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Archive | Fishing Tip

Fishing Tip: Catching bass on top of the water

Many anglers would agree there’s an excitement that comes from using topwater techniques to target bass. There’s something to be said for seeing a bass strike your lure with your own two eyes.

But how do you fish for this species on top of the water? It mostly comes down to location and lure selection.

Target areas that provide good cover for the bass, such as weed beds, logs, big rocks, etc., that have a few feet of water over them. Cast a floating lure next to the cover and play with a bit before reeling it in.

When it comes to lures, select those that float and that are designed to resemble the favorite foods of bass, such as frogs.

Topwater fishing for bass works best in low-light conditions such as early in the morning or late in the evening.

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Fishing Tip: Fishing deep for post-spawn bluegill

After spawning, bluegills will move to deeper water for the rest of the summer, and larger bluegills can be hard to locate. They can be found living near the top of the thermocline (the layer of water between the deep and surface water), where water temperatures approach 69 degrees. Depending on the lake, this depth usually will be somewhere between 12 and 18 feet.

To locate this depth, either use a lake thermometer, available at most larger tackle stores, or contact the nearest DNR office. If the lake has a public access site, fisheries biologists will have surveyed it and will have a temperature-oxygen profile of the lake. This chart will identify the depth with a temperature near 69 degrees.

Try fishing at this depth, where the 69-degree temperature is close to the bottom – usually at the deep edge of weed beds. Use light line (4-pound test or less) tipped with a white ice-fishing teardrop jig baited with a wax worm. Some anglers use slip bobbers, while others fish European style with very long fiberglass poles. Early morning and dusk are most productive.

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Fishing Tip: Let’s catch some crappie!

Crappie are among the most difficult pan fish to pattern because of their tendency to suspend in the water column, except in the spring. During this time, crappie move to shallow water—sometimes in water only a couple feet deep—to spawn, so there isn’t a lot of water column to suspend in.

Crappies like both minnows and jigs. The easiest way to fish for them is to suspend the bait under a bobber, halfway between the surface and the bottom, around any sort of cover—weeds, brush, dock pilings, etc.

Anglers who prefer a more active approach can cast with jigs and swim them back or fly fish with minnow-imitating streamers. Just think shallow in spring.

For more information on crappie fishing, visit the crappie page on the Michigan.gov/dnr website. At the site, click the down arrow on Education and Safety, then Learn about Michigan species, then Fish, then Crappie.

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Fishing tip: Targeting perch on Lake St. Clair

When anglers think of Lake St. Clair, they often think of bass or muskellunge fishing – but during the winter months, many think of it as a yellow perch destination!

There are a few techniques to target fish on the lake, including staying on the move and focusing on areas where the perch are most likely to be found. Perch on Lake St. Clair often will hang out on the vast, shallow flats as they look for smaller fish to prey on. Since structure is limited during the winter months, they’ll use the shade of the ice cover to fill in that role. Fishing these areas can often offer anglers great success with large-size fish!

Want even more tips for fishing yellow perch – and not just on Lake St. Clair? Visit the yellow perch page on the DNR website. Go to michigan.gov/dnr and then fish, and then species information.

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Fishing tip: Where to find northern pike in Michigan

Photo courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Most places in the state are seeing cold temperatures, but fishing for northern pike will continue to pick up. Pike are extremely popular during the ice fishing season but are readily available throughout much of the year.

There are many notable northern pike fisheries located throughout Michigan, including on Muskegon, Portage and Manistee lakes and Michigamme and Houghton lakes. But this species can be found in many other lakes and virtually all larger rivers in the state.

Please note there are many regulations for northern pike regarding minimum size and possession limit. Be sure to read up on this species in the current Michigan Fishing Guide at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/FishingGuide2020_684742_7.pdf and on the northern pike page on our website. Go to www.michigan.gov/dnr and search for northern pike.

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Fishing Tip: Go “hunting” for fish this fall

Autumn can be one of the best times of year to seek out your favorite fish species for a day of fun angling. Several species to target this October and November include walleye, perch and trout.

Walleye are thought to be in their best condition in the fall and can often be found in the river mouth areas of larger, inland lakes. They’re gathering there to take advantage of baitfish that like to hang out as the weather cools off. Set your sights on 10 to 12 feet deep to find these guys.

Perch will also populate around these same river-mouths, but these fish will likely be much closer to the river than walleye. Check out depths as shallow as 4 feet to find them.

Trout will be available in some of these larger lakes as well during this time period, and can be found in the same areas as the walleye and perch.

Try your luck at some great angling this fall. For more information on the numerous opportunities to fish this autumn, visit Michigan.gov/Fishing.

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Finding monster muskie in the fall

This spotted Great Lakes muskie set a new record in Michigan at 55-pounds in 2009. 

FKnown as “the fish of a thousand casts,” the muskellunge can be a tough species to target. Have you always wanted to catch a big one? Check out this tip to try the next time you head out.

Consider when you’re out on the water focusing your efforts on the corners or inside turns of the lake(s) you’re fishing. These spots consist of bends in the bottom that cause a slight point to form. Muskie will often hide out in these spots, especially if it puts them close to deeper water, excellent cover, and access to food.

Want even more information on fishing for muskellunge? Check out their page on the DNR’s website.

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Fishing Tip: More hints on targeting walleye


We bring you this oldie, but goodie fishing tip from 2014. Courtesy of Cory Kovacs, a fisheries biologist out of Newberry.

From the Michigan DNR

Most anglers targeting walleye know that catching them in the spring is much easier than catching them during the warmer summertime months. In most Michigan lakes walleye in the summer typically seek cooler, deeper and darker waters while feeding in the shallow waters only at night. Because of some physiological properties of walleye, their sensitivity to bright light typically results in avoidance of shallow waters during daylight periods.

Anglers in the summer time typically target walleye during the evening and morning “low-light” periods. Targeted water depths will vary between lakes, but most anglers seek drop-offs where walleye will move up to feed in the shallow waters during the evening through morning hours. My experience fishing walleye in this fashion is usually successful by using a leech or minnow on a floating jighead weighted with a small splitshot sinker (or two). Anchoring at the drop-off or using a slow drift has been the most productive for me.

Other anglers may want to troll artificial lures or crawler harnesses along the deeper side of the contour lines in order to cover more area in a shorter time period. My grandfather always used to say, “Once you find them, you need to stay on, em.” I think there is a lot of truth to that.

Walleye fishing is sometimes a frustrating activity due to some long waiting periods between catches and finding the perfect conditions. However, once you get a bite it typically signifies something special and hopefully a memorable experience with family and friends.

Good luck in making memories, you will be glad you did!

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Fishing Tip: Fly season is quickly approaching


From the DNR

We bring you this oldie, but goodie fishing tip from 2014. Courtesy of Neal Godby, a DNR fisheries biologist out of Gaylord.

Although much of what a trout feeds on throughout the year is under the water’s surface, June is prime time for dry-fly fishing for stream trout.

Many aquatic insects, like mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies found in trout streams emerge during June making it an exciting time to fish with “dry” flies (those that float on the surface of the water). Check with your local tackle shop or fly shop to see what might be hatching in your area.

Many of the mayfly hatches occur after sunset, so be sure to be familiar with the river you are fishing, make sure your headlamp/flashlight is working, and have fun!

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Fishing Tip: Let’s catch some crappie!


Black male crappie. 
Illustration by Joseph R. Tomelleri © Taken from DNR webpage.

From the Michigan DNR

Crappie are among the most difficult pan fish to pattern, because of their tendency to suspend in the water column, except in the spring. During this time, crappie move to shallow water—sometimes in water only a couple feet deep—to spawn, so there isn’t a lot of water column to suspend in.

Crappies like both minnows and jigs. The easiest way to fish for them is to suspend the bait under a bobber, halfway between the surface and the bottom, around any sort of cover—weeds, brush, dock pilings…whatever.

Anglers who prefer a more active approach can cast with jigs and swim them back or fly fish with minnow-imitating streamers. Just think shallow in spring.

For more information on crappie fishing, visit their page on the DNR’s website at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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