What are the best places to fish Michigan? The place is a paradise, with it’s vast array of Great Lakes and inland angling opportunities. It’s never a dull day in the Wolverine State, especially in spring when the fish are up shallow chasing baitfish.
Michigan walleye fishing is heating up right now. With fish in various stages of post-spawn, anglers are trolling, casting and jigging their way into solid numbers of fish.
The inland lakes around Traverse City are walleye hotspots, as well as Leelanau Lake, Long and Mitchell to the north.
Just south of the Mackinaw Bridge, the clear waters of adjacent lakes Burt & Mullet offer superb dusk and night walleye fishing, anglers trolling cranks over shallow flats and breaklines into the wee hours.
Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay is also producing, with walleyes held tight to shallow weeds in 6 to 20 feet. But given gin-clear waters, just make sure to get your bait away from the boat; trolling planer boards or making long casts definitely ups the odds.
And on the Detroit River, vertical jigging and hand-lining continue to pay out big walleye dividends…
On the smallmouth bass front, Michigan’s been kicking out some goliaths.
In 2015, angler Greg Gasiciel caught a 9.33-pounder on Hubbard Lake, besting a fish in the record books for over 100 years!
Then just last fall, angler Bruce Kraemer broke both records with a 9.98-pound fish caught on the Indian River between Burt and Mullet Lake.
Right now’s the time for your own shot at a Michigan giant. With warming waters, inland lake bass are in various stages of the spawn, calling for finesse tactics like drop-shot rigs and Senkos. Guide Ben Wolfe reports that pre-spawn fish are crushing spinnerbaits with reckless abandon.
Lake St. Clair in SE Michigan is another option for big fish and numbers — the reason so many BASS and FLW events are held on the lake. A mixed bag of pre-spawn and bedding fish can be found adjacent to weed patches and rock humps in 4 to 8 feet of water. Patterns? The tube reigns supreme, and anything that looks like the invasive goby gets bit.
Warmer waters have pushed baitfish into the ports of Holland, St. Joseph, and Muskegon, presenting some great coho and king salmon fishing. Whether you’re fishing from a small boat or charter, it’s a trolling deal with leadcore, copper, and Dipsies all in play. These days, clear waters find more fish caught on spoons than plugs, although meat rigs are effective at times, too.
Fans of lake trout should have a close look at Grand Traverse Bay near Traverse City, where anglers are catching fish casting, trolling, and vertical jigging. As a general rule of thumb, the cooler the weather, the shallower the fish.
Primarily bottom-oriented, Michigan’s lake trout have adapted quite well to the nearly endless buffet of invasive gobies.
But anglers say that’s a positive thing; as a result, lake trout taste much better, their flesh is bright peach to pink, and your average person can’t distinguish the taste from salmon.