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Brad Smith, owner of Dripfish Coffee

Make plans now for some big Michigan King Salmon!

Jul 30, 2023

Brad Smith

This year, make Michigan your destination for some huge king salmon!

Every year thousands of our neighbors here in the Midwest all head North during the month of September. King Salmon, in numbers that have to be seen to be believed, flood every tributary that connects to Lake Michigan for their annual spawning run. If you find yourself looking to catch one of the biggest fish of your life, you should make this an annual run as well.

Lake Michigan has been getting stocked with king salmon since the 1970's. Without these stocking efforts, it wouldn't take more than a couple seasons before these amazing fish would all but die out. Seeing as king salmon aren't native to the great lakes, their spawning isn't that successful. Instead, a cooperative amongst the Great Lake states pour money into the fishery to keep stocking more fish every year for tourism, food, and benefits to the ecosystem of the waters. 

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If you'd like to get in on this action, start looking North around Labor Day. Salmon are normally in the rivers by then, but the big numbers don't start coming in until mid-September. Seeing hundreds of kings jumping and pushing up river to spawning beds starts to become a daily sight. By mid-October, most of the king salmon in the system are dead or close to it, but fish can still be caught in smaller and smaller pockets.  

You still see a lot of anglers up there snagging fish as they don't believe salmon can be caught when they are in their spawning runs. However, egg sacks and peg eggs can trigger reaction strikes all day long. Legally catching 10 to 20 of these fish a day is fairly common when the run is in full swing, but pay attention to the regs because daily limits are enforced. If you are just fishing for fun though, you'll have a hard time finding a better time.

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