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I have rented a cottage for the family on So. Lake Leelanau the 3rd week of this month and am wondering if anyone can give me some advice.

I have a small bassboat so we will be mobile, but it's such a large body of water I'm a little intimidated at how to find fish. My kids, ages 12 & 9, do pretty well casting (watch that backcast!) and are fair at hooksets (lay the hammer!) but boredom is certainly a factor during lulls.

In what depth should I expect to find smallies this time of year? Will they strictly be on structure: points & dropoffs? Or will they also hang on the deep edges of weedbeds? Are there any underwater humps that I do not see on the DNR map (surveyed 60 years ago so the lake has had to have changed somewhat)? How do I find gravel on such a big lake?

Is No. or So. better for smallies? How about walleyes? Do you find the east or west side better?

I have plenty of soft plastics and crankbaits but will try the Berkley Alive leeches for the first time. How do you rig those - on a jighead or Carolina? Has anyone tried "wacky" rigging a swimbait on a jig?

Are there still Browns in good numbers on No.? Is trolling the only effective way? Is the 15-20' range not deep enough?

What might we get into if we motor up to Leland and try the breakwall on the big lake? Could we get into Browns & Smallies using goby patterns?

Also, the kids want to kayak on the Platte (lower). What's the chance of an early run of kings or cohos (or steelies!)? Should I take the centrepin & some spawn/skein? Is the river wadeable and is there public access near the mouth (Lake MI Drive off of 22)?

Sorry about the number of questions! The way I see things, a great vacation will hinge on the quality of the fishing and this is the only source for information that I know of.

Thanks in advance!
 

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The only thing I can offer is some gravel locations. Just north and south of teh Bngham ramp and the same side of teh lake you will find quite a bit of gravel. I don't know what the water temps are like up there, but i would expect them to still be on some offshore stuff, maybe coming up in the low light periods. Just south of the Bingham ramp in about 10-12 feet of water is a very large wood pile that they might be in.
 

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About the Platte river, there are some river access points on lake Michigan drive the river is very wadable through that stretch. Waters pretty cold might be a possibility of some early run salmon.
 
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