Sport Fish Michigan Fishing Report 05.22.17

It’s hard to believe that May is already coming to an end. Fishing in northern Michigan has been spectacular this month, and things looks great leading in to June. The weather has created many of the good fishing opportunities in the area – we have had some warmer days and colder nights, building a gradual increase in lake temperatures. This is exactly what we wanted for our area!

Grand Traverse Bay has been incredible for cisco, trout, and whitefish in 25-60 feet of water. If you haven’t yet gone fishing for these species this year, you should! We are having great results casting gold-colored blade baits in a 3/4 ounce size along the steep breaks of East Grand Traverse Bay. Water temperatures in the bay have been bouncing back and forth between the mid- to low-40s. This is an optimal temperature zone for lake trout and cisco to cruise the shallows in search of alewife and gobies. Salmon fishing has also been fairly decent in Grand Traverse Bay. Anglers are finding active fish in 50-100 feet of water, high in the water column. Trolling lead core and slide divers with spoon presentations has been a productive technique. Trolling smaller spoon presentations at a speed of 2.4-2.7 mph is a good way to target the multiple available species available.

Bass fishing on most northern inland lakes is on fire! Due to the way water temperatures are setting up, the prospect of a longer spawning season is very good. Smaller inland lakes are maintaining temps in the mid- to upper-50s, with some even reaching into the low-60s. The last full moon brought a good push of males in to make beds, and females searching for the right spot to settle on for spawning. A lot of fish are being caught on the shallow flats adjacent to spawning grounds, and fish are very active both in and around beds. The larger inland lakes are still in an excellent pre-spawn condition with larger fish being found on weed- and rock-covered flats and drop-offs. Swim baits on darter jigs, drop shot rigs, and tubes have been working very well, but don’t hesitate to try covering some water with a spinner bait when the water presents the right opportunity.

Get out and enjoy the awesome fishing Michigan offers, it will not disappoint!

Sport Fish Michigan April 2017 Angler Magazine Report

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April is upon us. The ice has melted, and instead of seeing the lakes covered with shanties and snow, we see waves and boats! Northern Michigan spring weather can be cold and rainy, but that will not stop anglers from hitting the inland lakes in hopes of landing some big pre-spawn smallmouth and largemouth bass. With the new DNR regulations in place allowing us to target bass, the month of April is now wide open for us, where it was previously closed. While we can target bass, it is still catch and immediate release, however.

With a lot of the lakes maintaining water temperatures in the upper 30’s to low 40’s it is important to note that most of the bass in the larger inland lakes are still rather lethargic. Feeding fish can and will be found transitioning from deeper water to shallower flats and weed covered drop offs. The feeding window tends to be short lived this time of the year; generally, it can be the warmest time of the day. Smallmouth’s love sun and a sunny day can really trigger a nice bite as the sun will penetrate down through the clear waters here in Northern Michigan.

A good go-to presentation in April can be blade baits and jerk baits. With the blade bait, retrieving with a double pump action associated with a fall can be key. Try several different styles of pumps making the blade bait flutter in your retrieve to trigger a strike and establish a pattern. The same goes for jerk baits–make sure you play with the jerk/pause cadence to establish what the fish want. With cold water, we at Traverse City Bass Guide Service like to start with at least a 3-5 second pause in between jerk/retrieve. In the colder water, April bass can even want as long as a 10-second pause. Keep in mind as well, that sometimes a twitch can be more effective than a jerk!

When targeting bass with these techniques, you have a very good chance of stumbling into a post spawn pike. This can make for a nice added bonus to get the blood flowing. Pike have a tendency to be found actively feeding adjacent to drop offs and on weed covered deeper flats this time of year. When you find one, you will usually find more! If you find that you’ve stumbled into an area that has nothing but pike, try moving a little deeper or in contrast a little shallower. The bass usually aren’t too far away.

We at Traverse City Bass and Sport Fish Michigan look forward to a great season chasing fish on the open water. We hope everyone has a great April and we look forward to seeing you on the water.

Sport Fish Michigan November 2016 Angler Magazine Report

Northwest Michigan Area Fishing Report

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As the waters cool, opportunities still abound for some spectacular fall fishing. While many are taking to the woods for the fall hunting season, anglers willing to brave the chillier weather can be rewarded for almost every species.

For inland lakes, walleyes, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass are prime targets as they put on the feedbag for winter. With the shorter days, the feeding windows are condensed, giving anglers some great chances to intercept the active fish. For walleyes, pulling minnow plugs behind planer boards adjacent to steep break lines remains a great option right at dusk. Anglers wanting to cast shouldn’t overlook the mid-day feeding window with baits like a leadhead jig tipped with a paddle tail soft plastic. Perch anglers can score big with nice jumbos using perch rigs tipped with wigglers or even small perch flies tipped with a small piece of cocktail shrimp. Another favorite option that can really call in some nicer fish is a small jigging spoon with a dropper chain. For some reason, big jumbo perch really like the action of a jigging spoon and will sometimes take this offering when few other things seem to be working.

Inland lake bass fishing can be incredible, and the fish on the inland lakes come up to the shallow flats to feed before heading deep for winter. Swimbaits, crankbaits, and even spinnerbaits are all great options to throw this time of year. Don’t be afraid to try skinny water at times if there is sunny weather. It’s not uncommon for smallmouths to roam into water as shallow as four feet or so during the fall feed. This is a time of year when bronzebacks famously “wolf pack”, and locating one in an area generally means that there are many more around.

Grand Traverse Bay Fishing Report

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Fall bass fishing in Northern Michigan can be just as good as the spring pre-spawn fishing, but with lots less angling pressure. True, the fall gales can be an issue when planning a trip, but when we have the weather, the fishing can be awesome!

The Grand Traverse Bays cool much slower than the inland lakes, meaning that the fish are down in deeper water later into the year, and deep water tactics are the way to go here. Very often, fishing the steep breaks are the way to locate smallmouths as they will venture up onto the breaks to feed, retreating down deep during periods of inactivity. Drop shot techniques, swimbaits and crankbaits are great fall options and are some of the go-to options for Traverse City Bass Guide Service and Sport Fish Michigan.

For anglers looking to put some meat into a cooler on the Bays, yellow perch schools are roaming around in huge numbers not seen in years! While many of these schools have 4-6 inch perch, there are some bigger fish around. What is exciting is to see the number of smaller fish, meaning that we should have some outstanding jumbo perch fishing in the years to come if we are careful about not overharvesting this fantastic and tasty fish.

Another stellar option is the cisco aka lake herring. With a change in diets over the past several years, they are incredibly good table fare now, and are now exciting more and more anglers. They are extremely plentiful in Grand Traverse Bays, and are super aggressive feeders as well, hitting seemingly anything that comes close to them. Jigging spoons in a 1 ounce or 1-1/2 ounce size are perfect for these fish, as are blade baits. Ciscos these days are running much larger than they ever have, and 4 pound plus fish are common on guide trips this past year for Sport Fish Michigan. Trolling is another productive way to target these fish, but smaller hooks may be the ticket to a higher landing ratio. Cisco fishing is an absolute hoot, and anglers who like to reel in an incredibly hard fighting fish won’t be disappointed! And being outstanding to eat is only a bonus!

The Bays are big water, and the fall’s north winds can churn the waters up quickly. Take care when heading out onto any body of water this fall, and make sure to have the proper safety gear aboard. Equally as important is to let others know what your fishing plans are, and where you plan to be. Stay safe, enjoy the fantastic fishing out on Grand Traverse Bays, and catch lots of fish!

Ben Wolfe’s Michigan Buzz Bite Report for AnglingBuzz.com 07.28.16

Captain Ben Wolfe with Sport Fish Michigan gives his report for the Michigan area waters for the end of July, 2016.

Sport Fish Michigan July 2016 Angler Magazine Report

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Bass fishing in Northern Michigan can be wonderfully rewarding. The smallmouth bass are in a summer pattern during this time. On inland lakes, early morning and dusk are prime times to target bass using topwater lures. Toppers and walking baits are the primary go-to choices for topwater action at this time of the year. As we experience the Mayfly hatch early in the month, and then tapering off as the month progresses, most bass action on the inland lakes will revolve around these insect hatches. Deeper weeds and sharp break lines will hold fish all throughout the month.

Grand Traverse Bay has excellent smallmouth fishing in July, as most of our fish are in a post-spawn and early summer pattern. Rocky flats adjacent to deep water will be key areas in which to look for smallmouth bass this month. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits on windy days can be very effective. On calmer days, drop-shot rigs and soft plastic jerkbaits are excellent options. As the month progresses, bass will transition deeper in the water to their summer locations. A drop-shot rig is a great option for targeting deep-holding bass.

Boat ramps are more crowded this time of year, as are the waterways. Patience and courtesy with other boaters should be taken. We are all out trying to have a good time on the water. Stay safe, have lots of fun, and enjoy our beautiful Northern Michigan waters.

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