By MATT DEYOUNG
If there’s one thing that the Tri-Cities boasts plenty of, it’s water.
And, as luck would have it, our rivers and lakes are teeming with fish.
While booking a trip on a local charter fishing boat is the best way to guarantee success, there are also plenty of hot spots to fish without leaving shore.
1. The Grand Haven piers
The south pier is accessible at the Grand Haven State Park while the north pier can be accessed via a parking lot at the end of North Shore Drive. At different times of the year, several species are available to catch off the piers. Salmon, steelhead, brown trout and whitefish can be caught during the spring and fall, when water temperatures are cooler. During the warmer summer months, anglers can try their luck fishing for bass, catfish and sheepshead in the waters of the Grand River. The Lake Michigan side of the piers offers the chance to catch perch, which at times school around the edges of the structures.
2. Spring Lake bridges
Spring Lake is a large body of water with several small bayous jutting off the main lake, and many of these bayous are bisected by bridges. These are popular spots to fish for crappies, bluegills and other panfish, as well as bass. Good spots to try include the Petty’s Bayou bridge, located along North Fruitport Road, and the Lloyd’s Bayou bridge, located on Leonard Road.
3. Pottawattomie Park, 15600 Comstock St., Grand Haven Township.
This popular park features a large floating dock, which juts out into Pottawattomie Bayou and offers a great spot for fishing. Bluegills and sunfish, bass and pike can all be caught off the floating dock, or by wandering the shoreline.
4. Grand River bayous, Grand Haven Township
Follow Mercury Drive east out of town to find a trio of bridges that offer the chance to catch a little bit of everything. The first bridge you’ll reach is at Pottawattomie Bayou, followed by Millhouse and Sterns bayous. Parking can be a challenge at each of these spots, but the shallow water here warms up quickly. Bass and bluegills are the most readily available fish to catch along these access points.
5. Bass River Recreation Area, Robinson Township
Follow Mercury Drive east out of town and follow it as it becomes Green, then North Cedar. The road eventually dead-ends into a parking area at Bass River Recreation Area, which includes a large lake that connects to the Grand River. Follow the sandy shoreline in search of bass, bluegills, catfish, sheepshead and many other species.
Fishing seasons 411
While stream and river fishing for trout and other cold water species are very specific, the regulations and seasons for warm-water species in Michigan is much more straightforward.
Open season for popular species are as follows:
Bluegills, Sunfish, Perch, Catfish: Open year-round
Bass: Season opens on May 25 and runs through Dec. 31
Northern Pike, Walleye, Muskellunge: Open all year on the Great Lakes; open April 27-March 15 on Lower Peninsula inland waters
For a complete list of fishing seasons and regulations, visit Michigan.gov/dnr and click on the ‘Fishing’ link.
For up-to-the-minute information on what’s biting and where, check with local bait shops, including Lakeview Marine and Tackle in Grand Haven (616-842-2770) and Fish On Bait & Tackle in Nunica (616-935-6985).