There's No Place Like Fishing in Traverse City, Michigan

There's No Place Like Fishing in Traverse City, Michigan

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Michigan consists of two peninsulas, which reach three Great Lakes, intersected by rivers and streams. To add, it is marked with glacial waters. Fish of all species build their homes in pretty much all of these bodies of water.

North Michigan’s largest city is famous for certain things. It’s the “Cherry Capital of the World.” It is also a place for freshwater seashores, downhill ski slopes, vineyards, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In any case, its most celebrated fascination is the bay, after which it is named Grand Traverse Bay.

Grand Traverse Bay is one of Lake Michigan’s “arms.” It is a 32 miles long bay, 10 miles wide, and up to 620 feet in depth. It is divided into two arms, the East Bay and West Bay, by the Old Mission Peninsula.

Thus, it’s nothing unexpected that it’s loaded with world-renowned fish. Hard-fighting Steelhead opens Traverse City’s fishing season in March and is trailed by Bass, Walleye, and Pike. Brown and Lake Trout show up in May, with the Boardman River being a particularly fish-filled area of interest. Visit Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan during spring or fall, and you’ll experience the Chinook, and Coho Salmon runs.

Specified below the things you need to know to catch them and more!

Fish to Catch in Traverse City


It’s no big surprise that Trout fishing in Traverse City is so famous. The Boardman River is a five-star Trout fishery, flaunting wild Brook Trout, enormous Brown Trout, and Rainbow Trout – otherwise called Steelhead. At that point, there’s Grand Traverse Bay, which is additionally possessed by Brown and Rainbow Trout, alongside Lake Trout.

You’ll have the option to cast a line on the fly for all Trout species come March.

Regarding fishing Grand Traverse Bay, the Trout bite is hot all through the fishing season, which generally begins around March and continues until winter. Trolling is the most well-known method, and Lake Trout is unquestionably the most abundant species. Yet, it’s normal to experience Rainbow and Brown Trout as well!


With two types of Salmon on offer and two fisheries simply clamoring with these fish, how should this species not make the first bite on your line? Chinook and Coho Salmon both occupy Grand Traverse Bay and the Boardman River.

In case you’re searching for a prize catch that will hit your line with the strength of a cargo train, Chinook is the adversary for you—searching for the best fight pound-for-pound? Put your focus on Coho. They’re dearest in Traverse City for their gymnastic jumps out of the water and substantial, intense battling abilities.

The ideal opportunity to cast a line for Salmon differs depending upon where you need to fish. The Boardman River’s Salmon population travels upriver in fall, while Grand Traverse Bay’s Salmon are compelling between May and October.


Even though Traverse City is generally known as a top area for Trout, Steelhead, and Salmon, it’s additionally a mysterious Bass fishing area of interest. In case you’re hoping to snare massive Smallmouth species, this district is the ideal spot to cast a line. Grand Traverse Bay is home to many Smallies, particularly from the end of April through to pre-winter. The largemouth is on the proposal here, as well.

Concentrate around the edges of sand pads, where these fish like to bed. They love to bite on grubs and tube lures.

You can likewise decide to fish Traverse City’s inland lakes for these fish, with Long Lake being a well-known destination. It’s home to Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, where April through pre-winter again being the most famous months. Many local fishermen like to fish from their kayaks around here, which adds to the feeling of quietness and “straightforward” fishing. Cast your line around weedy zones, and you’ll be in for a Bass jackpot!

More Species to Catch

In case you’re searching for a family-friendly experience, you’ll be satisfied to realize that the bay is occupied by some scrumptious Panfish – Perch, and Bluegill. Cast a line for them is the ideal method to present little ones and beginner anglers to the enchantment of fishing. Need to pull in a gigantic fish? Pike and the odd Musky sneak these waters, as well. At long last, Walleye are abundant in the bay among May and September.

How to Fish in Traverse City

On Foot

If you’d prefer not to hop on board a vessel, don’t stress. There’s a lot of approaches to casting a line here without a boat. Traverse City is home to many piers and docks, a significant number of which offer up fishing opportunities.

Though the types of species you’ll have the option to target by walking are equivalent to from a boat, you technically will not have the option to target on the trophy-sized that live in deeper waters.

From a Kayak

Local anglers like to tackle Traverse City’s inland lakes in a kayak. This technique for fishing allows you to return to nature and experience these fisheries in a unique manner.

If you’re looking for Bass, for instance, nothing is more energizing than cruising this region’s lakes in a kayak, looking for your target fish. The activity isn’t simply restricted to the lakes, either – you’ll additionally have the option to explore the bay. There are many shops to rent a kayak if you think it’s a problem.

On a Boat

With enormous bays, winding streams, and inland lakes all available to you, the most helpful approach to fish Traverse City is a local charter boat. You’ll have the option to select different types of vessels, depending on where you wish to go. Bass boats and boats worked for river fishing are mainly well known here.

Fishing from a boat implies you’ll have the option to head out to the areas of interest all the more effectively, follow your target fish when they’re progressing, and take your captain’s expert information. You’ll likewise have the option to try out different methods under the direction of a local who knows these waters.

Where to Fish in Traverse City

Hardly anything on the planet is seriously unwinding – or energizing, depending upon the day – then fishing. With such numerous freshwater lakes and streams, fishing around Traverse City, Michigan, is first class. From fly fishing to shore casting, here are the absolute best spots to take a shot.

Keith J. Contracts Traverse City State Park

Traverse City State Park includes a .25 mile of wonderful beach on the Grand Traverse Bay. The recreation center is situated 3 miles east of downtown Traverse City.

Powerboating and sailboating are mainstream activities in Traverse Bay. Fishing charters are accessible in Grand Traverse Bay, and anglers can hope to get a lot of Salmon, Trout, and panfish.

Interlochen State Park

Interlochen State Park is situated on two fishing and swimming lakes: Green Lake and Duck Lake. The recreation center was set up in 1917 to safeguard one of the last virgin pine trees representing individuals of Michigan. Bass, pike, and bluegill lurk in the two lakes throughout the late spring months. Smelt and pike are top picks of anglers who fancy ice fishing.

The Homestead

Anglers consider them the “holy waters.” They’re uncommon spots where fishing is excellent, and the opportunity to shove away the pressure of day-by-day life and recall what a wonderful world we live in accompanies each cast. A charter fishing excursion will help you experience the magnificence of Lake Michigan. It is an incredible method to invest energy with companions or family.

Mitchell State Park

Mitchell State Park is a well-known outdoors, fishing, and boating place. The recreation center is located between Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac and gives a great chance to see different scenic wildlife. Lakes Mitchell and Cadillac are noted as fine walleye fisheries. The 1,150-section of land Lake Cadillac is a famous fascination, and anglers can anticipate great catches of perch, Walleye, panfish, and Bass. The quarter-mile waterway that interfaces the two lakes is a mainstream place for kids to shore fish in the recreation center and the evening, many fish for bullheads.

Tippy Dam State Recreation Area

Tippy Dam on the Big Manistee River is an elite fishing area of interest. It offers all-year fishing opportunities for species like Trout, Walleye, Steelhead, and Salmon. Open to the Manistee River just underneath Tippy Dam Hydro Dam. Fall is extraordinary for salmon fishing and spring for steelhead fishing, open all year.

Young State Park

Young State Park on delightful Lake Charlevoix ranges more than 560 sections of land and combines delicately moving terrain, marshes, and cedar swamp. The beach at Young State Park was voted as the “best beach of the year” by The Petoskey News-Review Graphic. Lake Charlevoix is supplied every year with rainbow, brown, and Lake Trout. Also, Mirror Pond gives a decent fishing site to kids. The lake is filled with sunfish and rock bass.

Best Season to Fish in Traverse City


With spring gradually drawing closer, fishing begins to get truly hot, and Trout are still at the highest point of their game. You’ll discover that fly fishing for Trout is a real deal!

By April, temperatures are gradually rising. However, the fishing here doesn’t back off! You’ll see that Trout is as yet the primary target, and jigging is the serious business.

The summer heat is intense in May. Head out on the water and absorb the sun while pursuing some trophies. Lake Trout fishing is more or less hot!


June denotes the start of the summer season, and the waters are overflowing with valued fish. Brown Trout, Salmon, and Steelhead are biting hot at this moment.

The climate is incredible during this season, and the fishing is stunningly better! Treat yourself to a pleasant fishing outing and guide you into some Lake Trout, King Salmon, and Chinook.

If King Salmon is the thing that you’re after, there could be no more excellent time than August to follow them. Coho Salmon are biting hot also. Take your pick!


As fall gradually approaches, Coho and Chinook Salmon are prepared to take your snare. Brown Trout and Steelhead are likewise biting in case you’re in for a challenge.

As the waters begin to chill off and temperatures begin to drop, some fish species are beginning to bite. You’ll see that Salmon fishing is incredible in October.

In November, the bay is loaded with Salmon and Steelhead hanging tight for your bait. Head out and experience the excitement of fishing in these rich waters!


End the year with a decent fishing trip exploring the waters of Grand Traverse Bay. There are still some Steelheads prepared to chomp your lure.

Start the year by taking off on the water and doing some excellent angling. Throughout the colder time of year, you’ll see that Trout and Steelhead are biting hard!

Come February, huge Steelhead advance toward the bay, and Trout is as yet a thrilling target in case you’re searching for a fly fishing challenge.

License and Regulations

Every angler beyond 16 years old must obtain a license to fish in Michigan. Special licenses and labels are needed for muskies and sturgeon. Buy your permit face to face at an authorized license agent or online from the Department of Natural Resources site.

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