How to Reel in a Salmon or Steelhead in Pure Michigan This Fall

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Salmon and steelhead are ready to bite! Fall is a great time to get out on the water and reel in a big one. Today, Elyse Walter from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources shares some tips and techniques for making a big catch in Michigan this fall. 

Michigan offers some fantastic fishing during the fall months – particularly for salmon and steelhead. In fact, now can be the perfect time to target them, if you know where to go and what techniques to use. Whether you’re looking for the various salmon species or steelhead (rainbow trout that are stocked in a river) you’re sure to find plenty of opportunities this month and beyond!

Atlantic Salmon
Fishing for Atlantic salmon is huge on the St. Marys River; in fact this spot is considered the best recreational Atlantic salmon fishery west of the East Coast. Most anglers troll for this species using downriggers, but other popular methods are fly fishing for them with wet flies or spin fishing for them with plugs, spinners and spoons.

DSK329 023 - girl charterChinook Salmon
These fish are often called “kings” and with good reason! Popular spots to target them in the fall include Great Lakes piers, streams along the Lake Michigan coast, or inland streams such as the Manistee (Tippy Dam), Pere Marquette and St. Joseph rivers. Many anglers focus on low-light time periods – such as in the morning or in the evening – but others target Chinooks after dark with glow-in-the-dark spoons. Artificial bait is what most anglers use to appeal to this species, but salmon eggs are popular as well.

Coho Salmon
This popular species can be caught in Lake Michigan at any time, though some of the best fishing happens in early fall. In particular, the Manistee River is very popular in late October and in the Upper Peninsula the Anna River is a great destination for this salmon. Lots of anglers use spinners, spoons and plugs when fishing for this species.

DSK265 65 - steelheadSteelhead
Michigan is considered one of the best steelhead fishing destinations in the country with several well-known spots located throughout the state. These include the Manistee, Muskegon and St. Joseph rivers in the Lake Michigan watershed, the Au Sable River in the Lake Huron watershed, and the Huron River in the Lake Erie watershed. Most anglers head out in November and/or December (if they’re not hunting) to target steelhead and use a variety of techniques to do so – including spinners, plugs and single salmon eggs floating under a bobber.

Don’t miss your chance to catch a big salmon or steelhead this fall. For even more information on fishing in Michigan, including rules and regulations, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing. 

Where is your go-to destination for fall fishing in Michigan? 

Elyse-Walter-150x1501Elyse Walter is a communication specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. She specifically works with the DNR’s Fisheries Division to help educate and promote the state’s fishing opportunities and aquatic resources.

Nine Things You Might Not Know About Bass Fishing in Michigan

Michigan_MuskegonIt’s time to throw in your line and catch the big one; the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year Championship is nearly here! With trout, walleye, salmon, perch, muskie and bass ready to bite, Michigan is home to some of the best freshwater fishing you can find.  The state’s world-class fisheries will be on display September 18-21, 2014 when the Bassmaster Elite Series Championship takes to the lakes surrounding Escanaba.

Consider yourself a master angler? See how many of these bass fishing tips you know!

Here’s an easy one – Morning or night is when the fish really bite. It’s no secret that when the sun is high in the sky, fish swim down to cooler, deeper water. Bass fishing in the morning or at night has become a favorite summer technique not only to escape the heat and recreational boat traffic; it is also the time for catching big bass!

Keep your eye on the line – Every so often, check the line right about the lure you’re using. If the line is tangled from coming in contact with debris (rocks, gravel, weeds) in the water, it could break easier, meaning your trophy bass gets away.

Study the map – Maps are easily available for every lake around the state of Michigan. These maps are a great way to identify drop-offs and weed beds, as well as any fish cribs that bass might like to use as shelter. You can also mark your own fishing hot-spots or areas that are duds.

Change up your lure – Sometimes, you might not catch a single fish for a whole day just because you’re set on a certain lure. While some bass fishers live and die by the Hula Popper, switching up your lure or even the size of the lure might land you a big one.

Know your seasons – The best time to bass fish is during the pre-spawn. The pre-spawn starts in spring around the time the water is around 60 degrees. Both male and female bass move to shallower waters to find the best place to nest and start aggressively feeding. Pre-spawn is a bass fisher’s goldmine.

Some lakes are better than others – Some Michigan lakes are actually known for being better fishing area for certain types of fish. While catching walleye or a mess of panfish makes for a great day on the water, you’ll find the most luck with bass on lakes or streams known best for bass fishing.

Know where bass like to hang out – Casting near shores and trees on the edge of the water may be the tried-and-true method of bass fishing, but try your luck in some different spots. Bass love bridges, rock piles and brush in the water as places to hide.

Know what to look for – There are countless types of water vegetation in Michigan’s lakes. Specifically for bass, hydrilla, lily pads, hyacinths and other greenery are great bass spots as they provide food, shade and higher level of oxygen in the water.

Don’t try to do too much – The key to any kind of fishing is getting out there and enjoying yourself. Different types of lures and equipment may look nice, but get what you need and hit the water. Catching a great bass is even better when your rival on the water is still in the bait shop trying on sunglasses.

Extra, extra! Read all about it!

The world’s top 50 professional anglers will compete in  Escanaba, Michigan for the 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year this September. While this elite tournament will be in Michigan for just four days, the state offers endless opportunities for the big catch, on four Great Lakes, 11,000 inland lakes and hundreds of rivers and streams. As fall color starts to sweep across the state, there is no better time to be out on the sparkling blue wasters, casting a line.

Two days twice a year, families and friends can enjoy Michigan Fishing, for FREE! All fishing license fees will be waived for two days. Residents and outstate visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes’ waters for all species of fish. All fishing regulations will still apply. Dates for the 2015 Free Fishing are February 14 and 15 and June 13 and 14, 2015.

So troll the waters, cast your line and experience the wealth of fishing opportunities in Pure Michigan. Learn more in the video below!