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Best Fishing Lakes in Michigan

Michigan is a state known for its lakes, the Great Lakes that all Americans learn about in grade school.

person fishing a lake in michigan

These lakes are a fishing haven for many, offering a variety of species and environments. 

The Great Lakes formed more than one million years ago, and along with them, loads of other lakes have become prime fishing spots.

This article lists the best fishing lakes in Michigan to get the biggest catches and stock up on plenty of fish for dinner.

musky fishing

Keep in mind that most of these lakes require anglers to have a freshwater fishing license in the state they are standing in, whether it’s Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, or any of the other surrounding territories. 

Top 15 Michigan Fishing Lakes

  1. Black Lake
  2. Burt Lake
  3. Lake St Clair
  4. Hubbard Lake
  5. Lake Erie
  6. Lake Michigan
  7. Saginaw Bay
  8. Lake Superior
  9. Coldwater Lake
  10. Gun Lake
  11. Hamlin Lake
  12. Houghton Lake
  13. Lake Huron
  14. Marble Lake
  15. Mullett Lake

Black Lake 

Black Lake is a popular fishing spot in Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties near the Canadian border.

Black Lake 

It features bluegill, lake sturgeon, largemouth bass, northern pike, rock bass, and walleye. 

The lake is only fifty feet deep but takes up more than 10,000 acres and has an 18-mile shoreline.

Fishermen say they have fantastic luck catching fish here, even with the simplest bait and equipment. So it’s the perfect spot for experienced and beginner anglers looking for some prize fish.

Burt Lake

Burt Lake is a large body of water near Cheboygan County. It has a depth of 73 feet at its lowest point and is approximately 17,000 acres large.

Burt Lake

People often catch bluegill, brown trout, largemouth bass, muskie, northern pike, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch, and salmon in this lake. 

Burt Lake is one of the best spots in Michigan to catch walleye, as they are bountiful here.

Many fishers take off from the 35-mile shoreline to fish in small boats or pontoons, as they have better luck in the deepest parts of the lake. 

Lake St Clair

Lake St Clair is one of the best places in Michigan to catch trout. The lake contains a large and healthy population of rainbow trout and brown trout, along with other delicious fish, including bluegill sunfish, largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, and stocked channel catfish. 

Lake St Clair

Anglers report that the size of these fish is often large compared with the same species you can catch in other spots, giving people the perfect reason to choose this lake when they want to catch fish worth taking a photo of.

The lake is 275,000 acres with a maximum depth of 27 feet. So although it the shallow, there is plenty of fish to find just by sitting somewhere along the almost 170-mile shoreline. 

Hubbard Lake

For fishermen that love isolation and quiet, Hubbard Lake is one of the best places to fish.

Hubbard Lake

The lake is in Alcona County, and the closest town has a minuscule population of just over 1,000 people. So this lake is practically never crowded, and anglers may not even see another soul while casting a line. 

People report catching bass, yellow perch, northern pike, tiger muskie, trout, and walleye in the summer and the winter when Michigan locals begin ice fishing.

The lake is 85 feet deep at its lowest point, with an average depth of about 32 feet. It has a shoreline of 79 miles, making it relatively medium compared with other lakes on this list, and it takes up 14,400 acres.

Lake Erie

Lake Erie is well-known, as it is one of Michigan’s Great Lakes. But fishermen know how lucrative this can be for them, offering a large population of perch and walleye.

There are other fish like yellow bass, alewives, trout, carp, and more, but walleye makes up most catches. 

This lake has an impressive depth of over 200 feet and a shoreline over 200 miles long. With an insane area of 6,350,000 acres, many are surprised to find out it is the second smallest of all the Great Lakes.

Because walleye is the main focus of fishermen on Lake Erie, most people use lead head jigs for lures, as these are excellent for catching walleye of all sizes. 

Lake Michigan

Another Great Lake many people are familiar with is Lake Michigan, which is the smallest of the Great Lakes at 14,339,503 acres and a 3,200-mile shoreline.

But with an impressive depth of about 280 feet, it is a prime fishing spot in Michigan. 

Anglers have excellent luck catching steelhead, coho salmon, perch, chinook salmon, rainbow trout, lake trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and walleye in this one lake.

But this spot is no secret, so it is often full of boats and lawn chairs on the shore as many people flock here to catch different species. 

Saginaw Bay

Saginaw Bay is a bay within Lake Huron, one of the larger of the Great Lakes. The most common fish people catch here include walleye, catfish, perch, sheepshead, and shad.

Fishermen warn not to fish here without experience, as the waters are choppy, and the fish are smart. 

With a depth of only about 20 feet, the bay can be a tricky spot to find fishing success if the angler is not prepared. People recommend using lead lures or live bait when fishing in this bay.

The bay consists of about 1,143 acres and 240 miles of shoreline, offering considerable space for people to spread out. 

Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes, boasting a shoreline that is 2,725 miles long with an area of over 20million acres.

So there is always plenty of room for everyone to fish and plenty of fish to catch. 

Most people find lake trout, lake whitefish, muskellunge, northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, Atlantic salmon, brown trout, carp, chinook salmon, coho salmon, rainbow trout, and even more species to be caught in the 1,00-foot deep water.

There are state parks and museums in the area for families that want to go on a fun and successful fishing trip. 

Coldwater Lake

Coldwater Lake in Branch County is an almost 100-foot deep lake that consists of bluegill, largemouth bass, northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, and yellow perch.

The lake is more than 1,600 acres with a shoreline of fewer than 2 miles, making it easy to walk around and find the ideal fishing spot. 

The lake is in quiet Southwest Michigan, so not many tourists flock here to fish. Many fishermen appreciate the peace that comes with casting a line on this shore, and there are often no swimmers or boaters to scare away the perfect catch.

Because the fish are so unsuspecting and isolated, they can be caught with the simplest of bait or even lured by just a hook. 

Gun Lake

Anglers typically catch bluegill, largemouth bass, muskie, northern pike, rock bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, and yellow perch in the 66-foot deep water of Gun Lake. Fishermen set up anywhere along the 18-mile-long shoreline. 

But people also take their boats out and find a spot among the 2,680 acres of water. Gun Lake is home to the Yankee Springs Recreation Area, surrounded by residential homes and quaint summer houses.

People often venture to this body of water for a summer vacation or weekend fishing trip. 

Hamlin Lake

Hamlin Lake is a 5,350-acre man-made lake that offers summer fishing but is most popular for ice fishing bluegills when the water freezes.

There are several ice fishing tournaments held here every winter. With a depth of 80 feet, there are plenty of bluegills, plus crappies, perch, walleye, pike, and muskie. 

The shoreline is 32 miles long, and along with fishermen, people love to have beach days as the water is cool and beautiful.

It is near the Hamlin Lake Dam and several large Michigan parks, so people can continue their outdoor adventure after catching as many fish as they can carry home. 

Houghton Lake

Houghton Lake is outside a small Michigan town named Prudenville, an unincorporated community with less than 3,000 residents, but they know how to have fun.

This area constantly hosts seasonal activities and events, making it the perfect place to take the family on a fishing trip. 

People mostly catch lake trout, perch, crappie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, brown trout, rainbow trout, walleye, northern pike, and bluegill in 22-feet deep waters.

There’s space to set up along the 30-mile shoreline made up of a wooded area. People typically take boats out and find the larger fish in the 22,000 acres of water. 

Lake Huron

Lake Huron is one of the most beautiful lakes on this list, boasting 14 million acres of crystal blue water filled with tons of fish.

Fishermen often catch salmon, pike, walleye, sturgeon, perch, and bass, but the most popular fish in this lake are trout.

 Anglers can find an abundance of brown trout here and have excellent lucking catching them with downriggers, trolling spoons, or plugs that drop far into the water more than 700 feet deep.

The 3,800-mile shoreline often consists of swimmers, boaters, and beach loungers, so don’t expect a quiet lake. 

Marble Lake

Marble Lake is 780 acres in size and 60 feet deep. People catch an array of fish here, including bluegill, largemouth bass, northern pike, rock bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, and yellow perch.

Because this lake is a bit smaller than the other mentioned, people tend to sit somewhere along the several miles-long shoreline while they fish. 

But boats can also go onto the water. Despite the size of this lake, it still offers a bountiful supply of fish, and people have made some impressive catches here worth taking a photo of. 

Mullett Lake

When fishing on Mullett Lake, anglers catch yellow perch, walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and a coldwater species of rainbow trout.

The lake water is typically cold, so not ideal for swimming, but perfect for fishing. 

The maximum depth of this 16,000-acre lake is about 120 feet at its deepest point. Most anglers use boats to reach the hoards of fish that crowd in the middle of the lake, but people also have some luck fishing from the 10-mile shoreline.

Mullett Lake is a quiet place far from most tourist attractions, making it ideal for the lone angler that loves the silence. 

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to find a bad lake to fish in Michigan, but these are hands down the best spots to catch some big ones. 

All these lakes have something slightly different to offer, whether it’s the species, the shore, or the size. But every angler can likely find success at one of these Michigan bodies of water, so grab your gear and get to it!

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