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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going to be my first full year of bass fishing. Last year I targeted river smallies in early summer to early fall in the Saginaw area and Port Huron area. Also made some trips up to caseville and fished the bay around north island with some success. I’m now absolutely hooked and I’m itching to get my first ice out bass of the year. I’ve got about a thousand questions especially never having fished early spring. Here’s a few of em.
Do majority of smallmouth leave the river systems during winter months? If so when do they come back?

If I were to head to caseville to fish in about two weeks how would I target them in this cold weather? I’m assuming they should be deep? If so how deep?

Do smallmouth ever spawn in small river systems?

Would it be worth targeting them yet?

Iknow really long post sorry about that
Any advice would help tremendously thanks!!
 

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Smallies do spawn in rivers, right now you can catch them on stick baits and jigs. The way I like to fish for them this time of year is find the warmest water in smaller lakes it's usually the north or north west sides of a lake cause when the sun rises it hits the northwest sides of the lake the longest throughout the day causing that part of the lake to warm quicker. And look for shallow dark bottom areas 3-5ft depth in big water like Saginaw bay the shallow muddy bottom spots are sometimes 2or3 degrees warmer and that can bring a lot of fish to one small area. I fished a lake that was 44degrees and found a shallow dark bottom area in 3 feet of water that was 48degrees and absolutely hammered em one after the other in a spot half the size of a football field I like shallow running rapala flat raps and Berkley chigger crawls. Fish are usually more active in the evening cause that's when the water is the warmest in the spring. Good luck!


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks man I really appreciate the input most people I talk to just say it’s insane to be bass fishing this early in the year! Hopefully the advice about finding the warmest water and the dark bottoms will help me get on some fish!
Smallies do spawn in rivers, right now you can catch them on stick baits and jigs. The way I like to fish for them this time of year is find the warmest water in smaller lakes it's usually the north or north west sides of a lake cause when the sun rises it hits the northwest sides of the lake the longest throughout the day causing that part of the lake to warm quicker. And look for shallow dark bottom areas 3-5ft depth in big water like Saginaw bay the shallow muddy bottom spots are sometimes 2or3 degrees warmer and that can bring a lot of fish to one small area. I fished a lake that was 44degrees and found a shallow dark bottom area in 3 feet of water that was 48degrees and absolutely hammered em one after the other in a spot half the size of a football field I like shallow running rapala flat raps and Berkley chigger crawls. Fish are usually more active in the evening cause that's when the water is the warmest in the spring. Good luck!


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Isn’t it illegal to “target” smallmouth on the Great Lakes before memorial weekend?


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I know you can for catch and release on inland lakes, not sure about the Great Lakes themselves. ( never really bass fished the Great Lakes I'll have to look in the fishing guide just to find out)


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I know you can for catch and release on inland lakes, not sure about the Great Lakes themselves. ( never really bass fished the Great Lakes I'll have to look in the fishing guide just to find out)


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Kinda what you have to do on all lakes these days .The rule book is an encyclopedia .As far as the law is concerned ignorance is no excuse .
 

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I just looked up catch and release bass fishing for Michigan and the guide I found online said catch and release on all waters in the state year round. So I think it's legal to bass fish in any Michigan water as long as it's catch and immediate release (CIR). Someone let us know if you find anything different I'm sure some fisherman don't know. I found this info in a Detroit free press 2017 fishing article (don't have the 2018 fishing guide yet so I haven't looked there yet but am curious to find out) just don't want any one to get any false information.


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I’m almost positive you can catch and release any bass year round in Michigan.
I know u can catch and release any species because u can’t control what u catch but I always thought it was illegal to target them specific, guess I was wrong. Just checked the book and it is catch and release until memorial weekend on the Great Lakes. Learn something new every day.


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The smallmouth will stay in the rivers sometimes it depends on what river and depth usually they move to deep holes but if the river is too small and shallow they will go downstream till they find deeper water to winter in. Once the rivers get high in the spring they smallmouth start to move back upstream to spawn so they start going upstream as early as early March. As far as you targeting them at Caseville not sure if you planned to fish that small river there or Lake Huron. If I were you I would fish the river mouth that's probably the warmest spot that's where they would be I assume but I would check the water temps as it gets closer to you going up there because as it gets warmer that will affect where they will be because they could still be out real deep if the waters cold. The bass will spawn in the rivers just gotta wait for the water temp to get warmer they should start once it gets around 59 degrees. It's definitely worth targeting them right now is there pre-spawn for smallmouth this is probably the best time to get a trophy smallmouth bass
 

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Isn’t it illegal to “target” smallmouth on the Great Lakes before memorial weekend?


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It is legal to target bass 24/7/365 in Michigan waters. Catch & keep starts in most lakes on the Saturday before Memorial Day. On LSC, SCR & DR the catch & keep season starts the 3rd Saturday in June. You cannot target them in waters that are closed to fishing.

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79119_79146_82438---,00.html
 

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It is legal to target bass 24/7/365 in Michigan waters. Catch & keep starts in most lakes on the Saturday before Memorial Day. On LSC, SCR & DR the catch & keep season starts the 3rd Saturday in June. You cannot target them in waters that are closed to fishing.

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79119_79146_82438---,00.html
Ya I know that now zib, see my post #10, don’t really care anyways, more of a walleye guy


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If you enjoy the fight a smallmouth gives you I would wait till the water warms up a bit. I caught a few last week and they didn' pull that hard. As soon as the water temperature comes up about 10 degrees they'll give me a good fight.
 

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This is actually the cross roads I am at. When it warms up a bit to try for walleye in the bay or try for small mouth. Only difference is the walleye I can eat right now. this one attached is my biggest smallmouth I’ve caught wadding a river ( I’ve actually caught her twice, this was the 2nd time). I’d like to beat this one. I actually caught her the first day walleye opened back up 2 years ago
Organism Fish Scaled reptile Tail Fin
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If you enjoy the fight a smallmouth gives you I would wait till the water warms up a bit. I caught a few last week and they didn' pull that hard. As soon as the water temperature comes up about 10 degrees they'll give me a good fight.
I love the fight but they could just lie there like a log being drug in and I’d still have a blast! Lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is actually the cross roads I am at. When it warms up a bit to try for walleye in the bay or try for small mouth. Only difference is the walleye I can eat right now. this one attached is my biggest smallmouth I’ve caught wadding a river ( I’ve actually caught her twice, this was the 2nd time). I’d like to beat this one. I actually caught her the first day walleye opened back up 2 years ago View attachment 304607
That’s awesome do you know how much it weighed? Looks like a tank! I have a picture of a 4lber I caught wading a creek last year on a hollow body frog. I would post the picture but this website doesn’t take my iPhone pictures for some reason.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The smallmouth will stay in the rivers sometimes it depends on what river and depth usually they move to deep holes but if the river is too small and shallow they will go downstream till they find deeper water to winter in. Once the rivers get high in the spring they smallmouth start to move back upstream to spawn so they start going upstream as early as early March. As far as you targeting them at Caseville not sure if you planned to fish that small river there or Lake Huron. If I were you I would fish the river mouth that's probably the warmest spot that's where they would be I assume but I would check the water temps as it gets closer to you going up there because as it gets warmer that will affect where they will be because they could still be out real deep if the waters cold. The bass will spawn in the rivers just gotta wait for the water temp to get warmer they should start once it gets around 59 degrees. It's definitely worth targeting them right now is there pre-spawn for smallmouth this is probably the best time to get a trophy smallmouth bass
Thanks for the info I truly appreciate it!
 

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That’s awesome do you know how much it weighed? Looks like a tank! I have a picture of a 4lber I caught wading a creek last year on a hollow body frog. I would post the picture but this website doesn’t take my iPhone pictures for some reason.
No I do not know how much it weighed. The pic didn’t really do it justice. That is a black and silver j-7 jointed rapal on the net that it ate. My favorite rapala for the shiawassee
 
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