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.

Lake Superior

Summer fishing on Lake Superior can present successful fishing trips for anglers using a variety of tactics. Lake trout fishing is generally consistent, and anglers concentrate on the bottom in deep water (100 feet and deeper) by jigging or trolling. As summer progresses, terrestrial insects such as flying ants, grasshoppers, and beach flies, get blown offshore and form drifting scum lines. Brown trout, salmon, and even lake trout will feed on these floating insects, particularly on cloudy days. If you are trolling mid-water depths, you might consider also fishing high in the water column using smaller baits. In recent years, brown trout have also been providing good catch rates in Keweenaw Bay, Huron Bay, and Munising Bay.

Lake Michigan

Summer months bring warm weather and warm water, so salmon and trout are either in northern Lake Michigan or out several miles in deep water. The smaller and less popular ports of Fairport, Manistique, Onekama, Petoskey, and Leland can provide excellent opportunities to catch Chinook salmon and lake trout along with the more popular fishing ports of Frankfort, Manistee, and Ludington. Walleye, smallmouth bass, and even common carp are prevalent in Bays de Noc, around Beaver Island, and in Grand Traverse Bay. In the warmer waters to the south, anglers can find yellow perch, freshwater drum, channel catfish, and smallmouth bass in nearshore waters and off the piers. Those with boats in southern waters will need to venture out several miles to find deep and cooler water to find salmon and trout. 

Lake Huron

Coho and Chinook salmon returns are predicted to be stronger than average this fall based on catches of salmon this spring. Salmon will begin to stage in late July, with Chinook dominated in the northern half of the lake and Coho in the south, before running in streams in late August / early September. Targeting staging salmon in late summer with a presentation that is spread throughout the water column will produce a variety of species, including Atlantic salmon, steelhead, lake trout, and walleye.

Lake St. Clair & Detroit River

Summer marks a transition in the fishery on both Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. Although walleye fishing remains good, it is generally declining, and yellow perch catches begin to increase in these waters as well as in Lake Erie. On Lake St. Clair, walleye are caught in deeper water near the shipping channel using crawler harnesses and fishing methods in the Detroit River switch from primarily jigging during spring to drifting crawler harnesses. Walleye fishing remains strong on the St. Clair River because the water stays colder. Yellow perch catches get better in both the lake and rivers during this period, with minnow on perch spreaders as the preferred technique. Smallmouth bass fishing is also good, with good catches of largemouth bass in Lake St. Clair.

Brought to you by the Michigan DNR.

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Lake Erie

World-class fishing continues to exceed expectations on Lake Erie in 2020, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Walleye harvest rates set records for the second straight year in 2019, and numerous large hatches point to an increasingly bright future for The Walleye Capital of the World.

Walleye anglers will mostly catch abundant 3-, 5- and 6-year-old fish that should average 20 inches and could be as large as 26 inches. Abundant young fish from the 2018 and 2019 hatches will show up in the catch and range from 9 to 14 inches, with an increasing number of 2-year-olds reaching 15 inches as the season progresses. Anglers are encouraged to release these sub-legal fish with as little handling as possible so they can contribute to the future fishery.

Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass fishing in 2020 should provide good fishing and trophy catches. Anglers may harvest five bass per day with a 14-inch minimum size limit from June 27, 2020 to April 30, 2021.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, fishing is a pursuit that can be enjoyed while safely practicing social distancing. 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

Early June reports suggest that the high concentrations of king salmon and trout have scattered. Try trolling in 100-400 feet of water to find smaller pockets of cooperative fish; modest catches have been made in 90-150 feet of water east of Olcott. Spoons are producing a mix of king salmon and steelhead with the occasional lake trout or coho mixed in at depths of 150-250 feet on spoons run between 40-70 feet down.

Decent numbers of yellow perch are showing near the piers in Wilson Harbor, and be aware there is an “eat none” fish consumption advisory for Eighteenmile Creek. Regardless of the advisory, a wide mix of warmwater fish are being caught, including northern pike, crappie, black bass, bowfin, yellow perch, rock bass, and other sunfish.

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

The trout was large and beautiful - and slippery!

This life-long avid fisherman, Dennis, is forever captured in a moment that perfectly reflects that feeling all anglers have had at one time or another. Daniel of Nashville, TN, snapped this photo of his dad during a fishing charter trip to Lake Taneycomo in Missouri, and it is—with all the thanks in the world—our pleasure to share it.

Anglers! Send us your catch and we may print it! Include the species and length/weight as well as your name, where you caught your fish, and where you are from.
Send your photo and information to [email protected] you could be featured in our next issue.

This report was written for the Summer Issue (Jul/Aug) 2020 of
Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.

Year End 2019

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