Fishing The Grand River

42 pound Flathead

42 pound Flathead caught on the Grand by Matthew Stephens.

If you live in Mid Michigan you are certain to have heard of the Grand River. It is Michigan’s longest river at 252 miles. The Grand starts down in northern Hillsdale County and travels mostly North through Jackson and up to Lansing. Not far out of Lansing it turns and heads west to Grand Rapids and Grand Haven as it empties into Lake Michigan. From trophy smallmouth bass to running king salmon or steelhead to 40 pound catfish, the Grand is a hotspot for many fisherman.From Jackson to just south of Eaton Rapids the fishing access is mostly

at bridges. The river is slow moving and has a soft bottom that isn’t easy to wade. Pike, large and smallmouth bass, walleye and carp are the most predominately fished species through this section. Depending on water levels each year this stretch can produce large fish, but on dry years they can be hard to locate.

As the river approaches Eaton Rapids it gains a firm bottom with some larger boulders that provide better coverage for smallmouth bass. “The

Grand at this point is easiest split into two rivers”, according to Ingham County Pro Staff Matthew Stephens, “above the dam at Moore’s Park and below it. Above the dam”, he says, “has great access for bank, wading or canoeing. Species include pretty much everything except trout. Below – Moore’s Park to Brenke fish ladder has easy access from the shore via the Lansing River Trail.  The current is slow enough to paddle a canoe or kayak upstream, but there are also boat launches downtown.  Species include smallmouth, largemouth,

walleye, pike, catfish, and panfish.  Salmon and Steelhead come up to Moore’s Park, but below Weber Dam is far more productive.” Ionia Pro Staff Scott Neeb says, “Between Portland and Saranac there are plenty of opportunities to access the Grand River.  Public boat launches in Saranac, Portland, above the Weber Dam in Lyons, Ionia, and above the Lyons Dam give boat anglers every opportunity to fish miles of river normally inaccessible to those bank

fishing.  Bank fishers also have opportunities at each launch to wet a line as well as hidden gems throughout.  Just follow the river and look for turnoffs.  The most popular places to shore fish include the Lyons and Weber Dams (as there is access to both sides of the river). Look to Portland state game area for less used shore access.  Species include large and smallmouth bass, walleye, panfish, crappie, gar, carp, sucker (multiple species), catfish (multiple species), and runs of steelhead, coho,

and king salmon as well as any other fish that you can find in the great lakes.  There have even been reports of sturgeon seen as far up as Lyons on multiple occasions.”

A Grand Addiction Guide Service

A Grand Addiction Guide Service

“With many access points from Lyons to Ada this stretch of the Grand River offers some of the finest fishing in the state of Michigan”, Nick Godwin of  A Grand Addiction Guide Service adds. He says, “Channel catfish, walleye and smallmouth bass are abundant around the Saranac and Ionia access points. Around Lowell where the Flat Rivers joins the Grand River you’ll find lots of smallmouth and around Ada where the Thornapple River joins the Grand River you’ll find smallmouth, channel catfish and plenty of walleye’s to catch.”

In Grand Rapids the river hits the 6th Street Dam. This dam is one of the most popular steelhead, salmon, brown trout and walleye fisheries in the state. It’s filled with fisherman every spring and fall going after the fresh lake run fish. The rest of the year fish of all species can be caught in this urban setting.

The Grand earns it’s name from it’s enormous length, but there is something grand about it’s enormous fishery. Residents in Mid Michigan know that they don’t need a fancy boat in their garage or a Great Lake at their back door. They have all the fishing opportunities in a river that flows through their hometowns. From deep, slow moving holes to shallow riffles, to boulders popping above the water line, the Grand River provides every fisherman with opportunity to catch a trophy and build life long memories.

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Purely Michigan Fishing


Best places in Michigan to fish

Michigan is well known as the Great Lakes state, but a lot of “out of staters” don’t completely understand the amount of fishing opportunities Michigan has to offer. Fishing is deeply engrained in our culture. Even the unfortunate few that don’t fish have relatives, friends, co-workers or neighbors that are addicted to fishing.

In many states the only fishable lakes are man-made, dammed up rivers and the rivers are few and far between. They come to Michigan to fish the Great Lakes or one specific inland lake or river and think “Wow, this is a great place”. What they don’t understand is the numerous places and variety of fishing that Michigan has to offer. No matter the time of year, there are numerous species to target.

At the beginning of the year safe ice covers most inland lakes. This offers Michigan fisherman, who don’t own boats, an opportunity to fish the entire lake. It’s also a completely different style of fishing that most states don’t offer and just don’t understand. If you’re not into walking on water, Steelhead and many other species are plentiful in rivers all winter long. Spring and fall times when lakes are unsafe, look to the rivers for fish running upstream to spawn. Finally, come Summer, the variety of fish and techniques to catch them can’t be measured.

The world famous Great Lakes fishery offers Pier Fishing, Surf Fishing, Deep Water Trolling and Jigging and Shallow Water Casting. Michigan fisherman can target a huge variety of fish within minutes of the same port. Salmon, Steelhead, Lake Trout, Bass, Walleye, Perch, Whitefish, Pike, Musky and Panfish are some of the favorites and they are all plentiful. From any spot in Michigan you are no more than 83 miles from fishing one of the Great Lakes.

If searching for inland lakes, Michigan fisherman have over 11,ooo choices from 20,000 acres to less than an acre. Our great state offers weedy, lily pad covered bodies of water or crystal  clear, white sand bottomed paradises and they all offer plentiful fisheries.

Michigan offers over 36,000 miles of rivers and streams. Whether you enjoy trolling up river with a motor, floating in a canoe, wading or just walking the river bank, Michigan fishing offers it all. Salmon, Steelhead and Walleye have huge runs in Spring and Fall in many rivers. Others offer brook, brown and rainbow trout or bass, pike and panfish fishing all year.

There is no place in Michigan that is farther than 6 miles from a lake or stream. Whether you live in a remote area of the upper peninsula or in downtown Detroit, Michigan fishing opportunities are within minutes. To me, that makes Michigan the best place to be a fisherman.

Check out to view all of Michigan’s Fishing opportunities and leave us some reports on the Forum.