West Michigan is an angler’s paradise! Find 150 species of fish in the lakes, rivers, and streams throughout the region.
Before you head to the waters, remember anyone over age 17 is required to purchase a Michigan State Fishing License. Enjoy a Free Fishing Weekend, June 11th & 12th, when the Michigan DNR will waive fishing fees and state park entry will not require a Recreation Passport.
South West Michigan
Home to over 100 lakes, including two chains of lakes, South Central Michigan’s Coldwater Country is a haven for relaxation on the water. Bluegill, perch, pike, and walleye are amongst the fish caught in the area. Anglers are bound to find a hot spot for reeling in the catch of the day. Boats, canoes, and kayaks are available for rent locally.
Fort Custer Recreation Area in Calhoun County offers fishing for everyone, with an accessible fishing pier on Whitford-Lawler Lake. It’s one of three fishing lakes in the park. You can reel in bass, blue gill, crappie, pike and channel catfish from all of the lakes. If you’re from Michigan, make sure you have your recreation passport since Fort Custer is a state park! The park also offers camping, mountain bike trails, hiking and swimming.
In South Haven, whether you’re looking for a quiet fishing experience off the piers along the Black River, or a fun and exciting fishing charter adventure out on Lake Michigan with an experienced fishing guide, you’ll find it! Cast a line off the pier or off the handicap accessible fishing dock in SHOUT Park. Black River Park is a quieter place to fish off the Black River, with a fish cleaning station off the parking lot. For a list of area fishing charters, click here.
Healthy populations of trout, walleye, salmon, and steelhead make the Saugatuck/Douglas area an angler’s paradise. Looking for different ways to wet your line? On your own, you can fish from shore at Willow Park, Wade’s Bayou or on the jetty, or motor out to the Kalamazoo River. Bring your own boat and gear, or rent it at Big Lake Outfitters, and see what’s biting. Looking for big bragging rights? Catch the big one and earn some valuable prizes during our Big Lake Classic Fishing Tournament held each summer annually. This year’s event will be August 5-7, 2022. While in the area, stay at a great local bed and breakfast, like Serendipity B & B.
Michigan is nationally known as a trout fishing destination, and Kalamazoo is home to several official Michigan Trout Trail locations, including Augusta Creek, Gull Lake, and Portage Creek Celery Flats.
Central West Michigan
“Line” up some fishing plans in Muskegon County! Muskegon offers some of the finest freshwater fishing in the world. There are more than 27 miles of Lake Michigan waterfront, 57 inland lakes and 400 miles of rivers. Not to mention the streams! The Sand Docks is the most popular spot on the Muskegon Lake for perch. Because of the location near the end of the Muskegon Channel, fishing depths range anywhere from 40 – 60 ft deep. Bring a perch rigs here to catch Jumbo Yellow Bellies.
By land or lake, Holland is the perfect place to cast a line. The beautiful blue water of Lake Michigan is known as one of the best freshwater fisheries in the world! Lake Michigan is well known for lake trout, brown trout, steelhead and king and coho salmon. The surrounding inland lakes and rivers are known for walleye, perch, bluegill, and bass. You’ll see a lot of fisherman fishing directly from the break wall and pier at the Holland State Park. If you have a boat, there are several public boat launches that allow easy access to the water along Lake Macatawa. With plenty of charter fishing opportunities available, you can take your pick of the many experienced licensed captains and spend a day fishing on the lake.
When the weather warms up, it is only the beginning of the fun you can have while fishing in Mason County. In the spring, fishermen find ample brown trout, steelhead, and salmon while fishing from piers in the harbor. Want to learn more about fishing in Ludington? Head to the Pure Ludington website or call the Ludington Charter Boat Association.
Grand Haven has great fishing opportunities available for you to enjoy! Board a charter boat at Chinook Pier and spend a day fishing with the experts. Then, take your catch to a participating Catch and Cook restaurant for a freshly prepared fish dinner – yum! Want to fish from your own watercraft? Grand Haven also offers public boat launches for use. Check out Grand Haven’s fishing resources and fishing guide for more information.
No matter what time of year it is or how experienced an angler you are, you are sure to enjoy an adventure in the greater Big Rapids area. The area has everything from tip ups in the winter months to trolling in the spring, or just kicking back and relaxing in the summer months to see where the current takes you. Once you experience fishing in Mecosta County you’ll be hooked. Outdoor sportsmen and women can explore over 100 lakes, numerous streams, the Muskegon River, and thousands of acres of state land.
So you know what you are fishing for but not sure where to find it? Check out the Michigan Lake Finder for more information. If you have your own boat and are looking for just the right spot to drop in, check out the Mecosta County Boat Launch Directory noting launch locations, courtesy piers, and bathroom availability, along with water acreage.
The Mt. Pleasant Area offers a variety of year-round fishing opportunities and features some of Michigan’s favorite game fish such as walleye, yellow perch, large and smallmouth bass, and northern pike. Spend your day relaxing while fishing along Michigan’s laziest river, the Chippewa, or visit Coldwater Lake and spend a weekend camping and fishing with family! Click here to learn more about different Mt. Pleasant fishing locations.
In Grand Rapids, you can cast your line in the Grand River that runs through downtown, try your luck in dozens of outlying rivers and lakes, or charter a boat to fish the coastal waters of Lake Michigan. The Rockford Dam is another great Grand Rapids Area fishing spot, and is conveniently located just a 2-minute drive down the road from downtown Rockford.
North West Michigan
You can reel in your own fresh catch of the day in the Petoskey Area! Trout, salmon, perch, walleye . . . the lakes and streams here are calling. Don’t know where to go? No problem. Guides and charter services are available to lead the way to the big ones. Prefer solitude? Just drop a line from the river’s edge and see what you reel in. There’s even a stocked pond just for kids so they can learn from the experts (that’s you!).
Hotel Walloon invites you to experience Northern Michigan the way author and literary icon Ernest Hemingway once did during his childhood summers on Walloon Lake. In partnership with True North Trout, they will be hosting a fly-fishing weekend, April 22nd-24th. Activities and demonstrations will feature casting, fly tying, and fishing alongside a professional guide. Packages include a hotel room, event costs, and a copy of “Flyfisher’s Guide to Michigan” by Jon Osborn.
Pickerel Lakeside Campground and Cottages near Baldwin is the place to stay if you’re ready to wet your line. Their lake has hungry bass, pike, blue gill, and crappies. If you prefer trout fishing, you can also take a trip to the nearby, world famous Pere Marquette River.
Grayling’s Manistee and AuSable Rivers are among the premier trout streams in the nation with over one hundred miles of cool, crystal clear streams to explore, and numerous road access points and public fishing sites.
Fishing in the St. Ignace area is nothing short of spectacular. The Straits of Mackinac offer extraordinary opportunities for migratory salmon and steel-head as well as smallmouth bass, pike, muskellunge, and other freshwater species. Enjoy fishing the big waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, or the many inland lakes and rivers in the area.
Marquette’s waters are home to many species of fish including trout, salmon, whitefish, spring steelhead, walleye, and more. There are many opportunities for fishing in Marquette County, from Lake Superior and many secluded wilderness lakes, to the Upper Peninsula’s streams. A few spots that should not be missed include Deer Lake Basin, which offers more than 900 acres of quality fishing waters, Teal Lake, which is publicly accessible for shore, pier, and boat fishing, Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park, and Lake Superior waters accessible from Downtown Marquette.