Grand Traverse Bay Fishing Report: June 2016

benwolfe_2 June is upon us, and the bass are active and ready for action! Anglers seeking the thrill of Northern Michigan’s prized bronzebacks will have no shortage of options when it comes to targeting these awesome fish.

For the Grand Traverse Bay areas, the bass have transitioned from their early pre-spawn waters to the areas in which they will spawn. Moving baits like spinnerbaits on windy days or crankbaits and jerkbaits will do well for these shallow fish. Soft plastics will do well when fished on a jighead, and the fish that are still in their pre-spawn mode will readily chase down these offerings. For those that are seeking to sight fish bass on their spawning beds, there are also lots of opportunities to score what could be the fish of a lifetime. With water clarity that can range from 30-40 feet, anglers can enjoy sight fishing in conditions that make the area known for its amazing fishing. Please note that these are slow-growing fish up north here, and catch and immediate release is a hugely important part of sustaining a healthy population of smallies for years to come. With the round goby as a bass’s public enemy number one during the spawn, and millions of them scooting around the bottom, releasing a bass to protect its nest is crucial.

For the inland lakes, many of the bass are currently spawning or have already spawned. Post spawn on the inland lakes (as well as on Grand Traverse Bays) is an awesome time to fish, and lures like soft plastic jerkbaits can load a boat with some vicious strikes. Fished weightless on an extra-wide-gap hook, these baits come to life when fished with a twitch pause cadence. Fishing near structure or drop offs can be the key to locating post-spawn fish this time of year on the inland lakes. Spinnerbaits and swimbaits are also important to have in the arsenal as well.

Largemouth bass often gets overlooked in our northern waters, but we have some great opportunities for these green fish as well. Traditional largemouth patterns like spinnerbaits, shakyhead worms and soft plastic jerkbaits will all do well on largemouths this month as the fish come off of the spawn. Fishing in and around the weedy structure is critical for success, as June’s warmer waters will move fish deeper.

As the waters warm on all bodies of water, the fish will begin their early summer pattern, transitioning towards deeper water. Fishing at the base of weed edges, drop offs, and depth contours will be critical to locating good numbers of smallmouth bass, and as we start to encounter the first mayfly hatches towards late June, this pattern will only continue to get stronger as the bass will feed heavily on this protein source.

June is a fantastic month to get out and enjoy bass fishing up here in northern Michigan, and we encourage you to do so! Get out, have fun and most importantly, be safe!