Northern Michigan Fishing: Grab a pole, some bait and head out to the water… Northern Michigan fishing has never been so good! Planning a fishing excursion but want to know ahead of time where to look for lake trout, whitefish, and bass? Check out this list of reccomondations and reports of what was caught in both Lake Michigan and inland lakes and rivers, so you can plan your Northern Michigan fishing trip with the information you need to land the big catch! 

Harbor Springs

Lake trout were caught about 5 feet off the bottom in waters 120 feet deep off Harbor Point with dodgers and spin-glows. Yellow perch were marked in 70 feet of water.

Bear River

Steelhead can still be found and were caught on crawlers or when drifting flies.


Shore anglers caught smallmouth bass near the mouth of the river when using crawlers and leeches. Those fishing off the old dock caught rock bass, carp and suckers.


Walleye anglers on the pier did manage a couple limit catches when casting crank baits around midnight.

Elk River

Most anglers are targeting smallmouth bass with leeches or soft plastic baits. A few northern pike have been caught.

Traverse City

Has good lake trout fishing in both bays. Boats are trolling in 20 to 90 feet of water but most fish were caught in the 50 feet. A few whitefish and cisco were also caught.

Boardman River

Most anglers are targeting smallmouth bass or carp. Live bait was best for smallmouth but those using artificial bait have also caught fish. For carp, try crawlers, corn or chicken liver.

Platte Bay

Had good lake trout fishing in 55 to 80 feet of water with anything that looks like a goby. Boats are trolling in the East Bay. Some large chinook salmon were caught off Empire Dunes.


Those trolling 40 to 70 feet down in waters 115 to 205 feet deep reported nice catches of chinook, lake trout, brown trout and steelhead at the Herring Hole and the point. Try lures that glow before 7:00 am but after that green and blue spoons were the ticket as meat rigs were not working. Alewife can be found around and just outside the piers.


Fish were caught 60 to 80 feet down in 150 to 180 feet of water when trolling dark colored spoons like black.


Those fishing 45 to 60 feet down in waters 160 to 180 feet deep when heading north towards the Golf Course landed some nice catches in the early morning. Use glow spoons at first light.

Portage Lake

Anglers seem to be pretty happy with their catches so far this year. Those working the shallow waters have caught bluegill, perch, walleye and pike. Bass were caught along the drop-off. The water was cool but the fish seem to be active throughout the day.

Lake Cadillac

It seems the bluegills are still on the beds. Crappie were caught on jigs with minnows and a few walleye were chasing crawler harnesses. For pike, fish the weed beds with spinner baits or large minnows.

Lake Mitchell

Is another good lake for bluegill, crappie and pike. For smallmouth bass, fish the shallows early morning and late afternoon or along the drop-off with a slip bobber the rest of the day.


Salmon and trout have been caught in waters 60 to 240 feet deep. Try 30 to 90 feet down with orange or green spoons. Pier anglers caught a few brown trout when casting spoons.

Manistee River

Those fly fishing below Tippy Dam caught small brown trout.

Hamlin Lake

Would be a good bet for bluegills, black crappie or perch. Look for largemouth bass in the upper lake and smallmouth bass in the lower.


Boats trolling in waters 80 to 230 feet deep caught trout and salmon 40 to 120 feet down with orange, green or blue spoons.


Salmon fishing slowed but a few anglers still managed to find fish 70 feet down in 120 feet of water. Try orange and green spoons.

For more information on Northern Michigan Fishing, check out the DNR's online resource center!

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