Saginaw Bay Walleye or Perch Charters at Au Gres and Tawas City (East Tawas)
Saginaw Bay is the Walleye Capital of the World
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Au Gres - Saginaw Bay Walleye Fishing Travel Guide
There's no other body of water in North America that puts on a year round, world class walleye fishery like Saginaw Bay. The shimmering waters of the outer Saginaww Bay around the Charity Islands, off Point Au Gres and off Tawas Bay are truly hawg' walleye heaven from April all the way through summer. The Inner-Bay also produces world class walleye fishing as well during the spring and summer. These hot walleye fishing areas are within easy striking distance from Au Gres (AuGres), Michigan, our base of operations for our Saginaw Bay Walleye fishing charter trips, although we also run charters out of East Tawas (Tawas City) when the walleyes congregate in that area too. The concentrations of walleyes off Au Gres (AuGres) and Tawas are truly world class. In fact many anglers, including Captain Mike Veine, consider Saginaw Bay to be the Walleye Capital of the World these days. Limit catches are considered normal on Saginaw Bay. The catch typically consists of a good mixture of smaller eating sized fish , medium sized chunkers, and big lunkers for the perfect combination of walleye fishing utopia. There has been many astronomically high, successive, walleye hatches on Saginaw Bay in recent years, which has really bumped up walleye recruitment in The Bay to all time high proportions. Saginaw Bay now has a 100% wild, naturally reproducing walleye fishery that has literally exploded over the last decade. In fact walleye reproduction has been so high that the DNR hasn't needed to stock walleyes supplementally in many years. Right now there are more walleyes in the Bay than ever before. The fishery has come on so strong in recent years that lunkers are considered fairly common at times. For the over a decade, we've limited out on nearly all of our Saginaw Bay walleye charters, however since full-day charters are allowed to catch and release fish, we actually average more walleyes per trip than the state allowed limit of five walleyes per angler. The fishing prospects look great again for this year too, so don't miss out. Our Saginaw Bay trips out of Au Gres (AuGres) and East Tawas (Tawas City) are the most popular charters on our schedule so please book early. Trophy Specialist's main technique is trolling with Moonshine Walleye Spoons, crankbaits and spinner/crawler rigs pulled mostly behind in-line planer boards; however other techniques are also used on some occasions.
Saginaw Bay is also home to a decent perch population. During the late summer, in addition to outstanding walleye fishing, Saginaw Bay also often provides a world class perch fishery. When the perch are biting, Trophy Specialists Fishing Charters will offer perch charters during that peak, late summer period. This perch fishing is done by anchoring over schools of fish that we mark on the sonar and still fishing for them. We use light spinning rods usually fishing straight down with spreader rigs baited with minnows or other lures to fill buckets with some nice, jumbo sized and smaller eating size perch. Most of the perch will be 8 to 12 inches. If there are few perch in the area though, then the charter will target walleyes. All perch charters are 5 hours in duration and since the DNR has made it illegal for charter captains to provide minnows to charter customers, the customers must then provide their own minnows on perch charters. Minnows can usually be bought locally at several local, Au Gres area bait shops, or they can be purchased elsewhere at the customers choice.
Here's a brief rundown on what anglers can expect to experience at different times during our season on Saginaw Bay:
March and Early-April walleye charters are conducted from an On-Call List. Because the ice out, the weather and fishing conditions are so unpredictable during the early spring, clients must sign up on an "On Call List" to fish with us during this period. When our schedule allows, and when conditions are favorable for fishing, Trophy Specialists will phone customers on the "On Call List" and they will get to fish during the best possible conditions thus increasing overall success rates then. We typically call those customers at least 48 hours in advance of fishing. The on-call list is best for customers with a flexible schedule, but we do accept clients on the list where they are only available to fish on certain days. If for some reason we can't fish on the specified days available, then the deposit is carried forward and can be used to book any trip or even for next year's on call list. If winter ends early and the ice goes out during March, the fishing then for larger fish can be very good. Pre-spawn female walleyes at their heaviest weight of the year make for some awesome trophies. We troll then using stickbaits at very slow speeds in those frigid waters. Catch numbers may not be at their peak, but the average size of the fish will be the biggest of the year. We also regularly catch salmon and trout on these cold water trips too.
Late April is perhaps the best time of the year to catch trophy class walleyes on a regular basis. When post spawn walleyes leave the rivers during April, many of them end up by Au Gres where they go after smelt, a favorite food of theirs. We catch nearly all female walleyes then and the average size is well over 20 inches at that time of the year. We don't get the numbers that we catch later on during May and the summer months, but we do get some whoppers that are in the 27 to 30 inch range regularly. The fishing pressure is usually low (compared to summer) and the fish are normally located closer to port compared to their deeper summer hangouts. We often troll for April walleyes right in Au Gres Bay, but sometimes we head north conditions dictate. Those late spring, post spawn walleyes are often feeding aggressively, but with cold waters, we troll slower than our summer programs dictate. Even though the fishing can be some of the best of the year, especially for bigger walleyes, the spring weather often make things more challenging and inconsistent. We also catch bonus salmon and trout at this time of the year too. Chinook salmon (kings), Atlantic salmon, steelhead, lake trout and brown trout have all been caught in recent years on April charters. We normally troll for spring walleyes with large and small crankbaits and crawlers. Overall, April and May provides great fishing though and with lodging discounts, it's the most economical time to fish at Au Gres too.
May is an awesome time to fish for walleyes out of Au Gres on Saginaw Bay. The fishing pressure is usually low (compared to summer) and the fish are normally located closer to port compared to their deeper summer hangouts. We often troll for April and May walleyes right in Au Gres Bay, but sometimes we head north or south too as conditions dictate. April and May is a period when the fish run bigger on average compared to the summer fish caught. Those late spring, post spawn walleyes are often feeding aggressively, but with cold waters, we troll slower than our summer programs dictate. Even though the fishing can be some of the best of the year, especially for bigger walleyes, the spring weather often make things more challenging and inconsistent. We normally troll for spring walleyes with large and small crankbaits and crawlers. Overall, April and May provides great fishing though and with lodging discounts, it's the most economical time to fish at Au Gres too.
June is my busiest month of the year for running charters, and for good reason: The fishing then is consistently awesome. The weather typically stabilizes more during June and the warming weather and water temperatures really gets the fish snapping at lures big time. We normally limit out on most of our trips at this time of the year and while big fish are still taken, there's a high preponderance of smaller and medium sized fish in the catch. Those smaller walleyes in the 15 to 19 inch range though are the best eating fish I've ever had anywhere, bar none. During June we normally fish in deeper waters trolling with small crankbaits, spoons and crawlers. Because I normally book all my open dates up during June, you'll want to reserve early then.
July normally finds us fishing out around the Charity Islands for walleyes as they migrate in mass from the Inner Bay to the Outer Bay. The fish are on the move more during July, but 20+ years of experience on Saginaw Bay has taught me to fish in the right places at the right times. The average size of the walleyes tends to run somewhat bigger during July compared to June, likely due to the fact that Saginaw Bay Walleyes grow so fast that in one-month the same fish are just noticeably bigger. We do catch more lunkers out near the Charities though and limit catches are normal during July. We often troll in shallow waters around the Islands using mainly small crankbaits and crawlers. The only down side to July is that it can get hot out on the water when there is no breeze. Thankfully, calm hot days are rare on Saginaw Bay. July is another very busy month on my charter schedule as I usually book up nearly every day.
August often provides awesome fishing on Saginaw Bay. At that time of the year many of the walleyes will have migrated out of the Inner Bay and that typically means heavy concentrations of fish in the Outer Bay. Oftentimes we will still be fishing the shallow to moderate depths around the Charity Islands during August. Sometimes, though, hot whether and warm waters will push the fish further north to the very northern boundary of Saginaw Bay off East Tawas and Tawas City, which is no problem for us as we just move to where the fish are most abundant. Sometimes I will run charters from Au Gres during August, but other times we will depart from Tawas, which is only 20 miles north of Au Gres. Off Tawas, we fish with crawlers and spoons in deep waters, sometimes over 70 feet down. The techniques are different for sure, but the fishing can still be outstanding. Those deep water walleyes are often some of our most consistently big fish of the season averaging five pounds or more. As a bonus, we also frequently catch acrobatic steelhead from those deep water haunts too. We also start offering perch charters during the later half of August, but only when perch move into the Au Gres area in mass. We can almost always find walleyes then though and sometimes, when a cold front cools the water, the walleyes can be very close to port then too.
September is the last month that I run regularly scheduled charters for the season. We fish for walleyes then out of Au Gres and Tawas depending on where the best fishing is. September is a more laid back time along the sunrise coast. The big crowds of tourist are gone and one can relax and enjoy some peace and quite then. We don't catch as many fish then, but the average size of the walleyes then is typically larger than earlier in the season. With stabile weather patterns being the norm, the fishing is typically very consistent too. We also offer some perch charters during September too, but only when the perch are heavily schooled up in the Au Gres area. We can target what ever is biting best; either walleyes or perch, but we can usually always find good numbers of walleyes to catch.
For even more information on fishing at Au Gres and planning your trip there, check out the Au Gres - Saginaw Bay Walleye Fishing Travel Guide.
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Capt. Michael Veine
511 S. Detroit St.
Au Gres, MI 48703
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