Skip to main content

Michigan Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Michigan Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Gordon Lightfoot's ballad about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald directed anglers to Lake Michigan, where "islands and bays are for sportsmen." But better guidance comes from Freshwater Fishing Hall of Famer Mark Fisher, a smallmouth bass fanatic who has fished throughout the northern tier of states:"If you wanted to plan your smallmouth trip of a lifetime and had a month to do it, you would start in Sturgeon Bay in May and move north to Escanaba Bay in June. There is no guarantee in fishing, but 50-fish days are common with fish over 6 pounds mixed in. Seven pounders are there." Here's the where and the how for Escanaba.

Shallow-water, sight-fishing opportunities abound on the rock and sand reefs south and west of Ford River and off Peninsula Point. "Cast to the small black spots on the reefs—they're smallies," advised Fisher. "If you see a solo fish, it probably won't bite. If you see two, expect 'fish on.' If you see three or more, get ready for a brawl. It can get silly! With two or more anglers, time your casts to keep them biting. When they quit biting, get on the trolling motor until you see more fish."

A variety of presentations will work on the reefs2 to 4 inch tubes, boot-tail grubs, waking baits like a Rapala Waking Minnow, and topwaters all catch fish. On the soft baits, any variation on green pumpkin is good. But the "must have" is 1/16 ounce brown or black marabou jigs. "You can't put a lure in the water without a smallie knowing it. The slow fall of the marabou jig allows the bass to find and kill the intruder," Fisher said.

If the fish aren't active on the reefs, fish the steep shorelines, docks, or the breaks into deep water around the reefs. "The wonderful thing about Escanaba is that simple fishing savvy catches fish. If it looks like it should hold a smallie, it probably does," explained the enthusiastic Hall of Famer. Jerkbaits, like a Rapala X Rap, will attract smallmouths from considerable depths and pull brown bass from under docks; deeper crankbaits like Rapala DT 10 and DT 16 are effective on the deeper ledges. And in the clear water, you can watch the fish hit.


Sage wisdom: play the weather, and use your trailer. Bay de Noc basically runs north-south. Land provides some shelter from north and northwest winds. There are some small bays where you can launch and stay out of the wind.


[navionics zoom="6" long="-87.0" lat="45.7"]

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Thomas and Thomas Contact II Fly Rod

Thomas and Thomas Contact II Fly Rod

Joe Goodspeed, rod designer at Thomas & Thomas, tells Fly Fisherman editor Ross Purnell about the six new models of Contact II fly rods, including a 10-foot 2-weight and a 10-foot 3-weight. Constructed from five types of premium carbon and fiberglass fibers bonded by a proprietary aerospace resin, these rods are stronger and yet capable of making, short, delicate casts.

Huk Waypoint Collection

Huk Waypoint Collection

Huk's new Waypoint Collection fishing apparel is conservation-minded by using recycled water bottles.

Lew

Lew's KVD Rods

As the king of bass fishing says, this new lineup of rods from Lew's—which features the distinctive KVD color scheme—is the most comprehensive lineup of rods ever produced by a single company.

Saltx 4000 And 6000 Spinning Reels

Saltx 4000 And 6000 Spinning Reels

Fully sealed design to The new Saltx 4000 & 6000 Spinning Reels will come with a fully sealed design to keep to prevent saltwater or sand intrusion. It features a titanium-coated line roller, and Saltx a 50-pound max drag. MSRP $399.99to prevent saltwater or sand intrusion.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

One key element of the program is matching the hatch.'Minnesota Finesse' for Bass Success Bass

'Minnesota Finesse' for Bass Success

Matt Straw - August 11, 2020

One key element of the program is matching the hatch.

Do pike under ice cover choose the same types of habitats they use in summer?Pike Movement and Habitat: Summer vs. Winter Pike & Muskie

Pike Movement and Habitat: Summer vs. Winter

Dr. Rob Nuemann

Do pike under ice cover choose the same types of habitats they use in summer?

Folks are increasingly realizing that the beauty of a big bluegill lies in its rarity.Managing for Big Bluegills Panfish

Managing for Big Bluegills

Cory Schmidt - August 06, 2020

Folks are increasingly realizing that the beauty of a big bluegill lies in its rarity.

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven riggings. All About Catfish Catfish

All About Catfish

Rob Neumann

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven...

See More Trending Articles

More Adventures

Multispecies in the north country. Lloyd Lake, Saskatchewan, Multispecies Adventures

Lloyd Lake, Saskatchewan, Multispecies

Rob Neumann - March 22, 2017

Multispecies in the north country.

Big bass await on the Apalachicola River. Apalachicola River Florida Adventures

Apalachicola River Florida

Dr. Hal Schramm - April 27, 2016

Big bass await on the Apalachicola River.

Lake of the Woods might well be the finest multispecies fishing lake in North America.Lake of the Woods, Minnesota-Ontario Multispecies Adventures

Lake of the Woods, Minnesota-Ontario Multispecies

In-Fisherman - May 26, 2016

Lake of the Woods might well be the finest multispecies fishing lake in North America.

See More Adventures

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the In-Fisherman App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now