Winter transition is a great time for reflect on the year behind and prepare for the year ahead when it comes to the fishing activities for many anglers here in the Grand Traverse region.

With that in mind, here are some basic fishing-related topics that may be common knowledge to some, but new information to many.

I get these types of questions often at our shop. Here is a random listing of real answers.

Bait: First, all fish eat bugs at some point. Wigglers here in our area are one of the best options for bites daily. Wigglers are mayflies and they live in nearly all Michigan waters.

From perch to trout, nothing can generally resist a wiggler.

Next time your taking on perch or panfish, bring some wigglers.

Trolling: Here is an interesting fact about trolling, a “square troll” will catch more fish typically. Yes, they bite in turns, but if your boat is pulling your lines straight instead of crooked, you’ll get more action.

Adjust your troll direction for current, wind and waves to pull them square.

In addition, trolling with the wind will generate more bites than an upwind troll almost every time.

Best tasting fish: Here’s a great one!

Don’t let your fillets slop around in fish slime during cleaning.

It does affect the flavor for sure in a negative way on many trout and salmon species and northern pike. Once on the freshly cut meat, slime is very difficult to rinse off.

If you’re having trouble getting friends and family to want your fish for dinner, start there.

Fishing line: Lastly, let’s talk about your fishing line.

Our local water clarity has made fluorocarbon a near necessity.

Yes, fish will bite regular monofilament but a fluorocarbon leader on the end of your set up will provide more opportunities.

Matching line size with your target species is also important. Fish can feel the weight and firmness of your line.

Lighter and stealthy fluorocarbon line is a great way to get more bites.

For panfish we like the 4-6-pound line; early season great lakes trolling 12-20-pound line; mid to late season trout and salmon 20-30-pound line; and walleye fishing we run 8-10-pound line year round.

Wishing you the best in fishing for the new year.

Fish on!

Local columnist Ryan Matuzak runs fishing trips in the Grand Traverse region through North Country Sportfishing LLC, which is the local Minn Kota Authorized Service Center. Drop him a line at: northcountry.mi@gmail.com.

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