Memorial Day is almost upon us, and we have been experiencing an awesome stretch of weather this past week. To go with that great weather has been some spectacular days on the water fishing for a variety of species. Waters are warming, and the fishing is hot.
Grand Traverse Bays have been absolutely on fire for both lake trout and ciscos (otherwise known as lake herring or tullibees). The bay temperatures have been fluctuating between the high 40’s and the low 50’s the past week depending on location.
The lake trout are starting to move shallow, and are being caught by anglers casting in 20-50 feet of water. Long casts with a heavy blade bait and then retrieved with a hopping yo-yo action have been the ticket to getting the trout and ciscos to bite. Ciscos can also often be caught right below the boat! These little velociraptors with fins have been all over both East and West Grand Traverse Bays, and have been devouring anything in sight seemingly. The trout, while they have been venturing shallow, have for the most part, been in the 40-60 feet of water.
Trolling on the Bays has been the most productive for the trout, and 60 feet of water seems to be the magical depth at the moment. As the waters continue to warm and the baitfish and gobies head shallow, so too will the lake trout, which seem to be running large at the moment. Lots of really nice sized trout have been caught in the past week.
The inland lakes are seeing the first wave of smallmouth bass pushing up onto the beds to spawn. The full moon from a couple of nights ago is what triggered the move to the spawning beds. With many inland lake temperatures in the mid to upper 50’s, there are still bass that are in the pre-spawn mode, readily taking jerk baits and spinner baits as well as more subtle options like a curly-tailed grub.
For river fly anglers, the brown drake hatch is on, and both resident and stocked trout on northern Michigan rivers are feeding heavily on the surface. Streamers are still producing for bigger fish, although during bug hatches it may be best to match the hatch as big trout don’t like to pass up an easy protein meal like a bug!