Fishing in Grand Rapids

Field & Stream Magazine named Grand Rapids the nation’s 6th best fishing city. You can cast your line in the Grand River that runs through downtown, try your luck in dozens of outlying rivers and lakes, or charter a boat to fish the coastal waters of Lake Michigan.

ideas for fishing

Fish Species

The Grand River is home to many species, including steelhead, salmon, smallmouth bass, lake trout, coho, skamania, catfish, bass and walleye. Nearby waters add bluegill, bullhead, carp, crappie, sunfish, northern pike, muskie, perch and whitefish to the list. Check the Michigan DNR's Weekly Fishing Report (click Southwest Lower Peninsula) or, for information specific to the Grand Rapids area, the Werkman Outfitter's Fishing Report.

Public Fishing

You’re never more than six miles away from a body of water in West Michigan – and many of them are open to the public for fishing.

  • Big Pine IslandBig WabasisCampauLimeLincolnMurray and Myers are popular lake choices.
  • Bass LakeBear CreekPickerel Lake and Reeds Lake offer family-friendly amenities like bathrooms and playgrounds in addition to from-shore fishing.
  • The Grand River, Rogue River, Flat River, Muskegon River and Pere Marquette are all excellent fishing rivers.
  • You can fish Lake Michigan off piers in Holland, Grand Haven and Muskegon, or charter a boat to head offshore.

Fishing Equipment

Get all the gear at Cabela’s. Fly fishers can get outfitted at Great Lakes Fly Fishing CompanyNomad Anglers, and Orvis.

Fishing Licenses

A license is required for everyone 17 years of age or older. Visitors can obtain a 24-hour or 72-hour license at bait and tackle shops and Meijer stores around town, or purchase one online.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for even more fishing info.

Ice Fishing

Fishing is an all-season sport in Grand Rapids. Once winter ice sets in, anglers head to frozen inland lakes and river bayous to indulge in what may be the coolest sport of all. Reeds Lake, just steps from the (warm) restaurants and shops of East Grand Rapids, is dotted with ice shanties during the snowy season. Local devotees also trade whispers of their success on Camp LakeCranberry LakeLime Lake and Long Lake – all within 20 minutes of downtown. Need some advice from a local expert ?

Winter Fishing on the Grand River
Winter Fishing on the Grand River

Fishing on the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids - in warm and colder weather.

Photo by Shafi Subhan/Bryan Esler Photo for EXGR

Charter Fishing

Whether you're into sport fishing on Lake Michigan or rather explore the local rivers, there are different options for both.

Explore Michigan's Outdoors

Whether you’re a camper, boater, hiker, angler, mountain biker, birder, ORV enthusiast or are interested in one of our state’s many other recreation opportunities – there’s no better time to get outside and explore Michigan's outdoors and fishing opportunities.