Guide To Michigan Panfish Fishing
All about fishing for sunfish in MI lakes and ponds.
Throughout the state you can find waters with populations of sunfish, including bluegill, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, redear sunfish, rock bass, warmouth, white bass, white perch and yellow perch. Winter ice fishing is very popular across the state.
Panfish & Perch Lakes
The larger bodies of water in Michigan generally serve up the biggest stringers of panfish. These lakes include Black Lake, Brevoort Lake, Burt Lake, Crystal Lake, Elk Lake, Fletcher Pond, Glen Lake, Grand Lake, Hamlin Lake, Higgins Lake, Houghton Lake, Hubbard Lake, Indian Lake, Lake Charlevoix, Lake Erie, Lake Gogebic, Lake Huron, Lake Leelanau, Lake Michigamme, Lake Michigan, Lake St Clair, Lake Superior, Long Lake, Manistique Lake, Mullett Lake, Sanford Lake, Torch Lake and Wixom Lake.
Top Producing Panfish Lures & Bait
Check out the top producing lures and bait for bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass and warmouth, as well as other smaller sunfish. Click here for the best lures for white bass, yellow bass, white perch and yellow perch.
In-state panfish, sunfish and perch
World record: 4 lbs 12 oz
State Record: 2.75 lbs
World record: 2.2 lbs
State Record: 1.53 lbs
World record: N/A
State Record: 1.8 lbs
World record: 2 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 2.15 lbs
World record: 5.4 lbs
State Record: 2.36 lbs
World record: 3.0 lbs
State Record: 3.62 lbs
World record: 2.4 lbs
State Record: 1.38 lbs
World record: 6.8 lbs
State Record: 6.44 lbs
World record: 4.6 lbs
State Record: 2.0 lbs
World record: 4 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 3.75 lbs
Click the images and links above for species details.
The state record bluegill was taken from Vaughn Lake.
The state record green sunfish came from Kirkwood Lake.
The state record hybrid sunfish came out of Lake Anne.
The state record pumpkinseed sunfish came out of Lake Nepessing.
The state record for redear sunfish came out of Lyon Lake.
The state record rock bass came from Holloway Reservoir.
The state record warmouth was given up by Great Bear Lake.
The state record white bass came from Saginaw Bay.
The state record white perch came from Bear Lake.
The state record yellow perch came from Lake Independence.
One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout Michigan, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.
Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.
The term "panfish" comprises many species, each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.
Bluegill Fishing Basics Video
The core principles shown in this video will work for most sunfish, perch and other panfish.
Sunfish information in other states.
Learn the lifecycle of a panfish
There is a host of panfish anglers can pursue. Visit the panfish fishing page for details on many of these sunfish you might encounter in Michigan fishing waters.