Known as “the fish of 10,000 casts,” muskellunge are large, predatory game fish native to the lakes and streams of Michigan. They are a prized catch for many anglers, and frequently frustrate those who stalk them. Musky will follow lures and flies for long distances, often right to boatside without striking. Anglers who do their research and put in the time can experience the heartstopping follows and explosive strikes that this species is known for. Pursuing these apex predators with fly gear can be an exercise in frustration, but the moments of adrenaline that occur during a follow or that first strike make all the effort worth it.
For 2013, the muskie fishing season (Lake St. Clair, St. Clair and Detroit Rivers) opens Saturday, June 1st. Any anglers who wish to keep a musky must obtain a harvest tag from their fishing license dealer. Details on this new program can be found here
Lake St. Clair has been estimated by some biologists to hold the densest population of musky in the world. With hundreds of cubic miles of shallows, big weedbeds and lots of hungry fish, your chances of slugging it out with Mr. Esox on a fly rod are as good here as anywhere else. While summer heat pushes pike into deeper water, it makes musky more eager to strike. Some lucky flyfishermen have taken huge fish (50″+) on surface poppers as summer temperatures climb.
SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN FISHING REPORT
Overall, fishing continues to improve with the weather. Bluegill and bass are on the beds in some areas while other areas are still a bit behind because of the cooler temperatures. Pike and walleye are still biting for those who know how to find them.
Lake Erie: Walleye fishing has been great with limit catches taken in 19 to 24 feet of water between the Raisin River buoys and Stony Point. Most were using crawlers but others did well with purple or chartreuse spoons. The bass opener was good with smallmouth caught near the rock piles off Sterling State Park. Big flashy flies on sink tips did most of the damage for those fishing long rods.
Detroit River: Walleye fishing remains very good.
Lake St. Clair: Continues to have good walleye fishing off the Dumping Grounds, the Metro Beach and the 400 Club. Smallmouth bass fishing remains good along the Mile Roads and is picking up in Anchor Bay. Due to the chance of an encounter with a large pike or musky, a heavy fluorocarbon bite tippet (30#+) can increase your chances of landing a beast rather than losing a fly.
St. Clair River: Walleye fishing has been good for those trolling crawler harnesses but success when jigging has picked up in recent days.
Lexington: Had very good fishing for chinook, lake trout, steelhead and even a couple coho. The bigger fish were caught in 80 to 100 feet of water.
Harbor Beach: Is producing salmon straight out and north of the harbor in 40 to 85 feet of water. Try spoons off downriggers and dipseys, or 2, 5 or 10 colored lead lines. Orange, red, blue, grey, or green were the hot colors. Steelhead were caught for those trolling bright colored spoons with offshore boards closer to the surface. Lake trout were taken with dodgers and spin glows or spoons near the bottom. Brown trout were closer to shore. Try long lines with bright colored spoons or body baits. Bass were caught inside the harbor and close to shore by those casting or trolling spoons and body baits. Pier anglers caught walleye when casting rapalas in the early morning or at night. Water levels were good at the ramp and in the channel.
Saginaw Bay: Had good walleye catches off the Pinconning Bar in 10 to 12 feet of water, three to four miles out from Linwood, one mile north of Callahan Road, and in six feet of water off Finn Road. Most are using crawler harnesses. Between Quanicassee and Sebewaing, walleye fishing was good along the north end of the Slot. The fish here were bigger and some limit catches were reported by those using pink and green crawler harnesses. Walleye fishing off Bay Port was slow. Good smallmouth bass fishing in Wildfowl Bay. At Caseville, anglers were walleye fishing off the wall.
Saginaw River: Is producing walleye between the Coast Guard Station and the mouth. Most are using Hot-n-Tots. Freshwater drum and catfish were caught at Essexville Park.
Tittabawassee River: Water levels were high and muddy. No anglers were out.