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!

Ben Wolfe’s Michigan Fishing Report for AnglingBuzz.com 05.18.15

Mid-May report includes information about Detroit River walleye and white bass, Lake St. Clair largemouth and smallmouth bass, bass fishing in Traverse City and inland lakes, lake trout at Elk Rapids, and river fishing options, including Tippy Dam.

Michigan River Fishing Report 11.15.14


Michigan River Fishing

Muskegon River

Steelhead fishing has been pretty good lately with some nice-sized chrome fish coming boatside. Anglers finding the most success have been using cured salmon eggs tied into spawn bags. With all of the recent rains, larger bags have been the key to getting steelhead to bite. Spawn fished under a float, or back bounced through deep holes and the tailout runs have been the most consistent.

Capt. Kyle Buck

Big Manistee River (Lower)

Anglers fishing near Tippy Dam have seen the best action on the lower stretches of the Manistee River. Along with the steelhead bite, lots of trout are still being caught. Anglers are still catching fish on beads pegged a couple of inches above the hook, so those that don’t want to mess with spawn are still getting bites. This has been the best option for fly anglers. Those that are inclined to use spawn are seeing slightly better fishing, as the added attraction of scent tips the odds in their favor. Colder water temperatures have fish holding a little deeper and less willing to travel to take offerings. This is where spawn or small steelhead jigs tipped with wax worms have been paying off–both for steelhead, and for the resident brown and rainbow trout. Float fishing behind spawning gravel has been the best option, although bottom bouncing has produced good results as well. Lots of rain, and even quite a bit of snow, lately has water levels higher than normal, which means that caution should be taken when venturing out. Anglers wading near Tippy Dam should take extra precaution as there can be slippery conditions with the snow. Water temperatures were 41-42 degrees right up at the dam.

Capt. Ben Wolfe

Betsie River

The Betsie River near Frankfort has had some nice steelhead come into the system with the recent rains and snow. While there haven’t been a ton of fish in the system to target, the fish that are there are big. Covering lots of water has been key to locating them. A recent trip saw fish over 12 pounds come to net, with a couple of other bites from what appeared to be large fish. The best options right now are below Homestead Dam. Lake run brown trout should be coming into the river system any day now. Spawn bags that are larger than normal have been the ticket to getting bites, as the water is off-colored due to the rain and snow. In fact, the water is high enough that getting under the bridges in a boat has been impossible.

Capt. Ben Wolfe

Michigan River Fishing Report 08.01.2014

Salmon and Lake Trout Trolling:

Frankfort, Michigan

Catching Steelhead 10-15 miles off shore. Summer Steelhead on the big lake are typically caught in the top part of the water column. When they are hooked, these fish put on a spectacular aerial show. The salmon fishing is starting to pick up along the bank at first light with fish running 40-70 feet down. As the salmon bite slows in the morning, big lake trout are being caught off of West Platte Bay.
Capt. Andy Odette

Leland, Michigan

Salmon catches out of Leland have been spotty lately. A couple of recent hard north winds have brought in a few more fish. The lake trout fishing remains constant with the best actions being around 100 feet.
Capt. Brady Anderson

West Grand Traverse Bay

Lake trout fishing remains hot most days, with a couple of salmon bites per trip. 60-80 feet has seen the most consistent action, but dropping down to 100-120 feet has also produced good results, especially in the afternoons.
Capt. Brady Anderson

East Grand Traverse Bays

Lake trout fishing has been exceptional all season, and still remains outstanding. Most of the fish have been coming from 60-90 feet of water, close to the bottom. First light has seen some salmon bites the past few trips, and hopefully salmon action will continue to pick up as August rolls in.
Capt. Adam Collett

Lake Trout Jigging

West & East Grand Traverse Bay

Jigging has been very good lately, with many bites per outing. Larger jigging spoons have produced better recently, with most bites coming from 70-85 feet of water. Depending upon the current in the bays, fish have been caught as shallow as 50 feet, and as deep as 125 feet. Lots of fish right around the 20" minimum are coming boat-side, as well as plenty of fish above the 25" slot limit, providing steady action. Anglers are allowed to keep 1 fish over 25" on the Bays, and we have seen quite a few fish over 10 pounds. Anglers may have to hunt around a bit to find the bigger fish but the time can be well worth it when the bigger fish are found in 65-85 feet of water.
Capt. Ben Wolfe

Platte Bays

Lake trout jigging has been mostly good, with some very big trout being caught when they can be located. Fish here are a little more subject to fluctuating water temperatures, as Platte Bay is on the main portion of Lake Michigan, just north of Frankfort. When the lake trout are active and happy, they can be targeted in 65-85 feet of water. Jigging down to 100 or even 120 feet can produce when the fish get a little pickier. Jigging spoons in a variety of colors and sizes have all worked well as of late.
Capt. Ben Wolfe

River Fishing

Big Manistee River

The river temperature is still approx. 67 degrees. Trout at the Tippy Dam can still be taken on fly and gear presentations. Small streamers will do best for fly anglers preferring to fish during the middle of the day, while caddis flies are showing in the early evenings, providing great action on dry flies. Small mouth bass remain active in the river, readily chasing soft plastics and weighted flies like clousers. Summer steelhead are also showing themselves, with impressive aerial displays and runs when hooked.
Capt. Jeff Mallory

Au Sable River

Mousing has been very productive at night with savage strikes in key stretches. Tricos are going strong in early mornings. Browns have been active. Fishing for browns has been good, followed by blue winged olives aka BWOs.
Guide Bear Andrews

Boardman River

The streamer bite was good on the Boardman River several days ago, with the best action picking up after dusk.
Guide Bear Andrews

Upper Manistee River

There is some late hex activity on the upper Manistee, below 612 providing fly anglers a last few attempts at fishing the big mayfly patterns. Terrestrials are starting to play a role as well.
Guide Bear Andrews

Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass

Grand Traverse Bays

Fishing on GT Bays remains very good, even as fish are transitioning to deep water for summer. Drop shot rigs continue to be a key presentation as the fish drop into their deep water patterns. When there is wind, the fish may come shallow, providing anglers with a nice shallow-water bite. Shallow is a relative term here on the Bays, meaning water ranging from 4 feet to 14 feet or so. Spinnerbaits work well when it’s windy, and finesse presentations when it’s calm. Natural colors tend to work best in the super-clear waters of the bays, but there are times when a bright color can provoke a reaction strike from aggressive smallmouth bass.
Capt. Ben Wolfe

Inland Lakes

Bass fishing on the inland lakes, whether it is for largemouth or smallmouth, is always a bit slower during the summer. Deep weed edges are the ticket to finding summertime bass here in northern Michigan. Presentations like bladed jigs work well for largemouths, while double willow spinnerbaits work better for smallies when it’s windy. Dropshot rigs or jigs presented adjacent to the weed edge or ripped through the weeds can lead to some thunderous strikes. While summer bass fishing on the inland lakes can be tougher, big fish can still be caught, as evidenced by a 6.56 pound smallie caught on Lake Leelanau a couple of days ago.
Capt. Ben Wolfe

Michigan River Fishing Report 03.25.14

It’s true!  The recent warmer weather brought a small push of steelhead into the rivers, and this is just the beginning!    The cold nights and warmer days are melting snow at a great pace to keep the rivers fishing well without flooding.

Steelhead this year are running larger on average, thrilling anglers and our guide customers alike.   Bobbers have been the better way to go so far this spring so far, but Backbouncing spawn along the bottom has produced great results as well.

Word has gotten out that there are steelhead in rivers like the Big Manistee, and as a result, more and more anglers are showing up to take advantage of the angling opportunities.   Coupled with the brutally cold weather the winter through at northern Michigan, soft water anglers are itching to get back on the water.

Waters like the Manistee have anglers fishing up by Tippy Dam, for not only steelhead, but for the brown and rainbow trout that find their way up to the dam to take advantage of the food supply that clusters close to the dam.   Anglers have found fish downriver at Highbridge, Bear Creek and even Rainbow Bend.   With fish spreading out throughout the river, this bodes well to spread out the angling pressure as well.

Smaller rivers northward haven’t seen as many fish returning yet, but with as much ice as there is still on the lakes, and even on Lake Michigan, the run is just in its beginning stages.

Michigan March Steelhead

It may be cold out there, but big Steelhead are biting in the rivers!