Chad Dilts – AnglingBuzzTV Fishing Report – Mid-July

Captain Chad Dilts of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for early July. Summer is here, and temperature increases have pushed fish into deeper waters in both Lake Michigan and inland lakes. Check out angling opportunities for salmon, lake trout, walleye, and smallmouth bass.

Ben Wolfe – AnglingBuzzTV Fishing Report – Mid-June

Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for mid-June. Michigan bass fishing is legendary, and June is presenting great opportunities on both inland lakes and larger bodies of water like Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Grand Traverse Bays, and Saginaw Bay.

SFM Fishing Report 11.3.17

The fall color is gradually coming to an end, and most of our inland lakes and Grand Traverse Bays have reached the mid- to low- 50-degree mark. This time of the year anglers can find several fun species to pursue in the Traverse City Area. Late fall can bring a lot of wind and rain, but if you can time the weather and wind with some warmer weather, you can truly have a great day on the water.

The perch fishing on Grand Traverse Bays has been excellent the past three weeks, and we are looking at some really good fishing in November. From the south end of West Bay to the tip of Northport, most of the active schools of fish can be found in 30-50 ft of water. On East Bay, the southern end extending up the east coast, as well as portions of Deep Water Point, have also held big schools of perch. Bottom content has been very key, the perch have been in areas with small rock, gravel and chara weed coverage. Both larger perch minnows and wigglers have been a good bait for larger fish and steady action. The perch population is coming back in the GTB area, and we are thrilled to see so many different year classes of fish. Despite this amazing boom in the perch population, with lots of fish in the 12-15 inch jumbo range, selective harvest is still the best practice to help ensure excellent perch fishing for years to come. Good jumbo perch fishing can be a delicate balance, and responsible practices should always take precedence.

Smallmouth bass fishing in the Traverse City Area has also been good as of late. We are still finding some of the larger fish in deeper water flats and drop-offs. Drop shots, tubes, and swim bait rigs have been producing most of our fish. We have also enjoyed casting an Alabama rig in some of the shallower flats around isolated structure and steep breaks. This is a great time of the year for bass anglers to get out on the water for some big fish. Most all of the fish we catch this time of the year at stuffed to the gills with baitfish, presenting a great opportunity to land a trophy fish. Fall bass fishing is some of the best of the year, and anglers can enjoy much less crowded waters than in the spring surrounding the pre-spawn and spawn.

The cisco and whitefish fishery on the Grand Traverse Bays has also been very good, and as long as the wind and cold weather allows us, we will continue to target these aggressive fish into late November. Vertical jigging silver, gold, and white colored jigging spoons in a 3/4-1 1/2 oz size is an effective presentation. Most of the fish will be found suspended in depths ranging from 80 to 150 ft of water. It is always best to find areas of the bay that have the least amount of current and wind when targeting these fish vertically. Don’t be afraid to move around and cover large areas of water in varying depths when in search for the larger schools. Lake trout season is now closed until January 1st on the Bays, so any incidental catches of these awesome fish should be quickly returned.

We have finally seen an end to the best salmon run our area has had in the past ten years. What a great fall for salmon! The fish were enormous, and the numbers seemed endless. This has helped put an over-abundance of food in the area tributaries, setting us up for an excellent late fall/winter steelhead fishery. We are really looking forward to getting our clients out this winter for some exciting steelhead action; things are setting up nicely!

The past two weeks of October has brought nearly 5 inches of rain to our area, this has greatly increased the flows of the Manistee and Betsie rivers and put the steelhead on the move. With both rivers running fairly high and around 49 degrees in temperature. We are seeing a large number of active fish in the shallower faster water of the river. Not to say we are not finding active fish in deeper slower winter water, too, but we are just having better luck at the tail-outs of spawning beds and faster pocket water. Fishing this water has also presented a fair number of nice brown trout on some of our past trips. It is always a delight to have the opportunity to get into the browns in this feeding scenario.

With the higher darker river conditions, 10mm and 12mm trout beads in brighter colors have been working well. Glow Orange, Clown, Oregon Cheese have been good under floats and indicators. For those looking to use spawn bags, a 6-8 salmon egg bag has been producing the most results.

We wish all anglers a safe and successful fall; we look forward to seeing you on the water.

Ben Wolfe – AnglingBuzzTV Fishing Report – End of July 2017

Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for late July 2017.

This year, the winds that usually occur in August have come early. Anglers who are willing and able to fish safely in these windy conditions have been handsomely rewarded with great catches! The smallmouth and largemouth bite has been good, and big lake fishing is producing salmon as well as some steelhead and brown trout.

SFM Fishing Report 06.30.17

Sport Fish Michigan and its customers could not have asked for more in the month of June: we were blessed with great weather and awesome fishing for all species. The smallmouth fishing in the Traverse City Area has been dynamite, and a lot of inland lakes have offered an excellent post-spawn bite pattern. Grand Traverse Bays have been also putting out consistently high catch numbers and great size. We are getting a good mix of both spawn and post-spawn fish to feed on a regular basis. As per usual, drop-shot techniques, tubes, and swim baits have been our most productive techniques. With this past weeks’ wind, the spinner bait bite has also been producing good numbers of fish. Water temperatures on the bays are maintaining in the low 60′s in most areas. We are expecting great fishing for the month of July!

Vertical jigging for lake trout, cisco, and even some salmon is really starting to heat up, as well. As the water temperatures warm, the thermocline is gradually finding its way to the 50 to 70ft range. This change is forcing most fish into deeper water, where they area congregating on pods of baitfish and bottom dwelling gobies. 1oz to 1.5oz jigging spoons have been working the best, and the most productive colors have been white, blue, and green. Finding areas of the bay that have steep breaks, inside turns, and isolated humps consisting of shallower water has been best. Utilizing your electronics when fishing deeper water is the most effective way to find active fish. Don’t be afraid to set up on just 1 or 2 good marks on the graph, the fish have been very active to jigging presentations.

Sport Fish Michigan’s Captains and Guides wish everyone a great 4th of July holiday! Good luck on the water!

Ben Wolfe – AnglingBuzzTV Fishing Report – First Week of June 2017

Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for the first week of June, 2017. Panfish: perch, bluegill. Grand Traverse Bay cisco, lake trout, and whitefish. Bass fishing in Michigan in early June.

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 Grand Traverse Bay – May 2017 Angler Magazine Report

ben-coastal-angler-may-2017

Smaller inland lakes warm the quickest, and the biggest and deepest bodies of water warm the slowest. With waters ranging anywhere from the mid 40’s to the mid 50’s depending on which lake, the patterns can vary. From the onset of the season, we like to target smaller bodies of water. Blade baits can be great when the water is below 45 degrees. With a rip and a pause, or a hopping retrieve off of the bottom, a blade bait can really pay dividends with some great bites. As the waters warm above the 45-degree mark and into the low 50’s, a jerk bait really comes into its own. Generally, a cadence involving a combination of long pauses after a few jerks or pulls of the rod tip can be the ticket to getting bites. Smallmouths are sight feeders, and often will inspect a bait for quite some time before deciding to commit. This is a combination of audible and visual presentation. The jerking portion of the cadence creates flash and noise to call a fish in, whereas the pause portion of the retrieve can seal the deal. The colder the water, the longer the pause.

A swim bait can also be a great option this time of year. It’s also a visual presentation, but it’s subtle. For fish that are first moving up onto the flats from their deeper winter and early spring locations, they can be spooky. A subtle bait style like a swim bait can be a deadly presentation, and really shines as the waters warm into the 50’s as the fish truly go on the prespawn feed! When the waters hit the mid 50’s, a spinner bait is another great option for thunderous strikes. But don’t be too surprised if a stray pike or two also finds a spinnerbait appealing!

Grand Traverse Bay is still cold for May, as it is a big body of water that can reach down to depths over 500 feet on East Bay. Sunny days will help warm this body of water, and when we do have those sunny days, the bass will flock to the shallower waters to sun bathe on the sand. Often is the case that the bass fishing is so good on the inland lakes, both for size and numbers, that we at Sport Fish Michigan and Traverse City Bass Guide Service often steer away from the bay altogether until late May.