Spoons are, without a doubt, the lure most synonymous with trout and salmon, though it’s not as commonly uses on Lake Michigan as it once was. Models like the Little Cleo are simply too effective not to use them from shore, especially in the 2/5 to 2/3oz range. Silver and green is the favorite color pattern, but I’ve had some nice results with gold and blue, as well. Cast them or jig them, spoons provide nice action from shore that gamefish can’t resist.
While spoons may be the first lure you buy for shore fishing on Lake Michigan, crankbaits should not be overlooked. Bomber Fat Free Shads, Berkley flicker Shads, and Rapala crankbaits like the Shad Rap or the DT series are all great. I like to start with natural colors, but don’t be afraid to change it up with white/pearl or citrus patterns. The strike-attracting action of a crankbait will produce results, especially on rocky shores where you can really bounce them and make some noise.
A buddy of mine swears by minnowbaits, like Storm’s Thunderstick or Rapala’s Husky Jerk. Their ability to suspend makes them an especially great option for colder conditions, as well. Both shallow and deep models work well, and black and silver patterns are great producers throughout the season.
Finally, jigs are another shoreline bait that works well by offering a subtle presentation that is necessary when you’re trying to entice spooked fish. A bullet head jig tipped with a four-inch white Berkley Gulp minnow is a personal favorite of mine. This setup works year-round; you can fish it slow in cold water, or faster in the summer months.
There are thousands of lures out there, but some lures just don’t translate well to the shores of Lake Michigan, as much as they look like they would. The above list consists of the ones that have been producers for me throughout the years. They’ve worked for me and I know they’ll work for you, too. As for my buddy; I’ll let you know when he gets back from his vacation.