While Michigan has enough lakes to accommodate boats of virtually any size, fishing isn’t just for those in the open water. From Lake Michigan to Lake St. Clair and Lake Superior, and just about everywhere in between, our state also boasts a host of shore and dock fishing destinations that can be equally favorable for setting and catching. .
Muskegon is home to many docks for visitors and residents. The early morning or afternoon, around two hours before dark, are usually the ideal times to fish at Muskegon Pier or Muskegon Lake. Bluegill, sea bass and walleye are the most rewarding catches, and most of them can be caught with nothing but earthworms in the summer months.
Brighton is well known for fishing off Mill Pond in the center of town. Some fishing friends tell me that the perfect place to do some action is on the boardwalk near the town hall. Catfish, large mouth, blue gills, and even a turtle can grace your line if you are working with live bait.
Houghton is home to Otter Lake Dam, which offers excellent bank fishing. On a good day, you will discover the locals crowded from the walkway to the dam. All kinds of fish are caught here, from sea bass to blue gills, trout and pike, usually with minnows or synthetic baits.
Alpena experienced one of the region’s first fishing villages on Thunder Bay Island, and fishing has always been one of the area’s specialties. The Thunder Bay River, which runs directly through the city, offers a distinctive inshore fishery for trout and other species as you move away from the city center. But you don’t have to stay in that neighborhood to eat a good bite. Just a quick trip south, you’ll find Lake Hubbard, home to perch, bass, pike and more, which has become a hot spot for family vacations with dock fishing at campgrounds.
Leelanau might be one of the best areas in Michigan to fish for walleye. The piers and shoreline off Lake Shore Drive, along the area of Lake Leelanau called The Narrows, have been a warm bed for walleye after implantation in 2012. The lake is self-sustaining and a perfect habitat for walleye, because of the abundance of piercings and insects. In this location, the use of crankbaits and stickbaits on summer nights almost ensures a catch.
Clare is one of the more inland options, but what it may lack in access to the Great Lakes it makes up for with excellent shore and dock fishing. Being close to a university community, there are many new fishermen testing the waters off the banks. Deerfield Park off the M20 offers a pond and river system that is open year-round for crappie, walleye, bass and pike.