Being the third largest of the Great Lakes and the sixth largest lake in the world at 22,394 square miles, Lake Michigan has become a popular fishing destination. Every year, Lake Michigan attracts fishermen from all over the world because of the diverse fish that live there. Lake Michigan is considered one of the best places in North America to go fishing for coldwater fish.

With millions of fish in the lake, there’s plenty of room for anyone looking to fish on Lake Michigan.

Species of Fish in Lake Michigan

A wide variety of fish species live in Lake Michigan, many of which are highly coveted catches. Lake Michigan is great for catching coldwater and warmwater fish, but the coldwater fish are what many fishermen travel to the lake for.

Atlantic salmon – One of the most prized game fish in the world, Atlantic salmon, are found in Lake Michigan and are difficult to catch because of their jumping and fighting abilities.

Brown trout – Fishing on Lake Michigan makes catching brown trout easy and they can also be caught by fly fishermen.

Chinook salmon – Chinook salmon is more commonly known around Lake Michigan as king salmon. The Michigan state record weight for king salmon is 46 pounds.

Coho salmon – Since they were brought to the Great Lakes in 1966, coho salmon have been extremely popular in Lake Michigan and can weigh as much as 18 pounds.

Lake trout – Lake trout allow for year-long fishing on Lake Michigan. On average they weigh up to 10 pounds, although Michigan’s record is 61 pounds.

Rainbow and steelhead trout – These types of trout are the same, the only difference is their lifestyles. The two are Michigan’s most popular sport fish and on average weigh around six to seven pounds.

Walleye and Sauger – These fish are extremely similar relatives. Both types are easy to catch on Lake Michigan and many consider Walleye to be the best-tasting freshwater fish.

Yellow perch – Yellow perch fish are the most commonly caught game fish in Michigan and are active during the winter, so they’re a great opportunity for ice fishers.

Best Time for Fishing

Depending on what type of fish you’re looking to catch, you can fish on Lake Michigan year round. Since Lake Michigan is famous for its coldwater fish, like salmon, you’ll be able to find them in areas where the water is cooler. Coldwater fish can be caught in shallow water during cooler months, but in the spring and summer, you’ll need to go deeper into the lake to fish.

Spring – Starting in early spring and going into early summer, you’ll be able to start catching coho salmon. Later the spring, you’ll also be able to start fishing for rainbow and brown trout.

Summer – During the summer is when you’ll be able to find the most rainbow trout in Lake Michigan. You might still be able to catch some coho salmon and king salmon during the summer.

Late summer – Late summer is when the peak of king salmon fishing is.

Fall and winter – If you’re looking to fish on Lake Michigan during the fall or winter, you’ll be able to catch a few brown trout, but the chances of getting something during this time aren’t very likely.

Year-round – Whenever you choose to go fishing on Lake Michigan, you’ll be able to find Lake trout.

Rules and Regulations

Because Lake Michigan borders four different states, the rules for fishing on the lake will vary depending on what state you’re licensed in. If you decide to fish on Lake Michigan coming from a different state, you’ll have to get a non-resident fishing license for the state you’ll be in.

When you fish on Lake Michigan, your daily limit for trout, salmon, and steelhead is five fish per person, with no more than three of any one species. You also have to be sure to follow the minimum size for fish caught on the lake, which is at least 10 inches for many species.  

Lakefront Property On Lake Michigan

With 1,640 miles of coastline, there’s plenty of opportunity for you to buy property close to Lake Michigan. Fishermen from all over the world travel to Lake Michigan for its abundance of fish, making it a great place to buy property

When you buy fishing property near Lake Michigan, you could be eligible for an in-state fishing license when you’re a resident there. Fishing licenses for in-state residents are typically less expensive than for visitors, so it could be useful if you plan on fishing often. Many people who own hunting property also choose to rent it out when they aren’t using it. With so many people traveling to Lake Michigan for fishing, you could use that opportunity to rent out your property to out of town fishermen to have a place to stay. With Michigan Whitetail Properties, you can find the best options for lakefront properties next to Lake Michigan.