MICHIGAN WALLEYE FISHING
Michigan’s top inland lakes are ideal for catching walleyes. Hardcore fishermen have plenty of hotspots with walleyes, each offering its own challenge. Water bodies like Thornapple Lake and Holloway Reservoir are notorious for their stock of trophy–sized walleyes. Whether you prefer to fish in the bigger lakes or smaller water bodies, Michigan will never let you down. Besides, many of the lakes like Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac are shallow and the perfect spots for early winter fishing. Walleye spawn in spring and tend to inhabit the rocky and sandy bottomed lakes with medium depth.
Being of high culinary value, most enthusiastic anglers will do whatever it takes to hook onto some walleye. It is prudent to access status reports supplied by the state’s Department of Natural Resources in order to find the best times of the year to catch fish. In addition, an angling license is essential in the state of Michigan, with validities from 24-hours to an annual basis. Spring and summer on most of the lakes such as Bear Lake, Thousand Island Lake, Lake Mitchell, and Holloway Reservoir are the best times to hook onto some trophy sized walleye. Undoubtedly, Michigan is among the best places in the country for walleye fishing.
1) Bear Lake
Bear Lake is in the northwestern Lower Peninsula of Michigan in western Manistee County. The natural glacial lake spreads over 1,800 acres within the Manistee River watershed. The main outlet from the lake, Little Bear Creek, is also a designated trout stream. The lake is a popular fishing destination, heavily ice-fished in winter as well. There are two public boat launches with one on the west shore south of Big Bay owned by the Department of Natural Resources. The other access site is in the Village of Bear Lake on the southeastern shore. A majority of fish stocked in the lake are walleye.
2) Braidwood Lake
The 2,308-acre Braidwood Lake in Michigan is open for fishing from March through to early October. The lake has two boat ramps on the opposite sides of the lake. In addition, there are plenty of opportunities for fishing for walleye along the banks. Motorboats are allowed with a maximum speed limit of 40 mph. The weather can have a great influence on the lake which is why there are two wind warning systems at the Cemetery Boat Ramp and Kankakee Boat Ramp. The lake is closed to the public when wind speeds reach 25 mph. Braidwood Lake is also closed to fishing and boat traffic during the duck season.
3) Detroit River
The wide and powerful Detroit River is an outstanding fishery with the annual spring walleye run attracting anglers from all over. Millions of walleye enter the river from Erie and St. Clair in search of a spawning area in February. The river is technically a Strait that connects Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie and separates Michigan from Ontario. Conditions change every day on Detroit River which is why anglers need to check before moving out. The Trenton Channel along the Michigan shoreline is a major hotspot for walleye fishing. Celeron Island and Elizabeth Park Marina in Trenton attract fishermen too. You will need separate fishing licenses for Michigan and Ontario.
4) Thousand Island Lake
Thousand Island Lake in Gogebic County, Michigan is spread 1,022 acres with an abundance of aquatic vegetation which makes it a great fishery. The lake is the largest in the Cisco Chain of Lakes with ample spawning grounds for walleye. The lake is surrounded by homes and campgrounds, with the main public access site on the eastern shore. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources ensures that the lake is well stocked with walleye in order to balance the population of panfish species. The region off Boy Scout Island is ideal for ice fishing with jigs, minnows, and tip-ups at depths from 5 to 25 feet.
5) Thornapple Lake
Thornapple Lake is a 409-acre lake in Barry County, Michigan, fed by the Thornapple River. The lake is an ideal walleye and mukie habitat with coontail and pondweeds making up most of its vegetation. Over half the lake has public access while the other half is lined with privately owned cottages and homes. The waters around Charleston park and High Bank Creek are among the hotspots for walleye along the west end of the lake. Charleston Township Park offers a boat ramp and shore-fishing access along the lake’s northwest shore. There is another boat ramp on the southeastern side of Thornapple Lake operated by the Department of Natural Resources.
6) Paradise Lake
Paradise Lake in the area of Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island, Michigan, is a quiet, inland lake that provides excellent fishing opportunities for walleyes and other species including northern bass, pike, and perch. The quiet, inland lake is the great place for fly fishing. The lake can be accessed from Paradise Road on the west shore. A concrete boat ramp, loading dock, and parking area with toilets is operated by the Department of Natural Resources. There is also a marina with pontoon rental facilities. Spread over 1,900 acres, the lake is often called Carp Lake. Paradise Lake also provides plenty of opportunities for water sports.
7) Lake Mitchell
Lake Mitchell in Mitchell State Park in Cadillac, Wexford County, Northwest Lower Michigan, is the ideal place for a fishing vacation. The park divides Lake Mitchell from Lake Cadillac with a canal providing access between the two lakes. Anglers not looking for a specific catch can have plenty of fun ice fishing the lake. The entire lake freezes quickly since it is less than 20 feet deep as early as Christmas. The lake is full of walleye, bluegills, crappie, and northern pike. However, you will need to keep the pike away if you want a share of walleye. The best locations for walleye are on the west side of Lake Mitchell near Big Cove and Little Cove.
8) Lake Cadillac
Lake Cadillac is another ice angler’s paradise in Cadillac, Wexford County, Michigan, separated from Lake Mitchell by the Mitchell State Park. Being a shallow lake, the waters freeze early during winter, with plenty of opportunities to catch some trophy walleyes. Along with Lake Mitchell the lake is among the best ice fishing destinations in the state. The beautiful lake has a shoreline of 8 miles and covers around 1150 acres. The northeastern side of the lake off the Clam River has some excellent spots for walleye fishing. There are plenty of access sites along the shoreline with parking areas and campgrounds.
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9) Kent Lake
Southeastern Michigan is home to Kent Lake in Oakland and Livingston counties, known for its bass tournaments held every year. However, anglers can look forward to a significantly large catch of walleye. The 1,200-acre Kent Lake is loaded with a variety of species. The Department of Natural Resources imposes a speed limit of 10 mph on motor boats. In addition, a park pass is mandatory since the lake lies within the Kensington Metropark. The lake is open from 6 am to 10 pm with a ramp on the northern end of the lake. Access from the north is from the I-96 between the exits for Milford and Brighton.
10) Holloway Reservoir
Holloway Reservoir is located on the east side of Genesee County and west side of Lapeer County. Fed by the Flint River, the reservoir spreads over 1,973 acres with most of it within the Holloway Reservoir Regional Park. The inland waters contain more walleyes per surface area than any other lakes in Michigan. Most anglers use long-line trollers, inline planer boards, and lures with rattles during the start of the season to combat the turbid water conditions. Working the shallow flats in the evening or after dark presents the best chance to hook onto some trophy walleye that are found in good numbers on the south side around Mt. Morris Road Bridge. A public access site with a boat ramp is available on the lake’s southwest border off Henderson Road.