The Best Fishing in the State is in West Michigan!

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 12th & 13th, when the Michigan DNR will waive fishing fees and state park entry will not require a Recreation Passport. 

South West Michigan

Photo: Coldwater Country

With more than 100 lakes, including two chains of lakes, South Central Michigan’s Coldwater Country offers countless opportunities for anglers, fishing from shore or boat, to reel in the catch of the day. Notably the largest of the area lakes, Coldwater Lake is home to an abundance of fish, including catfish, crappie, large- and small-mouth bass, northern pike, sunfish, walleye, and yellow perch. This 1,650 acre deep water lake offers its best fishing from a boat from dusk until dawn. Boats, canoes, and kayaks are available for rent locally. 

Try shore fishing at Coldwater Country’s Marble Lake for the best catch of bluegills and largemouth bass. Crappie, northern pike, smallmouth bass, sunfish, and walleye can also be found throughout this 780 acre lake, located on the largest chain of lakes.

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.

Big Lake Outfitters of Saugatuck is your headquarters for outdoors adventure while visiting the Saugatuck/Douglas area. 

Several fishing charters are available a short walk from Serendipity B & B in Saugatuck. Expert Captains know just where and when to go to catch coho, steelhead, lake trout, and more. You’ll find local tackle shops on the river to pick up any supplies needed.


Central West Michigan

If you are looking to cast a line, there are several public boat launches that allow easy access to the water along Lake Macatawa, as well as several fishing charters for you to climb aboard in the  Holland area. Find more boat launches and fishing information on the Ottawa County Parks amenities guide.

Nelson Charters offers fishing charters out of the Port of Grand Haven for king salmon, coho, lake trout, steelhead brown trout, perch, and an afternoon boat excursion for anyone that would like to take a relaxing ride down the Grand River out into Lake Michigan.

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. 

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.


North West Michigan

Photo: Walloon Lake Village

Do you want to fish from the shore, wade in and fly fish, or charter a boat for you and your buddies? You can do it all in the Petoskey Area of northern lower Michigan. There’s even a stocked pond just for kids so they can learn from the experts (that’s you!). 

The Charlevoix area is home to many fish species, as there are a variety of water bodies, including Lake Michigan, Lake Charlevoix, inland lakes, rivers, and many streams.

As part of its year-long Hemingway Homecoming, the Hotel Walloon, located in the heart of Walloon Lake Village, is offering a special guided regional fly fishing package. Join seasoned and professional guides from True North Trout on half or full day walk-in or float trips in the area that Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway noted as “absolutely the best trout fishing in the country…no exaggeration.” Hemingway spent 22 consecutive summers at his family cottage, Windemere, on Walloon Lake where he discovered his love of fishing, hunting, exploring nature, and writing. Guests of Hotel Walloon receive 25% off services and trips for 1-2 people (not available for groups, based on availability, blackout dates may apply). For details, call (231) 535-5000 or visit Hotel Walloon online

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.

Upper Peninsula

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.


Photo: Michigan Charter Boat Association

Michigan Charter Boat Association represents over 600 professional captains that serve over 100 ports in Michigan fishing the Great Lakes and its rivers and lakes. Book your charter today!