Top Kayak Fishing Spots in Michigan

Top Kayak Fishing Spots in MichiganMichigan is a kayaker’s paradise with its vast freshwater coastline, inland lakes, and trout-filled rivers. Kayaking has become one of the fastest-growing recreational activities in the state. This article will highlight the top 14 kayak fishing spots in Michigan, providing anglers with the perfect locations to unleash their passion for fishing in the scenic waterways of the Great Lake State.

Kayaking (And Fishing) Laws & Regulations: Things To Be Aware Of When Kayaking In Michigan

Before heading out to the kayak fishing spots, it is essential to be aware of Michigan’s kayaking laws and fishing regulations. Understanding these rules ensures a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.

In Michigan, you do not need a license to operate a paddle-propelled kayak or a motorized kayak with a trolling motor of no more than 6 horsepower. However, all vessels must be equipped with US Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs). These PFDs are crucial for your safety while kayaking and fishing.

Additionally, motorized vessels need to be registered with the Michigan Department of State. This registration ensures that your kayak is properly identified and compliant with state regulations.

Anglers aged 17 and older are required to have a fishing license in Michigan. You can easily obtain a fishing license online or from licensed retailers. Having a fishing license allows you to legally catch fish and enjoy your kayak fishing adventures in Michigan.

The table below provides a summary of the kayaking laws and fishing regulations in Michigan:

Kayaking Laws Fishing Regulations
No license required for paddle-propelled kayaks Fishing license required for anglers aged 17 and older
No license required for motorized kayaks with trolling motors of 6 horsepower or less Motorized vessels need to be registered with the Michigan Department of State
All vessels must be equipped with US Coast Guard-approved PFDs

By adhering to these kayaking laws and fishing regulations in Michigan, you can fully enjoy the beauty of the state’s waterways while ensuring your safety and compliance with state requirements.

Au Sable River: A Scenic Haven for Kayak Camping and Trout Fishing

The Au Sable River in Michigan’s northern lower peninsula is a true gem for kayak fishing enthusiasts. With its stunning scenery and abundant wildlife, this picturesque river offers the perfect backdrop for a kayak camping adventure. Stretching over 130 miles, the Au Sable River provides ample opportunities for anglers to cast their lines and reel in the highly sought-after trout.

One of the highlights of the Au Sable River is its milder whitewater rapids, which add an element of thrill to the paddling experience. As you navigate the river’s twists and turns, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of untouched wilderness. The scenic beauty of the Au Sable River is truly a sight to behold, making it a favorite destination for nature lovers and photographers alike.

Trout Fishing in the Au Sable River

The Au Sable River is renowned for its excellent trout fishing opportunities. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of trout species, including rainbow, brown, and brook trout. The river’s crystal-clear waters and diverse habitat provide ideal conditions for trout to thrive. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner trying your hand at fishing, the Au Sable River offers a memorable and rewarding experience.

Key Features of Au Sable River Highlights
Scenic Beauty Breathtaking views and untouched wilderness
Kayak Camping Opportunity to combine fishing and camping adventures
Trout Fishing Varied trout species and excellent fishing conditions
Milder Whitewater Rapids Thrilling paddling experience

Whether you’re seeking solitude in nature, an exciting paddling adventure, or the thrill of trout fishing, the Au Sable River offers it all. Plan your kayak camping trip to this scenic river and immerse yourself in the beauty of Michigan’s great outdoors.

2. Two-Hearted River

The Two-Hearted River is a hidden gem for beginner paddlers looking for a tranquil kayaking and fishing experience. Located in Michigan’s upper peninsula, this scenic river offers stunning natural beauty that will take your breath away. With its calm waters and minimal rapids, it provides the perfect setting for those new to kayaking.

One of the main attractions of the Two-Hearted River is its abundant population of salmon and steelhead. These prized fish species can be found in the river, providing anglers with an exciting opportunity to catch some trophy-sized fish. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, the Two-Hearted River offers a rewarding fishing experience for all skill levels.

In addition to its fishing opportunities, the Two-Hearted River is also known for its connection to literature. It was made famous by Ernest Hemingway in his short story “Big Two-Hearted River.” As you paddle along the river, you can immerse yourself in the same natural beauty that inspired one of America’s greatest writers.

Table: Top Species to Catch in Two-Hearted River

Fish Species Best Time to Catch Fishing Techniques
Salmon August to October Spinners, spoons, and flies
Steelhead March to May Floating beads, spawn bags, and jigs
Brook Trout All year round Small jigs, spinners, and worms

As you venture down the Two-Hearted River, take the time to appreciate the stunning scenery and unique wildlife that surrounds you. This river is not just a fishing destination but also a place to reconnect with nature and create lasting memories.

Whether you’re a beginner paddler or an experienced angler, the Two-Hearted River in Michigan’s upper peninsula is an idyllic spot to enjoy the serenity of nature and the thrill of fishing.

3. Grand River

The Grand River is the longest waterway in Michigan, spanning an impressive 252 miles from its headwaters near Jackson to Lake Michigan. This expansive river offers kayak fishing enthusiasts the perfect opportunity for multi-day excursions, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the beauty of Michigan’s scenic waterways. As you navigate along the Grand River, you’ll encounter a variety of ecosystems and captivating landscapes, providing a truly unforgettable experience.

One of the highlights of kayaking on the Grand River is the chance to explore several towns along its route, including the bustling city of Lansing and the charming coastal town of Grand Haven. These towns offer unique attractions and amenities, allowing kayakers to take a break from their adventurous journey and immerse themselves in local culture and cuisine.

While the Grand River provides a fantastic kayaking experience, it’s important to note that some sections of the river are equipped with low-head dams, which can pose hazards for kayakers. Therefore, it is crucial to exercise caution and be aware of these potential dangers. However, there are plenty of picturesque sections of the Grand River that are safe and perfect for kayak fishing, allowing you to enjoy the serenity of nature and the thrill of angling in one exhilarating package.

Table: Key Facts about the Grand River

Length 252 miles
Headwaters Near Jackson, Michigan
Destination Lake Michigan
Towns Along the Way Lansing, Grand Haven, and more
Highlights Multi-day excursions, diverse ecosystems, picturesque sections


Michigan is undeniably a haven for kayak fishing enthusiasts. With its vast freshwater coastline, inland lakes, and trout-filled rivers, the state offers a variety of settings for anglers to explore. Whether you prefer the tranquility of a scenic river or the thrill of casting your line in the Great Lakes, Michigan has it all.

One of the unique aspects of kayak fishing in Michigan is the opportunity to target a diverse range of fish species. From trout and salmon to bass and walleye, there is no shortage of options for anglers seeking different challenges. The abundance of fish in Michigan’s waters ensures that kayak fishing enthusiasts can enjoy productive and exciting outings.

What sets kayak fishing apart is the opportunity to experience the beauty of Michigan’s waterways up close and personal. From the serenity of a peaceful lake to the rushing rapids of a river, kayakers can immerse themselves in the stunning natural surroundings. Being able to navigate through diverse settings adds to the allure of kayak fishing in Michigan.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, Michigan’s kayak fishing spots offer something for everyone. Discover the joys of casting your line from a kayak and enjoy the thrill of reeling in your catch surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Pack your gear, prepare your kayak, and embark on an unforgettable kayak fishing adventure in the scenic and fish-filled waters of Michigan.

Richard Dodds

Leave a Comment