Department of Natural Resources
The Alpena area is draped in beauty when the winter months come calling. Northeastern Lower Michigan is a popular location for snowshoeing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling. Over 100 miles of groomed trails and more than 13,000 acres of State managed land offer peace and tranquility for those who love to bundle up and head out into the refreshing outdoors.
From the turquoise waters of Lake Michigan to the sparkling inland rivers and lakes, Benzie County is bursting with fishing opportunities for young and old.
Winter is full of recreation in Cadillac, our ice freezers earlier than the rest of the State due to our elevation. Our local fishing Guru at Pilgrim Village post daily reports on the ice and fishing conditions. And boy do we have FISH – it’s not uncommon to take your full daily limit in crappie and land a 26 inch plus Walleye.
With more than 100 lakes, including two chains of lakes, Coldwater Country offers countless opportunities for anglers, fishing from shore or boat, to reel in the catch of the day. Notably the largest of the area lakes, Coldwater Lake, is home to an abundance of fish including catfish, crappie, large- and small-mouth bass, northern pike, sunfish, walleye, and yellow perch.
The Gaylord area is truly a water wonderland, with over 90 inland lakes and the headwaters to five major rivers. The sheer abundance and variety of lakes in our county make our waterways an angler's dream come true.
Named the 6th Best Fishing City in America by Field & Stream Magazine, Grand Rapids offers easy access to dozens of rivers and lakes swimming with most every species of Michigan fish. Anglers can catch everything from world-class salmon and steelhead to kid-friendly bluegill and crappie, all just minutes away from big-city culture and entertainment.
Home to Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay, the Great Lakes Bay Region is a top Michigan fishing destination, year-around. That goes double for the winter walleye fishery this popular ice fishing spot boasts. In a typical winter, Saginaw Bay gets safe fishing ice in early- to mid-January — when anglers can enjoy arguably the best ice fishing for walleye in Michigan.
Grab your auger, rod and a friend or two and head out to the hard water for an epic Keweenaw ice fishing adventure. Species that can be targeted on Lake Superior waters include Lake Trout, Brown Trout, Coho and Chinook Salmon, Steelhead, Splake, Whitefish, Herring, Northern Pike, Perch, and Smelt. The season typically spans from December to early April.
Whether you are fishing from the pier, on Lake Michigan on a charter boat, or fly-fishing in the stream, you are bound to catch a big one while in Pure Ludington! Located along Lake Michigan, and home to over 2,000 miles of trout streams and over 40 inland lakes, it’s a fisherman's paradise!
Manistee County is the perfect sport fishermanʼs winter escape, and open waters create year-round opportunities. Top inland lakes, perfect for ice fishing, include Portage Lake in Onekama, Bear Lake, in BearLake, and the southern portion of Manistee Lake in Manistee. Great rivers for fishing include the Big Manistee, Pine, Betsie and Little Manistee.
From Lake Superior to many secluded wilderness lakes and streams, Marquette County is a fisherman’s dream, whether it be fly, ice, or freshwater fishing. With seven fishing charter services, two bait and tackle shops, and world-class fly fishing waters, you’ll be hooked.
No matter what time of year it is or how experienced of an angler you are, you are sure to enjoy an adventure here in the greater Big Rapids area. From tip ups in the winter months to trolling in the spring or just kicking back and relaxing in the summer months to see where the current takes you. Once you experience fishing in Mecosta County you'll be hooked.
With 40+ boat launches, nearly 10,000 acres of water, 233 lakes, including two world-class trout streams and the best steelhead fishing anywhere the fish are always biting in Newaygo County!
Healthy populations of trout, walleye, salmon, and steelhead make this area an angler’s paradise. You can fish from shore at Willow Park or on the jetty, motor out to the Kalamazoo River, or book a charter expedition on the river or in Lake Michigan. Bring your own boat and gear or rent it here and see what’s biting now.
Make Sault Ste. Marie your basecamp for an unforgettable winter of hunting, fishing, and fun. Experience a diverse range of game including deer, sharp-tailed grouse, walleye, and musky. Sporting challenges are just the tip of the iceberg for things to do in the Soo. There are near-endless amounts of trails to snowmobile or to snowshoe too. Make Sault Ste. Marie your winter wonderland today.
Whether off the piers along the Black River - or a fun and exciting fishing charter adventure out on Lake Michigan - we have it here! Fishing charters provide great opportunities to hook a big one on the big Lake: salmon, steelhead, perch or trout.
Winter doesn't end Traverse City's fishing opportunities -- it just changes them! The fish are still out there, and in early winter they're livelier than ever. Massive steelhead can be found in the area's rivers and can be caught from the riverbank, but even fly-fishing for trout is an option for most of the season.
Getaway from the everyday and reconnect with the wild inside of you. Come to the westernmost corner of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Embrace our endless rivers and countless waterfalls, clean and clear and fresher than you ever knew. Discover Lake Superior, mighty and proud. Find yourself in the wandering trails through mystic old growth forests deep in The Ottawa National Forest.
The locations listed on this page are Michigan convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs) that are part of a partnership program with the DNR. If you are interested in joining the program, please contact the DNR Marketing Manager for more information.