Best Michigan Fishing Trips (Best Destinations)


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Upper Peninsula

We are organizing the Upper Peninsula into the following categories:  Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Inland.


Lake Michigan


Bays de Noc (Escanaba – Gladstone Areas)     –     Rating 8.25

The Bays de Noc area covers over 200 miles of shoreline in the southwestern part of the Upper Peninsula.  There are beautiful sand beaches to go along with many places to stay, good food and excellent fishing.  The area is comprised of three cities and towns, all situated on the shores of Little Bay de Noc – Escanaba, Gladstone and Rapid River.  Little Bay de Noc is known best for its trophy walleye fishing during the fall, but you can catch a variety of fish throughout the year on these waters.  Anglers catch smallmouth bass, northern pike, perch and crappie to go along with the awesome walleye fishing.

Manistique    –     Rating 7.5

Manistique is located in the Upper Peninsula near the Bay de Noc area.  It’s not a large city, but it is located on the shores of Lake Michigan and this area is popular for tourism. This area is home to “The Big Spring” which is the largest in Michigan.  It’s over 40 feet deep and 16,000 gallons of clear water gush per minute.  The water is crystal clear and there are tons of trout that call this area home.  It’s a cool place to see.  Salmon, trout & walleye are king in this area.  With the Bays de Noc being so close, you can easily make a trip over there to target big walleye, pike and other fish too.  Smallmouth bass and panfish can be found in the area waters too.


Lake Superior


Sault Ste. Marie    –     Rating 9.5

Sault Ste. Marie is a city that lies on the northeastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on the Canadian border and it is separated from its twin city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, by the St. Marys River.  The population was 14,144 at the 2010 census, making it the second most populous city in the Upper Peninsula.  This area has a diverse fishery with salmon, trout, walleye, northern pike, muskie, smallmouth bass and other species available too.  It’s a unique fishery because you can fish for so many different fish and there are a lot of trophy fish in these waters too.

Keweenaw Peninsula    –     Rating 9.0

The Keweenaw Peninsula is the most northern part of Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. Here, you will find some great fishing from inland lakes to the waters of Lake Superior and Keweenaw Bay.  Anglers target a variety of fish in this area.  On inland lakes, they come here mostly for the walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass and perch fishing.  On the waters of Lake Superior, salmon and trout are priority, but other fish are available.  On the spawning streams, steelhead provide exciting action.

Marquette County    –     Rating 9.0

Marquette County is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It’s a good-sized county with tons of recreational opportunities available.  Many people enjoy the miles of trails for walking and biking.  You have Lake Superior here, many inland lakes and some gorgeous waterfalls here too.  It’s a beautiful area and the fishing is very good too.  The better fishing spots may be spread out throughout the county, however, having the option to go fish on Lake Superior one day, Lake Michigamme for a couple days and then you can even bounce around on some of the smaller inland lakes here too.  Fish for salmon, trout, pike, muskie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and panfish.  You have plenty of options here.

Munising    –     Rating 8.0

Munising is a city on the southern shore of Lake Superior on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  With miles of scenic shoreline and trails located within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore area, this area is gorgeous and it offers plenty of outdoor recreation for its visitors. Lake Superior is popular for targeting salmon and trout.  You also have the option of going inland to fish the many area lakes for walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and panfish.

Grand Marais    –     Rating 7.25

Grand Marais is an unincorporated community in Burt Township and it is located on Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It is the eastern gateway to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and this area is known for its beauty along the lake.  For those of you that like getting outdoors, there is plenty to do here around the lake.  This area is known for its lake trout fishing, but anglers do catch chinook salmon and steelhead here too.  Inland, anglers target a variety of warm water species such as northern pike, bass, walleye and panfish.

Baraga County    –     Rating 7.0

Baraga County, Michigan is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  This area is very scenic and you have the option of spending time on Lake Superior for salmon and trout or going inland to spend some time on the area lakes.  Inland, anglers mostly target bass, northern pike and panfish, however, walleye and some other fish can be found here too.


Lake Huron


Drummond Island    –     Rating 8.5

Drummond Island is very unique island in the Upper Peninsula.  This island is home to one of the largest closed loop trail systems for off road – ATV / ORV exploration in the United States.  If you like the outdoors, you will find plenty to do around the island. Combine that with some great food, excellent fishing and numerous places to stay and you can see why people enjoy coming to Drummon Island.  Anglers fish for salmon, trout, perch, northern pike, smallmouth bass, whitefish and other species of fish in the waters that surround Drummond Island.

Mackinac Island    –     Rating 8.25

Mackinac Island is a gorgeous island located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan just northeast of Mackinaw City.  It’s a popular vacation destination for people that enjoy being outdoors and around the water.  Fishing is also very popular for salmon and trout around the island.

Lex Cheneaux Islands (Cedarville & Hessel)    –     Rating 7.25

The Les Cheneaux Islands are home to the villages of Cedarville and Hessel.  Located on the shores of Lake Huron and close to lakes Michigan and Superior, this area has great fishing, miles of beaches, small town charm and much more.  This area gives anglers so many options with all of the water that is here.  Fish the many channels or open water for salmon, trout, perch, northern pike, smallmouth bass, whitefish and other species of fish.


Inland


Lake Gogebic    –     Rating 9.0

Lake Gogebic is located in the Upper Peninsula and it is Michigan’s largest inland lake. This lake is very popular for fishing, boating and camping.  With over 13,000 acres of water, there is a lot of water here to fish, but with some good electronics and a fishing map, you should be able to narrow down some of the better fishing spots a lot faster.  Lake Gogebic is known as a very good walleye and perch lake, but you can also target northern pike, smallmouth bass and whitefish.

Iron Mountain    –     Rating 8.5

Iron Mountain is located in the state’s Upper Peninsula.  It was named for the valuable iron ore found in the vicinity.  It’s a small city just over the Wisconsin border and this area is popular among people that enjoy the outdoors.  Most of the lakes in the area are smaller lakes, so you can usually get out on the water even if the winds pick up.  The Menominee River is famous for its excellent smallmouth bass fishing and the river runs through the town.

Iron River    –     Rating 7.5

Iron River, Michigan is located just northeast of Eagle River, Wisconsin.  The Iron River area doesn’t attract nearly as many people as in Eagle River, Wisconsin, but there are plenty of places to stay in Iron River and there are plenty of lakes that offer good fishing for walleye, northern pike, muskie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and a variety of panfish.

Manistique Lakes    –     Rating 7.5

The Manistique Lakes Area is a popular vacation destination in Michigan.  With all the lakes here, there is plenty of outdoor recreation for you and your family here.  The six major lakes are: North Manistique Lake at 1,722 acres; Big Manistique Lake at 10,130 acres; South Manistique Lake at 4,001 acres; Milakokia Lake at 1,956 acres; Lake Ann Louise at 311 acres; and Millecoquins Lake at 1,890 acres.

Watersmeet    –     Rating 7.5

Land O’ Lakes & Watersmeet are located about 8.5 miles away from each other. You will find dozens of lakes in this part of Northern Wisconsin and Lower Michigan. There are a variety of accommodations nestled amidst the natural beauty of the lakes and forests here. There are so many lakes to fish to go along with some rivers and streams as well. In this area, the most popular lakes to fish are part of the famous Cisco Chain of Lakes, which are 15 interconnected lakes with over 270 miles of scenic shoreline. Walleye and muskie are targeted by most anglers in this area, but you can also catch northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and panfish.

Baraga County    –     Rating 7.0

Baraga County, Michigan is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  This area is very scenic and you have the option of spending time on Lake Superior for salmon and trout or going inland to spend some time on the area lakes.  Inland, anglers mostly target bass, northern pike and panfish, however, walleye and some other fish can be found here too.


Lower Peninsula


We are organizing the Lower Peninsula into the following categories:  Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, the Great Lakes System and Inland.


Lake Michigan


Traverse City, MI   –     Rating 10

Traverse City is the main town that sits on Grand Traverse Bay.  The bay is a very popular tourist area.  Plan on finding many restaurants, shops, accommodations and more in this area.  This area offers some outstanding fishing for lake trout, salmon and smallmouth bass.  Grand Traverse Bay is a bay of Lake Michigan formed by part of Northern Michigan. The bay is 32 miles long, 10 miles wide and up to 620 feet deep in some spots.  It is divided into two arms by the Old Mission Peninsula.   The fishing can be incredible, especially for smallmouth bass.  There are also so many lakes within a 30 minute drive that also offer some awesome fishing.  Fish the bay or go inland.  Either way, you have some awesome options when visiting this area.

Manistee County, MI    –     Rating 9.5

Manistee County is located on Lake Michigan, a part of northwestern Michigan.  Historic Manistee, the Victorian port city, is the county seat, and it features a riverwalk running through downtown to Lake Michigan.  The coastline villages include Onekama, Arcadia, Bear Lake, Copemish, Kaleva, Brethren, and Wellston.  This area offers so much for people that enjoy the being around the water.  Fishing, boating, beaches and plenty of accommodations, restaurants and shops make this a popular tourist destination in Michigan.  The fishing is outstanding with Lake Michigan and the Manistee River getting the most attention here.  Fish for salmon, trout and many other species of fish here.

Benzie County, MI    –     Rating 9.0

Benzie County, at 321 square miles, Benzie County is the smallest of the 83 counties in Michigan.  Here you will find 60 miles of shoreline with 25 miles on Lake Michigan.  This is a very scenic area with its sandy beaches, high bluffs, clean lakes and natural rivers.  You have a lot of options here if you want to fish.  Lake Michigan’s waters offer excellent fishing for salmon, trout and perch and inland, there are plenty of lakes and rivers where you can target more species of fish as well.

Charlevoix, MI    –     Rating 9.0

The Charlevoix Area is a gorgeous area with plenty of water as the town of Charlevoix sits on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Charlevoix and Round Lake.  It has been named one of “America’s Prettiest Towns” by Forbes, the second “Best Yachting Towns in the World” by Yachting magazine and the “Best Area for a Vacation Home” by Detroit Home Magazine.  This is an outstanding destination for planning a vacation or weekend getaway.  The fishing is also very good here for a variety of different fish.

Douglas & Saugatuck, MI    –     Rating 9.0

Saugatuck and Douglas are harbor villages that offer its visitors an excellent vacation getaway.  Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, this area has plenty to do such as art galleries, golf, fishing, boating and much more.  This area is a popular fishing vacation destination and there are plenty of fishing charters available to help you fill a limit of salmon and trout.

Grand Haven, MI    –     Rating 9.0

Grand Haven is located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Grand River, for which it is named.  This area has plenty for its visitors with attractions, festivals & events, parks, beaches, shopping, dining and some excellent fishing.  Fishing is very popular out of this port.  Anglers target chinook salmon, coho salmon, lake trout, steelhead and brown trout in the waters of Lake Michigan.  You will find plenty of fishing charters out of this port too in case you want to do a chartered trip.  The Grand River also gives anglers the opportunity to fish for resident fish such as brown trout and brook trout. From the lake, this river receives good runs of fish from Lake Michigan too.  Find warm water species of fish too in the river.

Holland, MI    –     Rating 9.0

Holland is a coastal city in the western region of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.  It is home to Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, institutions of the Reformed Church in America.  This area is beautiful with Lake Michigan, Lake Macatawa and Holland State Park.  Outdoor recreation is very popular here with some excellent salmon and trout fishing too.

South Haven, MI    –     Rating 9.0

South Haven is located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Black River.  This is a popular port city with plenty of outdoor recreation such as boating, fishing, golfing shopping and more.  Anglers mostly target salmon and trout here, but some smallmouth bass and perch are caught here too.

St. Joseph, MI    –     Rating 9.0

St. Joseph lies on the shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the St. Joseph River, which is around 90 miles east-northeast of Chicago.  This is a very popular port for fishing with good numbers of salmon and trout being caught here throughout the fishing season.

Muskegon, MI    –     Rating 9.0

Muskegon is a decent-sized city that is known as a popular summer tourist destination in Michigan.  Located on the shores of Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake, people come here to fish, boat and just enjoy the outdoors.  The Muskegon River is also a huge attraction here since it’s one of the better fishing rivers in the state for salmon, trout and smallmouth bass.

Glen Arbor, MI    –     Rating 8.75

Glen Arbor is home to Big and Little Glen Lakes and miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan.  It’s a beautiful area and there is plenty of outdoor recreation in this small coastal town.  Anglers have a lot of options when it comes to fishing.  Stay on the inland lakes or go fish Lake Michigan.  Either way, the fishing can be very good in this area.

Lake Leelanau, MI    –     Rating 8.75

Lake Leelanau is located in the Leelanau Peninsula in Northern Michigan.  It’s still located in the lower peninsula, but you still have to head up north to get to this part of Michigan. The entire lake, which includes two bodies of water is usually referred to as North Lake Leelanau and South Lake Leelanau.  The lake covers about 8,608 acres.  It’s a good fishing lake for a variety of different fish.  Northern pike, smallmouth bass and walleye get the most attention on this lake, but you can also find largemouth bass, many different panfish and trout too.

Mackinaw City, MI    –     Rating 8.75

Mackinaw City is located on the “Straits of Mackinac.” The Mackinaw Area offers an abundance of things to do for the entire family.  This is a beautiful area and a popular summer vacation destination for many families.  The waters around Mackinaw City are home to a variety of salmon and trout.  Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon, steelhead and lake trout are the species of fish that anglers target regularly by trolling this area.  It is also popular to fish around the Mackinaw island, which is located just to the northeast of Mackinaw City.

Pentwater, MI    –     Rating 8.5

Pentwater is a village in Oceana County.  It’s a small community, but it offers people a nice place to get away and enjoy the outdoors away from the crowds.  Located on the shore of Lake Michigan and Pentwater Lake, there is plenty to do here for those of you that enjoy being out on the water.  Salmon and trout are the big draw here.  This isn’t as popular of a port, but the fishing is still good here and there are enough fishing charters to accommodate you on your next fishing trip.


Lake Huron


Saginaw Bay    –     Rating 9.75

Saginaw Bay is a bay within Lake Huron located on the eastern side of Michigan.  It forms the space between Michigan’s Thumb region and the rest of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.  Saginaw Bay is a large bay covering 1,143 square miles.  It is one of the most popular places to fish for walleye in the United States.  You can find them in good numbers and many trophy fish are caught here too.  You can also fish for smallmouth bass, perch and northern pike.

Presque Isle County, MI    –     Rating 9.25

Presque Isle County is located in the Lower peninsula.  It’s a beautiful area, but not a very popular tourist destination.  There is enough here as far as accommodations, shops and restaurants go to have a nice getaway.  The fishing can be good on the main lake or inland.  This area has some good fishing for salmon and trout and there are several charters that operate out of this area.  Chinook salmon, lake trout, brown trout and steelhead are the prime species to fish for here.  Lake trout can be very good and walleye are here too.  Thunder Bay has a lot of good structure for walleye and the fish run big here.  There are several inland lakes and rivers that you can fish here also for bass, northern pike, walleye, trout, panfish and more.

Cheboygan, MI    –     Rating 9.0

Cheboygan is a city located at the mouth of the Cheboygan River on Lake Huron.  Where the Cheboygan River and Lake Huron connect sits a community far and away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Located on the picturesque Straits of Mackinac, Cheboygan is the gateway to the famous “Inland Waterway” – a navigable series of waterways encompassing three rivers and three lakes and 42 miles of inland boating pleasure.  The waters around Cheboygan are home to a variety of salmon and trout. Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon, steelhead and lake trout are the species of fish that anglers target here.  Bois Blanc Island and Mackinac Island aren’t too far and it is popular to troll for salmon and trout around these islands.

The Indian River Area is very close to Cheboygan and there are some excellent inland lakes to fish here.  Burt Lake and Mullet Lake are very popular lakes and there are other smaller lakes to fish as well in the Indian River Area.

Mackinaw City, MI    –     Rating 8.75

Mackinaw City is located on the “Straits of Mackinac.” The Mackinaw Area offers an abundance of things to do for the entire family.  This is a beautiful area and a popular summer vacation destination for many families.  The waters around Mackinaw City are home to a variety of salmon and trout.  Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon, steelhead and lake trout are the species of fish that anglers target regularly by trolling this area.  It is also popular to fish around the Mackinaw island, which is located just to the northeast of Mackinaw City.

Alpena, MI    –     Rating 8.0

Alpena is a smaller city in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.  It’s an important city in this part of the state as it serves as the commercial hub to this part of the state.  Sitting on the shores of Thunder Bay, this area has some good fishing for salmon and trout and there are several charters that operate out of this area.  Chinook salmon, lake trout, brown trout and steelhead are the prime species to fish for here.  The fishing for lake trout can be very good in this part of the state.  There are several inland lakes and rivers that you can fish here also for bass, northern pike, walleye, trout, panfish and more.


Great Lakes System


Lake Saint Clair    –     Rating 9.5

Lake St. Clair is the smallest lake in the Great Lakes system.  It is not considered as one of the “Great Lakes,” however, it is part of the Lake Erie basin.  Lake St. Clair is shallow, with an average depth of around 10 feet and the maximum depth of 21 feet.

Lake St. Clair offers some excellent fishing.  You can catch trophy smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, perch and muskie.  This lake is unique in that so many different species are targeted by anglers.  There are many anglers that target smallmouth and largemouth bass, while others target the great-tasting walleye, and some anglers go crazy over the muskie in these waters.  Local anglers believe that St. Clair is the best smallmouth bass lake in the state.

Detroit River    –     Rating

Not Listed Yet


Inland


Indian River Area     –     Rating 9.5

Indian River is an unincorporated community in Cheboygan County.  It’s a small town, but there are a couple of lakes here that make this area so special.  Indian River is named after the river which flows through it and it is nestled between Burt Lake and Mullett Lake.  The lakes are a very popular tourist destination.  If you like to get outdoors, there’s plenty for you to do here.  This area is excellent for fishing for a variety of different fish.  Target walleye, northern pike, muskie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, trout and panfish.  What also helps this area stand out is the fact that you can target trophy fish for so many different species of fish here.

Houghton Lake Area, MI    –     Rating 8.75

Houghton Lake is a town situated on the southwest shore of Houghton Lake, Michigan’s largest inland lake.  Higgins Lake is close by and there are some other smaller lakes located in this area as well.  If you’re looking for some inland lakes to fish in Michigan, this is a good area to visit.  It’s a nice family vacation destination in a beautiful area of Michigan.

Cadillac, MI    –     Rating 7.5

Cadillac is a popular vacation destination for people that enjoy the outdoors.  With Lake Cadillac and Lake Mitchell here, there’s a lot of outdoor recreation available here.  The summers attract a good number of people to the lakes and for the anglers, there is some very good fishing here.


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