We’re in the middle of October, and we’ve had a blast of cool air. This has made for some awesome late salmon fishing. We’ve had some cold nights and good rains. With the combination of rain and north wind we’ve actually had some very late pushes of king and coho salmon. It has lead into some spectacular steelhead fishing. We’re starting to see a few good numbers in the lower portion of each river system. We’ve been doing well fishing beads and spawn, but we’ve also had good success with clients fishing fly gear. It’s a good time for everybody to get out and take advantage of some awesome brown trout and fall steelhead opportunities, and enjoy the awesome fall color in the tremendous fishery we have in northern Michigan.
By: Capt. Chad Dilts
We at Sport Fish Michigan have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of summer, and with July upon us, it is finally time for some consistently warm weather and great fishing opportunities.
With the warming weather trends in June we are seeing the start of a very defined thermocline in the Grand Traverse Bay’s, forcing the majority of the lake trout, cisco and other predatory species away from the shallow water flats and steep breaks where they have spent most of May and June.
This is an exciting time for anglers looking to vertical jig for a variety of species. Some of the best lake trout jigging in July will take place in depths ranging from 80-110 ft of water. Finding isolated humps and steep drop offs just adjacent to deep water is almost always the most productive place to concentrate your efforts. When utilizing your electronics to find active fish, don’t be afraid to set up over 1-3 individual fish marks, some times these can be the most aggressive fish to take advantage of. Jigging spoons such as Jonah Jiggs, PLine Jigs and Swedish Pimples in a 1-2 ounce size are a great option for this presentation.
With the southern end of Lake Michigan experiencing such great numbers of king and coho, July is setting up to be an incredible time to take advantage of some good salmon action in the northern Lake Michigan ports. Anglers looking to either troll or jig vertically for these hard fighting fish should definitely not miss out on the opportunity. Success will be found in areas with a define thermocline that periodically presents schools of bait fish. With the moderately cooler Lake Michigan water temperatures we have experienced in May and June, most of the active salmon will be found 60-120 ft down depending on the port and wind direction. We are very excited to see such great numbers of salmon with a very good average size. Anglers have been consistently reporting fish in mid to upper 20 lbs range. We hope all anglers have a safe and successful July, we hope to see you on the water!
March has snuck right up on us here at Sport Fish Michigan; we are very excited to be putting away the ice fishing gear! This past winter offered some excellent fishing, as well as stellar ice conditions, allowing us to offer a wide variety of species to our ice customers. We had success targeting lake trout, burbot, whitefish, perch, walleye, and northern pike. With the ice conditions quickly diminishing, we have already had the opportunity to hit the open waters of the Grand Traverse Bays. Here is a quick look at what we have been targeting and what we will be perusing over the course of the next few weeks.
As most of you know, the perch fishing on Lake Michigan has greatly improved in the past two years; this past fall yielded high numbers of perch with a good average size. With the bays not receiving much if any safe ice this winter, the fish have had the chance to feed and flourish with limited pressure.
Access to the bays is just starting to improve, shoreline ice is melting, and most of the drift ice has found its way to one shoreline or broken up into miscellaneous pieces. These conditions have made getting out in a boat possible in locations like southern West Bay and southern East Grand Traverse Bay. We are successfully finding large schools of perch with good size in 70-90 ft of water. Most of the active schools are appearing to be 1-2 ft off the bottom in rock and weed-covered areas. Steep drop-offs and inside turns of drop-offs have proven to hold the larger schools. We have had good luck using traditional perch rigs with perch minnows and as well as jigging small jigging Rapalas and 3/4 ounce Jonah Jigs.
We have also had good luck finding pre-spawn burbot in 85-110 ft of water just off of 40-50 ft spawning flats. It has been difficult to mark these fish because they are hugging bottom so tightly. Because of this, we have used a fan-casting technique 360 degrees around the boat with 1 oz jigging spoons to locate active fish. Once we have located the school, we then can set up on them vertically. Anglers will also find active lake trout and cisco while fishing this same depth of water. Any 1 oz blade bait or jigging spoon will help in effectively targeting all three of these species. As the water continues to warm anglers will find that the lake trout and cisco will gradually work their way into shallower water in search of warmer temperatures and baitfish.
We have also had some excellent steelhead fishing this past week, the warmer days have generated some good runoff and rainfall which has helped bring some fresh fish to our local tributaries. With good numbers of steelhead running this past fall, we have been seeing a large number of holdover fish that are becoming more active on a day to day basis. The most effective form of fishing has consisted of float fishing beads and spawn with conventional gear. Light leaders and smaller presentations have been working best. We have a lot of great fishing ahead of us this spring, and we are looking forward to good numbers of steelhead running our tributaries.
This fishing is only just starting to get good; the next two months will only get better for these three species. This is a great time of the year to get out on the Bays and take advantage of some awesome fishing for fish that not only fight hard but taste excellent.