Michigan is known for breaking records in fishing – it is the Great Lakes state after all! Michigan is a wonderful travel destination for anglers seeking trout and salmon fishing, along with muskellunge, perch, lake sturgeon, bass, and walleyes. It is a favored state for fly fishing.
Some of the nation’s best trout rivers are found in Michigan. The Great Lakes’ trout fishing is also noteworthy as mammoth sized trout can be produced. Some anglers regularly haul in trout weighing in at over thirty or forty pounds, or more. Varieties of trout found within this state include: brook, brown, chinook, coho, lake, rainbow, and splake. Nothing beats the Sable River, or the vast brilliance of Lake Erie, for trout fishing. Cooper’s Harbor is a quiet place to travel to for splake.
Atlantic salmon are regular inhabitants of Michigan, but over recent decades several pacific varieties have been stocked in the Great Lakes with varying success – the coho, sockeye, chum and chinook. Lake Michigan is known for sizable salmon of all kinds. Generally speaking, salmon season runs from May to October. The pink salmon run in St. Mary’s River is not to be missed!
Muskellunge are often found in Michigan, and have several spawning habitats within the state. The world record muskellunge was caught on Lake Bellaire and weighed in at 58 pounds. Lake St. Clair is a popular muskellunge trolling location within the state. If your game is the rarer hybrid tiger muskellunge visit lakes with a high population of northern pike (the hybrid parent). Certain lakes have muskellunge restrictions that ought be duly noted.
If popularity is defined by the most often caught fish, then yellow perch are Michigan’s most popular fish! They are well distributed, but their numbers are the most concentrated in Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.
Although Michigan regularly stocks its waterways with fish like salmon, walleye, bluegill, and a heavy variety of trout, there is an abundance of wild born fish, including the lake sturgeon. To protect this creature’s population size a person is only allowed one sturgeon per year. There are limits on the season for catching sturgeon, which may be caught with hook and line or less often by spearing. A lake sturgeon must be registered with the state within twenty-four hours of its catch.
Some species (especially trout and salmon) are subject to minimum and maximum length requirements that depend on the lake, species caught, tackle used, and season. Children, who are not subject to licensing, must still follow size limits, too. For example, Lake Superior’s minimum length for lake trout removal is twenty inches, and a maximum of twenty-five inches.
Anyone over seventeen years of age requires a license to fish. Licenses are moderately priced and range from one day, three day, and season long for residents and non-residents. Michigan offers a licensing option to fish for most species (except some more popular, such as trout, salmon, etc) or an all-species license. They also have a voluntary option for young fisherpersons. Licenses are available for purchase online and at local agencies, with a valid Michigan driver’s license needed as proof of residency. Twice a year Michigan has free fishing days with no license required.
If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you – That’s Michigan’s state motto, and it sums up the best fishing option in the state – anywhere with water around you!
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.