Having a successful Northern Michigan fishing outing doesn’t take a lot of equipment or much experience on the water, it just takes a little know-how to find a good location on the water and a bucket-full of live bait. Jeff Braunscheidel of the Lake Erie Management Unit Fisheries Biologist provides some simple tips that anglers of all ages—kids and adults—can utilize to enjoy a summer’s day in Northern Michigan’s outdoors. MyNorth would like to thank the Michigan DNR for the following content.
Sometimes we want to go fishing and enjoy getting out on the water, but just don’t want to expend a lot of energy—especially if it’s too hot to work hard at it. Here’s a laid-back way to cover water and find fish you might otherwise miss, without needing complicated gear or a fancy boat. All you need is basic fishing tackle and some kind of watercraft. Even a rented rowboat, paddle boat or canoe can work. Close-up of bluegill being held by person
Rig your rod with light line (four to eight pound test), tie a small hook on the end of the line (#4 or smaller), and add a split shot or two about a foot above the hook. Favorite baits for this method include half a nightcrawler or a baby crawler, leeches, or even some of the heavily scented artificial leeches or small plastic worms. Hook the bait in the center of one end so it doesn’t spin when you gently pull it through the water.
Position your boat so the prevailing breeze will carry it along a drop-off or across any area with water depths of at least 12 to 20 feet. Let out enough line, or adjust the amount of weight on the line, so your bait will stay about 12 to 20 foot deep no matter how deep the water actually is. Then set your rod down against the side of the boat, relax and watch the tip of the rod for a bite. Drop the rod tip when you see a bite and count to three before reeling in and setting the hook with a firm pull. Not too hard!
Many fish such as bass, walleye, yellow perch, crappie and larger bluegill will move into deeper water and suspend at their preferred cooler temperature during the hot summer months. Slowly drifting a larger, natural bait at these deeper depths will often get you more than you bargained for.