June’s fishing may be some of the best spring fishing that we have here in northern Michigan. Seemingly almost every species that an angler would want to target can be caught somewhere, somehow. The cool, late spring has waters still chilly, which is actually a benefit to much of the area’s fishing.
Platte Bay anglers have great opportunities for lake trout, brown trout, and smallmouth bass and even off species like carp and gar! For those wanting to cast the shallows, there are wonderful opportunities in June, before the waters warm enough to push fish deeper. Smallmouths come into the reef systems to feed and to spawn, and can be caught by casting inline spinners, drop shot rigs, jerk baits and crankbaits. For those looking for brown trout, they will be in the rocky shallows feeding on baitfish. Try many of the same tactics used for bass—brownies love to chase a minnow imitation, and will readily pounce on jerk baits, spinners and curly tail grubs. Lake trout anglers can vertically jig the deep breaks, scoring well on these aggressive and tasty fish. Jigs anywhere from ¾ of an ounce all the way up to 2 ounces will work; often times fished right above the bottom. Zebra muscles are everywhere, so accidentally snagging a few of these off the bottom is common, but banging a jig on the bottom also tends to get more bites. When the jig doesn’t feel quite right, it’s very possible that hooks may have a zebra or quagga muscle or two attached.
Grand Traverse Bays are still cold, but the action is hot. Deep breaks, underwater humps and points are all likely spots to find a variety of fish, including lake trout, whitefish, bass and even burbot. The cool waters often have the deep-water fish like lakers and whitefish still relatively shallow, in 50-80 feet. Jigging spoons like Jonah Jigs or Swedish Pimples all will produce well when jigged off the bottom. Making bottom contact seems to be key most days. Suspending fish like ciscos can be caught using electronics when jigs are dropped down to whatever depth the ciscos are holding in. When the waters warm, lake trout and whitefish will slide down deeper, taking up residence in 100 + feet of water. Food is key for lake trout and whitefish, and they will follow bait schools wherever they go. Starting shallow is a good start, but don’t be afraid to keep trying deeper until schools of your target fish can be located.
River Anglers still have cool enough water to target bass and trout, and with June’s bug hatches as well as young-of-the-year minnows, fish will be looking for an easy meal. This lends itself well to fly anglers and conventional anglers alike. Small streamers or dry fly presentations will do well for the fly anglers. Anything minnow like should get attention as well as poppers fished in a stop and go retrieve will also score for the spinning rod crowd.
Big magnum mayflies will begin to hatch towards the end of the month, and this king of all hatches often times makes otherwise wary fish lose their inhibitions, ravenously gobbling anything resembling a mayfly. The first few hatches of the year can produce some awesome trout, bass, walleye and panfish action on not only northern Michigan’s rivers, but also the inland lakes. Late evenings and early first-light are the prime times to be on the water to take advantage of the mayfly hatches and the feeding frenzy that it brings.
With so many great options to fish for in June, sometimes it’s hard to pick what body of water and what species to go after. But whichever you decide, it’s a great time to be outdoors, enjoying some time on the water.