Michigan River Fishing Report 11.03.14


Hook N’ Look’s Kim Stricker is enjoying a nice fall day on the water with Capt. Ben on Platte Bay in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Salmon and Lake Trout Trolling


Trolling in Frankfort when the weather has allowed has been pretty good for 2 and 3 year old king salmon, steelhead and the occasional brown trout. The cold water has fish feeding heavily when the winds are down. Steelhead are in the top portion of the water column, and can be targeted just a few feet down with body baits and flashy spoons with gold or orange. Salmon can be trolled quickly this time of year, with a slightly faster speed often producing quality bites.

Mae with one of the many trout she landed while fishing with Wolfe Outfitters on the Manistee River.

Michigan River Fishing

Big Manistee River (Lower)

Salmon season is over, aside from a few holdover fish on gravel. Steelhead is the name of the game now, but there aren’t tons of steelies in the Manistee just yet. While there are definitely some fish in the river, fishing hasn’t been gangbusters as hoped. Trips are yielding a few bites per outing, but action has been bolstered by a great trout bite when fishing close to Tippy Dam. Fishing with spawn bags or beads under a float has been the best option lately. Fly anglers fishing egg patterns and beads under a float have also seen action. Hopefully the recent snow and windy weather will trigger another push of fish, giving anglers more great days on the water.

Capt. Jeff Mallory, Wolfe Outfitters/Sport Fish Michigan

Betsie River

Steelhead are in the Betsie, and fish are running large when they can be found. Fishing above Kurick road is closed now for the closed trout season, but there are plenty of steelhead opportunities below Kurick. Float fishing with beads has been producing in the slower water just below gravel areas.

Recent higher waters have given the river some stain, and brighter flies or beads can be key. The hard north winds and rain/snow mix should bring fresh chromers into the river.

Capt. Jeff Mallory, Wolfe Outfitters/Sport Fish Michigan

Steelhead are in the rivers, and the action is heating up! Not bad for John’s first-ever steelhead caught while fishing with Jeff Mallory and Wolfe Outfitters! Great job!

Northern Michigan Inland Lakes

The fall bass bite is on, and some of the best fishing can be when it’s nasty out. Traditionally, snow or sleet squalls can produce a red hot bite, helping to keep anglers warm during what is otherwise a chilly time of year. Fast moving baits like lipless crankbaits can trigger reaction bites from big bronzebacks and largemouths. Deep diving crank baits can also produce well when fished around isolated cover, and underwater points or humps. Some of the biggest bass of the year come now, and as the inland lakes cool more quickly than the bigger water of the Grand Traverse Bays, action has been dynamite when the wind and weather allows anglers to get out. When fish aren’t willing to chase down fast moving baits, crawling a tube or a drop shot rig can pay off handsomely. Blade baits will come into play as water temps drop into the upper to mid 40’s. Care should always be taken when heading out onto the water this time of year, but when the weather cooperates, the fish usually do as well.

Capt. Ben Wolfe, Traverse City Bass/Sport Fish Michigan

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