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.

November 16, 2017: Where to find northern pike in Michigan
As the temperatures continue to cool, fishing for northern pike will continue to pick up. Pike are extremely popular during the ice fishing season but are readily available throughout much of the year.

There are many notable northern pike fisheries located throughout Michigan, including on Muskegon, Portage and Manistee lakes and also Michigamme and Houghton lakes. But this species can be found in many lakes and virtually all larger rivers in the state.

Please note there are many regulations for northern pike regarding minimum size and possession limit. Be sure to read up on this species in the 2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide.

November 9, 2017: Will you target steelhead this fall?
While many people are preparing to head into the woods for the next several weeks, others are taking advantage of another activity: fall steelhead fishing.

There are two great strategies to try when targeting steelhead this month, surf fishing the piers and beaches of the Great Lakes and/or river fishing.

If you choose to target the Great Lakes, consider using a slip sinker rig and live bait, such as spawn bags, night crawlers or shiners. You can also try casting small spoons, spinners or body baits. Focus on depths of 12 feet or less as steelhead are hanging in the shallows looking for food.

If you choose to target the rivers, consider using wigglers, caddis or wax worms drifted under a slip bobber. The depth below the bobber should be set to present the bait just off the river bottom. Anglers can also be successful this time of year casting spinners and medium diving crank baits into holes or other holding water that provides steelhead with some depth for cover. The retrieve should be as slow as possible to get the lure down to the bottom without snagging up.

For more information on fishing for steelhead in Michigan, visit their page on the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website.

November 2, 2017: Proper storage
It's getting to be that time of year where many anglers are preparing to store their fishing equipment. Here are a few tips to help you through this process:

1. Take your reels apart to clean them and then grease and oil them.
2. Look at the hooks on your lures and determine if they need replacement or sharpening.
3. Remove fly line from your reel. If you plan on reusing it consider cleaning it with dish soap.
4. Use rod sleeves to store your rods and so the parts don't get mismatched.
5. Store your rods vertically to avoid any bends.
6. Keep your rods at room temperature.
7. Check your waders for any leaks; pinhole-sized leaks can be found by putting a flashlight inside your waders in a dark room.

October 26, 2017: Why is fall fishing so great?
Many anglers will tell you that as fall rolls in the fishing gets better and better. But why is this?

There isn't much formal research to answer that question, but several factors could be contributing to this influx of angling opportunities: forage availability, dropping water temperatures, fish movement, or oxygen availability.

Some say it could just be related to less fishing pressure and/or better angling techniques.

The bottom line is, if you don't consider fall to be an ideal time to go fishing you may want to rethink that sentiment. Some of the biggest crappie, muskellunge, walleye and smallmouth bass can be found in the fall - don't you want to experience that?

October 19, 2017: Maps to assist you in finding the fish
Are you looking for great places to go fishing? Or are you an avid angler who wants some inside information? Check out the various fishing-related maps available online to help in your angling adventures!

Inland Lake Maps
There are more than 11,000 lakes in Michigan - and the DNR has maps for 2,700 of them! These maps can help with inland lake fishing efforts and highlight shore features, vegetation and other water body specifics. To access, visit the Inland Lake Maps by County webpage.

Inland Trout and Salmon Regulations Maps
These maps assist anglers in locating waters that contain trout and salmon and the regulations that apply to those waters. To access, visit the 2017 Inland Trout & Salmon Regulation Maps webpage.

Trout Trails
Find excellent, biologist-verified trout waters in Michigan that are often lesser known through the online Trout Trails application. To access, visit

Roadmap to Fishing Lake Michigan
Want to fish Lake Michigan but aren't sure when and where to go? This "roadmap" provides information on many Lake Michigan ports, times of year when great fishing opportunities exist, and species you might find during those periods of time. To access, visit the Roadmap to Fishing Lake Michigan webpage.

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.