How is it that Lake Michigan is an excellent fishery for salmon? Answer: it's stocked!
Salmon season is just around the corner, and if you're looking for a place to wet your line, look no further than Lake Michigan. The Great Lake is home to some of the best salmon fishing in the country. Here's what you need to know to have a successful trip.
Where to Fish
There are many great spots for salmon fishing in Lake Michigan, but some locations are better than others. One of the best places to fish is near the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. The water near the canal is deep and full of baitfish, making it a prime spot for salmon. If you're not having any luck near the canal, try Ventnor Pier or Manistee Pier. Both spots are popular with local anglers and usually produce good results.
Our trip took us to Algoma, just south of Sturgeon Bay. It was so amazing, we had an elephant sized cooler overflowing with big salmon by 7am. It was the coolest thing ever, we even had a quad hookup, which was total frickin chaos for about 10 minutes.
We used RV Charters out of Algoma (http://www.rvcharters.net/), and stayed right next to the boat at River's Edge Condos, which was a spacious and nice place to stay. And totally convenient too. (https://www.riversedgecondos.net/)
What Bait to Use
Salmon are attracted to a variety of baitfish, so there's no one "right" bait to use. Experiment with different types of bait until you find something that works well in your location. Some popular options include herring, alewives, minnows, and shad. Salmon typically aren't picky eaters, so don't be afraid to try different types of bait until you find something they like.
How to Fish for Salmon
Salmon are powerful fish that put up a good fight, so it's important to use the right tackle when fishing for them. A medium-heavy rod paired with an eight-pound test line should be enough to handle most Lake Michigan salmon. When it comes to hooks, size 6 or 8 treble hooks work well. As for lures, anything that imitates a baitfish will work—spinners and spoons are always good options.
Lake Michigan Salmon - The Last Cast
If you're looking for a great place to fish for salmon this season, look no further than Lake Michigan. The Great Lake is home to some of the best salmon fishing in the country. By following these tips, you'll be sure to have a successful trip.
Cheers to the outdoors,
Update on Lake Michigan Salmon Fishing:
September 12, 2022, from the Michigan DNR. 650,000 to 1,000,000 new fingerlings proposed. Good news!
Michigan DNR proposes stocking Lake Michigan again
After decades of fish stocking decreases to balance the alewife and Chinook salmon populations, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeing good indicators that a modest stocking increase may be warranted in Lake Michigan.
To discuss this proposal and receive public feedback, the DNR will host a virtual meeting Monday, Sept. 19, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
“We have seen several years of good Chinook salmon growth and have a slight increase in the alewife biomass, or abundance of those fish,” said Jay Wesley, the DNR's Lake Michigan basin coordinator. “Although the alewife biomass is a fraction of what it was historically, we have a good 2021-year class and have seen up to six-year classes of alewives in our fisheries surveys – that means there are up to six different age groups in the current population of alewife."
A "year class" refers to all of the fish of any species hatched, either through natural reproduction or through fish-rearing efforts, during that year's spawning period.
Wesley said that a recently run predator-prey model also suggests that Lake Michigan has a good ratio of Chinook to alewife biomass, which is one of many indicators used to inform stocking decisions.
“The proposed 54% increase from 650,000 to 1 million spring fingerlings is a modest increase compared to the estimated 4.5 million wild Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan,” said Wesley. “It will allow us to increase numbers at sites like Charlevoix that contribute to the entire lake fishery and reinstate stocking sites like Ludington State Park and Fairport.”