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Top Places for Bass Fishing in Michigan

Top Places for Bass Fishing in Michigan
Photo By Jeff Samsel

After a harsh winter, everyone is ready for warmer days and feeding largemouths and smallmouths. It may not seem like those days will ever come, but they will, and when they do, these are the places you'll want to be if you like bass fishing in Michigan.

Duo Realis Crankbait M65-8A

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 8 feet

A highly detailed crankbait, the M65 confronts bass with a realistic baitfish appearance plus sound generated by a metal plate and steel ball. Available in two models and a variety of colors, this crankbait is effective in both stained and clear water.

Price: $12.99

Sebile Action First Bull Crank

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 4-7 feet

Patrick Sebile's Bull Crank is an excellent lure, especially at that low price point of $6.95. The Xternal weight system helps to keep a low center of gravity, dig deep, and stay on track, reducing the need to tune. It features a wide body to increase visual presence.

Price: $6.95

Storm Arashi Silent Square Bill

Length: 2 1/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3 feet

The Square Bill's self-tuning line tie lets you burn it and still have it track straight. The circuit board lip provides strong vibration up the line and helps the lure deflect well in cover, especially downed trees.

Price: $8.99

Gary Yamamoto Chikara

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 2-4 feet

This popularly-priced, rattle-equipped crankbait is designed to be worked through heavy cover and still get the job done. The Chikara features internal 3D holographic foiling that provides flash and cannot be chipped. The lure's value is enhanced by Mustad Triple Grip treble hooks.

Price: $7.99

Strike King KVD-1-5-Flat Side

Length: 2 ¼ inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 8-10 feet

This flat-side crankbait has a good thumping action and a tight wobble, and that means it's a great crankbait for cooler months or highly pressured lakes. Adding some weight to the hooks helps to cast the relatively light Flat Side on baitcasting gear, especially in windy situations.

Price: $5.79

Rapala Scatter Rap Crank

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 5/16 ounce
Depth: 6-8 feet

On a medium or slow retrieve, the Rap Crank is amazing: it tracks straight, then pops laterally and juts back onto the original track, ready for the waiting strike.

Price: $8.99

Spro Baby Fat John 50

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 0-2 feet
Spro Baby Fat John 50

This smaller version of the established Fat John effectively imitates smaller forage, and works on spotted and smallmouth bass as well as largemouth. It runs shallow at any speed, and its fiberglass lip makes it kick out and 'hunt ' frequently before returning to true.

Price: $12.03

Bass Pro Shops XPS Square Bill

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 5 feet

It's a good-looking lure, and fine quality for a hard-to-beat price. The XPS rattle is subdued, which is nice for spooky bass. The oval split on the line tie helps it run straight and avoid line slipping between rings.

Price: $4.29

Megabass Knuckle Jr

Length: 2.2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 1-3 feet

You'll be a megafan of Megabass lures because of their innovation and uncanny attention to detail. The Knuckle Jr.'s two-position adjustable bill really gives you two lures in one, making it easier to swallow the premium price.

Price: $4.29

Livetarget Bait Ball Square Bill

Length: 2 3/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3-4 feet

The Bait Ball is a crankbait with realistic 3D baitfish bodies inside the main body. The smaller lures inside cleverly mimic a school of shad. This crankbait casts very well and has a tighter wobble than most square bills, making it a perfect crank for clear water.

Price: $14.99

Lake St. Clair

Detroit's backyard lake is no secret to any Michigan bass angler (or almost any bass angler for that matter), but you can't ignore it when you talk about top places to chase bass. Big and plentiful smallmouths serve up outstanding fishing throughout the warm months on this big border lake. St. Clair is vast, and the schools roam a lot, so it often takes some searching to zero in on the fish. Once you find the right drift, though, you'll have a hard time dragging a tube without getting walloped. Jerkbaits and spinnerbaits also promise big fun with St. Clair smallmouths. In truth, the only shortfall of discussing Lake St. Clair is that we're forced to leave out neighboring Huron and Erie — also outstanding — and the river sections that connect St. Clair with those lakes.

Fletcher Pond

Everything about Fletcher Pond screams "pond" — except for its 9,000-acre size! Also called Fletcher Backwater, this old impoundment of the Thunder Bay River offers plentiful stumps and diverse vegetation, and its fertile waters support what is widely considered the state's finest largemouth population. More than a dozen islands, a complex shoreline and a twisting river channel that divides an otherwise shallow basin create outstanding bass structure. Largemouths and smallmouths grow quickly in Fletcher Pond, but the green ones predominate. Rig with lures you can fish through weeds and stay ready. Fletcher Pond's banks are heavily forested. A few fishing resorts come in handy when you visit.

Big & Little Bay De Noc

These two big bays at the northern end of Green Bay offer outstanding smallmouth fishing to anglers in the Upper Peninsula. Between remoteness and a storied reputation as walleye waters, these bays get very little targeted bass fishing pressure, which makes for aggressive fish. Collectively, the bays offer extensive reef and boulder habitat, weedy flats, defined drops, river influences and more. Early in the season, most big smallmouths hang shallow, and any spinnerbait or grub swam beside a big rock as apt to get smashed. As summer progresses the bass move to a little deeper drops.

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