Great Lakes Fishing Reports

Please remember to practice social distancing when fishing, including remaining six feet away from other anglers. If you arrive at a fishing area that is congested, please consider finding another area to fish.
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These reports are for the months of September and October.

Lake Superior

The beginning of September marks what Michigan anglers have been very familiar with for the past 55 years - the salmon run. Coho and Chinook salmon will begin to stage off river mouths around the entire shoreline of Lake Superior and when cooler water in the low to mid-50’s starts to flow into Lake Superior from the streams, salmon will be triggered to run for spawning. East of Marquette, anglers can find the most success trolling or casting crankbaits at the river mouths of the Carp, Chocolay, Rock, Anna, Sucker, and Two Hearted rivers. West of Marquette, anglers can enjoy chasing salmon off the mouths of the Dead, Falls, Ontonagon, Big Iron, and Black rivers. In addition to salmon, anglers can also continue to enjoy lake trout as they too will begin to congregate for their spawning activities near large reefs. Techniques for lake trout should not be any different than those used during the summer months. However, deep water jigging has proved to be an effective technique and has grown in popularity for those targeting big lakers.

Lake Michigan

Late summer and fall can produce some of the best fishing opportunities of the year for Lake Michigan anglers. As nearshore waters cool, Chinook and coho salmon begin the journey to their birth streams to spawn. Along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, ports, combined with river systems, will have salmon close to shore as they prepare for their final journey upstream. Steelhead are also nearshore so September and October are exceptional months to catch these oversized rainbow trout. Anglers typically use natural baits such as salmon roe tied into spawn sacks or casting various bright colored spoons or body baits. Trolling in very shallow water along the shoreline is an effective way to catch steelhead. If you still prefer to fish offshore in the deeper waters of Lake Michigan, fall is an outstanding time to catch lake trout or target immature salmon that are actively feeding before winter arrives.

Lake Huron

This is the year! That can be said to describe many things in 2020 but for Lake Huron we expect the fall fisheries to be truly special. Anticipate much higher fall runs of Chinook and coho salmon to rivers and ports scattered across Lake Huron but, based on lake catches in the summer, we are also expecting a strong pink salmon run in the St. Marys River and northern Lake Huron as additional opportunities. Atlantic salmon and steelhead fishing improved this year compared to the past few years and good catches of nice-sized fish will likely continue through the fall. Lake trout will move closer to shore and be more concentrated in fall months. Nearshore fisheries will pick up with perch and smallmouth bass returning to the cooler waters close to shore and strong catches of walleye are expected in the bays. Fish look to build some fat storage before winter and aggressive and hungry fish make for great fishing opportunities during the late summer and early fall in Lake Huron.

Lake St. Clair & Detroit River

Many anglers look forward to fall because that is when yellow perch fishing is at its best! Perch are a preferred target because they do not require specialized gear, are fun to catch, and are great to eat. Most anglers anchor and use a perch spreader baited with minnows. Fisheries surveys project a good abundance of yellow perch in Lake Erie this fall.  As water temperatures cool, fishing generally gets better for smallmouth bass and walleye on Lake St. Clair and walleye in Lake Erie return to shallower water in Michigan.

Brought to you by the Michigan DNR.

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Lake Erie

There are an estimated 116 million walleye that are 2 years old and older in Lake Erie. Many of these 2-year-old walleye will reach the 15-inch minimum size length necessary to be included in the daily fishing limit in 2020. As many people look forward to fishing in 2021, Lake Erie’s world-class fishing should continue to exceed expectations.

“Lake Erie offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the nation,” said Ohio Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “The outlook has never been brighter for Lake Erie walleye fishing, with a strong future that has been built by consistently successful hatches since 2014, and solid science-based management.”

During the fall, walleye showcase their famous night hunting skills in seasonal migrations from the deeper central basin back toward the western basin. Walleye are caught with crankbaits both from boats and shore, as the predators target baitfish schools in the shallows from Cleveland to Catawba. Although sometimes difficult to predict, fishing for large, aggressive walleye during this time is exhilarating.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, fishing is a pursuit that can be enjoyed while safely practicing social distancing. The Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 safety rules and guidelines for fishing can be downloaded at this site. For more information on COVID-19 and the Ohio Department of Health’s recommendations on prevention and preparation, please visit .

Brought to you by the ODNR. Find updated Lake Erie fishing reports at

Lake Ontario

Some caught mature king salmon are now pushing 25 pounds! However, it has been tough to find concentrations of kings this week. Anglers are reporting highly variable water temperatures and small scattered pockets of fish. Some decent catches off Niagara County have come from depths of 100-180 feet of water on gear run in the bottom half of water column, making it a good starting point. For instructional information visit the Trolling for Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon page. There are a variety of warmwater species available at Olcott Harbor, Fishermans Park on Eighteenmile Creek and Wilson Harbor.

DEC Lake Ontario Fisheries Unit requests angler assistance with a Lake Ontario Fish Diet Study and Coho Salmon Head Collection.

Report is as noted on New York State DEC’s website at

Helpful State Fishing Resources

Lake Superior

Lake Michigan

Lake Huron

Lake Erie

Lake Ontario

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