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A Guide to Fall Fishing in Ludington, MI

Autumn in Pure Ludington is a magical time of year. Arches of orange, red and yellow paint the otherwise evergreen landscape and perfectly complement the sparkling blue waters of the lakes they surround. An outdoor enthusiast couldn't ask for a more beautiful backdrop for exciting fishing adventures.

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the waters between Big Sable Point, to the north, and Little Sable Point, to the south, offer the "big-lake" fishermen the best fishing to be found on Lake Michigan. Proximity to deep waters, excellent offshore structure, warm shoal waters, and natural river mouths make a perfect habitat for growing trout and salmon. That's why Pure Ludington is known as the #1 Salmon Fishing Port in Michigan!

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What You Will Need For The Experience

Mason County sports nearly 2,000 miles of trout streams and over 40 inland lakes that are available for fishing. So whether you are fishing from the pier, on Lake Michigan on a charter boat or fly-fishing in the stream, you are bound to catch a big one while in Pure Ludington!

Not a fishing pro and wondering what you will need? We have you covered! First, you will want to make sure you have your fishing license. Don’t waste precious vacation time getting your license, buy it online. If you happen to forget, you can purchase your license and other gear locally at Captain Chucks located on US-10, or any major grocery store or gas station.  When you pick up your fishing license make sure you receive a DNR fishing regulation booklet. Please take the time to read thoroughly as it will have a list of fish limits per species, size limits per species, tackle restrictions, and rivers and creeks regulations. Some areas you can use all tackle available and other areas, like the Ludington State Park below the dam, are restricted to single hook and other regulations. If you have any questions feel free to contact the DNR for any specifics.

Secondly, you will want to decide if you are going to fish from the land, or by boat. Charter boats are a great way to experience “big lake” fishing and your captain is a great guide to the best spots to drop your lines. However, the piers and rivers are great spots to fish from land as well. Be sure to check out the latest fishing reports to plan the best spots where fish are biting.

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What You'll Catch and Hot Spots

Many people think Lake Michigan is a summer fishery, but they are missing some of the best action the lake has to offer. As the lake’s water temps cool it leads to a higher concentration of game fish near shore. On the right day you can limit-out on steelhead, coho, and younger kings in a short amount of time. These fish become even more prevalent as we go into October and November, and they are some of the best eating fish of the year due to the cold water temperatures. Steelhead will start coming up the river in mid to late October and you can fish for them off either the north pier or south pier. A great place for pier fishing supplies is PM Expeditions.  If you have a boat you can fish for them in Pere Marquette Lake. Some of the best baits are flat fish or wiggle warts with a little bit a weight on it near the surface. If you need more details on these fishing opportunities please contact Captain Chuck’s fish and tackle store, as they have everything you'll need and plenty of knowledge to share.

In September, the lower section of the Pere Marquette is a fantastic spot to hook King Salmon. The Pere Marquette is over 60 miles long without any many made dams on it. This makes it a blue ribbon trout fishery and one of the best salmon/steelhead fisheries in the state. September is a great time to go after Salmon.  Salmon will run up the entire river and head into small creeks also known as tributaries. You can start fishing them in Pere Marquette Lake in the beginning of September. 

As the fish move up the Pere Marquette River you can fish for them from shore at the twin bridges along the Pere Marquette Hwy. or put your boat in at several spots in Ludington. The two spots close to town are Suttons Landing Park and the boat launch across from Expeditions Party Store. Other great fishing locations in Mason County are Scottville, Custer, Indian Bridge, and Walhalla along the river. As we move into October most people will switch from fishing King Salmon to Steelhead (Rainbow trout that come from the great lakes). The hot baits for these fish are wiggle warts, spinners, spawn (tied up in a sac) or skein, beads, and flies (streamers or nymphs).

The best trout fishing is located Walhalla and further up river, east. Trout can be fantastic in the fall as they like to gorge on salmon eggs. As the salmon are finishing their life cycle, many anglers will target large trout in the deep holes behind the spawning grounds.  Steelhead can also be found in these holes. This time of the year can give you a chance at a world class fish.


There is an opportunity for everyone who enjoys fishing, young and old, whether on the big lake or on one of the many inland lakes and streams. Fall is a great season of value to experience it all. There are many great specials and packages offered during the Autumn season, including 50% off a second night stay happening September 11 through October 31.




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