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!
Northwest Michigan Report
Sport Fish Michigan has had terrific fishing this summer; water temperatures have gradually increased providing a consistent bite for most big water species. August is a great month for anglers to target some very willing trout and salmon in the Northwest region of Lake Michigan.
Grand Traverse Bay is fishing very well this August. Water temperatures have been varying with wind direction from 68-70 degrees on the surface. Anglers that have successfully found the thermocline have been producing good catches of Lake Trout in 80-100 feet of water. Jigging and trolling have produced good catches of trout. Ciscos have been feeding above the thermocline attacking higher in the water column. Both east and west bay have been blessed with a fairly high density of alewife over the course of the spring and summer. This has provided a fishable salmon population for anglers willing to troll. Most of the salmon being caught have been 2-3 years old with the occasional adult encounter. Flasher and fly combinations, lead core, spoons, and even cut bait rigs have been productive.
Platte Bay is setting up very nicely for this fall. With the warm temperatures in August, the thermocline will be found 80-100 feet depending on the wind direction. This provides an excellent depth range to target aggressive lake trout that have been biting very well all spring and summer. Larger dodgers, cowbells, and small spoons trolled at 1.9-2.4 mph have been best for most anglers. Pockets of baitfish have been found near and around the rocks and steep breaks.
Frankfort has offered some spectacular fishing all spring and summer. Warm August temperatures have brought heavy south winds forcing most of the fish deep with the thermocline ranging from 80-120 feet. Lake trout fishing has been very consistent with most schools of fish gathering along the steep breaks and under water points. Anglers that have fully committed to salmon fishing have been producing some nice fish. Salmon numbers have fluctuated with the wind direction; however most anglers are reporting a very fishable population.
Grand Traverse Bay Report
Summer time bass fishing in and around the Traverse City area is in full swing now that we are in August, and that means fishing deeper water. With the incredible amount of wind that we experienced in July, the water temperatures aren’t super hot, which is helpful in keeping oxygenated water and fish active.
For those fishing on Grand Traverse Bays, the smallmouth fishing has been excellent at times, and spotty at times. For the most part, anglers should target deep structure in 20 feet or more. A good sonar graph will help to pinpoint these structures. Deep weed beds will also hold fish, as this is where baitfish, crayfish and bugs will all congregate. Drop shots are a staple for us here at Sport Fish Michigan and Traverse City Bass Guide Service. When there is wind, a spinner bait fished on the shallower flats can lead to some thunderous bites! For the early-morning risers, a top water fished early in the day or late in the evening can be a great way to target fish orienting on the shallow side of deep drop-offs.
For inland waters, the bass are relating to deeper water that also have weed edges associated with them. Top waters are a great way to locate fish early in the day, or again later in the evening, although smallmouth will readily bite top waters all day if there are slick overcast conditions. A soft plastic jerk bait can be another fantastic option this time of year.
While the bass fishing may be in its summer patterns, the opportunities to have a great day on the water still abound. With lots of summer boating traffic to contend with, make sure to have the necessary safety equipment onboard. Have lots of fun, and just as important is to stay safe!
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.