Top 5 Best Midwest Fishing Spots

The Midwest region of the United States offers many wonderful destinations for fishing - after all, it’s the home of the Great Lakes, and hundreds of other smaller lakes and ponds. From Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, to Michigan, where a person is never more than 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes, the Midwest is littered with lakes and streams suited to anglers of any level.

Here are five of the best fishing destinations in the midwest, all worthy of a visit on your next bike tour or road trip.

1. Lake St. Clair, Michigan

Lake St Clair Michigan - How to Find Good Fishing Spots In The Midwest

Lake St. Clair is perfectly situated between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, connecting the Great Lakes with the help of the Detroit River and St. Clair River. This creates a type of superhighway for tons of fish to travel through the lake. 

Despite being only a fraction of the size of the other five, Lake St. Clair is sometimes called the 6th Great Lake. But despite being on the smaller side (comparatively), it’s been named one of the top fishing destinations in the entire country. It is especially known for its trophy-winning smallmouth bass. The lake is also a popular fishing spot in the winter, and is often dotted with huts for ice fishers during the colder months.

In the summertime, charter fishing and kayak fishing are always great options for Lake St. Clair. Shore fishing is almost guaranteed to deliver as well. Specifically, some of the best fishing spots on the lake include Sturgeon Hole, The Channels, St. Clair Shores, Lake St. Clair Metropark, Anchor’s Bay, and Mitchell’s Bay.

The lake is loaded with:

  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskie
  • Walleye
  • Sturgeon
  • Yellow Perch
  • Northern Pike

2. Lake of the Woods, Minnesota

Midwest Fishing Spots - Lake of the Woods Minnesota

Lake of the Woods is a large, remote lake surrounded by a forest full of bears, moose, bobcats, and other wildlife. The lake borders Canada at the top of Minnesota, where it is known as one of the best all-around fishing destinations in the Midwest. The walleye there are considered to be some of the most impressive in the entirety of the United States, leading to this lake’s nickname of “The Walleye Capital of the World.”

This is a dream location for any outdoors-person looking to admire nature in a secluded setting while enjoying world-class fishing. The lake is filled with many types of fish, including:

  • Walleye
  • Sauger
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Muskie
  • Crappie
  • Northern Pike
  • Trout
  • Lake Sturgeon
  • White Fish
  • Burbot
  • Tullibee

3. Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Sturgeon Bay - One of the Best Midwest Fishing Spots

Situated between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, Sturgeon Bay hosts some of the most elite fishing tournaments in the country. Named by Bassmasters as one of the best bass fishing destinations, it also produces record-breaking muskie, trophy-worthy walleye, and salmon.

There are a number of fish species that can be found in Sturgeon Bay, including:

  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Coho Salmon
  • Northern Pike
  • Walleye
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Muskie
  • Perch
  • Whitefish
  • Sturgeon

4. Lake Michigan - Ludington, Michigan

Lake Michigan - Ludington - Best Fishing Spots in the Midwest

Lake Michigan is the third-largest lake out of the five Great Lakes, and is arguably the most beautiful. While there are many great fishing spots scattered across Lake Michigan, Ludington is one of the most notable.


Known as Michigan’s #1 Salmon Fishing Port, the best  fishing to be found near Ludington is  along the forty miles of coastline running north to south between Big Sable Point and Little Sable Point.

This area offers the most quintessential habitat for salmon and trout thanks to its proximity to deep waters, warm shoal waters, natural river mouths, and offshore structures. 

Lake Michigan offers excellent fishing year-round. Starting in the spring, while fishing from the piers, anglers are sure to find abundant numbers of brown trout, steelhead, and salmon. The most ideal time to fish for yellow perch is during the summer, when the waters become warmer.

Autumn marks the reign of salmon angling. Salmon runs begin in August and last into October, and steelhead angling lasts through the cold winter months into the spring.

Lake Michigan is teeming with:

  • Coho Salmon
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Steelhead
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Walleye

5. Devil's Lake, North Dakota

Devils Lake North Dakota - Fishing Spots in the Midwest

Devil’s Lake, forming one edge of Ramsey County, North Dakota, attracts anglers from around the world in search of prized walleye and perch.

The largest natural body of water in North Dakota boasts the title of “The Perch Capital of the World,” although it was the trophy-worthy walleye that first drew attention to the lake.

This massive lake is approximately 160,000 acres and is a popular fishing spot year round. But even during the busiest times, it’s easy to find a remote fishing spot, providing the seclusion many outdoors-people search for.

Due to flooding in 2012, the lake engulfed hundreds of farmsteads and homes, so the lake is dotted with abandoned structures, giving it an eerie vibe that helps it live up to its name.

Devil’s Lake is known to hold the following fish species:

  • Perch
  • Walleye
  • Northern Pike
  • Crappie
  • Muskie
  • White Bass

Honorable Mentions

There are so many incredible fishing spots located in the Midwest, many of which have taken top stops in the country’s rankings of the best fishing destinations. The Great Lakes region offers numerous year-round fishing opportunities that are sure to delight any angler.

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Considering that one Midwest state in particular, Michigan, is surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, it has the longest freshwater shoreline in the entire world and has more than 11,000 inland lakes. There is no doubt that this area is a fishing paradise.

Honorable mentions throughout Michigan include:

  • Au Sable River System
  • Lake Michigamme/Lake Gogebic 
  • Keweenaw Peninsula 
  • The Detroit River (near Wyandotte)

For those looking to link their fishing expedition with other backcountry exploration, consider a backpacking trip along the North Country Trail, an underappreciated US trail system that links eight states across the upper part of the United States. The Midwest is also home to a variety of bike trails that interlink its cities, countryside, and waterways, making it a great spot for bike touring.

Whether you’re on a road trip, bike trip, or backpacking trip through the midwest, there’s a ton of great places to stop and fish, especially if you’re carrying one of our handcrafted ultra-lightweight fishing rods in your saddlebag or backpack. 

Got a favorite lake in the Midwest that we didn’t include on this list? Email us and we’ll incorporate your recommendations into a future version of this article.

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