Smallmouth Heaven: Grand Traverse Bay

GrandTraverseMichigan is full of prime smallmouth bass waters that range from small streams and rivers to the biggest lakes in the world, the Great Lakes. There are as many opinions as to which fishery is the best in Michigan as there are places to fish.

Most everyone knows about Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair but one of the top smallmouth bass fisheries in the state may be Grand Traverse Bay.

Grand Traverse Bay is basically a large bay off of Lake Michigan on the northern aspect of the state of Michigan. It has been known for its steelhead, walleye and Coho salmon. The bay is 32 miles long and 10 miles wide.

“The fishing was beyond my wildest expectations,” Parker said. “Not only did we boat dozens of big smallmouth bass — I personally caught the biggest smallmouth of my fishing career, a whopper that topped seven pounds. I could actually see the fish hit my lure in the crystal-clear water, an experience I’ll never forget!”

“Compared to most trophy fishing destinations, the waters near Traverse City receive relatively bass light fishing pressure, and the sheer number of big fish that populate the area’s lakes staggers the imagination,” Wirth said. “Unlike other Great Lakes smallmouth venues that may be unfishable on windy days, Traverse City has an enormous number of nearby waters to choose from, so you can always find a great place close by to wet your line regardless of weather conditions.”  Source

Here’s a quick clip of Hank Parker catching  a beauty on a drop shot:

Take a look a the map to see where Grand Traverse Bay is located:

View Larger Map

If you zoom into the map above, you will see lots of smaller lakes in the Traverse City area. When the big lakes blow up due to rough weather, you can always hit some of the smaller lakes in a smaller boat or even a canoe or kayak. Many of these smaller waterways have very little fishing pressure and have untold numbers of trophy smallmouth bass.

One of the top techniques for catching smallies on Grand Traverse Bay is drop shotting, as well as burning spinnerbaits in the crystal clear pristine waters.

“My favorite Grand Traverse Bay smallmouth offering is a drop-shot rig,” reports Brian Smith who loves to hook big bronzeback and make’em jump. “There is nothing like getting on the water when the summer weather is hot and sticky, the wind is dead calm, the boat requires little adjustment with the electric motor and you can get into exact position to put a Berkley 4-inch Finesse Worm in their face. Give it a seductive dance and the smallies smash it like a barracuda. You set the hook and those huge sided smallies come out of the water like a Great White after a seal and they make a special sound when their fat belly smacks the calm lake surface. Some fish jump four-six times before you can catch up to them. The most exciting part of catching bronzeback is the impressive acrobatic display they provide. Well worth the price of admission!”  Source

If you have experience with Traverse City of Grand Traverse Bay, please comment below or upload a couple of pictures to our archives here: click

Tight lines!


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.