Andy with a Grand River

Grand River fishing spots

Spring Fishing 1BSpring fishing. What’s not to like? The air is clear and cool and birds are often singing. Fish are hungry and readily take bait, lures and flies. It’s a time brimming with excitement for Grand Rapids anglers no matter whether they fish from a boat, sit on the bank, or wade in the shallows.

Anglers enjoy the spring steelhead run on the Grand River. Photo by Howard Meyerson

April 1 is the start of the 2016 fishing season and anglers are reminded that a new fishing license is required. Those can be purchased at bait and tackle or Meijer stores all around town, or found online. The state sells 24-hour and 72-hour licenses too for those just visiting or giving fishing a try.

Spring is a good time for steelhead on the Grand River. The big chrome rainbows come charging upstream to spawn. Many anglers fish downtown at the Sixth St. Dam or from the concrete flood wall along the river. Caution is advised, though, when wading – particularly in high spring waters.

Anglers fishing on the Grand RiverSteelhead and trout are also abundant on the Rogue River near Rockford, just 15 minutes north of downtown Grand Rapids. A favorite gathering spot for steelhead anglers is just below the Rockford Dam. Brown trout and rainbow trout are found further upstream.

Walleye and northern pike fishing opens on the last Saturday in April for all Lower Peninsula inland waters, but trout fishing seasons vary by stream. Many are open year-round while others open the last Saturday in April. To be sure, check the 2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide published by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Print copies are available where fishing licenses are sold.

Fishing from Reeds Lake

An angler fishes Reeds Lake from the bank. Photo by Howard Meyerson

Big Fish, Great Fishing

Grand Rapids is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing waters in southern Michigan and some the state’s largest fish are caught in Kent County lakes and streams.

Michigan’s Master Angler List, the official listing of big fish and the waters where they were caught, shows Kent County produced some of the biggest bluegills in 2014 and 2015. A 1.75 pound 12-inch bluegill was hoisted out of Scally Lake in 2014 while a 1.74 pound 12-inch bluegill was caught in Wabasis Lake.

Where you find one often you will find another. The Master Angler list is an excellent resource for locating where anglers catch big fish.

Meyers Lake, about 20 miles from downtown Grand Rapids, produced one of the state’s largest crappies in 2014 - a whopping 15.75 incher weighing 2.25 pounds - while Murray Lake produced a 15-incher in 2015.

Big bass also were caught on area waters. Wabasis Lake produced a 23.5 inch largemouth bass in 2013 and a 22.88-incher in 2015. The Grand River produced a 21.75 inch smallmouth bass last year along with a 32-inch rainbow trout (steelhead) and 31-inch walleye.

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