When it comes to fishing, The Great Lakes State more than lives up to its moniker.

With 11,000 inland lakes, a myriad of rivers and streams, and the most freshwater shoreline in the U.S., our state sets the standard for freshwater fishing.

Here are the top places for fishin' in Michigan.

In the northern part of lower Michigan, a few miles away from Hammond Bay is the breathtaking Black Lake.

That stretches over 10,000 acres in surface area with a depth of 50 feet.

With 20 miles of leafy green shoreline, Black Lake is among the state’s best.

The lake is full of freshwater favorites such as Bluegill, Brook trout, Largemouth bass, Muskie, Northern pike, Walleye, and Yellow perch.

If you are wondering how the lake got its name – the rivers and streams that feed into Black Lake carry copious quantities of dark tannins — they darken the water thus giving the lake its name.

About 30 miles west is the beautiful Burt Lake. This body of water spans upwards of 17,000 acres and runs nearly 75 feet deep. Burt Lake has a bounty of Smallmouth bass.

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Indian River flows east linking Burt Lake to Mullett Lake through the Inland Waterway. Mullett Lake is slightly smaller in surface area, though a perfect place to pluck pike.

Charter a boat for an excursion in Cheboygan County.

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Coldwater Lake is a lush 1,610-acre reservoir with a depth of 92 feet. Coldwater casters can count on choice catches. Ice fishing is popular in the winter as well.

Gun Lake is a scenic spot between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. Norrik reports: 

Gun Lake offers outstanding opportunities to fish for bass and bluegill. The lake covers 2,680 acres and goes as deep as 66 feet. Various [other] species inhabit the lake. A public access point allows [for] shore fishing and a place to launch boats.”


Hamlin Lake is a freshwater haven right outside of Ludington.

At more than 12 miles long and 5,000 acres, it is the largest inland man-made lake in Michigan. With sloping sand dunes and shaded shores, it’s ideal for a day on the water.

On the banks of Lake Erie, mere minutes from the Ohio border lies Luna Pier. You’re sure to see bass, perch and catfish there.

Gillers, grab your gear and get to the pier.

Lake Huron is home to all sorts of aquatic life. Several spots stand out along the Sunrise Coast. Harrisville is a small city where you can snare big game.

Rogers City has flown under the radar. Plenty of Pink salmon and Lake trout are to be found around this picturesque port town.

Saginaw Bay is stocked with bullhead, carp, and whitefish; many of them keepers.

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On the south side, Chinook salmon and steelhead are favored by fishers from Port Sanilac to Port Huron.

Lake Leelanau is a pearl of the Peninsula. The lake splits in two sections, North and South divided by M-204. Walleye and pike are aplenty at this 8,600-acre sanctuary.

Mention Marble Lake and anglers will nod in approval. The lake spans 780 acres around with a maximum depth of 60 feet.

Marble connects to Coldwater Lake through various channels. Boaters net a good number of bass and bluegill there.

Ask Third Coast trawlers and they will rave about the Manistee River. The river’s a rustic refuge, set away from the daily grind.


Coho and King Salmon are coveted by reelers on the river.

Down US-31 past Ludington, Pere Marquette River is one of the premier places to fish in Michigan. From National Rivers Project:

Pere Marquette River is the longest unregulated river system in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The river is a nationally known, high-quality stream, which supports large populations of resident trout, steelhead and salmon. From M-37 to Gleason's Landing, the State has designated the river as quality fishing water requiring catch and release with flies only.”

Union Lake is last but not least on the list. Piscators pull Pumpkinseed plus a plethora of others.

Michigan law states the following fishing seasons start:

April 27 for Trout (statewide) inland walleye and northern pike (L.P.)

May 15 for walleye and northern pike (U.P.)

As a general rule, Catfish, Cisco, Lake and Round Whitefish, White Bass, and Yellow Perch seasons are open year-round.