While Michigan has enough lakes to accommodate practically any size boat, fishing isn’t only for those out on the open water. From Lake Michigan to Lake St. Clair to Lake Superior, and just about everywhere in between, our state also features an abundance of dock fishing and shoreline fishing destinations that can be just as favourable for casting and catching.
Muskegon is home to many piers for visitors and residents. The early morning or evening hours, around two hours before dark, are usually the ideal times to fish on the Muskegon Pier or Muskegon Lake. Bluegill, bass and walleye are the most rewarding catches, and most of them can be caught with nothing more than earthworms in the summer months.
Brighton has a well-known location for dock fishing in Mill Pond, right downtown. Some fishing friends tell me that the perfect spot to get some action is on the boardwalk close to city hall. Catfish, largemouth, bluegill and even a turtle may grace your line if you’re working with live bait.
Houghton is home to Otter Lake Dam, which offers some great bank fishing. On a nice day, you’ll discover locals crowded all the way from the walkway to the dam. All types of fish are caught here, from bass to bluegill to trout and pike, usually using minnows or synthetic bait.
Alpena experienced one of the first fishing villages of the region on Thunder Bay Island, and fishing has always been one of the area’s specialties. The Thunder Bay River, which cuts directly through the city, offers distinctive shoreline fishing for trout and other species as you wade farther from downtown. But you don’t have to remain in that neighborhood to get a good bite. Just a quick drive south you’ll find Hubbard Lake – home to perch, bass, pike and more – which has become a hot spot for family vacations with dock fishing right at the camp sites.
Leelanau might be one of the best areas in Michigan to go walleye fishing. The docks and shoreline off of Lake Shore Drive, along the area of Lake Leelanau called The Narrows, has been a hot bed for walleye following the implanting back in 2012. The lake is self-sustaining and a perfect habitat for walleye, because of the abundance of forage and insects. In this spot, using crankbaits and stickbaits on summer evenings almost assures a catch.
Clare is one of the most inland options, but what it may lack in Great Lakes access is made up for with excellent shore and dock fishing. Being close to a college community, there are a lot of fresh anglers testing the waters versus the banks. Deerfield Park off M20 offers a pond and river system that is open year-round for reeling in crappie, walleye, bass and pike.