SFM Fishing Report 12.05.17

The last two weeks of November has offered some of the best steelhead fishing we have seen in years. The weather has been mild in temperature and provided area tributaries with a good amount of rainfall. These conditions have made excellent fishing conditions, and brought a good fall push of chrome into the area rivers.

The forecast looks as if it is going to take a turn for the worse after the end of this week, the fish will be entering their winter patterns before we know it. It will be that time of the year to fish the lower, slower sections of the river that hold deeper water and slower currents. With the amount of fish that entered area tribs this fall, we are chomping at the bit to get our clients on some good winter fishing for December and January.

Spawn has produced some excellent results these past few weeks; it has been hard to give it up with the number of hungry, aggressive fish we are seeing. Peach and pink netting have produced excellent results. Beads have also been working very well on some of the more educated fish, peach and orange colors in the 10mm size continue to produce results on both the largest and smaller river systems.

We are starting to see the resident trout population activity increase as well. On the Manistee, the brown trout action below Tippy Dam has been heating up in recent weeks. Both egg and nymph presentations under an indicator have been putting good fish into the net. Streamers will keep getting better as the water cools and the fish lose a larger portion of their food supply, so get out there and strip away!

Good luck these next few weeks on the river, be safe and stay warm!

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 04.28.2014

It’s an exciting time here in Michigan, and the fishing possibilities are now seemingly boundless. Last week saw the ice finally melt in northern Michigan, and with the recent inland lakes and river walleye opener, the bass catch & immediate release opener, as well as the trout opener, opportunities for anxious anglers are huge. With so much ice covering the water until several days ago, anglers have been chomping at the bit to get out, and now they finally have their chance.


The Big Manistee River is fishing well, despite the record high water levels from a couple of weeks ago. The water is still incredibly muddy, but the fish are there, and are biting. Many large steelhead are being caught, on beads as well as flies. Several fish in the mid- to upper-teens weight-wise have been landed, and many of these fish are still bright chrome, meaning they are fresh into the river. Trout in the Manistee are also feeding, and with steelhead fanning the gravel to make their spawning redds, bugs like stoneflies are being dislodged and the trout are gorging. It’s surprising that the fish can see anything in the dirty water, but even though the clarity doesn’t seem good to us, the steelhead and trout don’t seem to be too bothered. Brown trout, resident rainbow trout, and planter smolts have even been taking bugs off of the surface, so obviously they can see in the water better than we can!

Sturgeon showed up a couple of days ago on the Manistee, and one of our Wolfe Outfitters trips from this past weekend had the excitement of battling 2 of these prehistoric fish, despite not being able to land them. Bank anglers around Tippy Dam have also been hooking these behemoths, which are in the river for their annual spawn.

The Platte River got a small push of steelhead, but many of the anglers fishing its waters fished for walleye the day of the opener. Walleye spawning was delayed because of the slow, cold spring, and in conjunction with the walleye opener this past weekend, anglers were able to target and catch these awesome tasting fish. The Betsie River is still stained, and many of the fish are now above the Homestead dam.

Big Lake

Anglers fishing the big lake down by St. Joseph have been catching king and coho salmon, with hot action as the weather permits. Up by Frankfort, the brown trout are biting, and the fish are averaging a respectable 4-6 pounds. Trolling body baits has been the ticket of late, and early morning and evening seem to be the best times.

Grand Traverse Bays just had ice out and, in fact, there is still slush floating on the water. A few anglers have been getting out, trolling the deep breaks. The water is very cold, and with a few nice sunny days, the fishing should start to get better.

Inland Lakes

Waters are still extremely cold, and it has been windy. Despite that, boats have been getting out on the smaller inland lakes, fishing for walleyes and perch. It has been an incredibly long winter, and it’s almost May, so anglers are bound and determined to make the most of the now open water!

The smaller lakes in northern Michigan will warm faster with some sun than will the larger lakes like Torch, Elk, and Crystal Lake. Steep breaks, old weed lines and medium-depth flats are likely targets for a variety of species, including walleyes, bass, northern pike and panfish. Lake St. Clair in Southeast Michigan is now open for catch & immediate release bass fishing, and from the sounds of it, the fishing is getting better and better. This is the time to fish prespawn bass, and the big ones are feeding heavily.