Michigan boasts a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with its abundance of rivers and streams. When it comes to trout fishing, Michigan’s crystal-clear waters and trout population make it a top destination. There’s a lot to unpack, so we’ve compiled a list of 5 trout streams in Michigan that offer unparalleled fishing experiences for all outdoor enthusiasts.
Yeah, we know there’s more than five…but you gotta start somewhere.
Au Sable River
With its extensive stretch of water, the Au Sable River is a haven for anglers—and exceptionally well known for trout. There are several great spots along the river, each offering a unique experience and challenge. Holy Waters, renowned for its’ healthy population of trout, is a popular spot for fly and catch and release. Be warned, however, as the fishing here can be a challenge due to wary trout. But the reward is often worth the wait.
Also check out Foote Dam Pond, Smith Bridge, Five Channels Dam and Harbor Springs for other opportunities in the area.
Known for its fast currents and challenging fishing conditions, the Boardman River is a favorite among seasoned anglers. Head to Upper Boardman for opportunities with Brown and Brook Trout, Middle Boardman for a mix of wading and boat fishing, or Lower Boardman near Traverse City and Lake Michigan, which offers a chance at Steelhead and Salmon, too.
You can also explore nearby hiking trails while enjoying your fishing adventure, an added bonus for nature lovers.
For those seeking a diverse trout population, the Manistee River is the spot. Brown, brook, and rainbow trout are plentiful year round. The river also offers campsites and picnic areas for a complete weekend fishing trip. Upper Manistee has excellent brown and brook trout populations, as well as steelhead and salmon during their runs. Middle Manistee offers more opportunity in the colder months, while lower Manistee is famous more for its steelhead and salmon—great for those seeking some larger catch.
Ideal for beginners, the Rifle River provides an excellent fishing experience in a family-friendly environment. While known more for its warm-water species like smallmouth bass and panfish, it does offer some trout fishing opportunities. Look for deeper pools and slow-moving sections.
Considered one of Michigan’s top fly-fishing spots, the Jordan River boasts pristine waters for angling enthusiasts. Easy access points and navigable waters make it a great choice for both beginners and seasoned fishers. Head up to the northern parts of this river to find plenty of brook, brown, and rainbow trout.
Michigan is a state that embraces outdoor adventures, and trout fishing is a must-try experience. With its vast network of rivers and streams, Michigan caters to all types of anglers.
Every state and region have different guidelines for freshwater fishing, such as size and quantity limits, seasons, and licenses. Make sure you know the rules before heading out on your trip to avoid any legal issues.