Discover Michigan: Go online before casting your line this summer

By: Jennifer Sigouin | C&G Newspapers | Published June 6, 2017

 The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers a web-based Trout Trails app for detailed information on Michigan’s trout streams and rivers. Find it at

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers a web-based Trout Trails app for detailed information on Michigan’s trout streams and rivers. Find it at

Photo provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources


METRO DETROIT — Michigan is home to more than 11,000 inland lakes and 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, making it an angler’s paradise. But with all that water, how do you choose the perfect fishing spot?

With the fishing season officially underway, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has plenty of tips to guide anglers to optimal fishing locations. One helpful tool is the DNR’s Trout Trails app at 

Trout Trails is an interactive tool that offers detailed information on nearly 300 trout streams and lakes across the state. The app is web-based rather than downloadable, and can be viewed on all types of electronic devices. 

“I think what anglers will find most useful is the fact all this different type of information is condensed into one spot,” said Michigan DNR Communications Specialist Elyse Walter. “Each listing within the Trout Trails app provides details regarding what trout species can be found there, and specifics related to the size of fish you might find there and whether they’ve been stocked or not.” 

She added that individual listings also include information on stream and river conditions, local trails, the type of bait to use, directions on how to get to each location, fishing regulations that may apply, and a link to local visitor information.

“We have been expanding the Trout Trails app every year since it was launched in 2015,” Walter added. “The goal of the Trout Trails app is to cover every corner of the state, and we are well on our way to doing so.”

Beyond trout, the DNR also offers a wealth of broader fishing tips on its website, From there, anglers can view the Weekly Fishing Report, which is published every Thursday and provides an overview of the past week’s fishing conditions by region. The website also lists information on fishing regulations, including licensing, season dates, and size and possession limits. 

In addition, Walter encourages anglers to sign up for the DNR’s email distribution list while they’re on the website in order to get the most up-to-date information sent right to their inboxes. 

“Whether it’s our quarterly publication that highlights opportunities, or our monthly email full of information geared towards new anglers, there’s no shortage to the things we’re doing to try and share resources with others,” she said. 

Because conditions are always changing, Walter also advises anglers to get to know the local experts, such as fishing guides or bait shop owners, near their favorite fishing locations. 

“Hot spots are dependent on a variety of factors, including where you want to fish, when you want to fish and what you want to fish for,” she said. “While fishing is a popular activity in Michigan, it can also change on a dime. It can be useful to cultivate relationships in the area an angler is interested in fishing to gain insight to help them have a successful trip.”


Share your fishing story

Those who have spent time fishing in Michigan often share memories of their adventures, from reeling in that hard-to-catch whopper or lamenting the one that got away. 

The Michigan Economic Development Corp., which oversees the Pure Michigan campaign, wants anglers to share those stories for a chance to win the ultimate Pure Michigan fishing trip, including a two-night hotel stay in the Great Lakes Bay region; an all-day charter for two, escorted by professional fisherman Mark Martin; a $100 gift certificate to Cabela’s; and a $50 gift certificate to Frank’s Great Outdoors. 

“In Michigan, you’re never more than 6 miles from a body of water, so there are abundant  opportunities for everyone to enjoy fishing,” DNR Director Keith Creagh stated in a press release. “Sharing your story is a fantastic way to encourage others to pick up a fishing pole — and a friend or family member — and experience Michigan’s magnificent lakes and streams.”

Submissions must be original stories, in 150 words or less, of fishing experiences that happened in Michigan. The deadline to enter is June 30. For complete contest rules and to upload a story, visit

Our Discover Michigan series explores Michigan’s most road trip-worthy destinations and events. Where’s your favorite place to travel in the mitten? Leave us a comment or email We may use your suggestion in an upcoming feature.

Free fishing weekend
Michigan requires all anglers to have a valid fishing license, but if you don’t have one, you can still test the waters during Free Fishing Weekend June 10-11.

Free Fishing Weekend, which is open to both Michigan residents and nonresidents, encourages those without a license to enjoy fishing on any of the state’s lakes, rivers or streams. During the weekend, the DNR will waive the regular Recreation Passport entry fees for vehicles at state parks and recreation areas.

“Being outdoors and enjoying Michigan’s world-class fisheries never gets old,” DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter stated in a press release. “We encourage avid anglers to consider inviting a new angler out for this year’s summer Free Fishing Weekend to show them how simple and fun it can be.”

For more information — including a list of special events being held in conjunction with Free Fishing Weekend — visit