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From their borders, the states of Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan all touch Lake Michigan. Major ports in Chicago, Benton Harbor, Gary, and Green Bay surround its shores. This makes traveling and fishing in the lakes accessible to almost everyone.


The question now lies, when is the best time to go fishing?

Depending on what you want to catch, each month and season offers different varieties of fish in Lake Michigan. Usually, fishing season in Lake Michigan opens in mid-April, May, and June. During this time, it is best to catch Coho Salmon with a very good chance reeling in Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout.

The months of April and May are the peak season to catch Jumbo Yellow Perch. While from the month June until October Coho salmon and Chinook salmon dominate the waters. The best time to catch the biggest trout starts from September to October, which is spawning season. Trout caught in these months can weigh over 30 lbs.


In Lake Michigan, salmon is the most prized catch of the day.

Since its introduction into the Great Lakes in the 1960s, salmon fishing has been part of many fishing tournaments in Michigan. Most anglers hunt several species of salmon in Lake Michigan, including Atlantic salmon, Coho salmon, Chinook salmon (better known as King salmon).

Anyone can catch salmon in Lake Michigan with its year round fishing season.  However, fishing at a particular time during the year can increase your chances of reeling in the “Big One.” Before sailing, keep in mind that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Regulations has imposed several fishing regulations. Some of these include size, catch limits, seasons, and fees.


Atlantic Salmon

From the beginning of spring until summer anglers chase Atlantic salmon in Lake Michigan. Their spawning period starts in midsummer and anglers can reel in their biggest catch in Great Lakes tributaries. Once a native to Lake Ontario, Atlantic salmon once disappeared in the Great Lakes at the start of the 20th century. The MDNR began introducing the fish into the Great Lakes and its connected water ways in the 1970s. Today, the endeavor has shown to be wildly successful and has since provided anglers with some of the best catches in the country.


Coho Salmon

Fishing season for Coho salmon peaks in late summer and early fall. But anyone can catch Coho salmon any time of the year in Lake Michigan. According to MDNR studies, migrating fish like the Coho salmon may be caught in certain rivers surrounding Lake Michigan, including St. Joseph River. Meanwhile, fishers can catch Coho salmon in winter months by casting in Munising Bay in Lake Superior.

Coho salmon are classified as a Pacific salmon species. It was one of the very first salmon introduced to the Great Lakes in the early 1960s. The fish then began spawning in 1967, which has made a huge impact on Michigan fishing.


King Salmon    

Many anglers choose to reel in King salmon while fishing the Great Lakes. In Lake Michigan, fishing season for King salmon begins in late spring and lasts through the summer. The spawning season for this fish begins in August and ends in September. Areas of Ludington, Manistee, and Muskegon produce hundreds of these fish each year. However, as the month of August ends, this breed starts to move upstream and many anglers wait to catch them in the faster streams and rivers. Grand River is one of the more popular fishing spots for King salmon.

As the King Salmon begins it migration from the river mouth, anglers can reel in some massive catches. King salmon, as the name implies, can reach as big as 20 lb to 30 lb. The biggest catch recorded in Michigan is about 46 lbs. and was caught in Grand River.


Different Salmon Species

Because of the vastness of Lake Michigan, other species of salmon like pink salmon, chum salmon, and kokanee salmon can live harmoniously with other species of fish. And like other fish species of the lake, they have their own peak season. The best time to catch these kinds starts in spring, late summer and early fall.  Spawning time also varies even with the same species and Michigan is a large state to cover. In the northern part of the state, spawning starts in May. While in the southern part of the state it may begin sometime in October.


If you’re going to head to Lake Michigan for some fishing of your own, you might want to grab a comfortable Michigan hat to help protect you from the elements.


Information about Lake Michigan


Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes located in North America. Of all the five lakes, Lake Michigan is the only lake that sits entirely within the US borders. The other four lakes, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Superior and Lake Ontario are shared by Canada and the US. The word “Michigan” came from the Ojibwa word ‘mishigami’ which means “great water.”

Because of its surface area and volume, Lake Michigan is the second-largest of the Great Lakes with the only one bigger being Lake Superior.