Gun & Gull Lakes - plenty of large-lake fun for those in Southwest MI
There are two large inland lakes in southwest Michigan, both of which are profiled in this month's edition of Reel in Michigan's Fisheries. Gun Lake is featured first, or keep reading for Gull Lake!
Located in both Barry and Allegan counties and spanning 2,680 acres with a maximum depth of 68 feet, Gun Lake features two basins, east and west, separated by a large point on the northeast side of the lake. It is very popular with anglers who take advantage of bass fishing opportunities there and its good access.
"The lake is next to the Yankee Springs State Recreation Area," explained local fisheries biologist Matt Diana. "There is a public access site there for boats and shore fishing opportunities. There's also a County Park ramp on the southwest shore of the west basin that offers additional access."
Those who pursue the angling opportunities on this lake have much to look forward to. Recent surveying efforts by the DNR show high densities of northern pike with average growth, a prolific yellow perch fishery, and a growing walleye population.
"There are three cooperative walleye rearing ponds for this waterbody, in partnership with the Gun Lake Protective Association," Diana said. "The DNR provides the fry and we help the Association support the fish while they grow. They're then stocked when they reach about two inches."
The walleye fishing is improving due to the stocking program, however bass and bluegills are still the main draw on Gun Lake. Most of the fish caught during tournaments are largemouth bass, but smallmouth bass are present as well. Bluegills were the most common fish harvested during a recent creel survey on the lake.
Want to plan a winter trip to Gun Lake? Diana shared it is a popular ice fishery with easy access available from the recreation area and county launch sites.
This 2,030 acre lake is deeper than its large-lake neighbor with a maximum depth of 110 feet. It too crosses two counties; Barry and Kalamazoo, and - according to Diana - is referred to as a two-story fishery.
"That means it has an oxygenated cold-water component which allows us to stock coldwater species there."
With the presence of trout species that gives Gull Lake inland trout and salmon regulations, more specifically those listed for Type E lakes. For all rules and regulations, check out the 2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide.
"We were stocking lake trout at Gull Lake, either as yearlings or as the occasional adult broodstock," Diana explained. "While the broodstock were being caught, we weren't seeing much success with yearling lake trout plants there so when we were able to capitalize on available excess steelhead from Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in 2017 we jumped at the chance."
With the presence of this sportfish in Gull Lake, angling opportunities for them could present themselves as early as 2018, if not definitely by 2019.
Just as with Gun Lake, it should be noted that Gull Lake is one of the most popular waterbodies in the state for bass tournaments. According to the Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System these two lakes tied for seventh place on the list of 20 most popular tournament locations in 2016, each hosting 32 tournaments.
Outside of the open water season it's popular with ice anglers.
"It does have a unique opportunity in the winter in the form of a smelt fishery," said Diana. "While 2017's season was somewhat poor due to ice conditions, in other years it has provided great fishing."
Access for Gull Lake is available through the Prairieville Township site located on the north side of the lake (daily fee required). This location features a boat wash station - perfect for those looking to help combat aquatic invasive species.
For even more information on Gull and Gun lakes, check out their previous Status of the Fishery Resource Reports online.