FISH SPECIES targeted on the 'gold' coast of Michigan.
Also known as King Salmon, a well deserved title. They are the most popular sports species to target in Lake Michigan. Their primary source of food is alewives. The King Salmon is a fast growing native to the Ocean, with a 4 year life span. Chinook were first introduced to the Great Lakes in 1968 to control the overpopulated alewives. Kings can be caught year round however August is typically the best month to catch Kings out of the Grand Haven, Michigan port. Typical size is between 6-12 pounds and are excellent on the grill after a long beautiful day on the water. The mature Kings can weigh between 15 and 30 pounds and are as excellent to eat smoked as on the grill. The Michigan State Record is over 46 pounds!
Also called "Jacks", are excellent on the grill over a cedar plank with a typical size of 2-6 pounds. Adult Coho salmon can weigh as much as 8-10 pounds. Like the Kings, Coho are native to the ocean and have been successfully stocked in Lake Michigan since 1966. They too have a 4 year life span. Typically Coho schools are biggest in our area during the spring months of April and May, and occasionally into June if we have a very cold winter. When the Coho migrate to our area, the schools can be large, It is not uncommon to have several Coho on at the same time, especially in the spring when they put their feedbags on. It can be a real circus and a blast on the back deck!
Also called Rainbow Trout, Steelhead are one of the most challenging fish to land in the Great Lakes with their airborne acrobatic maneuvers to spit the hook. Their size varies widely from 2 pounds up to 20 pounds, with a typical size of 6-10 pounds. Steelhead are commonly caught in the summer months from June into the fall. They are excellent baked in the oven.
Also called the Football, Browns can be quite abundant in the early spring when fishing in the shallow waters. Hands down, they are the best eating fish we catch and hands down are the prettiest. They have been in the Great Lakes since 1883. Brown trout size varies greatly from 2 pounds to over 25 pounds with a typical size of 4-8 pounds. Research has shown that Brown trout can live 13 years!
Lake Trout are the only native fish species we target when trolling on Lake Michigan. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife and MDNR have stocked 4 different strains of Lake Trout in Lake Michigan: Lean, Humper, Red Fin, and Siscowet. They typically prefer very cold, deep water, and bite on a slower trolling speed than salmon, but on occasion, we catch them on the surface too! Lake trout is excellent smoked or deep fried.