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Ever see the slogan Fish the Mitten? When it comes to freshwater fisheries, Michigan- from the wrist, to the tip of the pinky, over to the thumb and back to the wrist hosts some of the most diverse fisheries in the country. Lake Michigan salmon and trout, steelhead on the fly, world class muskies, and then there are the smallmouth, oh those smallmouth. Most serious anglers who target smallmouth practice catch-and-release. That means there is no shortage of trophies in Michigan waters. Michigan's smallmouth bass waters come in all shapes and sizes, and much has been written on St. Clair, Erie, and Huron, but as good as they are, they are not Midwest angling specialist Scott Cormier's HAPPY PLACE.

That title belongs to the bucket list waters of Lake Michigan's Little Bay de Noc and Bay de Noc.

Scott and his buddy Colter Lubben got a chance to fire up the Champion and go to his Happy Place for some early season smallies, and the fish did not disappoint. Lake Michigan bronzebacks always get his heart pumping, and on that day their Best 5 were just under 30 pounds. There was big time feeding on Smelt balls, and Scott used Strike King's Deep KVD 300 Jerkbaits in the Clear Water Minnow pattern. The jerk bait is a classic pre-spawn pattern fished SLOWLY. Water temps were still in the low 40’s.

Little Bay de Noc has a reputation as a top walleye destination, and this time of year, its abundant smallmouth population sometimes goes unnoticed. Anglers will find smallmouths clustered near gravel shoals off the mouth of the many rivers feeding the bay. As water warms after the spawn, the bass spread out over the 12- to 18-foot flats and off points where they are commonly fished using drop shot. There is plenty of forage in the Bays de Noc, including a lot of crayfish, so as the season moves on, it's hard to beat imitators like pumpkinseed-colored tube jigs. With its abundance of 3-6 lb. fish, it is little wonder why it is Scott's Happy Place.


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