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!

How to Have the Ultimate Outdoor Adventure in Michigan This Summer

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers a number of programs to help outdoor enthusiasts take advantage of all that the great outdoors in Pure Michigan have to offer – including Recreation 101 and 202, Summer Free Fishing Weekend, Michigan Boating Week and much more! Today, the DNR’s Maia Turek describes the many ways to have an outdoor adventure in Michigan this summer. 

Recreation 101

recreation 101Michigan is rich in recreation opportunities, and for those looking to explore those activities, the Department of Natural Resources’ Recreation 101 program at Michigan state parks is the perfect way to get started.

The beauty of the four seasons in Michigan is that we have almost every recreational opportunity available to us. In the warmer months, Michiganders can choose to ease down the river on a paddleboard, channel their inner marksmen with archery, or search the skies for a rare, treasured species while birdwatching.  The winter months offer just as much variety, with snowboarding, snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing and so much more.

The only challenges with having so many options is choosing what to try and where to start. There are a lot of things to take into account when picking up a new activity; buying the right equipment, learning the techniques, taking safety precautions and finding the space to actually get started. It can be overwhelming!

Recreation 101 class at Sleepy Hollow State Park.

Photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources

But the good news is that you don’t have to figure it out on your own. The Department of Natural Resources’ Recreation 101 program provides all of the gear, guides and good times so that people can try out something new in Michigan’s woods and waters, and the best part – it’s completely free!

Recreation 101, also known as “Rec 101,” is a series of hands-on introductory classes taught by DNR staff and expert volunteers from organizations, guide services, outfitters and more. These volunteers offer their time and knowledge to introduce novice recreation enthusiasts to all the great activities available in Michigan. Programs cover almost any imaginable recreational pursuit available in Michigan, including kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, archery, geocaching, birding, mushroom hunting, to name a few.

If you’re a bit more experienced with an activity, the DNR also offers a Recreation 202 series which provides more advanced instruction and in-depth experiences. Instructors offer these classes at a reduced rate from what you might find elsewhere, making Rec 202 classes a fun and affordable way to explore Michigan’s great outdoors.

Whether you’re just getting started or are an experienced recreation enthusiast, the Recreation 101 and 202 programs offer fun and interesting classes for everyone. For a full schedule of programs, visit www.michigan.gov/rec101, and enjoy a new activity this summer!

For more information on Recreation 101, check out the video below:

Free Fishing, ORVing and State Park Entry – June 7 – 8, 2014

Family-fishing-in-Michigan-300x199

Photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources

To kick off the summer season, the DNR coordinates a Summer Free Fishing Weekend each year (and has since 1986) to showcase the great angling opportunities available in Michigan, while easing some of the financial investment needed to get involved. It’s the perfect time to discover the state’s world-class resources.  The 2014 Summer Free Fishing Weekend is Saturday, June 7 and Sunday, June 8. During these two days anyone – residents and non-residents alike – can fish all waters without purchasing a license, although all other regulations still apply.

In addition to free fishing, the DNR will also waive the requirement for an ORV license and trails permit for the weekend – a great opportunity for those who might prefer to navigate Michigan’s 3,000+ miles of ORV trails. 

Also on June 8th,  the DNR will waive the Recreation Passport requirement for entry into state parks as part of this summer outdoor recreation kick-off.

If you’d like to learn more about Summer Free Fishing Weekend, watch the video below.

Michigan Boating Week – June 7 – 14, 2014

Photo courtesy of Michigan Boating Industries Association

Photo courtesy of Michigan Boating Industries Association

Michigan Boating Week  also kicks off June 7-14.  Michigan Boating Week is a partnership between the DNR, Michigan Waterways Commission and the Michigan Boating Industries Association. This weeklong campaign offers many opportunities to get started with boating, get back onboard or learn some new skills to use on the water, including free on-water boat demos!

Michigan Boating Week also aims to help protect Michigan’s waters, and that starts with the same people who love and enjoy them. June 6-7, staff from the DNR, DEQ and MDARD will be on-hand at selected boating access sites for the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Landing Blitz. These events will educate boaters about how they can become stewards of the water by sharing information about how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Check these event listings to find a Michigan Boating Week event near you.

How do you like to spend time outdoors in Michigan? 

photoMaia Turek is the DNR Recreation Programmer for state parks.  She and her team of regional programmers put together hundreds of events every year – from Rec 101 and Fresh Air Fit classes, to family reunions, church campouts, and volunteer events – they work hard to provide every Michigan resident and visitor a reason to come to a state park and make a lifelong memory in Michigan’s woods and waters.

Get “Hooked” on Michigan’s World-Class Fishing this Spring and Summer

The fish are biting in Pure Michigan! Today, guest blogger Elyse Walter provides an overview of fishing opportunities to take advantage of this spring and summer, including the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Summer Free Fishing Weekend June 7 – 8, 2014.

michiganfishing-300x200Michigan is known for its outstanding freshwater fishing, particularly in spring and summer. Whether you get to the Great Lakes or stroll to your favorite inland water body, there is no shortage of opportunities to land a big one.

Although many fishing opportunities will be delayed due to the cold winter and spring Michigan experienced, there’s still plenty to be on the lookout for:

Panfish: In the coming weeks these species will be spawning and anxious to bite anything that’s offered. Focus on deeper, transitional waters if you want to find them. Fishing for yellow perch will be slow but will heat up as the temperatures warm, particularly in bigger water bodies such as Lake Michigan and Lake St. Clair.

Catfish: Although this species’ activity peaks in July and August, you will start to see them biting in smaller lakes and ponds.

Photo-by-Celeste-Thompson-Off-coast-of-Lake-Michigan-near-GH

Photo by Celeste Thompson

Bass: Fishing for this popular species will be slow as their spawning has been delayed but as the waters in bigger lakes/streams start to heat up so will bass fishing. Please note, this species is catch-and-release fishing only until the catch-and-keep seasons open later this spring and early summer.

Walleye: Fishing for this species has cooled down on the Detroit River (a popular destination), but opportunities are starting to pick up right now on Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.

Trout/Salmon: Anglers will be happy that cooler water temperatures will keep coho salmon around in the southern portions of Lake Michigan. But stream anglers targeting steelhead will find it tricky due to recent run-offs and high water levels.

Family-fishing-in-Michigan-300x199

Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR

Want even more incentive to plan a fishing trip in the coming weeks – aside from those described above? How about going for FREE?

That’s the case this June as the 2014 Summer Free Fishing Weekend arrives Saturday, June 7 and Sunday, June 8. During these two days anyone – residents and non-residents alike – can fish all waters without purchasing a license, although all other regulations still apply.

The DNR coordinates a Summer Free Fishing Weekend each year (and has since 1986) to showcase the great angling opportunities available in Michigan, while easing some of the financial investment needed to get involved. It’s the perfect time to discover the state’s world-class resources.

Consider exploring Michigan’s expansive fishing opportunities this spring and summer. Start planning your next trip at www.michigan.gov/fishing!

Where do you like to go fishing in Michigan during the spring and summer?

 Elyse-Walter-150x150Elyse 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.