Whether you’re casting a line in the still waters of a no-motor lake or reeling in a big one from a charter fishing boat in Lake Michigan, fishing in Benzie and Leelanau counties is a delightful, and productive, way to spend the day. Here are a list of Benzie County lakes with tips for where the fish are. Then check out links to find a Lake Michigan charter captain to take you for some Great Lakes fishing. Be sure to watch the video of an evening spent with Captain Dick Murphy Slomosean Fishing Charters to get a feel for the fun in store for you, your family and friends.

Pine Lake

A captivating little no-motors lake tucked in national forest, Pine Lake serves up giant bluegills by the dozen and all the quietude you’d ever want. Located southwest of Wellston.

  • Tip 1: Wade or cast from shore by the picnic area on the west side.
  • Tip 2: Launch a canoe and drift around.
  • Tip 3: Bring a tent and sleep at the rustic campground.

Crystal Lake

A beautiful lake and a great fishing lake? What’s not to like about an evening with a fishing pole on Crystal? Covering more than 15 square miles and averaging 70 feet deep. Crystal Lake swims with a plenitude of Michigan’s iconic fish. Rent boats at Crystal Lake Marina. 231-882-7058. CRYSTALLAKEMARINA.COM. Fish info courtesy of Harry, the fisherman.

  • Tip 1: For easy panfish success, head to the drop-off near Railroad Point, about 2 miles west of Beulah near the outlet on the south shore.
  • Tip 2: In late spring, fish for smallmouth bass from the T dock right in Beulah.
  • Tip 3: Rock bass are giant in Crystal right now—cast here for a master angler catch.

Portage Lake

One of Northern Michigan’s classic resort lakes located in Onekema. Portage boosts the fun factor with its dynamic fishery. Fish info courtesy of Tim Ervin.

  • Tip 1: Cast for bass and panfish right from the dock in downtown Onekema—Master Angler bluegills a possibility.
  • Tip 2: Find pike along the southwest shore—troll or cast with body baits.
  • Tip 3: Haul in jumbo perch from the deep hole south of Andy’s Point.

Manistee Lake

This is a hidden-in-plain-sight fishing treasure. Near downtown Manistee, Manistee Lake is one of the most productive inland fishing lakes in Michigan. Fish info courtesy of Tim Ervin.

  • Tip 1: Fish from the new universal access pier at the south end for panfish, bass and pike. (In fall, salmon and steelhead).
  • Tip 2: Work the river mouth drop-offs where Little and Big Manistee Rivers enter the lake for wide variety of fish.
  • Tip 3: Fish the timbers and drop-offs midlake for large fish, but beware of submerged hazards.

Prefer to Fish Lake Michigan?

You on one end of a fishing rod, a king salmon on the other, leagues of royal blue water and no one else in sight but your buds and the captain who motored you out to the rich, Lake Michigan fishing grounds. Leelanau and Benzie counties are filled with licensend charter captains ready to take you out from Leland’s Fishtown (preservingfishtown.org), Glen Arbor (thesportsmanshop.com) and Frankfort https://www.benzie.org/).