River Fishing Report – October 2018

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.

Chad Dilts – Coastal Angler Fishing Report – September 2018

What an amazing August! Sport Fish Michigan and clients had a terrific August, taking advantage of multiple fishing opportunities throughout the Traverse City Region. The lake trout and salmon fishing really picked up pace leading into this month, we are very excited to capitalize on every minute of action our area has to offer.

The lake trout, cisco, and perch fishing on Grand Traverse Bays in September can be red hot, allowing anglers the chance to take multiple species in one outing on the water. Anglers trolling and vertical jigging will have great success fishing in and around the thermocline for both trout and cisco.

The lake trout will be found in depths ranging from 75-120ft of water depending on wind direction. Most of the ciscos can be found making their way back to the southern portions of each bay over deeper water, 80-150ft. Larger schools of cisco transitioning to steep drop offs and deeper flats will almost always be found suspending in large schools in depths ranging from 80-110ft. When trolling and jigging over these deeper schools, anglers will also find hungry king and coho salmon. Looking for larger active marks on top of or underneath schools of bait fish can be very helpful in hopes of capturing some nice salmon!

Anglers looking for perch should mainly focus on depths ranging from 50-90ft. Areas with weed and gravel/rock coverage will produce more active schools than areas without. Last fall offered some excellent perch fishing, get out and enjoy some of these great tasting fish.

If the open water is getting old, don’t miss out on what our area tributaries have to offer this time of year. This summer we have witnessed some of the largest king and coho salmon our area has seen since the late 70’s and 80’s! Anglers looking to fish conventional gear in the area tributaries can primarily focus on using cured salmon eggs under floats and casting crank-baits. For those looking to tackle these hard fighting fish on the fly, larger streamer patterns can yield some positive results. No matter your preference, make sure you get the chance to get after some of the largest fish we have had in decades!

We at Sport Fish Michigan wish everyone a safe and successful September!

Chad Dilts – AnglingBuzzTV Fishing Report – Mid-July

Captain Chad Dilts of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for early July. Summer is here, and temperature increases have pushed fish into deeper waters in both Lake Michigan and inland lakes. Check out angling opportunities for salmon, lake trout, walleye, and smallmouth bass.

Chad Dilts – Coastal Angler Fishing Report – July 2018

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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!

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!