Steve Griffin: The evolution of Michigan bass fishing

Once a major date on the Michigan fishing calendar, the opening of the black bass season is now barely a blip. Come Saturday, you can keep a legal-length smallmouth or largemouth bass should you catch one. Fourteen inches long, and it’s yours if you like. You needn’t travel far to do it, either.

Sanford and Wixom lakes, the Tittabawassee and Chippewa rivers, and Saginaw Bay all offer splendid fishing for smallmouth or largemouth bass, or both. But where once people stayed up late waiting for the opener, tuning up frog-colored Flatfish, sharpening hooks on Johnson Silver Minnows, or tending live bait, today the bass’s most ardent fans have been pursuing fish since ice-out, with a vastly expanded tackle box.

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