Michigan Increases Opportunities for Kayak Anglers

Many parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have seen a recent increase in kayak sport recreation, whether it’s for leisure paddling, wildlife watching or casting a line. When it comes to fishing, this type of activity offers local fisheries managers unique opportunities to entice kayakers to visit smaller lakes throughout the region.

You only need to look at several retailers – whether they’re official sporting goods stores or not – to see the increase in the kayak’s popularity. At some grocery stores you can even buy one! As those who recreate turn to low-key, casual outings, kayaking really draws them in.

“Folks are seeking more ‘quiet sports’ and secluded places to get away from people,” said George Madison, a DNR fisheries manager in the western Upper Peninsula. “Our unit is responding to these desires by creating more fishing opportunities in these quiet spots.”

The DNR’s Western Lake Superior Management Unit has been conducting bluegill transfers to small potholes lakes in its area as kayak anglers have indicated they’re happy to target panfish while out on the water.

“They just want to catch fish,” explained Madison. “And in the future we’ll try to look at more access opportunities to make it easier for kayakers to launch.”

Specific waterbodies in this part of the state that are perfect for kayak anglers – and have had bluegill stocked by the DNR – include Rockland Pond (Ontonagon County), Manganese Lake (Keweenaw County), Silver Lake Basin and Tourist Park Impoundment (both Marquette County).

Meanwhile, on the eastern side of the Upper Peninsula, kayak fishing is extremely popular in the local trout lakes.

“All of these lakes are perfect for those anglers looking for floating and fishing,” said local DNR fisheries biologist, Cory Kovacs. “Most are brook trout lakes.”

Kayak-friendly waterbodies in Luce County include Dillingham Lake, Holland Lake, Silver Creek Pond, Syphon Lake, Ward Lake and Youngs Lake. Also in this county are Pratt Lake offering rainbow trout and Tank Lake offering splake.

Another excellent destination is the Pretty Lake Complex, and it’s becoming quite popular.
“We usually recommend this complex to visiting anglers because it offers diverse fisheries so there’s something for everyone, including some solitude,” Kovacs said.

Additionally the Two Hearted River is also gaining local traction. This is a Type 4 section, so anglers hit steelhead in the spring, brook trout in the summer, and salmon in the fall.

For more information on kayak fishing in the Upper Peninsula, consider contacting the DNR Newberry Customer Service Center at 906-293-5131 or the DNR Baraga Customer Service Center at 906-353-6651.

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