Great Lakes Bass Fishing Forum

Bass Fishing Reports => Grand Traverse Bay - L Michigan Bass Fishing Reports => Topic started by: 6 lb Smallmouth on June 30, 2016, 10:16:55 AM

Title: GTB's Decline
Post by: 6 lb Smallmouth on June 30, 2016, 10:16:55 AM
I've been going up to Traverse City for the last 6-7 years and been taking extended vacations in June.  I have had some of my best days ever fishing on the East Bay in mid June.  But after being there 2 weeks this June and even what I saw last June, the number of big fish are way down.  I did catch a 5 and a couple 4s but that is after fishing it 7 days.  5 years ago I would have caught that in a good morning.  Guys are still catching lots of 14"-18" fish. 

So what has happened?  GTB is ranked #9 in the northeast by BASS and it says right in the article that the number of 6 lb fish are not as common as before.  I talked a local club fisherman who was having a tournament on Father's Day and he said no one in the club had a big bass and I think that was both days.  He mentioned the number of fishing shows that have been done in recent years and the amount of attention the bay has received.  I definitely have seen the increase in the number of bass boats now compared to 5 years ago even though it seemed like there were less fishermen this year than last.  I also wonder how many locals have kept fish.  I talked to a local last year who had a 6 and two 5s in the livewell that were not getting released. 

So what do you guys think?

Title: Re: GTB's Decline
Post by: TheFishinPollock on June 30, 2016, 02:07:52 PM
Being as I live here and probably know that local I'll say this.  There are a bazillion bass in GT.  bay. The weather this year has yet again been screwy. Water temps jumped 10 degrees some days.  I've been out there 6 times in the last 2 weeks. I didn't catch the weights I have before,but saw many smallies well over the 5 pound Mark. They just would not eat.  2 years ago we had a spawn that went too late into July which caused some issues with that brood and the fish that spawned.  Don't sweat the bay. It is still as strong as ever
Title: Re: GTB's Decline
Post by: djkimmel on July 02, 2016, 01:32:56 PM
There are rumors that more people are keeping bass there during the spawn but the numbers I hear sure don't sound like many compared to the total population that is out there. I talked to the local biologist who said they are looking at the situation to see if something is happening.

It appears maybe the bass are getting harder to catch because they are getting fished more but I have to wonder if there are really enough people bass fishing there to impact the population that much, or is it just an impact on the well-known areas the TV shows have featured. That's kind of what I hear - those areas are getting hit hard because people recognize them on the TV shows?

I'm waiting to see numbers on the total bass population, number of people bass fishing and percentage keeping bass. There are always some people keeping bass but it is generally less than 40% to only 10% of the anglers keep bass. I heard 1,800 bass where estimated to be kept. The whole of Grand Traverse Bays can't be that fragile to not sustain less than 2,000 bass kept I would think.

The issue I really have with the area is they are considering closing it to July 1 from the Bays all the way to Waugoshance Point and that seems very extreme to me.
Title: Re: GTB's Decline
Post by: 6 lb Smallmouth on July 03, 2016, 10:17:17 AM
The issue I really have with the area is they are considering closing it to July 1 from the Bays all the way to Waugoshance Point and that seems very extreme to me.

That does seem extreme.  The DNR could start by going out in the bay and checking boats.  I was talking to a guide and he was telling me about abuse on Skedmog during the spawn.  If it's happening there, it's happening on the bay.

And I have never seen the DNR on the bay during the times I have fished there.  I did see them out on Arbitus and Intermediate in the last 5 years.  I know this is small sample size but I have spent probably 40 days on the bay over the last 5 years in the heart of the spawn and have never seen a DNR boat out.  I've gone to inland lakes maybe 6 times during that span and have seen the DNR twice.

And I hear what you are saying about the popular spots.  I was fighting the urge during my last trip of looking for new water versus fishing the spots that have been so productive for me.  When we return next year I will definitely have an open mind to look for new water. 

Title: Re: GTB's Decline
Post by: djkimmel on July 04, 2016, 01:35:55 PM
I've heard about people keeping over their limit during the spawn on Skegemog for years. Even had a guy run into me at the boat ramp one day years ago who claimed he would keep his limit of bass, bring them in and put them in a cooler, and then go out and get another limit. I think it is a small percentage of losers who do that luckily but they should be reported if seen. I told that guy it was illegal and why would he do it in the first place? He quit talking to me and left.

If you see it, report it. It's been going on for years for the same losers though so unless there are lots more doing it it is the same old story for a certain type of person who doesn't care about the rest of us. Maybe we could get a few more patrols by CO's up there if we report that it is happening though there are so few CO's in the state I don't know what kind of impact it will have. They are hiring a few more each year now anyways.

We probably need reports of actual seen violations to get them to do something about it though. I haven't been checked in a few years either. Last time was probably on Mullett Lake during the spawn and they were confused for some reason that I was throwing my bass back.

Some of the anglers up there do keep all or most of their fish including bass but there aren't that many catching bass around the lake most of the time other than a spot or two that gets hit a lot. Most are only catching perch and some walleye. But they've been keeping bass they catch for years and the bass fishing is still really good. Probably because most anglers that target bass let them go.
Title: Re: GTB's Decline
Post by: Schoolycustom on July 06, 2016, 08:03:50 AM
Well I'm glad it's not just me. I've been fishing both Bays for my entire life and thought I had lost my mojo. I spent 5 days running all over the place and couldn't ever put anything solid together. I caught fish, just not like I'm use to. Typically I can catch at least 15-20 off my parents dock in a weekend and didn't catch a single fish the past 5 days.

Anything is speculation obviously, but something doesn't seem right to me. Every lake goes through phases, we all know this. I'm hoping it's just going to be a bit of a down year and things will pick up soon. What really really amazed me was the lack of fish I saw, not just bass. Usually you can see tons of carp, suckers, drum, bass etc. It was very unusual the lack of fish I saw. I could only guess it was a combination of boat traffic, fishing pressure and post spawn fish, but it sounds like I wasn't the only one struggling. Not going to keep me off though, I will be back at it soon.
Title: Re: GTB's Decline
Post by: djkimmel on July 09, 2016, 12:43:01 PM
Well, not seeing all the other fish is another topic. No one is probably keeping all the carp, suckers and drum too. Must be the weather or something big like that. Mother Nature maybe?