Marine News from the Great Lakes

Great Lakes Fishing Report

Published: Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Lake Superior

In the upper peninsula, Keweenaw Bay and Munising Bay offer great opportunities for whitefish, salmon, and lake trout during the early winter months.

Lake Michigan

Most fishing opportunity is along the shore on piers, break walls, and along the beach where steelhead and coho salmon can be found. If ice conditions allow, Grand Traverse Bays provide excellent opportunities for Cisco and yellow perch, and Bays De Noc are great for walleye, northern pike, and yellow perch.

Lake Huron

Fishing Saginaw Bay in the winter months is an awesome experience that everyone should enjoy. If you love to catch lots of walleye and yellow perch, this is your spot. You never know what might tug on your line; it could be an Atlantic salmon or northern pike, as well. The walleye are abundant and most ice fishers target shallow water all the way up to 30 feet deep by actively jigging spoons tipped with a minnow.

Lake St. Clair (as part of Lake Erie)

Panfish such as bluegill, pumpkinseed, and crappie can be caught with small jigs tipped with live bait in the many canals surrounding Lake St. Clair, which is the only water body in Michigan where anglers can participate in a winter yellow perch spear fishery. Yellow perch, walleye, northern pike, and the occasional salmon or trout are also captured by anglers who jig or fish tip-ups in the lake during the ice fishing season.

Brought to you by the Michigan DNR.

For more information about fishing in Michigan, please visit

Lake Erie

The ODNR Division of Wildlife is revealing winter fishing hotspots on Lake Erie. If you’re targeting walleye in the western basin, anticipate the most success near the Bass Islands. Wildlife experts recommend using shiners, jigs, jiggling spoons, or small crank baits. The East Harbor Marina is another popular ice fishing spot if you’re angling for bluegill or crappie. ODNR fisheries biologists suggest you will have the most success using jigs tipped with maggots.

Is cabin fever beginning to set in? The Ohio Department of Natural Resources wants to remind you that Lake Erie can offer excellent ice fishing opportunities, but the ‘Big Lake’ warrants special consideration. If you’re considering braving the elements to wet a line, you may want to consider hiring a licensed ice fishing guide. Remember that no ice is safe, and ice should be at least four inches thick to support an angler and gear.

If you prefer to wait until the weather gets warmer, anglers have plenty to look forward to this spring. The Ohio waters of Lake Erie are already touted as ‘The Walleye Capital of the World,’ and ODNR research suggests a phenomenal walleye fishing season in 2020. Consider the 2019 walleye fish population was estimated at 45 million fish, ages 2 and older. That number is expected to climb to 120 million fish this year; the most ever recorded in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie was 129 million.

Brought to you by the ODNR.

For more information, visit

Lake Ontario

Fishing on Lake Ontario right now is all about yellow perch fishing. From now until the bays ice over (restricting access by boat), anglers on any given day are producing limit catches of perch. Find the right school in the right bay and the action can be non stop. There have been such reports coming from Henderson Harbor as well as Chameau Bay. Minnows and artificial grub-like baits have been producing well. Salmon and trout fishing on the Lake is practically non-existent and should begin to ramp up again in April, weather providing.

Brought to you by Capt. Jimmy Samia

Find out more about fishing in Lake Ontario at


This article first appeared in the Winter Issue (Jan/Feb) 2020 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.

tags: Fishing, Great Lakes

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