Guide To Michigan Walleye Fishing
Walleye & Sauger Lakes & Rivers In MI
Michigan is a premier destination for walleye fishing, offering anglers ample opportunities to pursue this prized gamefish in its lakes and rivers. Walleye, known for their delicious flesh and challenging nature, are highly sought after by both recreational and professional anglers.
Michigan's Great Lakes, particularly Lake Erie and Lake Huron, are renowned for their exceptional walleye fisheries. Anglers flock to these vast bodies of water to target walleye, utilizing various techniques such as trolling, casting, or jigging. The productive waters of the Great Lakes provide optimal conditions for walleye growth, resulting in robust populations and the chance to catch trophy-sized fish. The state record for walleye in Michigan stands at over 17 pounds.
In addition to the Great Lakes, Michigan's inland lakes and rivers offer excellent walleye fishing opportunities. Popular walleye destinations include the Detroit River, Saginaw Bay, Lake St. Clair, and the Muskegon River. These waters provide diverse habitats where walleye can be found, from rocky structures to submerged vegetation or deep channels. Anglers employ a variety of techniques such as drifting with live bait, jigging, or using crankbaits to entice walleye strikes.
Michigan's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) actively manages walleye populations to ensure their sustainability and maintain healthy fisheries. Size limits, bag limits, and specific regulations are in place to protect the walleye population and enhance the overall fishing experience for anglers.
Michigan's walleye fishing offers a thrilling and rewarding experience for anglers of all skill levels. Whether casting from a boat on the Great Lakes, wading in a river, or ice fishing during the winter months, anglers have a range of opportunities to pursue walleye throughout the year. The chance to catch trophy-sized fish and the abundance of fishing hotspots make Michigan a top destination for walleye enthusiasts. So grab your fishing gear, explore the lakes and rivers of Michigan, and get ready for an exciting walleye fishing adventure in the Great Lakes State.
Residents in MI are blessed with plenty of water with populations of walleye. Some of the major impoundments include Black Lake, Brevoort Lake, Burt Lake, Crystal Lake, Elk 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. Review popular lakes for ice fishing in winter.
Walleye prefer moderately deep lakes with gravel, rock or sandy bottoms. It is found primarily in cold water lakes but has proven to survive in warmer impoundments. It is prized for its great tasting filets. Click here to learn all about walleye fishing.
Michigan walleye spawn in spring and when they have the option will choose to migrate from the lake up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.
The Michigan state record walleye was landed out of Pine River, and the state record sauger came from Torch Lake.
World record: 25 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 17 lbs 3 oz
World record: 17 lbs 7 oz
State Record: 6 lbs 9 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
Top lures for walleye in Michigan
Jigs with a variety of trailers and bait work well in virtually any depth water. When walleyes are shallow, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and rip baits are the often very productive. As they move deeper, ice jigs and spoons are ideal for active walleye. Understanding the seasonal movements of walleyes can enhance your chances of selecting the right lures for conditions on local waters.
Fishing For Walleye
This toothy fish will eat virtually anything it can catch and get in its mouth. They prefer small fish and will eat crustaceans, worms and insects. They tend to be somewhat wary and prefer the safety of deeper darker water. Trolling for walleye with deep diving crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinners and live bait provides a way to cover vast areas and locate concentrations of fish. Use of planer boards allows anglers to cover water out both sides of the boat while trolling. Try fishing for walleye from sundown to midnight, particularly during the heat of summer.
Walleye spawn in spring and when they have the option will choose to migrate from the lake up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.
Fishing For Sauger
Closely related to the walleye and similar in appearance, sauger are generally smaller than walleye, reaching 4 to 5 pounds (or more) and up to about 20 inches. Often found in muddier rivers, it thrives in larger, silty lakes. They spawn in the shallows at night, without creating or guarding specific nests.
Watch this video for walleye tips and tactics.
Trolling for walleye from a properly rigged fishing boat.
Also find information about walleye, sauger or saugeye fishing in these states.
Learn the migration patterns of walleye
Walleye become active in spring and begin the spawning process in medium-depth water. As summer arrives they move to deeper, cooler water. In fall walleye migrate into shallower water again and feed aggressively preparing for their move to deeper water where they will spend winter.