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Summer Panfish

Two people holding up a panfish with a lake and trees in the background

Summer Panfish

Michigan’s summers are an excellent time to target the most popular sportfish in the state: panfish! You can find bluegill, sunfish, pumpkinseeds, white bass, crappie and others in tons of waterbodies all season long.

Grand Rapids/Holland area

Wabasis Lake (Kent Co.) and Green and Hutchins lakes (Allegan Co.) for bluegill 

  • In June, fish will be close to shore.
  • Bobber fishing with worms and fly fishing with rubber spiders.
  • As summer progresses fish will move offshore near the thermocline. Drop-offs along weed edges are good places to start.
  • Later months, try worms/wax worms or slip bobbers or small tube jigs. 

Kalmazoo area

Gun/Gull lakes for bluegill

  • In June, fish will be close to shore.
  • Bobber fishing with worms and fly fishing with rubber spiders
  • As summer progresses fish will move offshore near the thermocline. Drop-offs along weed edges are good places to start.
  • Later months, try worms/wax worms or slip bobbers or small tube jigs. 

Metro-Detroit area

Detroit River for white bass

  • More readily available to shore anglers than walleye.
  • Can use jigs or live bait.
  • Good access at Dingell Park, located at foot of Southfield Road on Jefferson, Bishop Park in Wyandotte, and Elizabeth Park in Trenton.
  • If you have a boat, use a jig and rubber worm, or minnows or crawlers. 

UP areas

UP panfish opportunities are few and far between because lakes are often hit hard during the winter months leaving not many fish for the open water season. However, the following locations could be the exception:

  • Marquette area - Lake Independence, Greenwood Reservoir, Cataract Basin, Roxbury Pond-West (Chippewa Co), Culhane Lake (Luce Co), Big Trout Lake, Engman Lake
  • South of Munising - lakes in the Hiawatha National Forest
  • West UP - lakes in Ottawa National Forest
  • Newberry area - Kaks Lake, Twin Lake, East Lake; all located just off M-28 as you head west of Newberry
  • Dickinson County - Groveland Mine Ponds (Island, South, East and West lakes)
  • Mackinac County - South Manistique Lake