The 16 Best Small-Boat Fishing Spots on the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes, as with any large body of water, can turn on you in a sec. Sure, we have much more sophisticated warning systems in place than ever before, however, you need to use them to stay safe. If you are going to attempt to put a small vessel on the Great Lakes you need to watch the weather and look at the conditions for the beaches near the town you are interested in.

With that said, there are many spots along the great lakes that are perfect for small boat fishing. In fact, you can have loads of fun on the Great Lakes late into the fall catching Salmon.

Great Lake Channels

There are some great channels that offer amazing fishing. These can be just as rough as the open water on some days. These channels are home to just about every species of fish you might find in the deep waters. The temperature of the water will tell you what you might catch. Salmon for example like cooler water, so they will not be in the channels on a hot summer day but out in the deeper water.

Right on the edge of the water, where you can see the drop off due to the watercolor is where you will find some great fishing in the blazing summer months. However, as it cools off they will come more toward shore. There are some species such as bass and trout that will remain in the warmer waters and can be caught year-round. Some places to find these channels are South Haven and Grand Have on the Western side of Michigan.

Madeline Island, Wisconsin

With the clear waters where you can see the fish in pods. This makes them easy targets. This is a great place for lake trout.

Ontonagon, Michigan

This is a great place for near-shore fishing in the very early spring. Lake Trout and Salmon are near shore but eventually more out when the weather warms up.

Door County Wisconsin

The bay is full of big smallmouths and about a 1/2 mile offshore, you will find walleyes.

Michigan City, Indiana

This is a great place for steelhead fishing for smaller vessels. This area will have steelies from May to June near shore as in the summer the water turns due to temperature and wind.

Beaver Island

The island can block the wind in any direction, giving small vessels a chance to get in some great fishing.

Drummond Island

This is a great fishing spot in June and July filled with Northern pike, Yellow perch and you might see a muskie as well.

Harbor Beach, Michigan

Harbor beach is a relatively calm area that is perfect for smaller boats. Here you will find kings, steelhead, and lake trout in the waters.

The Bruce Peninsula, Ontario

Not only is this great for kayaking, but fishing too. April thru to June you will find salmon in these waters.

South Bass Island, Ohio

This is a perfect place for Walleye fishing.

Long Point Bay, Ontario

This is a great spot for Bass and Pike.

Other amazing places to take your small boat fishing on the Great Lakes are Presque Isle Bay, Niagara Bar, Chaumont Bay, East Bay, and Slate Islands. Just because you have a smaller boat, doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the Great Lakes with the rest of us.


I have been camping and going outdoors for over 15 years! My first experience was when I joined the scouts. There I learned a lot. From building a campfire to set up a really big tent. Then I know this is awesome. Around 2005 I also started Geocaching. This is a lot of fun. And every time we go camping we look at the map to see if there are some nice caches around.

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