Navigation Home - AA-Fishing Lakes Fish

Trout Fishing In Michigan

Pick A LakePick A SpeciesPick A State

Guide to fishing for rainbow, brook, brown and lake trout in local lakes and streams.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Trout fishing in Michigan

Michigan is a haven for trout fishing enthusiasts, offering a wealth of opportunities to pursue various trout species in its pristine lakes and rivers. The state is home to three primary trout species: brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about trout fishing and identify trout fishing waters in the state.

Brown trout are highly sought after by anglers due to their impressive size and challenging nature. They can be found in both lakes and rivers throughout Michigan. Rivers like the Au Sable, Manistee, and Pere Marquette are renowned for their brown trout populations, while lakes such as Lake Michigan and Lake Huron also offer excellent opportunities for brown trout fishing. The state record for brown trout in Michigan stands at an impressive weight of over 41 pounds.

Rainbow trout, known for their vibrant colors and acrobatic fights, are another popular trout species found in Michigan. These fish can be caught in lakes and rivers, with the Great Lakes tributaries providing exceptional fishing opportunities. Rivers like the Boardman and Betsie are famous for their rainbow trout populations, attracting anglers with their impressive size and feisty behavior. The state record for rainbow trout in Michigan is over 20 pounds.

Brook trout, Michigan's only native trout species, hold a special place in the hearts of many anglers. These beautifully colored fish are commonly found in small, remote streams and coldwater lakes. Michigan's Upper Peninsula, particularly areas like the Pigeon River Country State Forest, offers pristine habitats for brook trout fishing. The state record for brook trout in Michigan is over six pounds.

Lake trout grow big in many michigan lakes and the great lakes surrounding the state. Higgins Lake is one example where big lake trout are caught year round. Torch Lake, Elk Lake and Crystal Lake are also notorious lake trout waters. Smelt, alewives, gobies and ciscoes are a good choice for live bait as they are a primary food source for lake trout which are known to feed on baitfish. Artificial lures, mimicking these baitfish, can be trolled with success as well.

Michigan is also known for its "trophy waters," designated streams and rivers managed to produce large trout. These areas, such as the famous section of the Au Sable River known as the "Holy Waters," are carefully regulated to ensure the growth of trophy-sized trout. Anglers seeking trophy trout often flock to these areas, where they can challenge themselves with fly fishing techniques and have a chance at catching record-breaking fish.

Trout fishing in Michigan is not just limited to rivers and streams. The state's lakes, including the Great Lakes and their tributaries, provide exceptional opportunities for trout fishing. Whether trolling for trout in the open water of the Great Lakes or targeting them in the mouths of rivers and streams, anglers have a wide range of options to explore.

Michigan maintains records for trophy-sized fish caught in the state, including trout species. Anglers have the opportunity to pursue state records, whether for brown trout, rainbow trout, or brook trout, and strive to break the existing records.

With its diverse trout species, pristine lakes, and beautiful rivers, Michigan offers an outstanding trout fishing experience. Anglers can immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the state while pursuing their favorite trout species, whether casting in rivers, trolling in lakes, or fly fishing in remote streams. The thrill of catching trophy trout and the chance to break state records make trout fishing in Michigan an unforgettable adventure for anglers of all levels.

Trout Waters

Cold, clear water creates ideal conditions for trout. And, Michigan has lots of it, including ice fishing options. Aside from the rivers and streams containing trout there are quite a number of larger lakes with healthy trout populations. These lakes include Black Lake, Brevoort Lake, Burt Lake, Crystal Lake, Elk Lake, Glen Lake, Indian Lake, Lake Charlevoix, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Leelanau, Lake Michigamme, Lake Michigan, Lake St Clair, Lake Superior, Manistique Lake, Mullett Lake, Torch Lake and Wixom Lake.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Michigan

Trout Species In The State

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 26.5 lbs

Brook Trout

Brook trout

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 9.5 lbs

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 41.45 lbs

Lake Trout

Lake trout

World record: 72 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 61.5 lbs

Click the images and links above for species details.

Select the best trout lures and baits

Trout spinners, crankbaits and jerkbaits work well for shallow, reasonably active fish. Live bait, Salmon eggs, worms and prepared baits will work at virtually all depths.

Michigan Record Trout

The state record rainbow trout came out of Lake Michigan.

The state record brook trout was taken out of Clear Lake.

The state record for brown trout came from the Manistee River.

The state record for lake trout was served by Lake Superior.

Brown Trout
Brown trout being released.

The 5 primary trouts are the rainbow, brook, brown, cutthroat and lake trout. Browns are considered the most difficult to catch and brookies are the easiest. Pure cold water is key to survival of the trouts.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources stock trout in waters across the state. Visit their website for details and information regarding trout stockings in Michigan.

Watch trout fishing videos to see trout anglers in action.

Additional trout information

Trout Conservation
Trout Unlimited


Trout locations and info, by state.

AK Trout Fishing AL Trout Fishing AR Trout Fishing AZ Trout Fishing CA Trout Fishing CO Trout Fishing CT Trout Fishing DE Trout Fishing GA Trout Fishing HI Trout Fishing IA Trout Fishing ID Trout Fishing
IL Trout Fishing IN Trout Fishing KS Trout Fishing KY Trout Fishing MA Trout Fishing MD Trout Fishing ME Trout Fishing MI Trout Fishing MN Trout Fishing MO Trout Fishing MS Trout Fishing MT Trout Fishing
NC Trout Fishing ND Trout Fishing NE Trout Fishing NH Trout Fishing NJ Trout Fishing NM Trout Fishing NV Trout Fishing NY Trout Fishing OH Trout Fishing OK Trout Fishing OR Trout Fishing PA Trout Fishing
RI Trout Fishing SC Trout Fishing SD Trout Fishing TN Trout Fishing TX Trout Fishing UT Trout Fishing VA Trout Fishing VT Trout Fishing WA Trout Fishing WI Trout Fishing WV Trout Fishing WY Trout Fishing

The habits of trout.

Trout are considered some of the most difficult fish to fool. Once you locate Michigan waters with a population of trout, the challenge becomes identifying trout flies and lures that will trigger strikes. Visit the trout fishing page to learn more about the habitat each of the trouts prefer.