Collectively the Great Lakes create the largest body of freshwater on the planet. Together they make up one-fifth of all the freshwater in the world. And with all that water comes a whole lot of fish!
From west to east the Great Lakes are: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario. A mnemonic device to help remember is Super Man Helps Every One. Or, you can use the more familiar HOMES: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. As long as you remember there are five Great Lakes, they are connected, and all have fantastic fishing grounds for you and your family.
Let’s start with the most northern lake: Lake Superior. It’s also the largest, coldest, and most dangerous. You’ll need experience before fishing this lake, so it’s best to hire a local professional guide your first few trips. Lake Superior fishing guides can make sure you’re getting to the good fishing grounds and bringing home fish. And you’re gaining experience to be able to go out on your own. While the majority of the lake isn’t great for fishing, the Michigan shoreline is a great place to start. Or check out Isle Royale National Park, an island near the Canadian border. Lake Superior offers anglers walleye, chinook salmon, coho salmon, atlantic salmon, lake trout, brown trout, and steelhead.
South of Lake Superior is Lake Michigan. Yes, Michigan is along the eastern shore of the lake, but other states around the lake include Indiana, Illinois to the south, and Wisconsin on the west coast. There are several ferries that cross the lake taking anywhere from two to four hours, depending on your launch and arrival ports. Lake Michigan is almost as large as West Virginia with over 22,000 square miles of surface area. But it’s what beneath the surface that has us most interested. Anglers fishing Lake Michigan enjoy the variety available here; among the fish you can catch are chinook salmon, coho salmon, brown trout, brook trout, lake trout, and rainbow trout (also known as steelhead).
Lake Huron is next, with the longest shoreline of any Great Lake (more than 3,800 miles). Georgian Bay is an extension of Lake Huron, almost a third of Lake Huron’s surface area. If Georgian Bay was on its own it would easily be listed among the 20 largest freshwater lakes in the world. The best part of fishing Lake Huron? You can fish this lake twelve months of the year. Just plan on a little ice fishing once the lake freezes over. Other times you can find anglers trolling, sight casting, and bottom fishing for a variety of fish. Walleye and perch will bite any time of the year, while other seasons will vary in what’s available. Depending on when you’re fishing you can catch lake trout, brown trout, northern pike, chinook salmon, and smallmouth bass.
Follow the Detroit River south through Lake St. Clair (an unofficial part of the Great Lakes system), to get to Lake Erie. While it’s one of the smaller lakes, Lake Erie accounts for 50% of all Great Lakes fisheries. This is due to the unique topography; Lake Erie is more shallow than the other Great Lakes, and therefore the water temperatures stay mild, allowing for plankton to survive and fish of all sizes to eat throughout the year. Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York all have access to this popular lake. Walleye is the go-to species in the western basin near Ohio, while smallmouth bass gain the most attention on the eastern, New York shores. Other fish found throughout Lake Erie include walleye, perch, sturgeon, pike, trout, salmon, and steelhead, just to name a few.
Lake Ontario may be the smallest of the Great Lakes, but it’s known for its large fish! New York is located on the southside of Lake Ontario, while the Canadian Province of Quebec is to the north. Toronto is located just across the lake from New York, and the famous Niagara Falls is around the corner on the Niagara River. Other nearby rivers include Don River, Humber River, Black River, and Salmon River. All provide fantastic fishing grounds as they feed into the lake. And while the lake may be small, expect to see some of the largest king salmon you’ve ever seen. Other species include brown trout, lake trout, steelhead, walleye, muskies, and more.
If you’re near the Great Lakes, we highly recommend planning for a day of fishing. There’s nothing quite like freshwater fishing with a professional guide, and you’re sure to make memories as you’re reeling in your catch. No matter where you are, a local and professional guide is ready to take your family on a charter. With FishAnywhere.com you can search local Great Lakes charters, find the best one that fits your criteria, and reserve a trip with as little as 10% deposit. You don’t need any experience when fishing the Great Lakes; just have a great attitude and enthusiasm for some of the best fishing of your life!