Ben Wolfe – Angling Buzz TV Fishing Report – Early June 2019

Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for early June. Great fishing conditions for bluegill and crappie on inland lakes, and cisco and lake trout in the Grand Traverse Bays. Salmon are starting coming up the coast – through Frankfort and Manistee – and they’re BIG!

Ben Wolfe: Coastal Angler May 2018 Fishing Report

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The month of May is an excellent time take advantage of numerous fishing opportunities in Northern Michigan. Anglers throughout the area will be gearing up in hopes of kicking off the open water fishing season on our area inland lakes and surrounding Lake Michigan ports. The water temperatures are just starting to hit that magical 50-degree mark, filling the shallower water flats and steep breaks with baitfish and all the opportunistic predator fish that we love so much!

On Grand Traverse Bays, the perch fishing has really picked up pace in the last two months. Larger schools of perch can be found just off steep weed- and rock-covered drop-offs in 45-85 ft of water. Any flat in the depth range with a good weed, rock, or gravel bottom composition will also present as a great area to target the larger schools of perch. Anglers using perch spreaders, live bait, and even soft plastics will have no problem taking home good numbers of perch. In this same depth range, anglers will have the opportunity to jig and cast for cisco, white fish, and lake trout. This time of the year is the best time to get into all three of these species in a shallower water situation. Trolling, casting, and jigging are all great ways to capture huge catches of these fish. Everyone should get out to enjoy this awesome fishery.

Anglers looking to take advantage of some spring brown trout action should definitely consider hitting the shallow water shoreline of Lake Michigan in the month of May. Ports like Manistee, Onekama, Arcadia, Frankfort and even Platte Bay will provide good numbers of brown trout on the right days. When in search of these acrobatic footballs, anglers will have good success finding areas where dirtier “stained” water presents. Finding areas with lower visibility and warmth are key when trolling or casting the shallows. Don’t be afraid to scout a shoreline for several miles in search of a temperature increase or color change in the water. Trolling with inline planer boards and fluorocarbon leaders seems to be effective for most anglers. Yozuri, Rapala, Bomber, and Challenger body baits work excellent for this application.

Anglers will also not want to overlook the terrific walleye fishing our area inland lakes have to offer during the month of May. With cooler water temperatures and very limited weed growth, shallow water casting and trolling at this time is extremely effective. Low-light hours and even well into the darkness of night are great times to get on a hot bite. 4-15 ft of water just adjacent to drop-offs will most commonly hold feeding fish. Slow trolling and retrieving can be key in this situation. Quiet and stealthy is the name of the game! We at Sport Fish Michigan look forward to seeing you on water, good luck!

We at Sport Fish Michigan look forward to seeing you on water, good luck!

Sport Fish Michigan Fishing Report 05.08.17

The past two weeks have been filled with awesome fishing for SFM and clients. The walleye fishing has been on fire throughout the state! Fishing on the Detroit River continues to be red hot, both on the US and Canadian side. 35-48ft of water has held the more active fish. Larger fish are being found on the cleaner side of the mud line in US waters. Lime and antifreeze-colored heads with a black worm are most effective at this time.

Inland lake fishing for walleye in Benzie, Leelanau, and Grand Traverse Counties has been very good. Anglers trolling after dark with floating Rapalas on lighter fluorocarbon line have had great success. Anglers targeting 5-12ft of water trolling at a speed of 1.3-1.9 are yielding good catches.

The lake trout fishing off Frankfort and East-West Grand Traverse Bay has been very red hot. Anglers have also had frequent encounters with salmon in both locations. The most active salmon and trout have been found in 30-70ft of water, feeding on gobies and alewife in warmer temperatures. Finding the warmer water can be critical at this time of the year. Sometimes a 5-degree temperature variation can make all the difference in your catch.

Cisco fishing on Grand Traverse Bays is really starting to heat up as well. Lots of fish are being found in 50-70ft of water close to steep drop-offs. Blade baits, jigging spoons, and trolling lead core have been working very well. Anglers trolling smaller spoons have had good action. The cisco fishing should only continue to get better through the month of May! Get out and catch some of these awesome, hard-fighting fish!

Sport Fish Michigan Lake Report March – April 2017

Spring is here! With all the ice gradually melting, open water fishing on most inland lakes is in full swing and Grand Traverse Bay is open for some great fishing opportunities, as well. Listed below is brief description of what techniques and tips Sport Fish Michigan has to offer anglers when hitting the water over the course of the next month.

Inland lake fishing for perch has been very good, and this is an awesome time of year to take advantage of big fish and large schools. Most fish can be found feeding in 38-50 feet of water adjacent to steeper drop-offs and weed-covered flats. If you are lucky enough to find perch minnows at your local bait shop, this will help yield the best action when targeting perch. The fish tend to move this time of year as they are actively spawning and transitioning from deeper to shallower water. Make sure to use a Minn Kota Motors I-Pilot or back trolling technique, as using an anchor can spook the school, forcing them to move.

Grand Traverse Bay has been fishing very well this March and will only continue to heat up for several species. Lake trout and cisco fishing is incredible this time of year. Utilizing good, effective electronics, and successfully anchoring on top of large schools will bring the most success. This time of the year, jigging spoons and blade baits are key, fish are constantly moving, in search for alewife, gobies, and other baitfish in the warming water. 50-100 feet of water is a great place to start, this is usually a key area to find both species, however don’t be afraid to check shallower as the water warms, as most of the baitfish and insect life will be gathering around the warmer rocks and weed cover. And if all else fails, deep waters of 150 feet or even more will almost always hold fish. These deeper fish may not be the actively feeding fish that cruise the shallower waters, but can often be tempted with a good jig.

Traverse City, Frankfort, Leland, and Manistee offer some excellent shallow water trolling opportunities on Lake Michigan for brown trout, steelhead, and even the occasional lake trout. Anglers will have great success trolling body baits on in-line planer boards in 8-15 feet of water. Locating stained water areas and gradual temperature breaks will help pinpoint where feeding fish are located. Browns tend to congregate in the water that has the least amount of visibility and the warmest temperature. Don’t be afraid to fish very close to the shoreline, the inside trough can be very productive this time of year!

Good luck and see you on the water!

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.

Michigan River Fishing Report 11.15.14

11.15.2014

Michigan River Fishing

Muskegon River

Steelhead fishing has been pretty good lately with some nice-sized chrome fish coming boatside. Anglers finding the most success have been using cured salmon eggs tied into spawn bags. With all of the recent rains, larger bags have been the key to getting steelhead to bite. Spawn fished under a float, or back bounced through deep holes and the tailout runs have been the most consistent.

Capt. Kyle Buck

Big Manistee River (Lower)

Anglers fishing near Tippy Dam have seen the best action on the lower stretches of the Manistee River. Along with the steelhead bite, lots of trout are still being caught. Anglers are still catching fish on beads pegged a couple of inches above the hook, so those that don’t want to mess with spawn are still getting bites. This has been the best option for fly anglers. Those that are inclined to use spawn are seeing slightly better fishing, as the added attraction of scent tips the odds in their favor. Colder water temperatures have fish holding a little deeper and less willing to travel to take offerings. This is where spawn or small steelhead jigs tipped with wax worms have been paying off–both for steelhead, and for the resident brown and rainbow trout. Float fishing behind spawning gravel has been the best option, although bottom bouncing has produced good results as well. Lots of rain, and even quite a bit of snow, lately has water levels higher than normal, which means that caution should be taken when venturing out. Anglers wading near Tippy Dam should take extra precaution as there can be slippery conditions with the snow. Water temperatures were 41-42 degrees right up at the dam.

Capt. Ben Wolfe

Betsie River

The Betsie River near Frankfort has had some nice steelhead come into the system with the recent rains and snow. While there haven’t been a ton of fish in the system to target, the fish that are there are big. Covering lots of water has been key to locating them. A recent trip saw fish over 12 pounds come to net, with a couple of other bites from what appeared to be large fish. The best options right now are below Homestead Dam. Lake run brown trout should be coming into the river system any day now. Spawn bags that are larger than normal have been the ticket to getting bites, as the water is off-colored due to the rain and snow. In fact, the water is high enough that getting under the bridges in a boat has been impossible.

Capt. Ben Wolfe

Michigan River Fishing Report 11.03.14

11.03.2014

SFMboat
Hook N’ Look’s Kim Stricker is enjoying a nice fall day on the water with Capt. Ben on Platte Bay in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Salmon and Lake Trout Trolling

Frankfort

Trolling in Frankfort when the weather has allowed has been pretty good for 2 and 3 year old king salmon, steelhead and the occasional brown trout. The cold water has fish feeding heavily when the winds are down. Steelhead are in the top portion of the water column, and can be targeted just a few feet down with body baits and flashy spoons with gold or orange. Salmon can be trolled quickly this time of year, with a slightly faster speed often producing quality bites.

MaeTrout
Mae with one of the many trout she landed while fishing with Wolfe Outfitters on the Manistee River.

Michigan River Fishing

Big Manistee River (Lower)

Salmon season is over, aside from a few holdover fish on gravel. Steelhead is the name of the game now, but there aren’t tons of steelies in the Manistee just yet. While there are definitely some fish in the river, fishing hasn’t been gangbusters as hoped. Trips are yielding a few bites per outing, but action has been bolstered by a great trout bite when fishing close to Tippy Dam. Fishing with spawn bags or beads under a float has been the best option lately. Fly anglers fishing egg patterns and beads under a float have also seen action. Hopefully the recent snow and windy weather will trigger another push of fish, giving anglers more great days on the water.

Capt. Jeff Mallory, Wolfe Outfitters/Sport Fish Michigan

Betsie River

Steelhead are in the Betsie, and fish are running large when they can be found. Fishing above Kurick road is closed now for the closed trout season, but there are plenty of steelhead opportunities below Kurick. Float fishing with beads has been producing in the slower water just below gravel areas.

Recent higher waters have given the river some stain, and brighter flies or beads can be key. The hard north winds and rain/snow mix should bring fresh chromers into the river.

Capt. Jeff Mallory, Wolfe Outfitters/Sport Fish Michigan

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Steelhead are in the rivers, and the action is heating up! Not bad for John’s first-ever steelhead caught while fishing with Jeff Mallory and Wolfe Outfitters! Great job!

Northern Michigan Inland Lakes

The fall bass bite is on, and some of the best fishing can be when it’s nasty out. Traditionally, snow or sleet squalls can produce a red hot bite, helping to keep anglers warm during what is otherwise a chilly time of year. Fast moving baits like lipless crankbaits can trigger reaction bites from big bronzebacks and largemouths. Deep diving crank baits can also produce well when fished around isolated cover, and underwater points or humps. Some of the biggest bass of the year come now, and as the inland lakes cool more quickly than the bigger water of the Grand Traverse Bays, action has been dynamite when the wind and weather allows anglers to get out. When fish aren’t willing to chase down fast moving baits, crawling a tube or a drop shot rig can pay off handsomely. Blade baits will come into play as water temps drop into the upper to mid 40’s. Care should always be taken when heading out onto the water this time of year, but when the weather cooperates, the fish usually do as well.

Capt. Ben Wolfe, Traverse City Bass/Sport Fish Michigan

Michigan River Fishing Report 08.26.14

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Salmon and Lake Trout Trolling

Frankfort

Frankfort’s salmon fishing has been hit or miss lately for most of the charter boats. Salmon have shown up in waves, and when they do, they have been incredibly snappy, with lots of happy customers and anglers alike. Meat rigs and spoons are the keys to getting salmon to go, and first light and last light have been the hottest times to be on the water. Anglers arriving after first light have often missed the best salmon bite. Kings continue to dominate the salmon catches, but a few coho are being caught as well. By far, the most consistent fishing has been the lake trout fishing, with lots of big fish coming boat-side. And with a diet consisting more and more of gobies, the lake trout meat is a beautiful orange hue, very closely resembling that of salmon. Lakers are being taken both close to bottom and suspended. Anglers targeting “the bank” have done well when the salmon are around, but many are making the run to fish west Platte Bay to specifically target the lakers.
Capt. Andy Odette

Leland

Leland’s fishing has been an up and down roller coaster much like Frankfort’s. When the pockets of king salmon have come through, the fishing has been stellar. The recent few days of hot steamy weather has shut things down salmon-wise a bit more than anglers would prefer, after several days of hot fishing. Lake trout fishing has been curiously inconsistent as well, but what fish are being caught have been dandies. Fishing tight to bottom has been the most productive, but targeting suspending fish has also scored fish throughout the day.
Capt. Brady Anderson

West Bay

West Bay in Traverse City has been mostly consistent the past several days. The hot weather the past few days has pushed the fish deeper, but the salmon are still staged around the “hole” near the mouth of the Boardman River. Trollers have done well when hitting the first light of day. Lake trout fishing remains awesome, fishing suspended fish in about 80 feet of water. Not only are fish seemingly plentiful, they are running fairly large, too.
Capt. Brady Anderson

East Bay

East Bay salmon fishing has been consistent lately, but not fast and furious. Charter boats are getting anywhere from 2-5 fish a trip, but are hoping for better numbers of king salmon to move into the system in the upcoming days. Lake trout fishing remains red hot, with lots of big fish coming to the boat. Targeting suspended fish is the key, and 80 feet down seems to be the best depth right now. As always, when fishing for king salmon, the hottest bite is either the first light of day or dusk right before last light in the evening.
Capt. Adam Collett

Salmon and Lake Trout Jigging

Platte Bay

Platte Bay is still fishing reasonably well for lake trout. There are lots of smaller sub-legal fish in the system, which means that when these schools are found, it can be nonstop action. Even the smaller 16-18 inch trout pound an ounce and a half jig incredibly hard. For targeting larger keeper-size fish, the deeper breaks have been the ticket. Coho salmon are starting to show, just not in great numbers yet. The forecast has some north wind for the next couple of days, and that may be all that’s needed to bring in more of these awesome fish where we can target them with jigging techniques before they get up shallow in their staging area just outside the mouth of the Platte River. Fishing in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a special opportunity, and with such a wonderful backdrop of the Dunes and the Manitou Islands, who couldn’t help but love to fish out on Platte Bay?
Capt. Ben Wolfe

West Bay

Jigging for lake trout has been great the past couple of weeks. Fish are mostly deep now that summer is finally here in earnest. The past few days of hot weather has really made it pleasant to be out on the water. Lakers have been scattered depth-wise, but the best jigging bite has been in 105-120 feet of water. Use 1-2 ounce jigs to target lakers that deep. Salmon are starting to show up in the “hole” near the mouth of the Boardman River, meaning that jigging action for king salmon should be heating up soon. Jigging spoons up to 3 ounces are the keys to getting bit by the big king salmon that roam these waters.
Capt. Brady Anderson

East Bay

Jigging for East Bay for lake trout has been stellar lately. Of course, not every day can be a banner day, but the action has been great overall. Not only are numbers of fish coming to the boat, but the average size has been tremendous as well, with quite a few fish in the 6-8 pound range. The best bite for our trips has been in 105 plus feet of water. Early in the day, we have been able to get good numbers of fish in as shallow as 80 feet as well. As the day progresses, we have moved deeper, as the trout have moved to deeper water as well. We have even been able to target suspending fish by either dropping our ounce and a half size jigs down to them, or reeling up quickly through the water column, triggering aggressive bites from the suspending fish. There’s nothing quite like reeling up from the bottom quickly only to watch the rod double over as an aggressive lake trout grabs the jig as it comes by! Whitefish have also been caught on occasion, adjacent to the lakers, in 100 plus feet.
Capt. Ben Wolfe

Michigan River Fishing

Big Manistee River (Lower)

King salmon are starting to show up on the Big Manistee River, and angling pressure is increasing as well. Although there aren’t big numbers just yet, the recent rain should pull more fish into the rivers, and the north winds predicted for the next couple of days, although not predicted to be high, should bring some more fish into the staging areas of Manistee Lake. Trout fishing remains excellent, despite the late August date! Small spinners have produced well on recent guide trips, and 50 fish days are still possible. Although most of the fish are small 10-12 inches, they are scrappy and a lot of fun to catch. Larger fish in the 16-18 inch range are also being caught, mixed in with the smaller ones. Bass fishing on the Manistee has been tougher lately. Soft plastic jerkbaits have been the ticket for the smallies in the river the past few days, as have been weighted flies resembling minnows.
Capt. Ben Wolfe

Betsie River

King salmon have started to run the river, and what fish are in the river are mostly above the Homestead dam. The heavy rains yesterday should bring more fish into the low portion of the Betsie, below the dam. The fish are bright chrome and feisty, so beefing up on leader material is a good idea. Early salmon will absolutely chase a streamer when presented well, and watching a bright chrome king salmon chase a fly in shallow waters like the Betsie is tough to beat! Some of the best stretches are reached by boat, but then can be waded easily.
Capt. Jeff Mallory

Platte River

There haven’t been any cohos that have run up the Platte to speak of, but there are still walleyes in Loon Lake, in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. With the summery weather the past few days, tubing and kayaking action on the Platte has picked up, so anglers should be watchful for tubes, kayaks and canoes. Labor Day weekend will be busy if the weather is nice, so it may be best for anglers to go early in the day if they plan on getting out before the crowds.
Capt. Jeff Mallory
Michigan Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Grand Traverse Bays

Smallies are mostly deep these days, as the summer pattern is here in earnest. Drop shot rigs are the top producers when fishing this deep, and baits resembling gobies are working the best. Deep water here means fishing down in 30 plus feet of water. Windy weather helps to get fish active up shallower, and lures like spinnerbaits can work well when the wind is howling. The past several days have been hot, and while there has been some breeze, it has not been windy enough to really even try to target shallow fish. The deeper fish have been scrappy and fun to catch for guide trip customers. While the average size is a respectable pound and a half or so, there have been a reasonable number of fish in the 3-4+ pound range to make for extremely happy clients, despite the fact that it is late August.
Capt. Ben Wolfe

Northern Michigan Inland Lakes

Most of the inland lakes are fishing tougher than we would like. Lots of weeds makes fishing tougher still, as lure choice plays a role in that baits must get down through the weeds to the deeper waters where the bass roam in the summer. Early mornings can still be topwater time, fishing over the weed edges. Points, inside turns and humps adjacent to deep water are the keys to success on the inland lakes, and don’t be surprised when a pike or two lashes out at bass baits ripped through the weeds.
Capt. Ben Wolfe