Department of Natural Resources
Don't have a boat or tired of heading out on a big lake? Why not try seawall fishing? These shoreline-hugging infrastructures can offer great angling opportunities and in plenty of parts of Michigan!
We tapped several of our fisheries management units to provide specific locations you might want to try - check them out!
Southern Lake Michigan (Southwest Lower Peninsula)
Most of the seawall fishing opportunities in this area are located immediately upstream of Great Lakes piers.
In St. Joseph seawalls are located on the north (Tiscornia Park) and south sides (Silver Beach County Park) of the St. Joseph River. More information about both is available via the DNR's Trout Trails application!
At South Haven seawalls are located at the city parks on both the north and south sides of the river.
In Holland there is a seawall on the north side of river at Holland State Park. A trail from Holland State Park extends upstream along the shore of Lake Macatawa and has multiple fishing sites.
At Grand Haven there are seawalls on both sides of the river. Grand Haven State Park is on the south side and there is a city-owned parking lot on the north side.
The fishing opportunities at all of these sites change seasonally due to movements of fish from Lake Michigan. At all sites, there are seasonal fishing opportunities for steelhead, Chinook salmon, coho salmon, brown trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, channel catfish, walleye, freshwater drum, lake whitefish and round whitefish. The Lake Macatawa seawall in Holland is a better choice for anglers looking to catch bluegill or largemouth bass. Muskellunge are stocked in Lake Macatawa and the lower Grand River, so there is a chance of catching a muskie at the Holland and Grand Haven sites.
Central Lake Michigan (Northwest Lower Peninsula)
Muskegon, Whitehall, Pentwater, Ludington, Manistee, Onekama, Arcadia and Frankfort all have seawalls and piers anglers can fish off of.
Usually anglers can fish in Lake Michigan proper or in the channels leading to the drowned Rivermouth lakes.
Northern Lake Huron (Northeast Lower Peninsula)
There are only a couple seawall fishing locations in this area; Sebewaing Marina and Caseville Pier.
There is work being done to improve the pier access area at Caseville with the removal of large rocks and the placement of a seawall at the base of the pier and parking area. At this location a variety of species can be caught in late fall, winter and into early spring; such as northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch, channel catfish, lake trout, lake whitefish, burbot and the occasional brown trout and steelhead. During the summer anglers mostly catch northern pike, channel catfish, smallmouth bass and the occasional walleye.
Sebewaing Marina has seawall access for the entire area where can anglers can fish ($3 permit per vehicle required). At this location anglers can catch a variety of species; including northern pike, largemouth bass, channel catfish and a mix of panfish. Depending on the season, yellow perch and walleye can also be caught.
Lake Erie (Southeast Lower Peninsula)
Along the St. Clair River seawalls are used as a means to armor the shoreline so it goes unchanged by wave energy, river currents and ice scouring. This allows for a stable fishing platform right at the water. Port Huron has about two miles right along the St. Clair River that can be accessed by the public. There is also a publicly-accessible seawall in the town of St. Clair. Anglers predominately fish for walleye and smallmouth bass, but near Port Huron anglers also catch steelhead; Chinook, coho and Atlantic salmon; whitefish; northern pike and the occasional muskellunge.
The Detroit River has similar seawalls along its shoreline. Public parks have been developed in Detroit along portions of these shorelines with walkways and railings installed. Parking can be an issue, but a few with good opportunities include Riverside Park (just south of the Ambassador Bridge), Belanger Park (just south of the Rouge River mouth) and John Dingell Park (end of Southfield Road in Wyandotte). There are also a couple notable fishing piers extending into the Detroit River at Bishop Park (just upstream of Grosse Ile) and the soon-to-be-opened boardwalk and fishing pier at the International Wildlife Refuge in the downriver Trenton area.
Shore fishing on the upper Detroit River also occurs in Belle Isle Park. Popular fisheries include walleye, smallmouth bass, white bass (also called silver bass), various panfish, carp, freshwater drum and various suckers.
Eastern Lake Superior (Eastern Upper Peninsula)
There are two great opportunities for seawall fishing in this area: Grand Marais and the Anna River fishing pier in Munising.
The breakwall pier in Grand Marais offers premium lake whitefish opportunities in the spring and early summer. Additionally, the views of the Lake Superior shoreline are outstanding!
The pier on the Anna River offers diverse fishing during the open water season, including for splake, lake whitefish, steelhead, coho salmon, burbot and yellow perch.
Western Lake Superior (Western Upper Peninsula)
Marquette's lower harbor breakwall is a great location for catching lake trout, brown trout and lake whitefish during the fall months. Caution should be used to not go out on this wall during stormy or high-wind weather.