Fishing in Michigan

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With Lake Erie to the southeast, Lake Huron to the northeast, Lake Superior in the north, and Lake Michigan to the West, along with the countless lakes, rivers, and streams throughout the mainland, the diversity and variety of Michigan?s fisheries can be quite overwhelming. Nearly all of the popular freshwater species exist throughout Michigan, including trout, steelhead, salmon, bass, pike, musky, and carp, giving anglers a seemingly endless list of options when planning a day on the water.

Michigan?s fishable water is well-distributed throughout the state, but the streams holding the fly angler?s primary targets ? trout, steelhead, and salmon ? are located in the central and northern portions of Michigan?s Lower Peninsula. Famous rivers such as the Manistee, Pere Marquette, and the Muskegon have epic runs of steelhead and king salmon that come in from Lake Michigan, but also support high numbers of quality brown and rainbow trout. The Little Manistee and the Au Sable, which is where the Adams dry fly was invented, are two of Michigan?s blue ribbon trout streams, offering world-class fishing for both stocked, wild, and lake-run brown trout and rainbow trout in addition to some of the best runs of steelhead and salmon in the Great Lakes region. The southern portion of the state has excellent fishing too, with the Black River known for its healthy population of wild brook trout, the state?s only native trout species, and the St. Joseph River which is likely one of the most heavily stocked steelhead rivers in the world.

Those wanting in on Michigan?s top-notch warmwater action should check out the Grand River along with its many tributaries including the Flat River ? well known for its high-quality smallmouth, and carp fishing. With such a wide variety of water to choose from and species to target, fly fishing in Michigan is an all-year pursuit, and even if you spent every waking moment fishing, you?d never have enough time to sample even a fraction of the great fishing the state has to offer.


MI Department of Fish & Wildlife
480 Wilson Road
Lansing, MI 48824
P: 517.355.4478

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Michigan Fishing Articles

6 Winter Flies to Never Leave Home Without

Posted on February 12, 2017

It’s winter time and if you’re like me then you’re probably daydreaming of warmer weather and being on the river. You’re also probably behind the vice tying up dozens of flies for the months ahead....

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Choosing the Proper Fly Rod

Posted on January 21, 2016

Proper fly fishing gear is essential. Along with the reel, flies and line, the most important gear is the fly rod. Fly rods may vary in length from 6 - 12 feet and come in different weights, colors,...

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The Scout & Cast Story

Posted on February 10, 2015

My whole life has been filled with various trips to the lakes & rivers in search of fish. As a kid growing up in “Lake Country” Minnesota, it was practically a sin not to be a fisherman. I would...

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Guides based in Michigan

Featured Program

Trout Unlimited
By the next generation, Trout Unlimited will ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within their North American range, so that our children can enjoy...

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