When targeting spawning bass in waters with gobies, the importance of rapid release to allow bass to protect their beds. Summer boating safety and etiquette.
By: Capt. Chad Dilts
We at Sport Fish Michigan have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of summer, and with July upon us, it is finally time for some consistently warm weather and great fishing opportunities.
With the warming weather trends in June we are seeing the start of a very defined thermocline in the Grand Traverse Bay’s, forcing the majority of the lake trout, cisco and other predatory species away from the shallow water flats and steep breaks where they have spent most of May and June.
This is an exciting time for anglers looking to vertical jig for a variety of species. Some of the best lake trout jigging in July will take place in depths ranging from 80-110 ft of water. Finding isolated humps and steep drop offs just adjacent to deep water is almost always the most productive place to concentrate your efforts. When utilizing your electronics to find active fish, don’t be afraid to set up over 1-3 individual fish marks, some times these can be the most aggressive fish to take advantage of. Jigging spoons such as Jonah Jiggs, PLine Jigs and Swedish Pimples in a 1-2 ounce size are a great option for this presentation.
With the southern end of Lake Michigan experiencing such great numbers of king and coho, July is setting up to be an incredible time to take advantage of some good salmon action in the northern Lake Michigan ports. Anglers looking to either troll or jig vertically for these hard fighting fish should definitely not miss out on the opportunity. Success will be found in areas with a define thermocline that periodically presents schools of bait fish. With the moderately cooler Lake Michigan water temperatures we have experienced in May and June, most of the active salmon will be found 60-120 ft down depending on the port and wind direction. We are very excited to see such great numbers of salmon with a very good average size. Anglers have been consistently reporting fish in mid to upper 20 lbs range. We hope all anglers have a safe and successful July, we hope to see you on the water!
Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for the second week of July 2017. Lake trout, salmon, and bass fishing tips and techniques to use when fishing in Michigan during mid-July.
Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for the first week of July 2017. Vertical jigging for lake trout, and Michigan’s Mayfly hatch heating up fishing throughout the state.
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!
Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for the mid-June, Week 2, 2017. Outstanding opportunities for bass, lake trout, and brown trout fishing in Michigan.
Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for the mid-June, 2017. The beginning of a Mayfly hatch is providing great topwater opportunities in Michigan. Outstanding salmon and lake trout big lake fishing now is a great sign for a good fishing season.
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!
It’s hard to believe that May is already coming to an end. Fishing in northern Michigan has been spectacular this month, and things looks great leading in to June. The weather has created many of the good fishing opportunities in the area – we have had some warmer days and colder nights, building a gradual increase in lake temperatures. This is exactly what we wanted for our area!
Grand Traverse Bay has been incredible for cisco, trout, and whitefish in 25-60 feet of water. If you haven’t yet gone fishing for these species this year, you should! We are having great results casting gold-colored blade baits in a 3/4 ounce size along the steep breaks of East Grand Traverse Bay. Water temperatures in the bay have been bouncing back and forth between the mid- to low-40s. This is an optimal temperature zone for lake trout and cisco to cruise the shallows in search of alewife and gobies. Salmon fishing has also been fairly decent in Grand Traverse Bay. Anglers are finding active fish in 50-100 feet of water, high in the water column. Trolling lead core and slide divers with spoon presentations has been a productive technique. Trolling smaller spoon presentations at a speed of 2.4-2.7 mph is a good way to target the multiple available species available.
Bass fishing on most northern inland lakes is on fire! Due to the way water temperatures are setting up, the prospect of a longer spawning season is very good. Smaller inland lakes are maintaining temps in the mid- to upper-50s, with some even reaching into the low-60s. The last full moon brought a good push of males in to make beds, and females searching for the right spot to settle on for spawning. A lot of fish are being caught on the shallow flats adjacent to spawning grounds, and fish are very active both in and around beds. The larger inland lakes are still in an excellent pre-spawn condition with larger fish being found on weed- and rock-covered flats and drop-offs. Swim baits on darter jigs, drop shot rigs, and tubes have been working very well, but don’t hesitate to try covering some water with a spinner bait when the water presents the right opportunity.
Get out and enjoy the awesome fishing Michigan offers, it will not disappoint!
Northwest Michigan Fishing Report
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
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!