Fish in Michigan lakes


Whatever you want, fishing on boats, sport fishing, award – winning fishing or just want to enjoy days off on the waters with family, friends, all those things you will find in 11,000 inland Michigan lakes. 

Here, there are various opportunities for hooking a quality Lake Trout, Brown Trout, Walleye, Salmon, Steelhead, and Bass.

There are a multitude of rivers and lakes in Michigan for fishers to catch fish. 

Do you know that there are about 154 kinds of fish in Michigan, but in this article, we just tell you about some popular fish in Michigan. Take a look below to know more about 11 game fish species in Michigan.

Chinook Salmon

Everyone knows that Chinook are the largest fish of the Pacific salmon, maybe they don’t know that fish have been established in Michigan lakes for more than 50 years. Anglers can find them more in deep waters  than wide waters due to cooler temperatures. People call them by another name “King Salmon”.

King salmon begin to migrate in lake summer and the perfect time to catch them is fall. You can find plenty of King salmon in Lake Michigan piers, inland streams like the Manistee, St. Joseph rivers or streams along the Lake Michigan coast.

Coho salmon

Coho Salmon is the most interesting fish in five species of Pacific Salmon. If  you have tried this meat, you would understand the reason. This famous species is caught in lakes Michigan throughout the year, especially catching in the east side in early spring, lake summer and early fall. Fishing places in Michigan you should not miss are The Manistee River, St. Joseph River and Anne River. 

Atlantic Salmon

They have really good leaping and fighting ability. However, hot spot of catching them in Michigan is the St. Marys River or Lake Huron and even the St. Clair River. In mid – summer, Atlantic Salmon start their spawn in the fast flowing rapids of rivers. So in fall, the better weather, the more salmon you can catch.

Smallmouth Bass and Largemouth Bass 

Smallmouth bass like cool and clear water so when anglers go ice fishing in Michigan, they will absolutely catch them under water through small holes they make. They are certainly found in many Michigan lakes like many lakes across the northern tier of the Lower Peninsula, southern inland lakes, Eric Lake. This good freshwater game fish is often associated with rivers. Above all, the environment and climate in Michigan are very suitable for smallmouth bass, fishers can find them even in bays. 

Largemouth bass are not only popular game fish in the United States, it is also famous in Michigan. 

This species can be found in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds throughout Michigan. There are many tournaments Bass are held in Michigan every year, visit Union Lake, Detroit River on 19th July, 2021 to join “Trophy Bassmasters” with other anglers.


Walleye is a targeted fish throughout freshwater fisheries of North America and Michigan is a hot spot for catching Walleye. 

Beside Erie, which is called “Mecca for every Walleye fishermen”, anglers from all over the country can begin the season in South Lake Leelanau which has deeper and cooler water than north Lake Leelanau. The great time to start their trips is from late April and goes through summer. 

Walleye are also found in the local rivers like Lake St. Clair, Detroit River. You should prepare your fishing rod in April, it is the best time you can see bigger Walleye. 

It is deserved when the name “Great Walleye State” used to be popular for Michigan, fishers see Walleye under cool water of Saginaw Bay from mid – summer until late August. Bottom fishing is a useful fishing technique for walleye.

You can go ice fishing for Walleye in the winters and enjoy the happiness between the beautiful nature of Michigan. The most important thing to attend is to be versatile, check out the weather and the water conditions to have not only fun trips, but also a safe trip for yourself.

Northern Pike

Northern Pike fishing in Michigan varies moderately throughout the year. High season is May to June.

Northern Pike are a big freshwater target available in Michigan lakes, they can grow over 60lbs. It is very voracious , Northern Pike eat all forms of marine life, and if they see their fellow next to them when they can’t find food, they won’t be sad to eat that Northern Pike too.  Pike like all baits, they prefer big bait most. Spending time to prepare good bait, anglers will get a good Northern Pike. It is popular for catching ice fishing. Before cooking it, the skin needs to be removed and anglers will enjoy the food more.


The Muskellunge, or Musky is targeted for sport and trophy purposes, then most of the Musky are released after catching. Like other Pike, they are ambush hunters and like to feed on live bait and prefer shallow water where they can spawn and attack prey. Michigan's muskellunge are most common in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.

In the Pike family, Musky is the biggest one and it is not easy to catch them. Their spectacular aerial displays people talk about are really cool. When hooked, they will try to run initially and shake their heads to throw the hook. Their environment is the same as Pike’s, in weedy bays, covers.


When you are in Michigan, you can not miss this fish, their taste is fantastic and delicious. Crappie fishing in Frankfort, Michigan is excellent, especially from May to August. You can teach your children how to fish by starting to catch Crappie. When hooked, these fish are pulled out of the water easily and quickly.  Then your family will have a wonderful dinner after a great time on the waters of Michigan lakes. 

There are two types of Crappies and both are found throughout bays, ponds, streams and lakes in Michigan. They maybe don’t have much quantity but the quality they bring is great.

Lake Trout

Lake Trout are popular in the Great Lakes and Michigan has borders with 4 of 5 big lakes. As their delicious meat, they are definitely targeted for anglers in Michigan. Higgins, Elk, Torch and Crystal Lakes are among the better-known inland lake trout waters. High season to catch Lake Trout in Michigan lakes is June to August. Ice fishing is productive due to Lake Trout feed actively in cold water.

Trout species

Michigan offers anglers the opportunity to catch other Trout species; Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. Brown Trout are big fish and caught in the Great Lakes. It is not difficult to recognize Rainbow Trout because of the distinctive red stripe. They are found anywhere in streams, rivers, ponds and lakes in Michigan. Only Trout fish that move out into the Great Lake and come back to stream to spawn are called “Steelhead” Trout.

Fish in Michigan lakes are the inspiration for us to create beautiful, quality fishing shirts. Visit these products and we look forward to accompanying you on your fishing trips.