Michigan is a popular summer destination to get out of the heat and into the forests and lakes. The state is a playground of lakes and wilderness so vast that tens of thousands of visitors can get lost in their own personal swimming holes, campsites and trails. For fishing, it is a premier summer destination because of the number of the many lakes. Anglers have their choice of easy access lake shores or remote waters.
The prime destination for fishing in Michigan is in the wilderness of the upper peninsula. Here, the fishing can be divided into three categories or territories. Lake Superior offers opportunities to reel in salmon (both Chinook and Coho), steelhead, whitefish, splake and lake trout. The inland lakes have so many species we don’t have time to list them, but from rainbow trout to smallmouth bass and walleye, these waters are full of great fishing.
Of course, the upper peninsula is known for its wild and untouched forests and streams. From rivers to small brooks, these peaceful waters offer brook, brown and rainbow trout as well as the occasional steelhead.
Fishing in Michigan: The Basics
If you are consider fishing in Michigan, here are a few pointers for whittling down the scope of your trip. First, choose a city within shouting distance of your fishing spots and second, find a guide or outfitter to show you around. For your first visit to this state, having some professional guidance will give you a chance to get to know the territory without getting lost in details.
Cities like Marquette, for example, offer a good range of guides and outfitters, and the location allows for every type of trip imaginable. In the upper peninsula, tourists and anglers visit in droves every year so the resources for fishing in Michigan abound, and there is no shortage of experienced guides.
The state produces a weekly fishing report through the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that includes a comprehensive “where to fish” list of resources. If you decide you want a DIY fishing in Michigan trip, we recommend beginning with the overview from the Department of Natural Resources to scope out where and how you want to plan your fishing trip. In addition, you’ll need a Michigan fishing license for yourself and family members.
Should you decide to use a guide, the website above offers a comprehensive list of licensed guides under “inland fishing guides,” with contact information.
Trout Fishing in Michigan
Fly fishers routinely choose Michigan waters, simply due to the convenience of finding trout throughout the state. For wild trout, the DNR provides a four page list of streams, creeks and rivers where conditions are right for the best fly fishing opportunities. The good news is that Michigan isn’t trying to hide any of its fishing holes or secrets, because there are plenty of fish to go around!
For lesser known trout fishing destinations, the state offers and app called “trout trails” that pinpoints every body of water where wild trout could be lurking, based on the depth temperature and other characteristics of the waters. The app covers Lake Erie, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and the DNR Open Portal for streams and rivers throughout the upper peninsula. Some streams are located along popular backcountry trails, which means it may be the perfect time to try out your homemade fish recipe on your Primus backpacking stove!