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. Ask at a visitor center about fishing locations easy to access by vehicle, and those more remote.
An easy place for all to access during summer is the wheelchair-accessible fishing dock at Grand Sable Lake. The dock is installed during the summer months at the east end of the lake. Parking is along Alger County Road H-58. The park will be widening the short trail to the dock in the coming year, and a walkway mat will be installed to make it easier for wheelchair users to access the dock.
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.
Ice fishing at the park is done mostly in the frozen nearshore areas of Munising Bay just off Sand Point Beach. Since Sand Point Road is plowed all winter, this area is the easiest frozen water body to access. Those ice fishing should ensure safe ice conditions before venturing out. Currents and wave action can affect ice formation, and the thickness of the ice can vary dramatically from one area to another. The responsibility to determine that ice is safe lies solely with the angler.
Anglers accessing Munising Bay from the Sand Point area are required to park in designated parking spaces only. The loading zone may be used temporarily to unload equipment and ice shanties. Watch for park snow plow operators in the area.
Grand Sable Lake and other inland lakes are accessible only by snowmobile in winter. Snowmobiles are permitted on designated roads, and on Grand Sable Lake and Lake Superior.
A valid Michigan fishing license is required to fish in the park, and fees vary. Children under 17 years of age do not require a license. Visitors fishing within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore must follow the fishing license requirements in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
You can purchase a Michigan fishing license online, through a licensed agent (check Michigan DNR website for locations) or at DNR customer service centers.
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.
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 NPS park rangers and Michigan conservation officers are authorized to enforce state fishing regulations within the national 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 Eat Safe Fish Guides show you which fish are okay to eat in your region and how often they can be eaten. Guides are available at Eat Safe Fish Guides (michigan.gov)
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.
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.
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 out, 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 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.