Northwest Area Fishing Report: September 2015


F or those getting out onto Grand Traverse Bays, salmon is the preferred target for many anglers. On both East and West Grand Traverse Bays, early morning trolling is one of the best ways to get into contact with these awesome game fish. For East Bay, fishing the southern portion of the Bay is often the most productive, with a big U-shaped troll pattern along the eastern, southern and western corners of the deep water. A faster troll is necessary for picking up king salmon, as opposed to fishing for lake trout. Spoons a long ways behind a planer board with lead core lines or long copper lines is day in and day out a highly productive way to fish for these early-morning and late-evening biters.

For West Grand Traverse Bay, “the hole” down near the mouth of the Boardman River is one of the most productive spots, and there will be lots of boat traffic to prove it. Salmon congregate along the deep drop-offs near the hole, adjacent to the Boardman River. Salmon become very territorial as they near the spawn, and a big 2 or 3 ounce Jonah Jig bounced in their face is a great way to get an angry king salmon to bite.

Platte Bay, in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is not only a beautiful place to fish, it’s also one of the best options around. When it comes to open water fishing, Platte Bay offers vertical jigging options for lake trout, coho salmon and king salmon, not to mention the occasional school of whitefish that can be caught. Coho salmon and king salmon stage in deep water early in the month prior to coming shallow adjacent to the Platte River mouth. It is here where anglers can cast lures and flies to cruising cohos and kings in water less than 15 feet. Sport Fish Michigan is the only fishing outfitter that has permits to guide inside the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and customers have lined up to book a guide trip.

River fishing for salmon is hot in September since this is when the bulk of the fish run into the rivers to spawn. Cured salmon eggs are one of the best ways to get river salmon to bite, whether it’s under a float or side bounced with the current. Long rods help keep the line off the water, giving better line control and contact when that float goes down! Spinners and deep diving crankbaits can also draw vicious strikes, but anglers should keep in mind that every river has different regulations governing the number of hooks and the size of the hooks.

Just remember that everybody is out to have a good time, and a little common sense and polite etiquette will go along way in everybody having fun regardless if it’s on the river or an inland lake or out on the bigger waterways. As always, have fun and stay safe!