Archived Weekly Fishing Tips

The tips below are archived from the Weekly Fishing Tip provided through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' website.

Many avid trout anglers swear by using these types of lures if you're looking to catch big stream trout. Stickbaits and body baits mimic the minnows and small fish many trout species love to eat.

Keep in mind you won't catch large quantities of trout when you're using this type of bait, but the ones you do find may be high quality and worth the effort. Consider fishing with lures you'd normally use when targeting bass and/or northern pike and stick with natural colors for the best chance of success.

To learn even more about fishing for trout in Michigan check out the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

October 12, 2017: Lake whitefish, not just for commercial anglers
Although extremely important to Great Lakes commercial fishers, lake whitefish are becoming more and more popular with recreational anglers throughout Michigan. But you really have to know how to catch this delicious species!

The lake whitefish has a small, exceedingly delicate mouth and is confined to dining on insects, freshwater shrimp, small fish and fish eggs, and bottom organisms. Most feeding takes place on or near lake-bottoms. Keep that in mind when selecting your bait.

If you're interested in staying inland and looking for lake whitefish, stick with deep, clear-water lakes. If you're interested in heading to the Great Lakes they can most often be found in deep water, either on or near the bottom.

For more information on fishing for lake whitefish visit their page on the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

October 5, 2017: What to do when you're looking for crappie in the fall
This time of year can bring some of the best results when it comes to fishing for crappie. Want to target these panfish when you head out in the coming days or weeks?

These fish often stay in deeper water longer than other panfish - and they also tend to move around more as they target large schools of baitfish. If you use baits that imitate a crappie's food of choice you'll be more likely to find them.

Keep in mind that crappies will get less and less active as the water cools off and they slow down. You'll then want to slow your presentation and offer smaller baits to keep seeing success.

Try your luck at some great crappie fishing this fall. For more information on this species, visit their Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

September 28, 2017: Is your outdoor first-aid kit ready to go?
Do you carry a first-aid kit with you while you're out fishing? You never know what can happen in the midst of an outing so it never hurts to be prepared. If you're interested in putting together a kit be sure to include the following:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Hemostat
  • Compresses
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Medical tape
  • Compression bandage
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Antibiotic wipes
  • Eye-wash fluid
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen

Don't forget to regularly check your first-aid kit's inventory and replenish as needed!

September 21, 2017: Catching panfish in the fall
Fall can be an ideal time to target panfish as cooler temperatures arrive and aquatic vegetation starts to decline. As a result, these species can be found in much shallower water than usual and will be perfect for targeting.

When choosing your bait don't be afraid to go with something a little more substantial, such as small plugs and spinners. And of course, the standard hook and worm never hurts!

Be sure to target panfish in their favorite fall locations as well, including by deep weedbeds or near drop-off points.

Want even more information on targeting Michigan panfish this fall? Check out their page on the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

September 14, 2017: What you need to know about fishing early autumn walleye
Targeting walleye in the fall can offer some of the best fishing of the season. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you target this sportfish in the near future.

  1. In early fall walleye can be found in a variety of locations within the water body, including deep, shallow or anywhere in between. Keep that in mind and don't stick to one depth range.
  2. If you're out in the morning, check the areas where deep water meets the shallow spots.
  3. As the day progresses start heading deeper, as walleye can be photosensitive.
  4. Don't forget to try your luck during the nighttime hours! This can be a very productive time during the fall, especially along rock points and flat areas.

To learn more about fishing for walleye in Michigan, including bait/tackle techniques and locations to try out, check out their page on the Michigan Fish & How to Catch Them website.

September 7, 2017: Consider deeper water when targeting bass
Did you know there are typically two populations of bass in a water body? One that lingers near the shore to feed and one that hangs in deeper water and moves through structure to feed?

Both populations provide great opportunities for fishing, but many anglers overlook the bass in deeper water.

The next time you head to your favorite bass lake, consider fishing deeper water, particularly around larger weedbeds. Fish will often hang out in the weedbeds and move up through the depths to feed.

For more information on fishing for bass in Michigan, visit the DNR's Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

August 31, 2017: Glow lures popular with Great Lakes salmon
Salmon fishing on the Great Lakes is really hitting its stride as many species are getting ready to begin their upstream migration. At the moment Lake Michigan is particularly popular for Chinook salmon with anglers trying various techniques to land this prized sportfish.

One tactic that can be particularly useful when targeting Chinooks is fishing with glow lures. This species can often be caught near the surface in low-light conditions and glow lures make that opportunity even more appealing.

In particular, glow lures work well in the early morning hours before the sun comes up or at night. Many believe this type of lure attracts salmon because it can be seen in the dark from longer distances and encourages them to strike.

Are you interested in targeting Chinook salmon this later summer/early fall? Check out their page on the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

August 24, 2017: Buying minnows for your next fishing trip
Minnows are a popular bait option for many anglers, but do you know the difference between the various species? Understanding these differences can help you excel during your next fishing adventure!

These minnows are usually one to three inches long and are available all year long. In particular, fatheads are great for targeting yellow perch in the fall and are considered excellent walleye bait as well.

Golden Shiner
These minnows are usually around three inches long and are effective during winter, spring and fall months. Many anglers use these minnows for targeting walleye.

Spottail Shiner
These minnows are usually between two and a half and three inches long and have a limited availability, usually during the spring. These minnows are great when walleye fishing.

Sucker Minnow
These minnows are usually between three to four inches, but they can grow to nearly a foot long. They're available at all times during the year and are considered a top bait choice for northern pike in the summer.

Please note Michigan has several bait restrictions in place to prevent the spread of fish diseases. Information about these restrictions and regulations can be found in the 2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide.

August 10, 2017: Catching bass on top of the water
Many anglers would agree there's an excitement that comes when you're using topwater techniques to target bass. There's something to be said for seeing a bass strike your lure with your own two eyes.

But how do you fish for this species on top of the water? It mostly comes down to location and lure selection.

ou may want to target areas that provide good cover for the bass that have a few feet of water over them, such as weedbeds, logs, big rocks, etc. Cast a floating lure next to the cover and play with a bit before reeling it in.

When it comes to lures, select those that float and are designed to resemble the favorite foods of bass, such as frogs.

Also, top water fishing for bass works best in low-light conditions such as early in the morning or late in the evening.

For more information on fishing for bass in Michigan, visit our Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

August 3, 2017: Fishing for bass is fun at night
With summer in full swing and temperatures frequently reaching their peaks, fish can become quite lethargic. No need to fret! For certain species, such as bass, you just might want to tweak the time of day you set out to target them.

Some of the best bass fishing this time of year occurs during the first hour or so after dark. Dusk and dawn can still produce fish but that first hour or two after dark can be exceptional.

After dark, bass tend to move shallow in search of an easy meal. Target them near the same areas you would during other times of the day while also casting and targeting the shallows.

You'll definitely want to also change your technique. Since after dark you can't see the weed line or other underwater structures, fishing subsurface lures is not recommended. It is time for surface presentations. After the cast, work them aggressively with a jerking motion making sure they pop and gurgle across the surface of the water during your retrieve. Pay close attention during the retrieve, watching and listening for the strike which can be explosive.

If you're feeling adventurous, get on the water at 10:00 p.m. and fish the shallows for bass until midnight or 1:00 a.m. The results can be spectacular!

For more information on fishing for bass in Michigan, visit the DNR's Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

July 27, 2017: Great places to target muskellunge in Michigan
Are you interested in targeting muskellunge this summer? Many anglers would place the following waterbodies on a list of top spots to visit.

1. Tahquamenon River in Luce County
From below Tahquamenon Falls all the way to Lake Superior produces great muskie fishing.
2. Thornapple Lake in Barry County
Muskies can be found on the east or west ends of the lake. Please note there's a 50-inch minimum size limit on this lake.
3. Skegemog Lake in Kalkaska County
A good spot to focus on here is the edges of a deep hole that's off of the entrance to Elk Lake.
4. Lake St. Clair in St. Clair County
Lots of inlets and outlets on this lake provide ideal conditions for muskies.

For more information on fishing for muskellunge, visit


July 13, 2017: Fishing with crankbaits
Many anglers love to fish with crankbaits (also known as plugs), a type of hard-bodied fishing lure. Below are some criteria to think about when selecting a crankbait.

Body Shape
Fat-bodied crankbaits that are shorter will displace more water and create more vibration. Many anglers prefer this type of crankbait when fishing in dark water or at night.

Thin-profile crankbaits glide through the water with minimal resistance. This option is great when fishing clear water and targeting species that are sight feeders.

Crankbaits with less buoyancy are better suited for water with minimal cover and clean bottoms while those with more buoyancy are better for fishing around cover.

Crankbaits can be a great lure option when targeting walleyes, bass or muskellunge (among other species). Consider trying one out during your next fishing trip!

July 6, 2017: How to clean & care for your catch
Fishing with family and friends is a great way to spend time together, but taking your catch home and making a meal out of it - that makes it special! Check out our How to Clean & Care for Your Catch video to learn the simple steps to properly clean and care for your catch.

For more information on cleaning and caring for your catch, check out our Cleaning & Caring for Your Catch handout.

June 29, 2017: Eating safe fish in Michigan
There are many benefits to eating fish, but anglers should be aware that some fish have mercury, dioxin, PCBs or other chemicals in them that can be bad for your health if you eat too many.

The Michigan Department of Community Health's Eat Safe Fish Guide helps you learn about eating safe, local and healthful fish from throughout the state. Their "3Cs" message is simple and easy to remember when it comes to eating safe fish:

1. Choose - A general rule of thumb is to remember S.A.F.E.
Smaller fish are usually a good choice, Avoid large predator fish and bottom-feeders, Fat should be removed, Eat fish that have been broiled or grilled on a rack.
2. Clean - Learn about cleaning techniques (including trimming as much fat from the fish as possible) to help remove chemicals from the fish.
3. Cook - Discover cooking techniques that can be used to remove even more chemicals from the fish.

Be informed and check out the Eat Safe Fish Guide to help protect yourself and your family from chemicals that could someday make you sick.

For more information, visit and then click on the "Going Fishing?" button.

June 22, 2017: How to catch your own nightcrawlers
Are you interested in catching and keeping your own nightcrawlers? It's fairly easy to do so, just follow these simple steps.

1. Know where to look. Scout areas (such as parks, playgrounds, open grassy areas) after a good rain. Look for nightcrawler castings (the little piles of dirt they leave behind) and then plan your next visit following the next good rain.
2. Know when to collect. Nightcrawlers are best caught an hour or so after dark.
3. Bring the right equipment. Nightcrawlers are sensitive to vibrations so wear lightweight shoes. They're also sensitive to bright light so consider rigging your flashlight with a red cover over the lens.
4. Store them properly. Upon catching, just lay them on top of the storage bedding, don't mix them in. This will allow you to remove sick or dead nightcrawlers more easily.

June 15, 2017: Taking great catch-and-release photos
Are you an avid catch-and-release angler? Do you like to take photos of the fish you catch, prior to returning them to the water? Do you know the safest way to take these photos so you ensure the fish can live to be caught another day?

Check out the following steps:

1. Wet your hands before you handle the fish, that way you won't remove any of the protective mucus (aka slime) the fish has coating their body.
2. Remember a fish can not breathe out of water, so they will become uncomfortable rather quickly. Keep the fish in the water until your camera is ready to take the shot.
3. Take the photo with the fish fairly close to the water, that way if it squirms out of your hands it will land in the water not on a hard surface.
4. While holding the fish do not pinch or squeeze it and do not stick your fingers in its gills.
5. Be mindful of the different kinds of fish that have teeth and/or spines that could stick you.

June 8, 2017: Fish for FREE this weekend
Don't forget that all Michigan residents and non-residents can fish without a license this Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11! Please note all other fishing regulations still apply.

Saturday and Sunday make up the Summer Free Fishing Weekend - an annual effort to promote Michigan's numerous fishing opportunities. While many individuals and families will head out to fish for free on their own there are numerous organized events scheduled throughout the state to celebrate the weekend as well.

Various locations throughout Michigan will host scheduled events, visit the Summer Free Fishing Weekend event chart online to see what's going on in your area.

For more information about the 2017 Summer Free Fishing Weekend please visit