Sport Fish Michigan Grand Traverse Bay – June 2017 Angler Magazine Report

June in northern Michigan is a wonderful time to be on the water. Not only is the weather usually quite pleasant, the fishing is also red hot. Whether it’s on one of the countless inland lakes or on Grand Traverse Bays, the bass fishing opportunities are seemingly endless.

On Grand Traverse Bays, the southern portion of each bay warms earliest, and anglers can target big smallmouth bass using moving baits like jerkbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits with great success. As the month progresses, look further north and deeper for fish as they spawn, and then post spawn on the flats adjacent to their spawning areas. And of course, there is the usual go-to drop shot rig or a tube when fish don’t want to play chase.

For us here at Sport Fish Michigan and Traverse City Bass Guide Service, we prefer to fish a tube on a jika-rig. For a couple of reasons, we feel that this is a better presentation for tube fishing. This jika-rig has an exposed weight on the bottom, allowing for much greater sensitivity. The tube itself is rigged Texas style, and so the plastic of the tube does not dull the feel of the bottom. This allows anglers to detect the subtle strikes that can often occur when tube fishing as bass frequently pick up a tube and swim with it. Also, the hook point rides upright, never tipping over as often the case with a traditionally rigged tube with the weight inside the head. We at Sport Fish Michigan and Traverse City Bass Guide Service have not noticed any difference in hookups or bass being shy about the weight. The tube rides above the weight, almost as if it is neutrally buoyant. With our underwater observations, this seems much more natural in many cases. Most importantly, with this jika-rig, bass that inhale the tube are very rarely deep-hooked. This is not the case with traditionally rigged tubes. Mortality from deeply hooked bass with tubes in their throats is a common sight these days. Not so with this style of tube rigging, as bites are much more evident. Give this rigging a try—we’re sure you’ll love it too.

For inland lake bass fishing, bass are mostly in post spawn and are willing to chase actively moving baits. When the wind is blowing, spinnerbaits are a great option when fished right in the rough stuff. A windy-blown shoreline is prime for tossing double willow leaf blades for bass, and the takes are incredible in our clear northern Michigan waters. It is common to watch a brown torpedo chase down a spinnerbait that is burned just below the surface this time of year! Don’t forget about topwater action as another great option. Insect hatches like the mayfly are king here, and a popper or a walking bait are not only visually exciting but also deadly on both largemouth and smallmouth bass on the inland lakes.

Enjoy the great bass fishing that northern Michigan has to offer—with fantastic weather and fantastic fishing opportunities, it’s a win-win!

Sport Fish Michigan September 2016 Angler Magazine Report

Northwest Michigan Fishing Report

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September’s fishing in northern Michigan is usually incredible, and this year should be no exception. With lots to fish for, the opportunities abound for anglers wanting to target a variety of species using multiple techniques. Most attention this time of year is on the mighty salmon, and this is the prime time to target them!

Out on Grand Traverse and Platte Bays, salmon and lake trout fishing are fantastic—a far cry from what it was the last couple of years. Quite a few king salmon are present, and they are running as true adults should-in the 20-25 pound range! Coho salmon are also present, and these silver salmon are a very respectable 8-9 pounds. There aren’t huge numbers like in years long past, but enough to have people once again excited to get out to target king and coho salmon. Trolling early in the day and later at dusk is the best option to get the most out of willing king salmon. Spoons and plugs are great options as are meat-rigs behind a flasher. Flies and smaller plugs are a great way to target the coho salmon on both Grand Traverse and Platte Bays.

For those wanting to vertical jig, early morning or right at dusk is prime time for king salmon using 2-3 ounce jigs like a Jonah Jig. For coho jigging out on Platte Bay, the middle of the day can also be productive, and Sport Fish Michigan captains prefer slightly smaller 1.5 or 2-ounce jigs to trigger biters.

Platte Bay in September can be a truly world-class place to target coho salmon in shallow water using light tackle. Spinners retrieved at a medium speed can lead to some awesome action, and Platte Bay is the place to do this. This is an absolute favorite way for several Sport Fish Michigan captains to fish in open water for these silver salmon. A 7 to 9-foot rod will help not only make long casts but will also help to cushion these fish when they run, jump and charge under the boat!

Targeting salmon is incredibly fun, and with many anglers out plying the waters, showing a little patience with other anglers is critical. We are all out trying to have fun and catch some fish. A little common sense and some etiquette will go along way to helping us all have fun while we’re on the water. Stay safe, and great fishing!

Grand Traverse Bay Fishing Report

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Bass fishing in northern Michigan can be just as incredible as is the scenery in which we fish. With so many lakes to fish, there never seems to be time enough to hit them all! September is a fantastic month to get out to target northern Michigan bronzebacks as they are beginning their fall feed. With daylight hours shortening, the feeding windows are condensed, making for what can feel like a true feeding bonanza by our northern smallmouths. As the northerly fall winds descend upon us, the inland lake waters seem to experience smallmouths coming shallow more quickly than out on Grand Traverse Bays.

Many of the inland lakes are great places to not only find calmer waters during the north winds that come with fall, but they are also loaded with quality smallmouth options. Windy points and shallow flats adjacent to weed edges and drop-offs are prime spots to start looking for fish that are moving shallow to feed. As the water temperatures fall throughout September, power fishing options like crankbaits, umbrella rigs and spinnerbaits once again take hold. Drop shots and finesse style fishing is still a mainstay when the weather is warm and calm.

Grand Traverse Bays are slow to cool, and many of the bigger smallmouths are still down deep in 30 plus feet. Drop shot rigs are a great way to tempt these fish. As the month progresses, more and more fish will make the push shallow where they will be easier to target using a larger arsenal of techniques.

The Traverse City area is known for its amazing smallmouth fishing, and any given day can showcase just why its been so popular with television shows and well-known bass professionals. Stay safe out on the water, have fun, and tight lines!

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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Ben Wolfe’s Michigan Fishing Report for AnglingBuzz.com 09.11.15

Early September report includes information about northwest Michigan’s bounty of fishing opportunities in September, including smallmouth bass, walleye, lake trout, coho salmon, and king salmon.