Fishing

Fisherman standing in the middle of a creek, casting a fly rod
Beautiful streams like Sable Creek offer anglers great places to fish.

NPS photo

Hidden backcountry beaver ponds and brook trout ... a paddle stroke through loon waters and the hard tug of a smallmouth bass ... Lake Superior's open horizons of wind and surf and spawning steelhead.

With its many streams, inland lakes, and Lake Superior, the park offers a variety of fishing opportunities. Common cool water game fish include smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, yellow perch, whitefish, menominee, and smelt. Trout species include brook trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, and coho salmon.

We want you to have an enjoyable time during your visit, and for those who come after you to fish. Take some time to explore, learn what the park has to offer and learn your responsibilities before casting a line or flicking a fly into the water.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore allows fishing as a means of providing for public enjoyment, and customary and traditional use, and regulates fishing to ensure that it is managed in a manner that avoids unacceptable impacts to park resources.

 
 

Fishing Regulations

Unless otherwise provided for, fishing regulations apply to all finfish found in the park.  Other taxa, including amphibians, mollusks and crustaceans (e.g. waterdogs, crayfish) are not considered “fish” for the purpose of NPS fishing regulations and are addressed by NPS regulations governing “wildlife” (36CFR2.2). 

These fishing regulations apply, regardless of land ownership, on all lands and waters within the park that are under the legislative jurisdiction of the United States.

Fishing regulations for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore follow those set by the State of Michigan (36CFR7). However, commercial fishing methods allowed under State law are not included within the scope of this authorization.

For state fishing regulations, please visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website.

For more information on how NPS fishing regulations work, go to the regulations page on the NPS Fish and Fishing website (https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fishing/how-regulations-work.htm) 

The following are prohibited, as per National Park Service natural resource protection regulations:

  • Introducing wildlife, fish or plants, including their reproductive bodies, into a park area ecosystem. This includes the discarding and/or dumping of bait and bait buckets.
  • The use or possession of fish, wildlife or plants for ceremonial or religious purposes, except where specifically authorized by Federal statutory law, or treaty rights.


The fishery is managed jointly by the National Park Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Both park rangers and Michigan conservation officers are authorized to enforce state fishing regulations within the lakeshore.

 

Fish Consumption Advisory

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recommends that you use caution when eating certain kinds and sizes of fish from Michigan's lakes and rivers. Some fish have chemicals in them that can be harmful to human health if they are eaten too often.

The Michigan Family Fish Consumption Guide shows you which fish are okay to eat and how often they can be eaten. The guide is available online at http://www.michigan.gov/fishandgameadvisory.

Mercury is an example of a toxin originating outside a park that can find its way into a park. Mercury exists naturally in some rocks, including coal. When power plants burn coal, mercury can travel in the air long distances before falling to the ground, usually in low concentrations. Once on the ground, microorganisms can change this elemental mercury to methyl mercury. This type of mercury can build up in animal tissues, and it can increase in concentration to harmful levels. This high concentration can occur in large predatory fish - those often pursued and eaten by anglers. Studies have shown that fish in some National Park System waters have mercury levels that may be a concern to people who regularly eat a lot of fish.

To learn more about this topic, the National Park Service maintains information about Fish Consumption Advisories and Mercury and Toxins in Nature.

 
Exotic Aquatic Species
Anglers and resource managers across the U.S. are concerned about invasive species that threaten aquatic systems. Their introduction causes, or is likely to cause, harm to the economy, the environment, or to human health. Aquatic invasive species are a growing risk to parks and their values. In the United States alone, there are more than 250 non-native aquatic species.
Several occur here at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and in nearby waters. With your help, the impact of these invaders on our lakes and rivers can be minimized.
  • Boats must be clean and dry before launching into national lakeshore waters. It's Michigan law!
  • Drain water from the motor, live well, bilge, and transom wells while on land before leaving the lake area.
  • Inspect your boat, trailer, and boating equipment (anchors, centerboards, rollers, axles) and remove any plants or animals that are visible.
  • Allow your boat and all fishing equipment to completely dry before going to another lake or river.
  • Never release live bait into a water body, or release aquatic animals from one water body into another. Dispose of worms in the trash, not on land.
  • Learn what these organisms look like (at least those you can see). If you suspect a new infestation of an exotic plant or animal, report it to park staff.
For more information...
Exotic Aquatic Species (pdf)
Nonnative Species
 
Ice fishing tent structures out on snow covered Lake Superior by Sand Point
Ice shacks on Munising Bay at Sand Point.

NPS photo

Additional Rules and Safety Tips

  • Only electric motors are permitted on Beaver Lake and Little Beaver Lake.
  • On Grand Sable Lake, horsepower is limited to 50.
  • All other inland lakes are accessible only by carrying your canoe or kayak.
  • Your personal floatation device won't do you any good if it is inaccessible. Wear it!
  • Before venturing our, get an updated marine weather forecast and be aware of quick changes in weather and sea conditions. For Lake Superior, the only safe harbors are Munising Bay and Grand Marais Bay on either end of the national lakeshore.
  • Anglers wishing to leave their boats unattended longer than 24 hours at designated stream mouths may do so with written permits from the park superintendent.
 
 
Fishing Locations
The table in the fishing site bulletin offers more details about fish species of specific lakes and streams within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
 

Fishing Throughout the National Park Service

We invite you to visit the Fish and Fishing website for more information about fish and fishing in the National Park Service. You will learn about conservation, different fish species, and parks that offer fishing.

 

Last updated: February 25, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 40
Munising, MI 49862

Phone:

(906) 387-3700

Contact Us