The Best Dock Fishing Spots across the Mitten

The Best Dock Fishing Spots across the Mitten

While Michigan has enough lakes to accommodate nearly any size boat, fishing isn’t just for those out on the open water. From Lake Michigan to Lake St. Clair to Lake Superior, and everywhere in between, our state also features an abundance of dock fishing and shoreline fishing spots that can be just as good for casting and catching.

Dock Fishing from Muskegon Pier. Photo by Michele Eichstead
Dock Fishing from Muskegon Pier. Photo by Michele Eichstead

Muskegon is home to many piers for visitors and residents. The early morning or evening hours, around two hours before dark, are usually the best times to fish on the Muskegon Pier or Muskegon Lake. Bluegill, bass and walleye are the most valuable catches, and most of them can be caught with nothing more than earthworms in the summer months.

Brighton has a well-known spot for dock fishing in Mill Pond, right downtown. Some fishing buddies tell me that the best spot to get some action is on the boardwalk near city hall. Catfish, largemouth, bluegill and even a turtle may grace your line if you’re using live bait.

Houghton is home to Otter Lake Dam, which offers some great bank fishing. On a nice day, you’ll find locals crowded all the way from the walkway to the dam. All types of fish are caught here, from bass to bluegill to trout and pike, usually using minnows or artificial bait.

Alpena had one of the first fishing villages of the state on Thunder Bay Island, and fishing has always been one of the area’s specialties. The Thunder Bay River, which cuts right through the city, offers unique shoreline fishing for trout and other species as you wade farther from downtown. But you don’t have to stay in that area to get a good bite. Just a short drive south you’ll find Hubbard Lake — home to perch, bass, pike and more — which has become a hot spot for family vacations with dock fishing right at the camp sites.

Leelanau might be one of the best areas in Michigan to go walleye fishing. The docks and shoreline off of Lake Shore Drive, along the area of Lake Leelanau called The Narrows, has been a hot bed for walleye following the implanting back in 2012. The lake is self-sustaining and a perfect habitat for walleye, because of the abundance of forage and insects. In this location, using crankbaits and stickbaits on summer evenings almost guarantees a catch.

Clare is one of the most inland options, but what it may lack in Great Lakes access is made up for with great shore and dock fishing. Being close to a college community, there are a lot of new anglers testing the waters from the banks. Deerfield Park off M20 offers a pond and river system that is open year-round for reeling in crappie, walleye, bass and pike.

Nighttime Dock Fishing in Brighton. Photo by Michele Eichstead
Nighttime Dock Fishing in Brighton. Photo by Michele Eichstead

These are just a handful of amazing locations within our great state where you can test your skills.

Remember, being silent is just as important on land as it is on the water. Fish feel vibrations and can be scared away if you are have loud equipment or footsteps. Light feet create big bites!

Dock fishing can be a great start for our young anglers. Starting on land will give the beginner an idea of how they cast, what baits work and what doesn’t.

You do not need a fishing license under the age of 17 in the state of Michigan to dock or boat fish. For more information, visit michigan.gov/dnr

Where are your favorite shoreline or dock fishing spots in Michigan? Let us know in the comments!