There’s nothing more satisfying than reeling in the day’s big catch. With warmer weather comes more chances to fish throughout West Michigan. If you don’t have your own boat or gear, no problem! Many charters will supply you with everything you need, and some area restaurants will even cook up what you catch for dinner that night! Grab your rod & reel and read on to learn about some of the best fishing spots in the state.
Fishing in Southern West Michigan
Cranberry Lake Campground in Marcellus has a great fishing lake where you can take out your boat or rent one of theirs. They have bluegill, crappie, perch, bass, northern pike, and more. Children love the campground and the chance to catch some fish, making it a great weekend destination for the whole family.
Get your fishing pole and tackle box ready: the Kalamazoo County Parks are a great place to catch the big one! Whether you prefer to get out in a boat or fish from the shore, you can find your perfect spot at one of the five Kalamazoo County Parks. Boat ramps are available at Cold Brook, Prairie View, and River Oaks County Parks, or you can head out to Markin Glen and Scotts Mill to find a peaceful spot on the shore.
Home to more than 100 lakes, Coldwater Country is a haven for relaxation on the water. Bluegill, perch, pike, and walleye are among the fish caught in the area. Anglers are bound to find a hot spot for reeling in the catch of the day, with pontoon and other rentals available for those looking to get out on the water.
Cast your line in the sparkling waters of River Country, and you’re sure to catch something great, including lasting family memories, a peaceful afternoon, and even some fish! In fact, the St. Joseph River is a fly fisherman’s dream, with prolific runs of steelhead and salmon.
The Berrien Springs Dam and Fish Ladder in Berrien Springs is one of Southwest Michigan’s favorite fishing spots. Recent major modifications to the dam include a fish ladder that allows salmon and steelhead to migrate upstream in the fall and return to Lake Michigan in the spring. St. Joseph River is well known for its steelhead, giant coho salmon, walleye, smallmouth bass, panfish, and pike. Bring all your fishing gear and head down the river as you look for “the big one.”
More Fishing in Southern West Michigan
- Acker’s Point Resort, Delton
- Bay Pointe Inn, Shelbyville
- Big Lake Outfitters of Saugatuck, Saugatuck
- Fort Custer Recreation Area, Augusta
- Michigan State Parks & Recreation, Lansing
- Originator Sport Fishing Charters, St. Joseph
- Sea Hawk Sport Fishing Charters, Stevensville
- Van Buren State Park, South Haven
- Yankee Springs Recreation Area, Middleville
Fishing in Central West Michigan
The Holiday Inn Express in Ludington is the perfect home base for your next fishing trip. The hotel is 19 minutes from Hamlin Lake, where you’ll find a variety of fish including tiger muskie, northern pike, walleye, and more. Pentwater is 18 minutes away and Manistee is 29 minutes away, each with plenty of places to fish as well. The Pere Marquette River is 15 minutes from the hotel and is a home port for many charter captains. You’ll have several good choices when you stay in Ludington for your next fishing trip!
Muskegon County offers a premier destination for freshwater fishing surrounded by waterways including Lake Michigan, inland lakes, streams, and the world-renowned Muskegon River for year-round fishing action. Call or visit their website for great information on charter services, bait and tackle shops, boat rentals, marinas, and launch ramps.
There’s plenty of spots to spend the day fishing along the Chippewa River, which flows through Mt. Pleasant, including five parks in the city: Riverside Park, Millpond Park, Nelson Park, Chipp-A-Water, and Island Park. In Island Park, the river flows completely around the park and creates a natural island in the center of the city. Three additional Isabella County parks utilize the river for recreation: Meridian Park, Deerfield Nature Park, and Majeski Landing.
The Ludington area offers an opportunity for everyone who enjoys fishing, whether on the big lake or on one of the many inland lakes and streams. The area sports nearly 2,000 miles of trout streams and over 40 inland lakes for fishing. Whether you are fishing from the pier, on Lake Michigan, on a charter boat, or fly-fishing in the stream, you are bound to catch a big one!
More Fishing in Central West Michigan
- 1 Adventure Company, Macatawa
- CoHooker Charter Fishing Service, Holland
- Ionia State Recreation Area, Ionia
- Muskegon State Park, Muskegon
- Nelis’ Dutch Village, Holland
- Ottawa County Parks, West Olive
- Pere Marquette River Lodge, Baldwin
- Pigeon Creek Golf Course, West Olive
- Red Moose Lodge, Baldwin
- Silver Lake State Park, Mears
Fishing in Northern West Michigan
Experience the freshest fishing experience at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island with their Lake to Plate: Fishing and Culinary Experience package. The two-night package includes accommodations, a five-hour private fishing charter, dinner with the fish you catch that day, and round-trip ferry tickets on Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry. They’ll even package any fish caught and not eaten during your dinner so you can take them home with you.
Fishing is one of Northern Michigan’s favorite pastimes. So it’s no surprise that fishing and Mackinac Island go hand in hand. Stepping onto Mackinac Island is like stepping back in time, so while you are on a summer trip to your favorite island, be sure to book a fishing charter and sail the open seas searching for your next big catch.
Tommy’s, located next to Hotel Walloon in Walloon Lake, rents an extensive selection of pontoon boats and can get you out on the water in style so you can experience some of the best walleye and perch fishing in the area.
Drop your line in the Petoskey area for the big catch of the day. In addition to Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay, Walloon Lake and Crooked Lake are terrific waters to fish. Boyne City has a new fishing dock right near the downtown and Petoskey offers a special place at the waterfront where only kids are allowed to try their luck. Check this out and you’ll be lured in!
The Cheboygan area includes both Mullett Lake and Burt Lake, which are known throughout the Midwest as great fishing lakes. There are several national fishing tourneys that use Cheboygan as a base, and then either hit one of those two lakes or go out for Great Lakes fishing. In addition to Mullett and Burt Lakes, Black Lake and the Black River are two of the few places that people can still fish for Great Lakes sturgeon.
Anywhere along the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie is worth a shot for the experienced angler, but getting on a boat and hitting the north side of the power canal is an experience. Rotary Park is another good spot to throw out a line. The nearby Aune-Osborn Park features a boat launch and an expansive shoreline for casting. Charter fishing tours are also available for those looking to fish using a local expert.
If you have fished Manistee waters before, you know why Manistee County is regarded as a world-class fishing destination. There are 25 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, three deep-water Lake Michigan harbors, and three top-notch rivers to fish or paddle, plus seven fishing charters to help you get there.
The Grayling area is known worldwide for trout fishing. Two famous streams, the AuSable and Manistee, along with various branches provide angling for brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Area lakes offer good fishing for bass, bluegill, walleye, and pike. Higgins Lake along Crawford County’s southern border is widely recognized as one of the finest inland fisheries in the state. There are numerous lakes in Crawford County offering a variety of fishing opportunities, as well as something to offer for all varieties this sport has to offer.
Charlevoix is centrally located to Lake Charlevoix, Round Lake, Lake Michigan, and many inland lakes. These beautiful lakes offer over 100 different fish species to catch. With many boat launches in the area, fishing enthusiasts will have no problem accessing any of these waterways. Leaving your boat behind? The Pine River Channel provides easy access to on-shore fishing as well. If you want a charter for fishing, you’ll have many options to choose from. Exploring Charlevoix’s natural waterways is a must for anybody looking to catch a variety of fish!
Benzie County is known for year-round fishing of rainbow, brook, brown, and lake trout, as well as smallmouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, bluegills, whitefish, rock bass, and sturgeons on the rivers and lakes. There are registered fishing guides who can help visitors find desirable areas to fish on Benzie County’s many rivers, streams, and lakes. Fish often caught on charter fishing excursions include steelhead, Coho salmon, King salmon, brown trout, and lake trout ranging in size weighing as much as 30 pounds. Ben Wolfe, a well-known fishing guide in Northern Michigan, even calls Benzie County “the birthplace of salmon fishing.”
Indigo Bluffs RV Park & Resort in Empire has fishing charters that run directly from their resort to Lake Michigan or Glen Arbor. Both offer the chance to catch salmon, lake trout, and perch. Grab a charter, and you can have a delicious fish fry back at your camper, tent, or RV.
More Fishing in Northern West Michigan
- Bay Harbor Lake Marina, Petoskey
- Bella Vista Inn, Bear Lake
- Boyne Highlands Resort, Harbor Springs
- Cadillac Sands Resort, Cadillac
- Camp Daggett, Petoskey
- Crystal Adventures Lodging & Rentals, Thompsonville
- Fisherman’s Island State Park, Charlevoix
- Indian Lake State Park, Manistique
- Muskallonge Lake State Park, Newberry
- Portage Point Resort, Onekama
- The Village at Bay Harbor, Bay Harbor