein and body baits at the dam.

Frankfort: Those trolling and jigging in the bay and around the pierheads have landed several Chinook and coho. Those in Platte Bay reported hit-or-miss coho action. Those jigging seem to have better luck. Smaller boats are launching from Platte Bay however they are walking their boats through the shallows. The coho run on the Platte River had been slow.

Betsie River: Chinook salmon have moved into the river and anglers were reporting very good numbers at the Homestead Dam.

Manistee River: Had lots of anglers fishing for salmon.

Pere Marquette River: Had a good number of anglers targeting salmon.

Upper Peninsula

Two Hearted River: Has a few salmon. Those fishing near the river mouth campground had some luck.

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