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Photo by Tom Gifford 

Fishing in Manistee County

Fishing in Manistee – What a Catch!

Manistee County in West Michigan has an abundance of places where anglers can catch a variety of fish. Numerous charter captains make Manistee their home port, and will happily take you out on Lake Michigan to fish for salmon and trout.

The Manistee River runs 190 miles through the northern Lower Peninsula, entering Lake Michigan along the city of Manistee in West Michigan. The Manistee River is considered to be one of the best steelhead, salmon, and trout rivers in Michigan and the Great Lakes.

Carved through deep glacial sands, the Manistee River has a remarkably stable flow of clean, cold water year-round. This makes it a tremendously popular river for fishing. Over the course of its 190-mile length, the river drops in elevation from around 1,250 to 579 feet, with an average stream gradient of about 2.9 feet per mile.

Manistee Fish Cleaning Station

“Designed by anglers for anglers” is how the Manistee Fish Cleaning Station is being described. Built in 2013 with funding support from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, it is located at the city’s First Street Beach and offers more than just fish cleaning stations. Full-color, educational signs are now in place — with information about Manistee’s historic prominence as a prime location for anglers, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to properly clean a trout or salmon. There’s also information about the Creel Census Clerks from the DNR Fisheries Division and their importance in letting anglers know where the fish are biting.

The city invited input for the fish cleaning station from those who catch salmon and even some of the top charter boat captains in the area.

Manistee has a rich history in sport fishing and the new cleaning station at First Street Beach is a great addition to the city and will help the thousands of anglers that enter tournaments along Lake Michigan.

Some of the Amenities Include:

  • Fabricated trays that hold and drain fillets
  • Splash guards around each of the six cleaning stations
  • Retractable hoses
  • Dedicated location for anglers to wash down their coolers
  • Station is under cover and well lit
  • One cleaning station that is accessible to accommodate people in wheelchairs
Chinook Salmon, trout, and steelhead are among the types of fish that can be caught on the open waters of Lake Michigan. | West Michigan Guides

Charter Boat Fishing

The Manistee area is a paradise for those who love boating and fishing. Spring is the time to catch trout, walleye, and pike. Summer and fall feature the very best in salmon and steelhead fishing.

Manistee has many charter captains, eager to make your fishing excursion a successful one. Whether you’re a first-time angler, or an experienced fisherman, Manistee area charter captains will guide you in what to bring and what to expect on the big lake. Their boats include GPS, fishfinders, marine radios, and radar. You’ll have a safe and enjoyable fishing adventure from captains who know what they’re doing and are eager to share the fun with you.

Rates on a charter boat are quite competitive and range from half day excursions to full day. All persons over the age of 16 are required by Michigan law to have a fishing license, and one-day licenses are available from sporting goods and retail stores in town.

It’s the perfect way to spend the day with friends or family as your charter captain guides you to the best spots. From boat to table- nothing is better than a fresh fish dinner. What a way to vacation!

For more information about fishing in Manistee County, please contact:

Manistee County Sport Fishing Association

P.O. Box 98, Manistee, MI 49660

(231) 887-4474


More Manistee County Travel Information

Planning a visit to the Manistee area? Have questions about your trip? Here’s where you can find help: 

Contact the Manistee County Tourism Authority here:

Scroll below for more articles about the Manistee area.

Experience the Manistee Area

M-22 Manistee County

Take one of the most scenic drives in the nation as you travel across M-22 in West Michigan. A long winding road of adventure awaits!

Manistee lighthouse

Visit Manistee

The Victorian port city of Manistee, MI features a River Walk, historic Ramsdell Theatre and the S.S. City of Milwaukee.

The Vogue Theatre in Manistee

The historical Vogue Theatre in Manistee, renovated as a modern-day movie theater, shows current movies, classic films, and family movies.

Manistee National Forest

Manistee National Forest together with the Huron National Forest occupies almost a million acres of land in Michigan’s lower peninsula.