Department of Natural Resources
Summer may be drawing to a close, but great fishing is far from over. Autumn offers fishing opportunities around the state, whether it’s catching the fall salmon run or pursuing perch.
Many anglers look forward to fall because that is when fishing for yellow perch – which don’t require specialized gear and are fun to catch and great to eat – is at its best! Surveys project a good abundance of yellow perch in Lake Erie this fall. Fall also brings better smallmouth bass and walleye fishing on Lake St. Clair, and Lake Erie walleye return to shallower water.
Late summer and fall can produce some of the best fishing opportunities of the year for Lake Michigan anglers, as Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead are close in along the shoreline and in ports and river systems. If you prefer to fish offshore in the deeper waters of Lake Michigan, fall is an outstanding time to catch lake trout or target immature salmon that are actively feeding before winter arrives.
Fall fishing in Lake Huron should be truly special this year. Anticipate much higher fall runs of Chinook and coho salmon to rivers and ports scattered across Lake Huron, a strong pink salmon run in the St. Marys River and northern Lake Huron and good catches of nice-sized Atlantic salmon and steelhead. Lake trout will move closer to shore and be more concentrated, perch and smallmouth bass will return to the cooler waters close to shore, and strong catches of walleye are expected in the bays.
The beginning of September marks what Michigan anglers have been very familiar with for the past 55 years – the salmon run, with coho and Chinook salmon staging off river mouths around the entire shoreline of Lake Superior to run for spawning. In addition to salmon, anglers can continue to enjoy lake trout as they also will begin to congregate for their spawning activities near large reefs.