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Top Fishing Charters in Grand Haven

Fishing in Grand Haven

Grand Haven fishing charters will blow you away. The city has what the doctor ordered - a little bit of the Great Lake, a laid-back atmosphere, and even the world’s largest musical fountain.

Grand Haven is based on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the Grand River, which gave the city its name. It’s rich in river and lake history, fleets, fantastic angling opportunities, and knowledgeable guides.

The city itself boasts an array of fun activities to enjoy with your family and friends before or after your fishing excursion. Enjoy an early morning coffee while taking in all the beauty of the Lake’s waters. Have your catch prepared at a local restaurant when you’re done fishing. Whatever you decide, get ready for a pleasant and memorable experience.

Grand Haven fishing spots

Lake Michigan

Grand Haven introduces you to the best Salmon fishing Michigan-style. But being one of the richest fishing ports of Lake Michigan, this city has consistently high-quality fishing for various other tasty and feisty species. The Lake’s many streams, rivers, tributaries, and clean freshwater make a perfect location for Trout to flourish as well.

If you have the itch to explore the beautiful Great Lake, Grand Haven is the cure.

Grand River

The Grand River flows through the city of Grand Haven, creating a natural attraction for various types of fish. The River’s waters are widely recognized as some of the most productive freshwater fisheries in the country. They hold everything from Salmon and Steelhead to Trout, Catfish, and Walleye.

The Grand River is noted for its fishing opportunities in the urban setting of Sixth Street Sam in downtown Grand Rapids. It’s perfectly suited for river and power boats.

Fish species in Grand Haven

It’s pretty hard to name one fish species that stands out in Grand Haven. Chinook Salmon, also known as “King”, make up the bulk of your catch most of the year. Chinooks are outstanding fighters; when you manage to catch them, you have that incredible sense of accomplishment. Kings can range from 12 to 40 lbs.

Speaking of hard-fighting fish, Coho “Silver” Salmon also like to jump, roll, and do anything to get off the hook. They are usually smaller than Cohos but are no less tasty. In fact, they are absolutely delicious! All it takes is just to locate a school — and it’s fish on.

Grand Haven’s Perch, those beautiful small fish, also tend to hang out in schools. They are especially great for those who want to enjoy consistent action and fill the coolers.

When fishing close to structures, you can get your hands on Lake Trout, the native predators of the Great Lake. They, too, live in schools, and once you find one, you can make it your own spot and fish it day after day.

Lake Trout live in deeper waters and are excellent table fare. Even though Lakers don’t fight as hard as Chinooks, they still put up quite a fight.

Unlike Lakers, Brown Trout tend to chill in shallower water. Brownies are great fighters and can be a nice practice before you come across your first King.

Grand Haven Steelheaders know that both the Lake and the Grand River are home to fantastic numbers of the tenacious Rainbow Trout. When it comes down to world-class sportfishing, Steelhead, the acrobats of Grand Haven, are the number one target. They are often found in the top 10-20’ of water even though the depth may be way over 200’.

Grand River and Lake Michigan Steelhead leap high with twists and backflips, hit hard, and run like a freight train.

The best time to fish in Grand Haven

Grand Haven’s Lake Michigan charter boats are all ready by the time May signals the start of some excellent spring action. King Salmon open the season. Those early Chinooks can be pretty lean and mean when you find them in shallow waters.

Chinooks aside, your most likely catches are Brown Trout and Steelhead. Brownies become legal targets after the 1st of May, but can also be caught throughout the year.

Come June, and the Lake’s waters begin to warm up and thermoclines form. King Salmon, Lake Trout, and Steelhead dominate this time of year until big Chinooks show up later in July and August.

In the summer months, Lakers are found deep, right near structures that hold baitfish.

The autumn months are the best time to concentrate on Salmon and Steelhead that come to the River mouth, ready to spawn. Before they move upstream, you can fish in the Grand River or just outside the piers for mature Kings or head 5-15 miles out for young Salmon and Steelhead.

The Grand River Steelhead begin to arrive in decent numbers and fish well into April. Even though the mainstream river is a bit too warm for “Steelies”, they can hang out in the tributaries where the waters are cooler.

Types of fishing

Lake Michigan Salmon and Steelhead charters usually troll the deep waters with dipsy divers and downriggers. Your guide might use planer boards when trolling for a big one.

When searching for actively feeding fish below the Grand River dam, your guide will most likely advise you to cast plugs. Further down, drifting with spawn sacks produces good results, as well as throwing spinners and trolling. Use light tackle to make your day even more memorable.

Fly fishing for Trout, dropping a line for Catfish, and trolling for Walleye are the most common methods when fishing the Grand River.

Need to know

Grand Haven fishing charters on Lake Michigan are seasonal and usually go from late April through October.

The city is home to various marinas and boat launches, including Grand Isle Marina, Wharf Marina, and Chinook Pier to name a few. Every angler over 16 years of age needs a valid All Species Fishing License before coming aboard a fishing boat. You can do it online.

Grand Haven Fishing Seasons

If you feel like digging a hole in the ice and seeing what’s biting, be very careful. It’s only safe to go ice fishing with a local guide, who has the right equipment and knows the area well enough.

The winter is almost over, and for those who absolutely can’t wait to wet a line, we recommend checking the Grand River. Or just polish your rods and reels - the season will begin soon enough.

Before stopping at the Sixth Street Dam, Steelhead run upstream. The run peaks in late March. Bring spinners and bright flies for a better action when fishing the Grand Rivers. 

The water is pretty cold this time of year, so you can test your angling skills and try your luck in the Grand River. Well, if you have enough patience, it may be rewarded!

It’s May, which could only mean one thing - Chinook Salmon are at your disposal in Lake Michigan. Search for your Kings in shallow waters. And don’t forget about Brown Trout and Steellies.

The Lake Michigan’s waters are warming up and thermoclines form. Lake Trout, Steelhead, and Chinook Salmon dominate in the angler’s coolers. 

The end of July sees hundreds of tourists and locals enjoying the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival. This month can also keep anglers busy with big King Salmon, Steelhead, and Lake Trout.

Late August is all about battling various types of Salmon and Trout on Lake Michigan. Head to the Grand River for Smallmouth Bass with lures, jigs, and flies. Anything should work right now!

Chinook Salmon begin to gather at the Grand River’s mouth, ready to run upstream. Grand Haven Salmon Festival is also a thing during this autumn month.

Rumor has it, Steelhead can be found a bit further out from shore, just 5-15 miles out. If you decide to check the bite, you can also find young Salmon to add to your list of potential catches.

Winter is around the corner and the weather is pretty cold right now. Check the tributaries for whatever might be biting there, but it’s better to wait until the Lake is covered with ice.

Even though this month is clearly all about Christmas and spending time with your family, ice fishing can be a cool thing to try. If the weather cooperates and the lake is frozen, of course.

Grand Haven Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Grand Haven

"Afternoon out with Cpt. Kirk and 1st mate Dylan"

Aaron Hyzer fished with Top Shelf Charters LLC on August 15, 2017

Ask how they would like you to reel then in. Some boats and crew have different ways they would like you to reel and where to stand and what not to do.

"6 hour morning trip on the Black Label with Captain Kirk"

John Mcdonald fished with Top Shelf Charters LLC on August 4, 2017

Much nicer than Florida this time of year. Great Lake trout and salmon fishing on Lake Michigan. Fun day boating and tubing with kids on Spring Lake too.

"1st Fishing Charter with the Family"

Angela Gibson fished with Top Shelf Charters LLC on July 21, 2017

Book a charter with Top Shelf Charters! The crew is VERY IMPRESSIVE with their skills & VERY friendly. Thank U Kirk, Dakota & Dylan.
Grand Haven
4.46
Based on 6589 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Top Targeted Species in Grand Haven

Lake Trout

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Brown Trout

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