Chad Dilts – Coastal Angler Fishing Report – September 2018

What an amazing August! Sport Fish Michigan and clients had a terrific August, taking advantage of multiple fishing opportunities throughout the Traverse City Region. The lake trout and salmon fishing really picked up pace leading into this month, we are very excited to capitalize on every minute of action our area has to offer.

The lake trout, cisco, and perch fishing on Grand Traverse Bays in September can be red hot, allowing anglers the chance to take multiple species in one outing on the water. Anglers trolling and vertical jigging will have great success fishing in and around the thermocline for both trout and cisco.

The lake trout will be found in depths ranging from 75-120ft of water depending on wind direction. Most of the ciscos can be found making their way back to the southern portions of each bay over deeper water, 80-150ft. Larger schools of cisco transitioning to steep drop offs and deeper flats will almost always be found suspending in large schools in depths ranging from 80-110ft. When trolling and jigging over these deeper schools, anglers will also find hungry king and coho salmon. Looking for larger active marks on top of or underneath schools of bait fish can be very helpful in hopes of capturing some nice salmon!

Anglers looking for perch should mainly focus on depths ranging from 50-90ft. Areas with weed and gravel/rock coverage will produce more active schools than areas without. Last fall offered some excellent perch fishing, get out and enjoy some of these great tasting fish.

If the open water is getting old, don’t miss out on what our area tributaries have to offer this time of year. This summer we have witnessed some of the largest king and coho salmon our area has seen since the late 70’s and 80’s! Anglers looking to fish conventional gear in the area tributaries can primarily focus on using cured salmon eggs under floats and casting crank-baits. For those looking to tackle these hard fighting fish on the fly, larger streamer patterns can yield some positive results. No matter your preference, make sure you get the chance to get after some of the largest fish we have had in decades!

We at Sport Fish Michigan wish everyone a safe and successful September!

Ben Wolfe – AnglingBuzzTV Fishing Report – Late July

Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for mid-July featuring information and tips about salmon and lake trout vertical jigging.

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.

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 – Late June, 2017

Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan – AnglingBuzzTV fishing report for the end of June, 2017. The mayfly hatch has created amazing opportunities for fly fishermen – brown trout, rainbow trout – optimal at dusk. Topwater fishing for bass with a walking bait. Walleye fishing tips. King and coho salmon in Lake Michigan.

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 Lake Report March – April 2017

Spring is here! With all the ice gradually melting, open water fishing on most inland lakes is in full swing and Grand Traverse Bay is open for some great fishing opportunities, as well. Listed below is brief description of what techniques and tips Sport Fish Michigan has to offer anglers when hitting the water over the course of the next month.

Inland lake fishing for perch has been very good, and this is an awesome time of year to take advantage of big fish and large schools. Most fish can be found feeding in 38-50 feet of water adjacent to steeper drop-offs and weed-covered flats. If you are lucky enough to find perch minnows at your local bait shop, this will help yield the best action when targeting perch. The fish tend to move this time of year as they are actively spawning and transitioning from deeper to shallower water. Make sure to use a Minn Kota Motors I-Pilot or back trolling technique, as using an anchor can spook the school, forcing them to move.

Grand Traverse Bay has been fishing very well this March and will only continue to heat up for several species. Lake trout and cisco fishing is incredible this time of year. Utilizing good, effective electronics, and successfully anchoring on top of large schools will bring the most success. This time of the year, jigging spoons and blade baits are key, fish are constantly moving, in search for alewife, gobies, and other baitfish in the warming water. 50-100 feet of water is a great place to start, this is usually a key area to find both species, however don’t be afraid to check shallower as the water warms, as most of the baitfish and insect life will be gathering around the warmer rocks and weed cover. And if all else fails, deep waters of 150 feet or even more will almost always hold fish. These deeper fish may not be the actively feeding fish that cruise the shallower waters, but can often be tempted with a good jig.

Traverse City, Frankfort, Leland, and Manistee offer some excellent shallow water trolling opportunities on Lake Michigan for brown trout, steelhead, and even the occasional lake trout. Anglers will have great success trolling body baits on in-line planer boards in 8-15 feet of water. Locating stained water areas and gradual temperature breaks will help pinpoint where feeding fish are located. Browns tend to congregate in the water that has the least amount of visibility and the warmest temperature. Don’t be afraid to fish very close to the shoreline, the inside trough can be very productive this time of year!

Good luck and see you on the water!

Ben Wolfe’s Michigan Buzz Bite Report for AnglingBuzz.com 07.28.16

Captain Ben Wolfe with Sport Fish Michigan gives his report for the Michigan area waters for the end of July, 2016.