Tag Archive for: smallmouth bass

Northern Michigan Smallmouth Bass

Northern Michigan Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass

Northern Michigan Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass fishing on Grand Traverse Bay the past 10-14 days has been solid.  The past two weeks a small piece of the puzzle started to come together. I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about the post spawn habits of these bass.  Which has been great.  With the up and downs of the Hex Hatch on the Upper Manistee.  This opportunity to target post spawn smallmouth in what I would consider shallow water, has been a great experience. Water temps still remain in the area I have been working in the mid 60’s.  These bass on eager to put back on the weight from the riggers of spawning.

A good population of 3-4 pound smallmouth are hunting and looking for food.  Next few weeks should give plenty of opportunities to anglers looking to catch smallmouth shallow before they venture out deep for the summer.  Saying that I’ve been looking some deep spots I learned last summer and starting to see population building.  Another piece of the puzzle.

Smallmouth Tactics Post Spawn

Northern Michigan smallmouth bass are now mostly post spawn, aquatic insects play a vital role in recovery.  With that crayfish just went thru a huge molting in the last moon phase, and that was a solid bite.  That presentation was key the last 10 days, bouncing thru the rocks on a slow crawl.

While on the bay it’s harder to find fish feeding actively on top.  Brown Drakes, Hexes, Dragonflies, and June Bugs are all on the diet.  Carry a selection of subtle topwater offerings when fish are cruising  shallow can be very beneficial .  Never know when you migth stumble on a top water opportunity.

Northern Michigan Smallmouth Bass

As I mentioned the last 10 days the crayfish molt was key to success.  Fast sinking crayfish looking flies on Intermediate lines or Type 3 lines like the SA Sonar I23 were great to fish in the shallow rocks.  Early in the morning finding smallmouth cruising shallow was pretty easy.  As the sun got high and boat traffic increased then the deeper spots played better.  On the gear sides when the wind was blowing tube jigs in the 2.5″-3.5″ range worked well colors that fired this week Green Pumpkin , Amber Purple, Dark Melon, and something Black based in the clouds.

Booking a Smallmouth Trip

Interested in booking a Smallmouth Bass Trip or going for Lake Trout on light tackle, drop us a message via email, or text/call us directly 231-631-5701. We have open boats available this Summer if your want to fish for Northern Michigan Smallmouth Bass.

Jon Ray

Best Time to fish Grand Traverse Bay for Smallmouth Bass

Grand Traverse Bay Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Grand Traverse Bay

"Fishing

Throughout the year, the changing seasons play a significant role in smallmouth bass fishing.  Seasonal change affects both the behavior of the fish and the strategies employed by anglers. In particular, the optimal month for Grand Traverse Bay smallmouth bass fishing can vary depending on the season. Spring often boasts a period of heightened activity as smallmouth bass feed aggressively coming out of winter. As the waters warm up in late spring to early summer, smallmouth bass move shallower for the spawn. Therefore, anglers may find the months of May and June to be particularly ideal for targeting smallmouth bass.

Summer

During the summer fishing for Grand Traverse Bay smallmouth bass can be an exciting and rewarding experience for anglers of all skill levels. With the warming temps Smallmouth in Grand Traverse Bay will tend to go deeper than they do in the Spring.  However, this doesn’t mean they are too deep for topwater offerings, especially if you’re willing to get up early.  Fishing smallmouth bass on topwater is truely an exciting approach to fishing the Grand Traverse Bay.

When targeting Grand Traverse Bay smallmouth bass in the summer it is important to focus on areas with structure.  Rock structures such as rocky points, ledges, and rock piles, are all areas where these fish like to feed.  Goby and Crayfish patterns are a key food source for smallmouth bass.  The key to success here is to find the preferred bait which usually means you will find the smallmouth bass.  One thing about smallmouth bass that translates well universally is no food = no smallmouth bass.  These guys love to eat and will be found very close to their food source.

Goby

Invasive Gobies provide plenty of food for Smallmouth Bass

Fall Fishing

Fall is a prime season for smallmouth bass fishing in Northern Michigan. The Fall is particularly renowned for its abundance of trophy-sized smallmouth bass. As the temperatures begin to cool, these elusive and aggressive fish become more active.  They can often be found moving into shallow waters in search of food to prepare for the upcoming winter. The crisp autumn air and vibrant colors of the changing leaves provide a picturesque backdrop for anglers seeking the thrill of battling these hard-fighting Grand Traverse Bay smallmouth bass.

Whether casting along rocky shorelines with Umbrella rigs, targeting submerged structure with swimbaits, or working shallow flats with the fly rod, the opportunities for landing a trophy smallmouth are plentiful during the Fall in Northern Michigan. With the combination of ideal weather conditions and the smallmouth’s voracious feeding habits before Winter, Fall smallmouth bass fishing offers anglers an unparalleled experience on the water.

With more anglers focused on King Salmon and Steelhead fishing many of the best inland lakes and Grand Traverse Bay can be barren of other anglers.

Fishing Techniques

Fishing methods for smallmouth bass can range from using gurgle bugs on a fly rod to drop-shotting deep rock piles off a point. While we primarily enjoy using a fly rod with various patterns such as Goby, Crayfish, and Topwater flies, we also recognize the importance of having a spinning rod as a backup.  Windy conditions and the need to approach larger fish in clear water from a distance are conditions that at times are better managed with spin tackle.

In the clear waters of Grand Traverse Bay, smallmouth bass may not always be approachable with a fly rod thus prompting the need for spinning gear. Grand Traverse Bay is known for regularly yielding smallmouth bass weighing in excess of six pounds. These larger bass are old and wise and often require long casts to catch.  Additionally, many anglers appreciate the exhilarating challenge of catching and fighting a smallmouth bass on light spinning gear.

Conclusion

Want to experience the thrill of smallmouth fishing in the pristine waters of Grand Traverse Bay where the breathtaking natural beauty meets unparalleled angling opportunities. Northern Michigan is home to some of the finest smallmouth bass fishing in the country.  This picturesque bay offers the perfect setting for both seasoned anglers and beginners looking to hone their angling skills. Grand Traverse Bay promises a fishing experience like no other!  So come and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Grand Traverse Bay, feel the excitement of each bite, and savor the joy of reeling in a prized smallmouth bass.

smallmouth bass

Late Summer or Early Fall Smallmouth

Smallmouth fishing in Late Sumer or Early Fall can be one of the best times of the year.  Smallmouth bass are putting on the feed bag as they are starting to anticipate the winter months.  After a nice long summer of a diversified diet smallmouth want to put on as much weight as possible for the upcoming winter.  To do this their main focus is protein.  What gives them the best bang for their buck on the protein scale.  Baitfish!

Baitfish

As water temps start to drop baitfish start to congregate and form big balls of bait.  Some popular techniques to imitate these baitfish balls are umbrella rigs, spinnerbaits, and with the fly rods a two fly rig I like to call the Donkey Rig.  Covering water is key, as you have to locate the baitfish.  Using your electronics or understanding wind direction or current flow should help you and point you in the right direction.

 

 

Fly Fishing Insider Guided Podcast

Fly Fishing Insider Guided Podcast

Scientific Anglers

I am honored to be selected to be part of the Fly Fishing Insiders Guided Podcast series, this series features the Scientific Anglers Ambassador’s and Advisors . This being episode 15 in the series, the host of the show Greg Keenan and I decided to discuss Northern Michigan Smallmouth Bass.

Smallmouth Bass

Greg mentioned he had not had the opportunity to interview anyone yet as it relates to smallmouth bass. I did my best to cover the different ways that I like to target smallmouth bass in Northern Michigan. Going over a few different lines and setups. A key tip I disclose is how I use smallmouth bass to help me later in the year show me those off the radar steelhead spots. Make sure to give the podcast a listen and let me know what you think.

Podcast

Jon Ray

Bass Popper

Bass Popper

Bass Popper Pattern

Woke up this morning to a very nice text message from Bob C.  Bob was fishing Bass Poppers last night, and he wanted to share his success on the Mrs. Pakman popper pattern.   Fishing Bass on topwater, no matter if they are smallmouth or largemouth bass, is personally on of my favorite experiences with a fly rod.  The explosive takes and visual experience, that you get when a Bass takes your popper is something every fly angler needs to witness.  It truly doesn’t get any better, than Bass on topwater.

The Mrs. Pakman was a pattern that we covered in the Big Appetite Smallmouth Bass  DVD  from a couple years ago.  Kevin Feenstra and I collaborated on this Smallmouth Video, to cover all aspects of smallmouth bass fishing.  One of  the 6 patterns we covered was this simple foam based popper, it is easy to tie and highly effective.  Check it out, if you haven’t.  The Pattern is covered int he 32 nd minute of the video.  Also you can watch the video On Demand here.  Thank you for your support.

If your not into tying your own top water patterns.  But your thinking of buying a few for this summer’s Bass fishing adventure.  Two things to consider when buying a popper.  First, what is the underbody color.  The most important color is what does the bass see.  Don’t worry about the colors on top of the popper.  Some great choices to start with are yellow, white, and then go dark for an assortment like dark green or black.  Second, is the hook gap on a popper.  Make sure if your buying a Bass Popper that you buy one with a big hook gap.  No less than the width of your thumb.  Make sure the Bass Popper can hook the Bass that your targeting.

Some of the best  Bass Poppers to buy are the Boogle Bug Popper , make sure to check these Poppers out for your Bass fishing needs.  They are a little expensive for a fly, but they are truly worth it.  Very durable, come in great colors, and are perfect size for smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Happy Bass Fishing,

Jon Ray

Jumping Largemouth and Jumping Smallmouth Bass

Bass fishing really heated up over the weekend with the warm air temps, fish were fairly aggressive, still not 100% on fire, but some really nice bass can be found.  I still look for August to be prime, as water levels drop and water clears up.   Been tying patterns very similar to the ones found in the DVD, and now can also be watched VOD.   Baitfish style has been #1 but with water dropping and clearing look for the spicy crab to start to take over.

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Air Time, Mr. Smallmouth – Picture of the Day

Mr. Smallmouth getting a little air time.  Trying to continue to work on my skills of timing, smallmouth are much easier than steelhead.

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3 – Tand Fly Reel – Very Impressed

 

 

So if you know me you might find this post kind of funny.  But yes I was impressed by a fly reel here most recently.  While a lot of my teaching on how to go about fighting and handling fish here in Michigan does not require the reel.  I believe in stripping the fly line in and landing them.

But with my new arsenal of Scott Radian rods, I was finding out my old school reels where just too heavy and my balance was off.  As fly rods continue to get lighter and lighter my “coffee cans” needed an upgrade.  Now to my dilemma, with smallmouth bass season here my 907 Radian needed to be outfitted with my favorite bass line 7wt Titan Taper, but as you all know smallmouth do not require the reel for drag.  Strip them bronze back beauty’s in.  So I did not want to spend a lot of money, for a line holder.  Not going to be using a drag.  But balance is key, smallmouth require that you cast.  Longer casts on wider rivers, and banging shoreline on our reservoirs.  Don’t want a heavy setup for a long day of casting.

So my good friend and fellow endangered species hunter Russ Maddin, told me about a new company 3-tand reels.  He had just bought a few for his Scott Radians.  Well after picking up a TF 70 from TNA (The Northern Angler) for $209.  I am floored by the value that one gets with this reel.

The TF 70 is perfect for trout and smallmouth fishing.  There are a couple things that I look for in a reel.  1) How does it balance on the rod, 3-tands TF-70 is super light, well ported but still seems durable.  2) How does it spin, what do I mean by this.  Can I pick up line quickly by spinning the spool.  The answer is yes here, the reel is balanced almost like a center pin reel.  Spins like a champ.  3) Sounds funny but is it sexy.  Do I like how it looks.  While I see reels as men’s jewelry, I want my stuff to be looking good.  Answer again is yes.  4) If and when I need drag what am I working with? 3-tands and there TF-70 model?  Well the Patent Pending sealed NanoCF Drag system to begin with, what does that mean?  Smooth and Sealed basically and secondly for the money more drag than you will ever get anywhere else.

If you need a new reel check out 3-tand and contact Brian at the TNA he has them in stock.  Great reel and OMG great value.

Smallmouth DVD now On Demand

With future project just around the corner about to be released, working with Vimeo Mangled Fly and Snap T Pictures have launched a Vimeo on Demand page.  First video  on our page is the Big Appetite Small Mouth DVD that we launched a couple summers ago.  Now you can watch this DVD at anytime on your computer.  Look for this page to grow over the next couple months, as Erik and I will be releasing more videos here very shortly.  Next video to be released with be the Midnight Creeper.

Big Appetite Small Mouth DVD from Mangled Fly Media on Vimeo.

Michigan is home to many great freshwater game fish. In this DVD, Michigan guides Jon Ray and Kevin Feenstra explore some of the great waters of West Michigan for smallmouth bass. Both Jon and Kevin have a great deal of experience with these hard fighting gamefish. The complete DVD features tips and techniques, as well as detailed, step-by-step instructions for a handful of their favorite smallmouth bass flies. Basics such as equipment and knots are also covered. This DVD is produced by Erik Rambo of Snap T productions. Erik is a professional videographer, known for his work in other fly fishing films. Music done by Mike Moran check out more of his work on his website.

Moldy Chum DVD review

One of the biggest fly fishing blogs, Moldy Chum,  posts a review of Big Appetite Smallmouth bass DVD.  Click here to read the review.

To purchase a copy of the DVD check out Mangled Fly’s online shop.