The Grand River is low. The gage in Ada, for a brief period, dipped below 6.75 feet. Even with the recent rains the river didn’t pop all that much and is coming back down quickly. Clarity went from gin clear to slightly stained. With no rain in the near term forecast, it should remain that way for awhile. The river temps remain in the upper 70’s.
The near term forecast calls for below normal temps. Hopefully, that will drop the river temps below 70 degrees. Once that happens, the pike activity should begin to improve as we saw for a brief period a couple of weeks ago when a strong cold front moved through.
Fishing has been good. As the river has dropped the smallmouth start to hold more in the bucket water, near structure and just along the seams. If you find all three of these in one location fish it. Patience and persistence is being rewarded and will bring fish to net.
Salmon are not showing up yet in the middle section. It’s too early and the water is too warm. Steelhead season is just around the corner. The best time to fish for these on the Grand will be starting at the end of October right on through December. For those of you that fish with Max, he will be back from Alaska by November 1 so give us call and get a date booked with him.
I have to say, the last three months have been incredible for us as a business. Thank you! Thank you to all of our clients that have booked and rebooked with us. Yes, I enjoy getting people on fish and seeing the smiles and laughter that comes with a great day on the river. However, more importantly for me, I enjoy the relationships that are being built! Until next month…..
The Grand River continues to be in great shape and is fishing well. It’s low and water clarity is the best we’ve seen in quite sometime for this river. When we do get rain, the grasses are acting as filer to help keep the clarity in check.
With the recent cold front, water temps are in the low 70’s. The smallmouth continue to be in their summer patter and tight to structure. Lately it seems that the afternoon bite is the strongest, although we are getting fish through out the day.
If you’ve ever wanted to fish an urban river and feel like you’re 1,000 miles from nowhere, now’s the time. So come and Experience Grand Rapids and all the fishing opportunities the Grand River has to offer. Give us call today.
We’ve hit the summer fishing patterns. After a wet spring that postponed some of our fishing trips, as a result of high river flows, the Grand has dropped to around 8 feet in Ada. Clarity is great right now at around 3 feet. Remember, the Grand River is the second largest drainage system in Michigan so there will always be some stain to it.
Smallmouth are now in their summer mode, sitting tight to structure and in the deeper holes. We’ve been finding them in 5 to 8 feet. You’ll need to make a number of passes through the holes and against the structure to entice the larger ones to take your lure.
Dredging continues to produce. We’re using creature baits in black with blue and red flicking. 1/4 oz bullet weights and 4/0 hooks. Line is 20 lbs Power Pro High-Vis Yellow tied right to the hooks. This allows us to get right into the structure without fear of losing the fish after there take.
Pike action has been good, however, with water temps approaching near 80 please don’t play them very long, take a quick picture and return them back to the river quickly. At these temps, the pike are stressed and any prolonged play and extended picture taking will increase mortality.
Double willow bladed spinner baits and Mepps Muskey Killers are our goto’s. Fish the slack water and sloughs. Make several casts, keep your eye on the water and watch for the follow. Many times, pike will follow your lure to the boat. After the follow, if the take doesn’t happen, then cast right back out and be ready.
Summer time is one of the best times to be on the Grand and right now we have almost perfect conditions. If you want to catch smallmouth on Michigan’s largest river give us a call.
Here is our fishing report for September 7, 2019 for smallmouth bass, northern pike and salmon for the Grand River, near Grand Rapids, Michigan. We report around the first of each month on the what’s happening on the river. There is definitely a different feel in the air these days. The days are getting shorter and the nights cooler. With that said, mid month will see above average temps with above average precipitation. All good for the salmon as they start to make their way from Lake Michigan into of the Grand River and the Muskegon River.
The gage in Ada is now continues to hover around 7.25 feet, low, with the water temp in the mid 60’s. The Grand continues to be in great shape with fantastic clarity.
Smallmouth Bass Fishing Report
Despite the the cooler night temps lately, the smallmouth on the Grand River are still their summer patterns. The majority of the the bass we’ve been getting into have been found in the riffle sections of the river or holding tight to timber. The best lures continue to be spinners baits. We’ve been using Mepps size 4 with bucktails in back and red with a copper blade. If you fish the riffle sections remember the bass can be anywhere, so cast everywhere. Look to the seams and breaks behind the rocks for your best success. If you fish timber, use creature baits, rigged weedless and drop the creature smack into the wood and work the whole structure. It may take a some tries to elicit a strike, so be patient. The best color and size for creatures are the 4 inch “Bama Craw” rigged to a 3/O hook and a 1/4 bullet weight.
Northern Pike Fishing Report
As far as northern pike on the Grand River is going, it has been tough. We usually get one per trip. The water temps are up so if you hook one, don’t play it, get it to the boat quickly, keep it in the water, take your hero shot and release it. This will help reduce mortality.
Fall Salmon Update:
Coho are stating to make their way through the fish ladder at Sixth Street in Grand Rapids. We have seen a few in the Ada section but not in any numbers yet.
In about another month we see the kings in the upper section of Muskegon River near Newaygo. Although we aren’t targeting them right now, fishing reports indicate, they are slowly starting to stage in the lower Muskegon. They are big and feisty this fall, with many being caught in the 30 pound + range. If you want to hear your drag scream and feel your rod about to break then give us a call. October is primetime for these freight trains. Here are some pictures from last year in October….but you get the idea.
Fall is really the best time to fish in West Michigan. Warm days, cool nights and a variety of species are in the river at once for the angler to pursue. We still have open dates, so drop us a line and get in on all the action.
The good news is spring is here on the Grand River and so are the smallmouth. The bad news is, so is a proposal to the dredge the Grand River. which has nothing to do with the Grand River Restoration project. I’ll get to the dredging in a minute. The Grand right now is high, dirty and moving fast. The crowds at the dam in Grand Rapids are gone and we have the river back to ourselves. It’s finally nice to enjoy the quiet solitude of this river. There are still some steelhead in the system but for the most part they are far and few in-between. We have been seeing steelhead roll back over the dam, moving as fast as they can out to the big lake.
We have been transitioning over to smallmouth and northern pike and it feels good to be back in the warmwater game. Water temps are running between 48 and 50 degrees depending on the day and the fish are hungry. The river is high and dirty. However, with that said there is about a foot and half of clarity, not to bad for the Grand.
When targeting smallmouth your allies, in these conditions, are going to be lures that create vibration and noise. Success for us has been the 3/8 oz. double bladed willow leaf spinnerbait in both black and white. Use leaders with 15 lb fluorocarbon tied to 30 lbs hi-viz Power Pro braid. In these conditions, the best places to fish are going to be the feeder creeks and right up against the bank. Fortune favors the bold and you’ll need to cast as far up those feed creeks as you can. Don’t be afraid to lose a some hardware along the way.
Grand River Dredging Update:
For those you that don’t know, there is a developer, Dan Hibma, that would like to dredge the Grand River from Fulton Street in Grand Rapids to the Bass River Outlet in Eastmanville. That’s 23 miles. He feels that there are powerboaters that would like to take their boats from Lake Michigan all the way up to Grand Rapids. In addition, he wants to put a marina right by Johnson Park in Grandville. I wonder how they would get to the marina after last years flooding event when the Grand peaked at 42,000 cfs.
In the 12th hour, during the republican lame duck session last year, then Senator Arlen Meekhof slipped into legislation over $3.0 million for dredging. He thought that no-one would see it. There has been no public meetings on it, no citizen involvement and no input. Seems all shady to me. Oh and did I mention that the developer owns 200 acres of land on the Grand River. Oh, he has also offered up his property as a site to put the dredge spoils, so he can develop it.
Thankfully, there is a group called Friends of the Lower Grand River that has organized to stop this. Through their efforts, and the turnout of Ottawa County citizens, it appears that the Ottawa County Commissioner’s will vote to oppose the dredge. In addition, a number of local municipalities have also passed resolutions opposing it. However, like all things that are environmentally destructive, projects like this are like zombies, they never die. The only way this gets stopped is through the legislature. Mr. Meekhof, when he added the appropriation rider did it in a way that if the money is not used in a given year it rolls over into the next and so. Again, shady.
I don’t have to say, if the dredging goes through one of Michigan’s best steelhead runs will be destroyed. If the Grand River is dredged, 50 feet wide by 7 feet deep for 23 miles, all the riffles, runs, holes and pocket water gets ripped out. When you channelize a river it destroys habitat, biodiversity and water quality. If you feel compelled please follow the Friends group on Facebook. There you can get all the latest news and updates on this proposal.
September has been an active month for us at Werkman Outfitters. This is our fishing report for September 24, 2018 for the Grand Rapids to Lowell section.
The annual migration of the salmon has started on the Grand River and the steelhead will be close behind. In addition, with the cooler air, lower water temps and shorter days, the smallmouth bass and northern pike bite has increased as they start to fatten up for the long winter.
The Salmon & Steelhead Front:
One my way to a guide trip this past week, I drove over the I-196 bridge in Grand Rapids and saw what looked like 100 fisherman at the Sixth Street Dam. Clearly, they were after Chinook and Coho.
I am not sure on whether or not they’re having success but I can tell you that we are seeing small numbers of salmon showing up in the Ada to Lowell section. If you up there, try fishing wiggle warts, thundersticks, spinners and skein in the deeper holes and feeder creeks, especially the cold water feeder creeks. Early mornings and late evenings are the best times. I got to say it is tough up there right now, just with the low numbers we are seeing. The near-term weather shows rain and temperature drops, perfect for sending more up. The water temp was still pretty warm with mid-day temps in the low 70’s.
Smallmouth & Northern Pike:
If you want to get in on some of the best jaw fishing of the year, the fourth quarter is your best bet. These guys are fattening up for winter and are in their fall feeding frenzy mode. The water has dropped and cleared up nicely from the all the rain we had a couple of weeks ago. As a result, we have done some sight fishing along breakpoints and weed lines. Try fishing everything from streamers, to Mepps and crankbaits. If streamer fishing, go with 220 sink tip to keep from dredging bottom. Right now, it’s not unusual for us to land smallmouth in the 16 to 18 inch range with a few near 20. There is a reason why God made few of these over 21. They pack a punch.
Grand River Smallmouth
After a couple months on sabbatical, the pike are showing backup as the water temps cool. We have been finding them in their normal hunting grounds around the slack water, particularly around rock structure. Again, streamers, Mepps, deeper diving Rapalas and double bladed willow leaf spinner baits are your best bet.
We still have some October and November dates open so give us call or like us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest updates. Fall is here, so no matter what you do, get outside and on a river.
Grand River Fishing Report from Grand Rapids to Lowell, Michigan:
This summer has been great for smallmouth bass and northern pike on the Grand River and the action only continues to be hot. With the lack rain, the river remains low and clear, perfect for bronze-bomber action. It seems the hotter the weather and the bluer the skies the better bite is on this river.
The name of the game has been “throw the kitchen sink” to keep the action moving. Just when you think you have the right lure or fly you’ll need to change it out. It seems the smallmouth pick up on your game right away. Try using bigger flies and double-bladed spinner baits. Remember, if that isn’t working or you have caught a few, switch up your streamer game or move to dredging a wacky worm off the bottom.
Cusey with Craig from England
Grand River 21 inch Smallmouth
Grand River Smallmouth
With the warmer temps the northern pike have gone deep but there are still some lingering around structure. If you happen to hook into one of these river gators, remember to not play the fish, land and release it as quick as possible. These warmer temps are not good for the fish as they prefer cooler water.
On the salmon front, they are slowly trickling in but not in any great numbers. Lake Michigan did turn over, couple that with the rain means a few kings have entered area systems. As the nights get cooler and we get more rain look for more to slowly come in. If you do go, go low, find the deeper holes and throw cranks up against the bank or drift skein through the hole to find success.
The summer action still remains strong and the smallmouth and pike action will continue to remain strong well into the fall as they start to go into their fall feeding mode for the winter.
The salmon action will also start to pick up and they will be big this year. Many charter boat captains have been catching 30 lbs. kings out in Lake Michigan and it’s a good bet some of those will show up in the rivers we fish this year.
There is nothing like fishing the Grand River during the day, then heading out into downtown Grand Rapids to grab dinner and beer after the trip. Fall is the best time year to get out and fish. We have availability so call, email or text us about your trip and let’s get on the river.
Fishing report for July 2018: With the lack of rain over the past month the Grand River is in great shape. From Grand Haven to Lowell it has been some of the best fishing we’ve seen so far this year.
Grand River Smallie near Grand Rapids
The river is low and clear and as a result the smallmouth have been stacked in the deeper holes and right up next to structure. Early morning is perfect for sight casting as they tend to hunt between the weed lines and subtle breaks in water depth. Temperatures have been running in the mid to upper seventies to near eighty degrees, perfect for those smallies. No worries on the stressing these guys, they prefer warmer water compared to the trout.
Grand River Smallmouth
We’ve been fishing conventional tackle lately as that has been producing the best action. Make sure you’re covering a lot of water as you’re casting to these bronze bombers to get the greatest success possible. Try using spinners and swimbaits.
If your going to fly fish use streamer patterns. Try the “Off the Shneid Fly” or anything with white in it. With the river being this low, make sure to use floating line either with or without a intermediate polyleader. Anything more and you’ll making sacrifices to the river gods.
Grand River Pike near Grand Rapids
As the water has warmed and become low the northern pike action has slowed. We are still getting some but just not in the numbers we saw in the late spring and early summer. If you want to target these guys, look to the deeper holes, rock gardens and slackwater. Same thing, use spinners and larger swimbaits to provoke a strike. Remember, that pike are ambush predators so you’ll need to cover a lot of water to find them.
We still have a lot of summer left so if you want to fish one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the state then give us a call or send us a message.