It’s been a while since I had a chance to catch up with you all!
Since I’ve been away a lot has happened and I’ve received tons of letters and comments from all of you about outdoor education and getting started becoming an outdoor educator. Keep ’em coming!
I make an effort to respond directly to all of you.
Anyways I’m back in my home state and I went crazy and bought a house! Now that I’m here I’m determined to make the most of this area’s recreational resources. So I’ve started exploring what I can find for fishing around my hometown of Mason.
Grand River Smallmouth Fishing
best gear for shallow river smallmouth fishing
The Grand River in this area varies from 1′ deep and rocky to 8′ deep and muddy. To deal with this I’ve had to experiment quite a bit as all of my previous experience has been fishing shorelines and tributaties of the Great Lakes.
I’ve been trying to figure this out for a while now. What I’ve settled on are a few things:
- Short, lightweight rod
- 1,000 series spinning reel
- 6-8 pound test line
For me, that’s the 5’6″ Daiwa Samurai rod and reel combo which I picked up from Dick’s Sporting Goods on the cheap (when my other reel took a dump on me). Despite the relatively low price I can’t say enough how much I love this Daiwa combo!
For the price, it might as well perform like a Lambo. It’s silent, smooth as butter, and handles these fish beautifully!
Also, the shorter rod is ideal for hauling in and out of dense vegetation when trying to get into these harder to access areas. I wouldn’t want to be lugging around a full 7′ rod.
Be ready with some of the following:
- 1/8 ounce spinners
- Creature baits
- Texas rigging tackle
- Top water tackle
This is my current shallow river smallmouth kit but I’ll update it as I learn more.
Date: 8/12/18 – 8/14/18
Michigan’s Grand River is, apparently, home to all sorts of great Michigan sport fish. What I’ve been after, however, are those juicy Smallmouth Bass.
Turns out experienced fishermen tell me that I picked just about the worst time of year to put some effort into chasing smallies. Oh well, I’m gonna try anyway.
I’ve been putting some effort into this spot on the Grand River out near Eaton Rapids.
I’m probably giving away too much info, but maybe there are other anglers in the area who can benefit from knowing a little more, eh? I can always find new spots.
So in the photo above, you’ll find parking at McNamara Landing. A short wade up river (blue line) with hip waders puts you in easy access of the fast, deep holes under the bridge (red).
Further upstream are several more pockets mostly on the far side where the current runs faster. They’re a bit hard to reach though.
Wading access rapidly peters out where the blue line ends as the shore become inaccessible and the river depth dives rapidly.
I’ve landed two decent little smallies out of here on 1/8th-ounce spinners and had no luck whatsoever on various creature baits texas rigged.
The best pocket here is on the far (west) side of the river under the bridge. Other anglers have good luck here with live bait and crawler harnesses.
I worked a white and red 1/8th ounce spinnerbait with some luck though it took a lot of patience!
I also had some luck with a soft bait minnow on a spinner rig.
I’ve also worked texas rigged creature baits with zero luck.
The Sycamore Trail, Lansing
Best Gear for shore fishing Ponds
Since it was a bit of a hike into where I was fishing this time I stuck with the 5’6″ Daiwa Samurai rod and reel combo. It served me well.
The trail and shoreline are both mostly open enough that a 7′ heavy rod would be just fine and I’ll probably take that next time. Considering that I saw a lot of large turtle and a massive carp, I think there are some big fish to be found in here!
- Topwater poppers
- Texas rigged soft minnows
- Spinners may work in some areas
FIshing Spots on the Sycamore trail
With an hour or so to fish I headed up into an area I found through Google Maps and confirmed with the Fishbrain App. I’m calling this one Woodland Lake (because of the nearby apartments).
Within minutes of arriving, I landed my largest (to date) Largemouth Bass in this area. Normally I fish “Up North” but since exploring the Lansing and Mason area this is a new record for me!
This fish bit real gentle on a topwater popper near the shore on the north end, right near the trail. That was about 8:45 am.
After that, I didn’t have another fish on but got several good bites.
What I did see was a ton of activity. Several large snapping turtles appeared. Later a 15-20 pound carp breached the surface about half a dozen times not more than 10 yards away from me!
Across the lake, I saw many fish jumping and making quite the commotion.
I will be back when I have more time! And I’ll try to get out a little earlier in the morning because they seem to like that.
I was working a red colored topwater popper when I landed the largemouth near the shore.
Later I tried a Texas rigged minnow which had a good bite but the fish got away.
I worked a Texas rigged chartreuse grub with no luck.
My goal is to keep this article updated as I explore and share the best fishing spots in Lansing, MI. I’ll probably be exploring out around Dansville, Mason, Eaton Rapids, and others.
If you know of any great spots or want to leave a comment with a fishing report make sure you reach out!
I think it’s important that no matter where we live we not get complacent and complain, “There’s nowhere to do ____ around here!” Sometimes I feel that way living in the relatively flat lower Michigan area when I’m missing mountain sports.
This is one of my attempts to challenge myself to make the most of the natural resources around me for recreation and remember to enjoy all of the different ways we can get outside and have fun!