Places to go fishing in Michigan
Best places to fish in Michigan? Where do you start? With over 11,000 lakes and 3,000 rivers, making a firm choice on where to go is nothing short of mentally exhausting. It’s like looking at a restaurant menu that has WAY too many options. You’re almost over it before you even start to enjoy anything. But, on the flip side, with that many quality “menu” options to choose from, you’re almost guaranteed to get catch something no matter where you decide to go.
FUN FACT: The state of Michigan has more large-body shoreline than all of Oregon and Florida COMBINED!
Although you can fish in Michigan year-round, most resident anglers will say that fishing in the fall is the best time of the year. It is a very well known fact that fish in Michigan tend to bite best when the water has cooled down. The water is more oxygenated and the trout, pike, walleye, and smallmouth bass go absolutely crazy in the fall. Generally, mid-September through October bring the best bites for species like salmon, smallmouth bass, lake whitefish and walleye. Then, as you move into November and December, you’re more likely to start have the strongest bite for brown trout and steelhead.
The aforementioned said, any time of the year to get out and go fishing is the best time of the year – catch or no catch. Especially when you are able to bring the kiddos with you. There’s just something about watching the anticipation kids have when waiting for that fish to bite (hopefully one does bite, otherwise they get bored and want to do something else) that makes even us parents care less about catching anything ourselves.
For a list of licenses, fees and where to buy, see our Michigan Fishing License page.
The locations below are listed alphabetically and just a sampling of the many places to go fishing and some of the species you can catch in Michigan.
Places To Go Fishing In Michigan
Lake St. Clair: Lake St Clair is roughly 430 square miles of pure fishing enjoyment. There are many places to fish this lake by boat or by shoreline. Even though it is relatively on the small side, Lake St. Clair brings in close to one-third of the entire great lakes fishing catch each year.
Popular Species To Catch: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Black Crappie, Walleye, Rainbow Trout, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed Sunfish, Rock Bass, White Bass, Yellow Perch, Muskie, Northern Pike, Sturgeon
Saginaw Bay – Lake Huron: Saginaw Bay is a little over 1,100 square miles. The 5 counties of Arenac, Bay, Huron, Losco, and Tuscola border the bay. With a body of water this size and the fact that it is has a featureless bottom (not many structures or anything for fish to call a permanent home), it can be quite difficult to find the fish a lot of the time. Regardless, Saginaw Bay is considered of of the best places on earth to go fishing for walleye.
Popular Species To Catch: Walleye, Bullhead Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Sucker, Sunfish, Yellow Perch, Carp
Union Lake: Located in Oakland County, Union Lake has a modest size of 465 acres. While not a huge body of water, it does have a max depth of around 110 feet, making it one of the deepest lakes in Michigan. Most anglers would say that Union Lake is quite easy to figure out if you spend some quality time fishing it. Some of the best spots include a point on the south side and a couple sunken islands on the north shore.
Popular Species To Catch: Black Crappie, Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Yellow Perch
To see the full list of Michigan fishing licenses and prices, please visit our Michigan Fishing License page.
Many more locations to come. If you have any favorite spots or bodies of water that you think should definitely be on this page, please send us a note.
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