Sport Fish Michigan August 2016 Angler Magazine Report

Northwest Michigan Report


Sport Fish Michigan has had terrific fishing this summer; water temperatures have gradually increased providing a consistent bite for most big water species. August is a great month for anglers to target some very willing trout and salmon in the Northwest region of Lake Michigan.

Grand Traverse Bay is fishing very well this August. Water temperatures have been varying with wind direction from 68-70 degrees on the surface. Anglers that have successfully found the thermocline have been producing good catches of Lake Trout in 80-100 feet of water. Jigging and trolling have produced good catches of trout. Ciscos have been feeding above the thermocline attacking higher in the water column. Both east and west bay have been blessed with a fairly high density of alewife over the course of the spring and summer. This has provided a fishable salmon population for anglers willing to troll. Most of the salmon being caught have been 2-3 years old with the occasional adult encounter. Flasher and fly combinations, lead core, spoons, and even cut bait rigs have been productive.

Platte Bay is setting up very nicely for this fall. With the warm temperatures in August, the thermocline will be found 80-100 feet depending on the wind direction. This provides an excellent depth range to target aggressive lake trout that have been biting very well all spring and summer. Larger dodgers, cowbells, and small spoons trolled at 1.9-2.4 mph have been best for most anglers. Pockets of baitfish have been found near and around the rocks and steep breaks.

Frankfort has offered some spectacular fishing all spring and summer. Warm August temperatures have brought heavy south winds forcing most of the fish deep with the thermocline ranging from 80-120 feet. Lake trout fishing has been very consistent with most schools of fish gathering along the steep breaks and under water points. Anglers that have fully committed to salmon fishing have been producing some nice fish. Salmon numbers have fluctuated with the wind direction; however most anglers are reporting a very fishable population.


Grand Traverse Bay Report


Summer time bass fishing in and around the Traverse City area is in full swing now that we are in August, and that means fishing deeper water. With the incredible amount of wind that we experienced in July, the water temperatures aren’t super hot, which is helpful in keeping oxygenated water and fish active.

For those fishing on Grand Traverse Bays, the smallmouth fishing has been excellent at times, and spotty at times. For the most part, anglers should target deep structure in 20 feet or more. A good sonar graph will help to pinpoint these structures. Deep weed beds will also hold fish, as this is where baitfish, crayfish and bugs will all congregate. Drop shots are a staple for us here at Sport Fish Michigan and Traverse City Bass Guide Service. When there is wind, a spinner bait fished on the shallower flats can lead to some thunderous bites! For the early-morning risers, a top water fished early in the day or late in the evening can be a great way to target fish orienting on the shallow side of deep drop-offs.

For inland waters, the bass are relating to deeper water that also have weed edges associated with them. Top waters are a great way to locate fish early in the day, or again later in the evening, although smallmouth will readily bite top waters all day if there are slick overcast conditions. A soft plastic jerk bait can be another fantastic option this time of year.

While the bass fishing may be in its summer patterns, the opportunities to have a great day on the water still abound. With lots of summer boating traffic to contend with, make sure to have the necessary safety equipment onboard. Have lots of fun, and just as important is to stay safe!


Michigan River Fishing Report 5.23.16

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!