Grand Traverse Bay Fishing Report: June 2017

By: Capt. Ben Wolfe
Sport Fish Michigan
(877) 442-4294

June in northern Michigan is a wonderful time to be on the water.  Not only is the weather usually quite pleasant, the fishing is also red hot.  Whether it’s on one of the countless inland lakes or on Grand Traverse Bays, the bass fishing opportunities are seemingly endless.  

On Grand Traverse Bays, the southern portion of each bay warms earliest, and anglers can target big smallmouth bass using moving baits like jerkbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits with great success.  As the month progresses, look further north and deeper for fish as they spawn, and then post spawn on the flats adjacent to their spawning areas.  And of course, there is the usual go-to drop shot rig or a tube when fish don’t want to play chase.  

For us here at Sport Fish Michigan and Traverse City Bass Guide Service, we prefer to fish a tube on a jika-rig.  For a couple of reasons, we feel that this is a better presentation for tube fishing.  This jika-rig has an exposed weight on the bottom, allowing for much greater sensitivity.  The tube itself is rigged Texas style, and so the plastic of the tube does not dull the feel of the bottom.  This allows anglers to detect the subtle strikes that can often occur when tube fishing as bass frequently pick up a tube and swim with it.  Also, the hook point rides upright, never tipping over as often the case with a traditionally rigged tube with the weight inside the head.  We at Sport Fish Michigan and Traverse City Bass Guide Service have not noticed any difference in hookups or bass being shy about the weight.  The tube rides above the weight, almost as if it is neutrally buoyant.  With our underwater observations, this seems much more natural in many cases.  Most importantly, with this jika-rig, bass that inhale the tube are very rarely deep-hooked.  This is not the case with traditionally rigged tubes.  Mortality from deeply hooked bass with tubes in their throats is a common sight these days.  Not so with this style of tube rigging, as bites are much more evident.  Give this rigging a try—we’re sure you’ll love it too.

For inland lake bass fishing, bass are mostly in post spawn and are willing to chase actively moving baits.  When the wind is blowing, spinnerbaits are a great option when fished right in the rough stuff.  A windy-blown shoreline is prime for tossing double willow leaf blades for bass, and the takes are incredible in our clear northern Michigan waters.  It is common to watch a brown torpedo chase down a spinnerbait that is burned just below the surface this time of year! Don’t forget about topwater action as another great option.  Insect hatches like the mayfly are king here, and a popper or a walking bait are not only visually exciting but also deadly on both largemouth and smallmouth bass on the inland lakes.  


Enjoy the great bass fishing that northern Michigan has to offer—with fantastic weather and fantastic fishing opportunities, it’s a win-win!