Northern Michigan Fishing: Catch Trout and Bass in Northern Michigan

Northern Michigan Fishing: There are few better ways to spend a summer afternoon than in a boat, on the water, with a pole in your hand. Use our fishing guide to the waters of the Northwestern Lower Peninsula to make the most out of your fishing trip–because though fishing is always relaxing, its a little more satisfying when you catch something. Our sources report having luck with Lake Trout, Smallmouth Bass, and a few Walleye and Salmon, so brush up on your fillet skills and check out some great Norhtern Michigan fresh fish recipies.

Harbor Springs

Those trolling have caught lake trout north of Harbor Point in 160 feet of water and west off the furthest buoy when fishing 120 feet down. Smallmouth bass are still being caught by those using tube baits.  


Anglers are catching mostly lake trout when trolling in 100 to 120 feet of water off Bay Harbor or 150 to 160 feet down in 200 to 220 feet of water further east. A few chinook were also caught. The end of the first dock and the breakwall are still producing smallmouth bass, rock bass, and bullhead.  

Bear River

Anglers are still catching some steelhead near the dam when using spawn bags or crawlers. Brown trout can also be found near the dam and downriver. Try both natural bait and flies.  


Is producing smallmouth bass and the occasional walleye for those fishing in the channel. Freshwater drum were also caught.  

Traverse City

Both the East and the West Bay have good smallmouth bass fishing. There are still some fish in the shallows but many have been caught in waters up to 15 feet deep. Lake trout were caught in 80 to 100 feet of water and limit catches were reported. Anglers are beginning to see more salmon and the action should improve in the next few weeks.

Elk River

Anglers are targeting smallmouth bass with leeches, crawlers, or gulp plastic baits. Many are on the small side but try early morning fishing for a chance to catch bigger the fish.

Boardman River

Anglers are targeting smallmouth bass and carp. Try crawlers or corn for carp and live baits for smallmouth bass. Some have caught the occasional walleye or pike.


Had great fishing 60 to 80 feet down in 120 to 150 feet of water with meat rigs. Blue was the hot color. If your lines are set at 5:30 am, you will be reeling in fish. Use anything that glows prior to sunrise and UV after sun up. After the morning catch is done, drop a line to the bottom with a flasher and spin glow for lake trout.  


Those heading straight out to 110 to 150 feet of water caught fish when trolling along the drop. Fish 80 to 90 feet down, good colors were blue and glow. Meat rigs worked best after the sun comes up.  

Portage Lake

Walleye have been caught on crawler harnesses in the early morning around Little Eden and near the canal. Bass have moved to the drop-offs and the bite has slowed. Perch and bluegills were caught in 16 to 18 feet of water. A 34 inch pike was also caught.

Lake Cadillac

Bluegill and crappie have been caught along the east side. Try fishing the deeper holes and under structure that give some shade. The better fishing seems to be early morning or later in the evening. Try casting small spinners or floating crickets and small minnows.


Fishing slowed compared to what it has been. Boat anglers found salmon 45 to 150 feet down in 140 to 300 feet of water. Meat rigs in yellow and green or blue and green spoons caught fish.


Salmon fishing slowed but fish were caught 50 to 120 feet down in 140 to 250 feet of water with green spoons or purple and green meat rigs.


Boat anglers continue to catch chinook and steelhead 30 to 50 feet off the bottom in 90 to 120 feet of water. Boats were heading south and fishing across from the dunes and Silver Lake State Park. Pier anglers caught smallmouth bass on minnows and body baits.

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