great lake fishing

Great Lake Fishing: the Ultimate Guide for Beginners

Great Lake Fishing is a great way to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. If you’re new to fishing, don’t worry – we’re here to help! In this guide, we will teach you everything you need to know about fishing in the Great Lakes.

We’ll cover everything from how to choose the right gear, to where to find the best fishing spots. So whether you’re looking for a new hobby or just want to catch dinner, read on for all the information you need for a great day of fishing!

How Do You Start Great Lakes Fishing?

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Discover Which Fish Species Live In Great Lakes

The first step is to find out what kind of fish live in great lakes (you can use the places to fish and boat map to help). After you finish this step, you can choose which species you want to hunt.

Great lakes fisheries are home to multiple species of the great lakes fish such as rainbow trout, lake whitefish, king salmon, coho and chinook. One of the most important lake fishing tips for beginners is to check if the species you want to catch is active or in season. This will ensure that your fishing trip in all the great lakes is successful.

Kinds Of Fish Species Can You Catch In All The Great Lakes

other species coho and chinook

Atlantic Salmon

In the Salmon River, there have been signs of natural reproduction of Atlantic salmon in recent years, and more and more adult fish are being caught in landing nets. During spring, anglers catch this trophy fish along with brown trout. While in summer, anglers who want to do salmon fishing or steelhead catch it along with those fish.

Coho Salmon

In the fall, lake trout like coho salmon that average 8 to 10 pounds are born in the Salmon River, which flows into great lakes in Ontario Lake. Each year, fish up to 20 pounds are caught. You might also find coho runs in Eighteenmile, Oak Orchard, and Sandy creeks.

When schools of coho salmon leave the open lake to spawn in the fall, the fishing is the best and the fish are the biggest. In the spring, you can catch 2 to 6-pound fish near the shore and at the mouths of streams in the western basin of Ontario lake.

Looking for the biggest fish in the ocean or lake, be ready with Chinook Salmon? Chinook salmon are often called “King” salmon for a good reason.

Lake Trout

Lake Trout are often caught in lake Michigan, and for a valid reason. You can get lake trout just about anywhere, they sound delicious, and they are tough.

Lake trout are native to Lake Erie and Ontario Lake. Fishing for lake trout is a little different than fishing for them in a river, so what you know from fishing in a river won’t help you much in a lake.

Rainbow Trout , Brook trout, and Brown Trout are some of the most popular types of lake trout to catch in great lakes.

When brown trout move closer to shore in early spring, fishing in Ontario gets exciting. During midsummer, fishing of brown trout is also great because fish move offshore to deeper, cooler waters.

michigan waters two lakes bass


Walleye fishing in the great lakes region is another staple in great lakes fishing. Fishes like walleye are a big deal in the Upper Midwest, which is where they are found.

From May to September, Lake Erie is a great place to fish for walleye. Walleye fishing is best from Cattaraugus Creek to the Pennsylvania border. This includes the Upper Niagara River and Chaumont, Henderson, Black River, Mud, and Green bay

Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch is a small freshwater fish that is popular among great lakes fishermen. They are fairly easy to catch, which makes them great for beginners.

They can be found in most lakes and rivers, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding them. From the time the ice melts until the fall, Lake Erie is a great place to fish for perch. June and September are the busiest months.

If you’re looking for a challenge, try fishing for Yellow Perch in the winter. They are a bit harder to catch in the cold, but the rewards are great. You can also try fishing for them at night, which is when they are most active.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass fishing is a popular fish among great lakes fishermen. They are fairly easy to catch, which makes them great for beginners. They can be found in most lakes and rivers, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding them.

Using a drop-shot rig in deeper water during the summer is the best way to catch fish. The Niagara falls and St. Lawrence rivers and the eastern part of Lake Ontario are also great places to catch smallmouth bass.

If you’re looking for a challenge, try fishing for Smallmouth Bass in the winter. They are a bit harder to catch in cooler temperatures, but the rewards are great. You can also try fishing for them at night, which is when they are most active.

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White Bass

Most white bass live in bays and estuaries with warm water near Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Largemouth bass fishing is great in harbors and bays like Wilson Harbor, Olcott Harbor, Sodus Bay, Irondequoit Bay, North Sandy Pond, Lakeview Marsh, Chaumont Bay and bass islands.

Northern Pike

Some of the best places for great lakes fish are in Saginaw bay and Green bay. They are along the shores of Ontario and Lake St. Lawrence River. Early in the fishing season, catching fish in lake St. Lawrence River is bountiful. Long Sault Island and Mackinac Island, near Lake Michigan, is also a great place to fish for big pike.


These fish can be found in lakes all over the world, not just in North America. You can go catfishing pretty much any time of the year.

During their spawning season in the spring, you can find them in the shallower parts of a lake. The rest of the year, they go a little deeper.

Most of the time, Channel, Blue, and Flathead Catfish are the types of Catfish you’ll find in US lakes. Channels are the most common, but also the smallest of the bunch. Blues, on the other hand, are by far the biggest, with some reaching 150 pounds.


Muskies are without a doubt the best fish to catch in the St. Lawrence and Niagara rivers. They weigh 12 to 30 pounds on average. Muskie fishing is not for everyone because even the most experienced anglers can take more than 30 hours to catch one of these big fish.

northern michigan fish species

Get The Appropriate License

Before you go fishing, make sure you have a valid fishing license. You can get one at any bait and tackle shop or online. A license is required by the department of natural resources for anyone over the age of 16, and it’s good for one year.

You also need to know the regulations in the area where you’re going to be fishing. Each state has different rules and regulations, so make sure you’re familiar with the ones in your state.

Determine How You Will Fish In The Great Lakes

Purchase or rent a boat.

If you don’t have a boat, you can always rent one. Most bait and tackle shops will have boats for rent. You can also find them at marinas. If you’re planning on doing a lot of fishing, you might want to consider purchasing a boat.

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Fishing On Foot

Fishing from the shoreline of a great lake is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and have a chance at reeling in a big one. But what if you don’t have a boat? No problem! Here are some tips for great lake fishing on foot.

First, look for areas where there are large boulders or rocks near the shoreline. Fish will often congregate in these areas, making them ideal spots for fishing on foot.

Next, don’t be afraid to get wet! Wading out into the water can give you access to fish that might not be visible from the shore. Just be sure to use caution and heed any posted signs about dangerous areas.

Don’t Be Afraid To Get Wet

Finally, remember that great lakes fishing is often best done early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun isn’t as intense. This can help you avoid getting too much sun while also giving you a better chance at landing a lunker!

If you can’t get to the deeper parts of the lake easily, you can buy some waders and get closer to the action. When you’re wading, try to stay still and don’t move around too much so you don’t scare away your prey. This is very important when the water is shallow.

walleye ballast water many species

Do Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is more static than regular fishing because you can only fish in the holes you drill for that trip. On the other hand, it’s still a lot of fun to catch the fish when it bites.

If you want to get the most out of ice fishing, you’ll need some extra gear. However, you can always hire a guide to take care of that for you.

Depending on how big the lake you’re fishing on is. There may also be businesses in the area that rent out ice shacks and other things. This can also be fun for the whole family if the conditions are right.

Do Fly Fishing

If you want to talk about fishing in freshwater, you have to say something about fly fishing. This is a whole new ball game compared to normal casting and spinning.

You’ll need a whole different set of gear, like a special fly rod and a lot of different fly patterns that you can buy or make yourself.

Some anglers find the whole thing boring and overly complicated, but there are a lot more who haven’t looked back since they cast their first fly. You won’t know which you are until you give it a try.

walleye bass photo courtesy

Find Good Spots To Fish In The Great Lake.

Find a nearby body of water where you can fish from the shore. Fishing isn’t that different from going to the gym to work out. It is more likely to keep doing it if you have a place you can go regularly. Find lakes, rivers, ponds, fishing piers, or public beaches close to where you live that are easy to get to.

Since this isn’t a single lake but a chain of lakes, you could say we’re cheating right away. The problem is that the fishing here is just too good to choose just one. Here is some of the best lake fishing you’ll ever have in:

Lake Superior

The Lake Superior is not only the biggest of the Great Lakes, but also the biggest body of freshwater on Earth. Lake Superior is in the north of Wisconsin.

It goes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Ontario, Canada, in the north. It also goes west to the edge of Minnesota in the east. Lake Superior has the most surface area and holds the most water.

Lake Michigan

The Lake Michigan is the only one of North America’s five Great Lakes that is completely in the United States. Parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin are in it.

Through the wide Straits of Mackinac, Lake Michigan is directly linked to Lake Huron, which is where its water goes.

The world’s largest collection of freshwater dunes is in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and other protected areas along the western coast of lake Michigan. At Sleeping Bear, the highest dune is about 450 feet above Lake Michigan.

Lake Huron

It is the second largest of the Great Lakes and the fourth largest lake in the world by area. Huron is located on the shores, sand dunes, waterways, forests, and large river systems. Its coves, channels, and bays are full of historical significance, and hundreds of shipwrecks lie under the water.

great lake fishing

Lake Erie

Lake Erie is a popular place for walleye sport fishing. Also, there is a lot of bass, salmon and walleye fishing there. Smallmouth bass can also be caught by tourists on charter boats.

On Lake Erie, people also like to fish through the ice. Bessie is a lake monster who is said to live in Lake Erie. She is most likely a very large sturgeon.

Lake Erie is the smallest and shallowest of the Great Lakes in terms of its size. Lake Erie is the most productive of the five Great Lakes, even though it doesn’t hold as much water as the other four

What rivers flow into the Great Lakes?

There are four major rivers that flow into the Great Lakes: the St. Clair, the Detroit, the Niagara, and the Saint Lawrence. The St. Clair is the second largest of the Great Lakes and is located entirely within the United States.

It is connected to Lake Huron by the St. Clair River and flows into Lake Erie via the Niagara River. The Detroit River is also located entirely within the United States and serves as a connection between Lakes Huron and Erie.

Finally, the Saint Lawrence River flows into Lake Ontario and is shared by both Canada and the United States. All of these rivers are great for fishing, so be sure to pack your tackle box next time you’re headed to one of the Great Lakes!

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Understand Common Great Lakes Fishing Regulations.

There are a few things you should take into account before you fish in the five lakes and the rivers that flow into these lakes.

a. The first is to make sure you have a valid license. You can usually get one of these at any bait and tackle shop. They cost around $25 USD,

b. It is against the law to steal or try to steal.

c. All fish that have been hooked in the wrong place must be released right away without getting hurt.

d.  Gaff hooks cannot be used or owned, except when ice fishing.

e. It is against the law to herd, drive, kick, or stone fish to scare them and get them out of hiding places.

f. It is against the law to use eggs for chumming (see General Regulations).

Make Sure You Have The Proper Gear.

You will need a few things before you go great lakes fishing.

A rod and reel are the first thing you’ll need, of course. You can get these at any sporting goods store or even some department stores. If you’re not sure what kind to get, ask the salesperson for help. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

You’ll also need some bait. Again, you can get this at most sporting goods stores or bait shops. The type of bait you’ll need will depend on what kind of fish you’re trying to catch. you can also use quagga mussels, gizzard shad worms and other live bait

Frequently Asked Questions:

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What Are Great Lake Charters?

The great lakes offer some of the best fishing in the world. From trophy-sized fish to world record catches, anglers of all skill levels can find success on the great lakes. Charter boats are a great way to get out on the water and try your hand at great lake fishing.

With experienced captains and crews, charter boats offer a safe and enjoyable way to fish the great lakes. In addition, charter boats come equipped with all the necessary gear, making it easy to get out on the water and start fishing.

Whether you’re looking to catch a trophy fish or simply enjoy a day on the water, charter boats are a great option for great lake fishing.

How To Avail Different Fishing Packages To Great Lakes Basin?

If you’re looking to do some great lake fishing, there are a few different package options you can choose from. First, there’s the all-inclusive package, which includes everything from your lodging to your meals to your fishing gear.

This option is great if you want a hassle-free vacation where all you have to worry about is reeling in a big one. Or, if you’re a little more budget-conscious, you can opt for a package that just covers your lodging and meals.

This way, you can bring your own gear or rent it when you get there. Whichever route you choose, there are plenty of great options for great lakes fish packages. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start casting your line!

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Great Lakes Fishing Trip Guides:

a. True North Trout

b. Betts Guide Service

c. Feast Your ‘Eyes Guide Service

d. Dennis Davis River Guide

e. Flatsman Hunting and fishing

f. Michigan Walleye Adventures

g. Detroit Outdoor Adventures

h. Diamond Ghost Charters

i. Front 20 Outfitters

j. Eyefull Sportfishing

k. Lucky Buck Fishing Charters

l. Mad Sierra Charters

m. Brookdog Fishing Company

n. Smallies on the Yough LLC

o. Upstate Guide Service

p. Michigan Fishing Trip

q. Sportfishing Trip

r. Saginaw Bay Charter Captains