Fishing Bay de Noc Michigan
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WALLEYE

Walleyes are one of the most sought after fish on the Bays de Noc. Walleye fishing on Little Bay de Noc is as good as it has been in 30 years because of intense stocking efforts by the DNR in the past, and more recently by the Bay de Noc Great Lakes Sport Fishermen. The walleyes are also starting to improve on portions of Big Bay de Noc and can be found on several inland lakes. 

The Walleye is distinguished by its prominent eyes. It is related to the perches. The spiny-rayed fish has two dorsal fins and rough scales. There are five to eight dark saddle type marking along the back and a black blotch at the back of the first top dorsal fin. A white blotch is noticeable at the tip of the lower tail section. 

Walleyes are a light sensitive fish. They avoid bright sunshine by staying close to the bottom in 8-60 feet of water during the day. The best times to fish for Walleye are early morning and late afternoon until several hours past dark. Cloudy and windy days are also very good times to fish. Walleyes generally feed at dawn and dusk but will often continue to feed throughout the day in shaded or weedy areas. 

The best places to find Walleyes are near river mouths and along shoreline points. Look for submerged bars and rocky areas near shore. Fish in shallower water in the spring and fall and deeper water during the summer. 

Walleyes are heavily fished in the upper portion of Little Bay de Noc north of Gladstone. They can also be found throughout much of the middle bay along the eastern shoreline and lower Escanaba River. On Big Bay de Noc. Walleye are mostly fished in the upper sections of the bay.

 

 


SMALLMOUTH BASS

Smallmouth Bass are abundant along most of the shoreline on Big Bay de Noc and parts of Little Bay de Noc. Anglers are just starting to go after this fighting sport fish. 

The Smallmouth Bass is distinguishable by its smaller mouth. The upper jaw extends to the midpoint of the eye, unlike the largemouth bass where the upper jaw extends beyond the eye. The bass are nest builders with the male clearing a circular area in gravel and guarding the eggs. 

Smallmouth Bass are a good fighting fish and strike hard. They can however, be timid with live bait so set the hook after the fish runs with it. Smallmouth can be caught in the summer by still fishing or trolling near drop-offs in more than 10 feet of water.

 

 


NORTHERN PIKE

Much of the shoreline on both Big and Little Bays de Noc is home to the Northern Pike. It is a very popular sport fish especially on many of the country's inland lakes. 

The Northern Pike is distinguished by its large elongated snout and sharp teeth. the bony fish has light spots on a dark body. 

The eggs are randomly scattered over the bottom of shallow weedy areas in early spring. The Northern Pike waits quietly in thick vegetation for small fish to come along. It quickly springs forward to engulf its prey.

Northern Pike can be found along weed beds in shallow bays, off of points, and on sand bars dropping off into deeper waters during the spring and fall. They can also be waiting behind obstructions such as fallen trees. During the summer fish in deeper water near submerged weed beds and weedy drop-offs. Fishing is best in early morning and late afternoon and evening. Pike will also strike during cloudy and windy days. 

On medium to heavy casting and spinning rods use a 10 to 15 pound nylon line for casting and an 8 to 12 pound monofilament for spinning. Northern Pike will strike at minnows, and artificial baits including mepps, spinners, daredevils, and silver spoons. Weedless lures are often necessary for luring pike out the the weed beds. Pike will strike artificial lures either cast or trolled. In hotter weather, still fish with large minnows in deeper water near submerged weed beds. When trolling, move slowly past weed beds with live bait, spoons, or deep running plugs. 

Northern Pike can be found along the shoreline near Rapid River and Kipling in the upper parts of Little Bay de Noc. They are very common along the eastern and western banks along the lower bay near drop-offs, and along the drop off near Portage Point. Northern Pike are also found in the upper portions of Big Bay de Noc including Ogontz Bay. Martin Bay, and off of Nahma. In the lower part of the bay, Northerns are fished near Fayette State Park.

 

 


PERCH

The Yellow Perch are found throughout the Bays de Noc and are very popular among sport fishermen because they are relatively easy to catch and very tasty. Perch generally run from 7 to 10 inches with Jumbo Perch measuring over 12 inches. 

The fish is yellowish in color with dark vertical stripes on the sides and orange or reddish lower fins. The eggs are laid among plants and submerged branches. The Perch travel in schools and feed mostly on insect larvae and small minnows. 

Perch will bite all day long during the spring and fall in shallow water. Otherwise they are found in deeper water during the morning and evening.

The Yellow Perch can be found throughout Little Bay de Noc in shallow and deep water. There is a 50 Perch creel limit for the bay. Perch can also be found along the drop-off near Portage Point. On Big Bay de Noc. Perch are common in Ogontz Bay, Garden Bay, Kates Bay, and near Fayette State Park.

 

 


CHINOOK SALMON

The huge Chinook Salmon are a prize for the serious angler able to land the mammoth fish. They are found mostly out in Green Bay but are accessible from boat landings on the Bays de Noc. 

The Chinook or King Salmon typically run about 20 to 30 pounds. Their bodies are silvery before spawning in the fall and tend to be dark during spawning. The mouth is black and large black spots are spread over the tail and upper portion of the body. The anal fin will have 15 to 17 rays. Salmon are beginning to be found in respectable numbers off Fairport on the Garden Peninsula.

 

 


RAINBOW TROUT/STEELHEAD

Steelhead are a big silvery fish about 9 to 10 pounds. They may have a pinkish streak on their sides that can make them look a lot l like a Salmon. Their mouths are white and the tail has pepper size spots along the rays of the entire tail. Additional spots may run along the upper surface of the body. The anal fin will have 10 to 12 rays. 

Steel head are a very popular fish in several streams in the area and are caught like Brook Trout although some say it is more difficult.

STREAMS & RIVERS

Many of the area streams and rivers offer good fishing, especially for Brook Trout. Fishing methods should be influenced by water temperature.

Trout usually feed in 55 to 65 degree water. Worms are best in streams below 50 degrees F. Spinning lures work well at higher temperatures up to 60 degrees F. Flies are often the best choice at 60 degrees although small worms and tiny spinners or spoons on a 2 to 4 pound line can be used early and late in the day. 

    Baker Creek - Brook Trout
    Big Fishdam - Brook Trout, Steelhead in the spring, Salmon in the fall

    Bill's Creek - Brook Trout

    Black Creek - Brook Trout

    Carr Creek - Brook Trout

    Chippeny Creek - Brook Trout

    Days River - Brook Trout, Steelhead and Smelt in the spring, Salmon in the fall

    Eighteen Mile Creek - Brook Trout, Steelhead

    Escanaba River - impoundment water above Dam 3 - Perch, Walleye, Northern Pike, Catfish, Smallmouth Bass

    Escanaba River - between Dam 3 and Boney Falls - Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Steelhead (special regulations for 14.3 miles of river - 5 trout per day at 10 inches)

    Fishdam River - Brook Trout, Steelhead (best brooktrout fishing upstream from FR2410)

    Ford River - Smallmouth Bass, Smelt and Suckers in the spring

    Haymeadow Creek - Brook Trout, Steelhead

    Johnson Creek - Brook Trout

    Kilpecker Creek - Brook Trout

    Mormon Creek - Brook Trout

    Ogontz River - Brook Trout (best fishing upstream from the mouth of the West Branch of the Ogontz River)

    Rapid River - Brook Trout, Steelhead, Salmon (best brook trout fishing upstream from U.S. Hwy. 41)

    Squaw Creek - Smelt Sturgeon River, mouth Northern Pike, Perch, Smallmouth Bass, Panfish

    Sturgeon River upstream - Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Steelhead in the spring, Salmon in the fall.

    Tacoosh River - Brook Trout, Steelhead in spring

    Whitefish River - Walleye, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Brook Trout, Steelhead, Salmon best brook trout fishing upstream from FR2236). The main Whitefish is good for Northern Pike where the river pools but public access is poor. Access if available upstream. White Bass is found in the lower section of the river.

    Valentine Creek - Smelt

INLAND LAKES

There are many good fishing lakes in the Hiawatha National Forest. 

Some lakes, like the Carr Ponds, are designated as Trout Lakes. Camp 7 Lake is specifically managed for Splake which can be found in the deeper waters. In shallow water, Bluegill and Perch can be found. Small minnows and wrigglers fished near the bottom by weed beds and in deeper water in late summer should produce large Perch. 

Larger Bluegills can be found on Chicago Lake by drifting. The lake also contains Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike. Chicago Lake can produce some large Northerns when casting or trolling in early morning with rapalas or spoons. Bluegill and Muskie fishing is good on Dana Lake. 

Walleye fishing is available on Gooseneck and Corner Lakes. Gooseneck is also good for Largemouth Bass. Northern Pike, and Blue gill. Crappies and Northern Pike are also in Corner Lake. Use minnows or small yellow and white jigs near logs, brush, and weed beds for Crappies. 

Large Sunfish can be caught at Mowe Lake along with Largemouth Bass. Bass can be taken with a crawler harness or artificial minnow early in the season while trolling or casting near the shoreline. Surface lures late in the evening or early morning are good later in the season especially in clearer water. 

Lyman Lake is very popular for Largemouth Bass and Bluegills. Still-fish for Bluegills near the fish shelter structures along the southwest shoreline in 8-12 feet water using worms, nightcrawlers, or, in August, crickets. Nice catches of Largemouth Bass on Lyman are possible in early summer. In July and August, use a nightcrawler near or on the bottom. Surface lures near the weedy shoreline are best late at night. 

Smallmouth Bass are in abundance on Jackpine Lake but they can be tough to catch. Bluegill and larger Perch can also be found by fishing with a crawler very close to the bottom near weed beds. 

Some of these lakes are accessible only by foot or low quality road. Other lakes are more developed.


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