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Michigan Panfish Fishing

All about fishing for sunfish in MI lakes and ponds.

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Throughout the state of Michigan 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.

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 Fishing Lakes In Michigan

The larger bodies of water in Michigan generally serve up the biggest stringers of panfish. These lakes include Black Lake, Brevort 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.


The Michigan state record bluegill was taken from Vaughn Lake. The state record green sunfish came from Kirkwood Lake. The state record tie for hybrid sunfish came out of Arbutus Lake and Doans Lake. The MI state record for pumpkinseed sunfish came out of Baw Beese Lake. Thompson Lake yielded the state record for redear sunfish. The state record warmouth was given up by Great Bear Lake. Independence Lake was home to the state record yellow perch and the MI record white perch came from Huron Lake.

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 list of panfish is comprised of many fishes each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.

Fishing for panfish in Michigan



World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

MI State Record: 2 lbs 12 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.1 lbs

MI State Record: 1 lbs 8 oz

Hybrid Sunfish

Hybrid sunfish

World record: N/A

MI State Record: 1 lbs 6 oz

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Pumpkinseed sunfish

World record: 2 lbs 4 oz

MI State Record: 1 lbs 5 oz

Redear Sunfish

Redear sunfish

World record: 5.4 lbs

MI State Record: 1 lbs 15 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

MI State Record: 3 lbs 9 oz



World record: 2.4 lbs

MI State Record: 1 lbs 6 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

MI State Record: 6 lbs 12 oz

White Perch

White perch

World record: 4.6 lbs

MI State Record: 1 lbs 14 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

MI State Record: 3 lbs 12 oz

By clicking on the images and links above, you will be taken to a page offering more information about the selected species.

Panfish fishing information for 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. The panfish fishing videos offer a first hand look a anglers catching panfish.

Contribute MI Sunfish Fishing Knowledge

If you have information, articles or photos relating to panfish fishing in Michigan, which you would like to see published here, please submit them for consideration.

Best panfish fishing lakes in Michigan!