Sport Fish Michigan June 2016 Angler Magazine Report


June is a great time to get out on the Grand Traverse Bays and Platte Bay to target lake trout, whitefish, and cisco (or lake herring). Typically these three species spend most of the year in water deeper than 90 ft. With the waters in the bays reaching that magical 50-degree mark, the baitfish will begin to congregate in that 40-50ft range, and will stay there through most of the month.

Ciscos were the first to load up and become active on the drop offs and flats of each bay, and fishing was absolutely phenomenal in May. Anglers can catch ciscos using standard vertical jigging techniques with presentations such as Swedish Pimples, S-Jigs, Jonah Jigs and Squirrel Jigs. If anglers would like to try casting in the shallows, gold or silver colored blade baits have been working very effectively when worked in a yo-yo fashion close to the bottom. In June, the white fish can be found in the same areas as ciscos using the same techniques. That is the best thing about fishing in June; you never know what is going to attack your bait next!

As the water approaches the mid 50’s the lake trout population will begin to become very active, showing up in large schools mainly in depths from 30-60ft. Some trout may even venture much shallower, being caught in water as skinny as 2-3 feet! This is a very exciting depth for all different techniques and anglers. Anglers will have great success casting and jigging with light action rods using fluorocarbon leaders and use the baits for cisco and whitefish mentioned earlier in the report for targeting hungry trout, with the addition of crankbaits or weighted streamers for those casting the super skinny water.

For those anglers that are more into the trolling game, here are a few helpful tips. Fishing shorter lead cores from 3-8 colors with fluorocarbon leaders will be a must. Smaller spoon presentations will also be very helpful, such as Stinger, Warrior, and Silver Streak brands. This style spoon should be presented using slide divers dialed to a 2.0-3.0 angled setting. Most slide divers should be rigged with nothing less than a 60ft fluorocarbon leader. Anglers will find that slide divers can be the only thing going for them in a shallow water situation and are a very effective tool for this specific application.

June looks like it will be an excellent month to get out on the water with friends and family to take advantage of some spectacular fishing opportunities. As always, be safe and we hope to see you on the water.

Sport Fish Michigan May 2016 Angler Magazine Report

As we enter into May, a lot of the major tributaries in the area will have already seen the bulk of the spring steelhead run. For those anglers wanting to target steelhead in the month of May several of the following tactics can be very effective. To find the aggressive fish, target the deeper tail-outs of spawning areas where the adults have dropped back to feed. Trout beads, fry patterns, and even smaller body baits can be great when going after these warmer water drop back steelhead. Remember, these fish have been through a lot, they have made it all the way trough the gauntlet to spawn, and now they are hungry and ready to make their journey back to the lake. This also presents some great opportunities to have some excellent brown trout fishing. The browns will be at the tail-outs awaiting a free meal as well!

The temperature along most of the northern Lake Michigan coast has already been holding around 40 degrees for a few weeks. This has set up some excellent brown trout fishing in Platte Bay, Pt. Betsie, and Frankfort. We are seeing good numbers of browns returning to the area every year. These fish are very healthy, running an average of 3-5 pounds.

In May, most anglers have the best success trolling the shallow water troughs along the beach trying to maintain 6-12 ft. of water. Running natural patterned body baits on 10-pound fluorocarbon off of in-line planer boards works very well. Most anglers have success with running 75-85ft leads from the board to the bait. As the water temperatures along the shoreline gradually approach 50 degrees, this tactic will also produce good catches of shallow water lake trout. The lake trout action will heat up as the winds blow warmer water and bait fish in from the south, so be ready!

Grand Traverse Bay’s are still maintaining some very cold-water temperatures. But this will not stop anglers from getting out and taking advantage of some excellent jigging and trolling opportunities. The cisco can be found on the shallower sides of the breaks, feeding mostly halfway down the water column. It is very common to find these aggressive fish suspended the majority of the time. Gold Swedish Pimples and 1-ounce jigging spoons are typically the bait of choice.

The lake trout can be found making their way toward the shallower flats of the bays as the water temps approach the mid 40-degree mark. Anglers will have great success both jigging and trolling for these aggressive fish. Most anglers trolling will have a program made up of short lead core lines, slide-divers, and down riggers. Smaller spoons such as Mini-Streaks, Stinger, and Warrior Flutter Spoons will commonly be used. Jigging techniques will mostly consist of 1-2 ounce jigging spoons with white, red, green, and brown being the most effective colors. Jonah Jigs, Swedish Pimples, and Elk Rapids S-Jigs are very effective, although we are partial to the action of the Jonah Jigs when big fish are looking for a large meal.

Waters are still cold in May, and caution should always be taken when heading out onto any body of water. Have fun, stay safe and tight lines!

Sport Fish Michigan November 2015 Angler Magazine Report

November is a time here in Northern Michigan where the weather is chilly and much attention is spent in the woods and on the gridiron. With light fishing pressure overall, there are still some wonderful opportunities for anglers, on many bodies of water.

On the inland lakes, walleye fishing is excellent this time of the year, with many of the ‘eyes having moved onto the shallow flats and adjacent weed beds. Crankbaits can draw vicious strikes from hungry walleyes (and pike) that are lurking in the shallows. Similarly, bass will also be on the shallow flats, and blade baits and jerk baits can rule the day when the right cadence can be identified. Perch fishing is generally hot in November, as the big jumbos are gobbling minnows and wigglers in preparation of the colder winter months. Perch rigs tipped with minnows or wigglers, jigging spoons and even jigging Rapala style jigging baits all work at times, and should be in every perch angler’s arsenal. With shorter light periods during the day, feeding peaks are condensed together, and there can be a great bite when the weather cooperates.

For anglers targeting the area’s tributary rivers, there are nice steelhead and lake- run brown trout options to consider. With a slow salmon season, during September, and the peak being in mid-October, things are late this year. But with some cold fronts and heavy winds, things seem to be a bit more back on track now that we are into November. Steelhead and brown trout will readily eat a variety of offerings, both on fly and traditional spinning gear. Both are opportunistic, and aggressive feeders. Salmon eggs, minnows and stoneflies are all on the menu. For fly anglers, streamers swung in the current or stripped in a quartering fashion against the current can lead to some awesome takes. The standard egg pattern can also be highly productive when fished under a float or bounced on the bottom with a chuck & duck rig, although this rig is less reminiscent of traditional fly fishing than it is of a spinning gear technique. Despite which side of the fence one is on this topic, it’s still a great option to pick up steelhead and trout holding near the bottom. For traditional gear anglers, beads and spawn bags are my favorites, and when fished under a float, there’s no doubt when a fish is interested. Small jigs tipped with a waxworm are also a very good option, especially when the steelhead seem to want a bit of meat.

Fall can be a great time to be out on the water. With chilly weather and cold water temperatures, please take care to dress appropriately for the weather and be cautious when venturing out. Let other’s know where you will be fishing and when you plan on returning. With few other anglers around to come to your aid, it’s important to put safety first. Have fun, stay safe and catch lots of fish!

Sport Fish Michigan October 2015 Angler Magazine Report

October’s cooler weather brings in some hot fishing here in Northern Michigan. Anglers have lots to choose from species-wise. Chasing pan fish like yellow perch on an inland lake or targeting walleyes or river fishing for steelhead or Grand Traverse Bays for big smallmouths—lots of options to keep anglers busy. And happy.

Steelhead move into many of the northern Michigan rivers in October, and they feast on salmon eggs. These fall-run steelhead are some of the best fighting steelhead a person could ask for. They often go on multiple runs, jump numerous times and are just plain hard to control. What makes them so much fun is also what leads to lots of break-offs and fish stories. These chrome fish bite patterns like egg imitating flies, streamers, beads, spawn bags, skein, and even spinners and round-bodied crankbaits. They give a little something for both fly fishermen as well as gear fisherman. Steelhead in the rivers this time of year will winter over, spawning in the early spring. Keeping a few for dinner is great, but catch and release of fall fish is really important, as these are the fish that we get to target for the rest of the winter and early spring before the spring-run steelhead move into the rivers.

Big lake fishing in October can be stellar. Most anglers that troll for salmon have put their boats away for the year, turning their thoughts to other species or to hunting. Fishing for 2 and 3-year-old king salmon, steelhead, and brown trout can be spectacular when the weather is calm. Some of the best fishing of the year is seemingly a secret to many, but this is also a time when many of the charter boat captains go out fishing for themselves.

Inland lake fishing is hot in October when the north winds lay down. Smallmouth bass are voraciously feeding, and much of the fishing these days is relatively shallow. Pan fish are on the feed as well. Big jumbo perch let down their guard and feed heavily on many of the inland lakes as well as the Lake Michigan waters. Wigglers and minnows are the primary baits used to take big jumbos.

October’s fishing can be awesome, and with the autumn colors peaking in mid- October, it’s always a pleasure to be out on the water. Get out to enjoy the fall fishery that we have up here, and as always, stay safe and dry!

Sport Fish Michigan September 2015 Angler Magazine Report


September is generally a great time to be out on the water here in northern Michigan as there are many options for anglers. River fishing is stellar, inland lakes are fishing well and the big lake and Grand Traverse Bays are awesome fisheries as well. So many choices, too little time!

For those getting out onto Grand Traverse Bays, salmon is the preferred target for many anglers. On both East and West Grand Traverse Bays, early morning trolling is one of the best ways to get into contact with these awesome game fish. For East Bay, fishing the southern portion of the Bay is often times the most productive, with a big U-shaped troll pattern along the eastern, southern and western corners of the deep water. A faster troll is necessary for picking up king salmon, as opposed to fishing for lake trout. Spoons a long ways behind a planer board with leadcore lines or long copper lines is day in and day out a highly productive way to fish for these early-morning and late-evening biters.

For West Grand Traverse Bay, “the hole” down near the mouth of the Boardman River is one of the most productive spots, and there will be lots of boat traffic to prove it. Salmon congregate along the deep drop-offs near the hole, adjacent to the Boardman River. This a fantastic place to not only troll, as many of the charter boats do, but also to vertically jig for thunderous bites. Salmon become very territorial as they near the spawn, and a big 2 or 3 ounce Jonah Jig bounced in their face is a great way to get an angry king salmon to bite. This is not a snagging technique, as almost all of the fishing is done in 65 feet or more. The proof is in the pudding, because almost 100% of the fish brought aboard Sport Fish Michigan’s boats that jig are caught squarely in the mouth.

Platte Bay, in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is not only a beautiful place to fish, it’s also one of the best options around. When it comes to open water fishing, Platte Bay offers vertical jigging options for lake trout, coho salmon and king salmon, not to mention the occasional school of whitefish that can be caught. It is the salmon, however, that are the main draw to the Bay. Coho salmon and king salmon stage in deep water early in the month prior to coming shallow adjacent to the Platte River mouth. It is here where anglers can cast lures and flies to cruising cohos and kings in water less than 15 feet. This is some of the most stunning visual fishing that can be had in freshwater. There is truly nothing like watching a salmon chasing down a lure in gin-clear water! Sport Fish Michigan is the only fishing outfitter that has permits to guide inside the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and customers have lined up to book a guide trip. With fishing so good, it’s also no wonder that a few television shows have even taped out there with us the past couple of years.

River fishing for salmon is hot in September since this is when the bulk of the fish run into the rivers to spawn. Cured salmon eggs are one of the best ways to get river salmon to bite, whether it’s under a float or side bounced with the current. Long rods help keep the line off the water, giving better line control and contact when that float goes down! Spinners and deep diving crankbaits can also draw vicious strikes, but anglers should keep in mind that every river has different regulations governing the number of hooks and the size of the hooks. Deeper holes and runs hold salmon as they get ready to spawn, and these are prime places to cast spinners and crankbaits as well as to float fish. When float fishing, cast slightly upstream to get the bait to the target depth when coming into the holding areas. When casting spinners and crankbaits, cast slightly downstream. Any upstream cast will likely snag into one of the many woody obstructions that line the area’s rivers.

The weather is often times very mild and pleasant in September, and with such great fishing opportunities, anglers should be able to get out to enjoy what northern Michigan has to offer! Just remember that everybody is out to have a good time, and a little common sense and polite etiquette will go along way in everybody having fun regardless if it’s on the river or an inland lake or out on the bigger waterways. As always, have fun and stay safe!

Sport Fish Michigan August 2015 Angler Magazine Report

August is a great month to fish here in Northern Michigan because with the summer’s heat come high expectations and anticipation for what lies later in the month. August has fish down deep now and anglers fishing for most varieties of fish would do well to concentrate efforts mostly deep.

Platte Bay: Fishing along the reef separating West and East Platte Bay can be tricky, especially for lake trout. Fishing the deep waters of West Bay, however, can be much more productive for king salmon when trolled higher in the water column. Smaller lake trout will be down close to bottom in 100-120, but the big ones seemed to have mostly moved down to 150 plus feet. As August continues, salmon move into both of Platte’s Bays, especially East Bay. Coho salmon are the big draw here, and expectations are that fishing will be better than it was last year. As fish congregate in the deep waters staging to run up the Platte River, the early morning bite and last light bite in the evening are the critical times to be out on the water when targeting salmon.

Vertical jigging for salmon is about as explosive a technique as one can ask for, and late August is when we can do just this. Large jigging spoons anywhere from an ounce to even 3 ounces all get bites from both coho salmon as well as king salmon. The key to vertical jigging in waters ranging from 60-120 feet is to use a good sonar unit to locate break lines and underwater contours that hold fish At Sport Fish Michigan, we use our Humminbird Onix to watch fish chase jigs, and are often able to trigger bites from curious salmon just by knowing how to watch our jig, see the fish and adjust appropriately.

Grand Traverse Bay: Salmon activity picks up as the month goes along, and both West and East Grand Traverse Bays will draw not only salmon, but salmon anglers. For West bay, “The Hole” is the community spot just adjacent to the Boardman River mouth. This is a deep hole that king salmon and lake trout love. This year’s alewives that are in both bays are big, and this means that there is plenty of food to fatten up this year’s salmon. For East Bay, the south bank and along the southwest corner is where most salmon anglers start looking for fish. The evening bite can be surprisingly good as well, and these are fantastic trips for a family to enjoy. A picnic supper right on the boat, watching the sunset on a nice August evening as the boat trolls along is tough to beat, especially when the salmon start to light up the lines right at dusk.

We have high expectations for doing well out on the water, and are anticipating drag screaming runs from the salmon that make their way towards river mouths to spawn. Get out and enjoy August’s hot days and hopefully hot bites!

Sport Fish Michigan July 2015 Angler Magazine Report

Fishing in July is always a fun time to be out on the water here in northern Michigan. Opportunities abound across our northern waters, and anglers can find great success on many of these waters most days.

For trout anglers, the magnum hexagenia mayflies are still hatching, and trout anglers know that these big bugs are like candy to trout – really big trout. Early in the morning, or fishing into the night produce the best results for trophy brown trout, but rainbows and brooks will eat these bugs with abandon as well. Later in the month, once the mayflies have stopped hatching, trout anglers may have to switch gears to fish smaller nymphs, but a well- stripped streamer can still draw vicious strikes.

On the inland lakes, everything it seems also eats the magnum mayflies. Smallmouth bass can be caught on topwater lures early in the day and again at dusk. Poppers and walking style baits seem to do the best when fishing for smallmouths that are looking for bugs up on the surface. Personally, I love using a feathered treble hook on the rear of all of my topwater baits. I think that the feathers more
closely resemble a mayfly just below the surface.

Platte Bay has great lake trout action in July; both
for boats that want to troll as well as those that prefer to 
vertically jig. With the summer water temperatures still
rising, lake trout are down deep, anywhere from 120 to
150 feet. Trolling covers lots of water, and the typical
cowbell and spin-n-glo combination is a tough one to beat.
 Spoons also produce extremely well when fished close to
the bottom where lakers tend to hang. Those preferring to
vertically jig for lake trout will likely need to spend some
time idling over the deep breaks, inside turns and points to
find schools of fish. And when the schools can be located,
action is often hot when using jigs over an ounce. Jonah Jigs have been a staple in my box the past few seasons, as well as large Elk Rapids jigs.

Grand Traverse Bays fish very well in July, and there are lots of places to fish on these big bodies of water. Lake trout action is outstanding, with lots of bites from the slot sized fish as well as larger fish over 34 inches, which must be released as per the new DNR regulations this season. Salmon have begun to show, and charter boats have reported a couple of bites per trip, and a few are being brought boat-side. Vertically jigging is another great option in July, and the lake trout have concentrated in deep waters. The deep break south of Marion Island is a community hole, but for good reason as it almost always produces well. 85 to 120 feet are prime places to start for Grand Traverse Bay lake trout. The standard jigging spoons used for Platte Bay work wonders here, too.

Grand Traverse Bays are so diverse in their fishery; it’s a treat to be able to fish it almost daily. Walleyes, smallmouth bass, pike, muskies, whitefish, yellow perch, rock bass, lake trout, ciscos, burbot, carp, suckers, steelhead, brown trout and salmon all make these waters home. Some months are better than others for certain species, but July is still a great time to fish for many of them.

Sport Fish Michigan June 2015 Angler Magazine Report

June’s fishing may be some of the best spring fishing that we have here in northern Michigan. Seemingly almost every species that an angler would want to target can be caught somewhere, somehow. The cool, late spring has waters still chilly, which is actually a benefit to much of the area’s fishing.

Platte Bay anglers have great opportunities for lake trout, brown trout, and smallmouth bass and even off species like carp and gar! For those wanting to cast the shallows, there are wonderful opportunities in June, before the waters warm enough to push fish deeper. Smallmouths come into the reef systems to feed and to spawn, and can be caught by casting inline spinners, drop shot rigs, jerk baits and crankbaits. For those looking for brown trout, they will be in the rocky shallows feeding on baitfish. Try many of the same tactics used for bass—brownies love to chase a minnow imitation, and will readily pounce on jerk baits, spinners and curly tail grubs. Lake trout anglers can vertically jig the deep breaks, scoring well on these aggressive and tasty fish. Jigs anywhere from ¾ of an ounce all the way up to 2 ounces will work; often times fished right above the bottom. Zebra muscles are everywhere, so accidentally snagging a few of these off the bottom is common, but banging a jig on the bottom also tends to get more bites. When the jig doesn’t feel quite right, it’s very possible that hooks may have a zebra or quagga muscle or two attached.

Grand Traverse Bays are still cold, but the action is hot. Deep breaks, underwater humps and points are all likely spots to find a variety of fish, including lake trout, whitefish, bass and even burbot. The cool waters often have the deep-water fish like lakers and whitefish still relatively shallow, in 50-80 feet. Jigging spoons like Jonah Jigs or Swedish Pimples all will produce well when jigged off the bottom. Making bottom contact seems to be key most days. Suspending fish like ciscos can be caught using electronics when jigs are dropped down to whatever depth the ciscos are holding in. When the waters warm, lake trout and whitefish will slide down deeper, taking up residence in 100 + feet of water. Food is key for lake trout and whitefish, and they will follow bait schools wherever they go. Starting shallow is a good start, but don’t be afraid to keep trying deeper until schools of your target fish can be located.

River Anglers still have cool enough water to target bass and trout, and with June’s bug hatches as well as young-of-the-year minnows, fish will be looking for an easy meal. This lends itself well to fly anglers and conventional anglers alike. Small streamers or dry fly presentations will do well for the fly anglers. Anything minnow like should get attention as well as poppers fished in a stop and go retrieve will also score for the spinning rod crowd.

Big magnum mayflies will begin to hatch towards the end of the month, and this king of all hatches often times makes otherwise wary fish lose their inhibitions, ravenously gobbling anything resembling a mayfly. The first few hatches of the year can produce some awesome trout, bass, walleye and panfish action on not only northern Michigan’s rivers, but also the inland lakes. Late evenings and early first-light are the prime times to be on the water to take advantage of the mayfly hatches and the feeding frenzy that it brings.

With so many great options to fish for in June, sometimes it’s hard to pick what body of water and what species to go after. But whichever you decide, it’s a great time to be outdoors, enjoying some time on the water.

Sport Fish Michigan May 2015 Angler Magazine Report

benwolfe1-1024x683May’s warmer weather has life feeling much more in balance than when compared to April’s chill. Sunny days warm the waters from top to bottom, and this in turn, has fish more active. All of the fish seasons are now open, and anglers can enjoy the nicer weather to get out and target their favorite species.

There are, however, a few changes that anglers in the Frankfort, Traverse City, and Elk Rapids areas should know. The daily lake trout limit has been reduced from three fish down to two fish, with the slot size also changing. Anglers may keep lakers between 15″ and 27″, with one fish over 34″ allowed per angler.

Grand Traverse Bays have some very cold water, but the lake trout and whitefish are active and biting. The fish are still mostly deep, at this time, so anglers should begin looking for these tasty fish in 120-150 feet. Towards the end of the month, fish may roam much shallower, coming in towards 80 feet and sometimes even as shallow as 50. Jigging baits like the BBM Squirrel Jig, Jonah Jigs, or Elk Rapids jigs can all produce well. Play with different sizes and jigging actions to see what fish want on any given day-some days they want large heavy options, and other days, they want more of a finesse down-sized jig. It’s not uncommon to see small groups or single lake trout cruising the shallows on Grand Traverse Bays. Bass baits can tempt these cruisers into biters, and in shallow water, they are a hoot to catch.

Platte Bay is full of life right now, with lake trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, and late steelhead all being caught on any given day. With water temperatures cooler than the normal because of the extreme cold and ice this past winter, fish that normally might have pulled back out to deeper waters are still relatively shallow. Casting minnow baits can be an excellent choice for both smallmouths and brown trout. The Platte River will still have some steelhead in it, with fish dropping back to Lake Michigan as the month progresses. The walleyes that were in the Platte River in April have now moved back out to the lake, but some may still be shallow around the reef separating West from East Platte Bay.

Inland lakes in May are phenomenal fisheries in their own right, and species like walleye, pike, panfish and, of course, the hard-fighting smallmouth bass are all viable targets this month. Jerkbaits, vibrating blade baits and spinnerbaits can be great options for pike and bass. Jigs tipped with minnows, and slowly-trolled crankbaits can land walleyes as well as bass and the occasional pike. Weedlines, deep drop-offs and points are all areas worth spending some time on.

May is one of the favorite times of year for most of the Sport Fish Michigan Captains and Guides. Waters are warming, but still be cautious and stay safe out on the water. And make sure that you remember to put the drain plug in when you launch!

Michigan River Fishing Report 08.26.14


Salmon and Lake Trout Trolling


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’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