Michigan

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We are all about Michigan lakes. Life on, in and near Michigan's lakefront brings a richness that rewards for a lifetime. Have a story or comments on your experience? You can be one of the first to share it with the world on our Michigan lake directory.
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When you think of Michigan, you can’t help but think of water and lots of it. Sixty-four thousand nine hundred and eighty inland lakes, according to DNR statistics. Three thousand two hundred and eighty-eight miles of Great Lakes shoreline—or 4,987 miles, if you include all the Michigan islands. As for rivers, don’t ask. You’ll hurt my brain. The point is, this state of ours, surrounded as it is by four of the five Great Lakes, is abundantly blessed with water.

So if you’re a fisherman, it’s a no-brainer that the fishing here is fantastic. Whether you’re a bass pro armed with cutting-edge equipment or a kid hunting for panfish with a cane pole and bobber-whether you enjoy trout fishing in the solitude of a northern stream, or trolling for walleye in the broad waters of Lake Erie, or muscling in steelhead at the Sixth Street dam in Grand Rapids, or prowling the choppy waters of the Keweenaw Bay in search of lake trout–Michigan is unparalleled when it comes to the kinds of fishing you can do and the abundance of fish at your disposal.

Just ask Ben Kroll. Ben lives in Hamilton, but when I ran across him, he was bringing in his boat after a session out on Hall Lake in the Barry County State Game Area. Since my own experience with that location has been limited to an occasional bit of shore fishing, I was curious what Hall Lake had to offer from the vantage of a small craft. Mostly panfish, Ben said. Bass, too, but not big ones. If you like to eat bluegills, though, this is a great lake. Ben told me he likes to fish for ‘gills using a fly instead of live bait. He is first and foremost a fly fisherman, he said, showing me the fly rod and reel he takes with him on the waters along with the rest of his gear.

“So tell me,” I asked, “what do you love about fishing in Michigan?”

“The variety,” Ben replied. “No two lakes are the same. The fishing here isn’t bland. There are a lot of fish, and a lot of ways to fish them.” Ben enjoys all of those ways, but being a fly fisherman at heart, his favorite approach is river fishing. “Steelhead are fine,” he said, “but I’d rather fish for brookies and rainbow trout.”

Holly Woodsworth would agree wholeheartedly with Ben’s love for rivers. When I met her, she was sitting on the bank of the Grand River in Lowell, waiting for a strike on one of the three lines she had in the water. She’s a friendly, gregarious woman, and when I asked her what she loved about fishing in Michigan, her response was immediate. “Lots of fish!” she said. Holly used to live in New Mexico, a state not exactly known for its blue ribbon fishing waters. Here in Michigan, she and her husband and three young daughters can fish to their hearts’ content.

“My dad first took me fishing when I was three years old,” she told me. She’s been at it ever since. “Fishing is so relaxing and calming, especially here on the river,” she said.

To me, Holly was perfect proof that you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to enjoy a day of fishing. Her setup consisted of three good, old-fashioned close-faced reels, and while I didn’t ask, I’m almost certain they weren’t matched up with $300 Loomis rods. But what caught my eye was the rig she was using to prop up her poles while she waited for a strike: a stout branch stuck in the ground, with a perfect right angle to it that supported Holly’s poles perfectly.

Earlier that day, the family had been fishing up the road a few miles on the Flat River. Holly’s husband had left his pole momentarily, and when he turned around, it was disappearing into the water. Naturally, he did what any smart, sane outdoorsman would have done and waded in after it. Grabbing his pole, he discovered that a fish was on the other end. A BIG fish. After a brief but intense battle, he hauled in an immense sucker–not necessarily the specialty of a river loaded with smallmouth bass, panfish, and trout, but what the heck. You take what you get, have fun with it, and then release it if it’s not what you’re looking for. Not everything has to end up in the frying pan.

If you love to fish, then I need not tell you what a paradise Michigan is for pursuing your passion. But you can probably tell me. What is it about fishing in Michigan that you love? If you’d like to share your thoughts, your knowledge, a favorite fishing tale, or whatever, please drop us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

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Written by Dave.