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A bud and one of the chinook salmon we caught off the Port of Frankfort. This one hit a green/glow squid behind a flasher.

Another bud of mine fishing the after-dark hex hatch on a NW Lower MI river.

Although I didn't talk about this fish in my report, I though I would show it off. It's a 26-14-inch brown I caught from South Lake Leelanau last month.

All waters of the area
Friday July 3, 2009


Finally, an updated fishing report for NW Lower Michigan. (It’s about darn time!)


Salmon fishing’s been pretty good for early summer. I was off the port of Frankfort with some buds about a week ago and landed two kings, two coho, and one laker. A couple other fish were hooked and lost.


The majority of the fish were taken on the break strait out from the harbor. A green –squid/white Hootchie Mamma combo took a couple fish and spoons took the rest. The fish were scattered that particular day, and we caught them from downriggers, Dipsey Divers, and lead core alike. There’s been quite a bit of wind since the day we were out, so I’m sure the water temperature has changed since then.


Walleye fishing’s been decent, too, with Long Lake being the best as it gets very little bug hatch (mayfly). Most anglers have been doing the walleye thing with leeches and Lindy-style rigs in water depths from 20 to 30 feet deep. Leeches and slip bobbers, too, have been a good choice. Anchor up on a weedy break at dawn or dusk, sit back, relax, and catch fish.  


Despite the mayfly hatch, South Lake Leelanau’s still giving up walleye and smallmouth. This cooler-than-normal early summer has the bug hatch sporadic, rather than continuous and heavy, so the fish have not been gorging as much as they normally do. A 1/8- to 1/2-ounce jig tipped with half a night crawler, 3-inch brown grub, or 4-inch brown rubber worm and cast and retrieved through the weeds has taken most of my fish there.


Last Saturday, there was a thermocline starting to from and a buddy of mine caught a few walleye from South Lake while trolling with crankbaits over water 30 to 40 feet deep.


As for catching smallmouth bass, that all depends on what lake you are fishing as water temperatures vary. The bugs on Lake Skegamog, for example, have been hatching and the bass bite’s been tough. On Torch Lake, however, the water’s cooler and the bass have been spawning. The bass in East and West Grand Traverse Bays, for the most part are just starting to spawn. Watch those water temperatures and you’ll know where to go.


And speaking of bug hatch: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! And so I have been fishing the late-night hex hatch on several different rivers throughout the NW Lower.


No big fish for me, yet. The bug hatch has been hit and miss because of the hot-again cold-again weather. A couple buds of mine have reported landing brown trout to 21inches while doing the hex thing. I’ve seen bugs, both emergers and spent, every time out, but just haven’t been there when the fish were active. Because of the cool air and water, most river guides think we’ll be seeing bug right up ‘till July 15.


Dave ~ WildFishing

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