Iron County Michigan Fishing

Fishing Lakes, Rivers & Streams

There are 314 lakes and approximately 900 miles of rivers in Iron County.  Enjoy fishing for Walleye, Northern Pike, Bass, Musky, Yellow Perch, Blue Gill and Sunfish, Black Crappie, Bullhead, and Brook Trout. Listed below you will find 11 of our popular lakes, there are many more to explore. Whether you prefer to fish by boat, on shore, along the river’s or lake’s edge, you will find an excellent variety of choices for you, your family and friends to enjoy!

Fishing is one of the top family fun activities in Iron County, and its lakes and streams provide excellent sport fishing. Whether you prefer fishing from shore, in a boat on a lake, or donning hip-boots or waders for stream-fishing, Iron County’s got a place for you.


Fishing In Iron County Michigan

Any parent, grandparent or adult who has tried to take young children out angling knows you need to find some fishing action without too much delay. Accomplishing that will make it an enjoyable and lasting outing. For open water season,pan fish fishing is probably the best option available locally. If you are taking several children, and unless you have a larger boat,it is good to consider a shore fishing option. This allows the kids to run around when they lose interest between bites.

Iron County has several options for shore, pier, and boat fishing that are good choices for a youth fishing day. Iron County’s best lakes for abundant bluegills and sun fish are Runkle, Glidden,Indian, Fire and Fortune Lakes. Some shore fishing opportunities are available at Runkle, Glidden and First Fortune Lakes.

Runkle Lake has a fishing pier and some public shoreline at Runkle Lake Park that are available to fish for numerous pan fish and it is a good choice for very young anglers. Runkle Lake also has a boat access site.

Glidden Lake State Forest Campground provides both shore fishing because the entire shore-line is state owned, and it has boat access. First Fortune Lake’s best shore fishing is accessed through the Bewabic State Park. A fishery crib reef is located in easy casting distance from the shore of the point just north-east of the bathing beach. Numerous DNR surveys and personal snorkeling reveals that the crib reef is heavily used by pan fish and bass.

Indian Lake has limited shore fishing opportunities although boating access provides easy access to an abundant pan fish population. Three fisheries crib reefs are also located in Indian Lake that make good locations to catch pan fish and bass.

Fire Lake’s only practical access is by boat although its small size makes a small boat a reasonable choice to fish from.

As water temperatures warm near 70 degrees, bluegills start bedding/nesting. They are very vulnerable during this period and anglers should be encouraged to maintain the fishery by not over harvesting the larger male bluegill that take the role of guarding the nest of eggs and fry. Fisheries research reveals that the large bluegills, especially males, maintain the quality of a lakes bluegill population size structure. With that in mind, fly fishing with small ant imitations is an excellent way to introduce novice fly anglers to that sport. Bluegills are just starting to stage for bedding or limited nesting on some northern bays that warm sooner than main lake areas. If you get your young angler into nesting fish you should encourage them to selective harvest. You should not take larger bluegills, but can keep and eat the medium (less than 8 inch) fish.

Lake Ottawa is another lake to consider in Iron County. This lake has a U.S. Forest Service fishing pier and is a good place to catch smallmouth bass, rock bass, and occasionally perch and walleye. Anglers should note that Lake Ottawa is restricted to catch and release fishing for bass. Bass Lake , just off M-73, is also a good fora small boat for pan fish and some shore fishing opportunities are available at the US For-est Service public access site.

Fortune Pond , just west of Crystal Falls,has a handicap accessible DNR/Wildlife Unlimited fishing pier and is currently stocked with rainbow and brook trout. Water clarity is excellent so fishing early morning and evening is most effective. Water clarity allows you to see the bottom at about 40 feet deep at the end of the pier.

Caspian Pit , just east of Caspian near the Iron River, is also stocked with rainbow trout and has a city of Caspian fishing pier at the access site.

Iron County Fishing License

A fishing license is required for all persons who have reached their 17th birthday. Licenses are valid from March 1 of one year to March 31 of the following year.  Fishing licenses can be purchased online or at a sales location in Iron County. Resident seniors may purchase licenses at a reduced rate. Michigan also offers a 24-hour license good for all species to residents and non-residents.  Click here for complete list of Michigan Hunting & Fishing licenses.

Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend

Fish For Free on one weekend in February and June during Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekends!

It’s a great opportunity for families to enjoy one of Michigan’s most popular activities. All fishing license fees will be waived these two days for residents and non-residents. All fishing regulations still apply. For more information, contact Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division, ATTN: Free Fishing Weekend Family Fun, PO Box 30446, Lansing, MI 48909.

Check out seasons, rules, and regulations for particular waters and fish types by visiting, calling the FISHING HOTLINE at 1-800-ASKFISH


Trout Fishing

Michigan is blessed with an abundance of cold, quality trout waters offering 38,000 plus miles of classified trout streams. Remarkably, 868 miles are considered premier top-quality streams, which Michigan classifies as its Blue Ribbon Trout Streams.

Blue Ribbon Trout Stream must meet certain standards or criteria. It must be one of Michigan’s best trout streams, be able to support excellent stocks of wild resident trout, have the physical characteristics to permit fly casting but be shallow enough to wade, produce a diverse insect life and good fly hatches, and have earned a reputation for providing an excellent trout fishing experience and have excellent water quality.


Management of Blue Ribbon Streams by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is directed toward accommodating the needs of the trout angler, maintaining strong stocks of wild resident trout that best suit the character of each stream, maintaining and enhancing trout habitat and the natural stream environment, providing adequate public access and public frontage and preparing appropriate informational materials on these special Blue Ribbon Trout Streams of Michigan.

Iron County is home of 6 of Michigan’s best.
Brule River, Iron County (M-73 to M-189)
Cooks Run, Iron County (US-2 to Paint River)
Fence River, Iron County (Junct. with East Branch to downstream edge of Section 35, T45N, R31W – See Plat Book)
Iron River, Iron County (Raft Lake (T43N, R36W, Section 12) to City of Iron River
Paint River (South Branch), Iron County (Forest Road 3270 to Gibbs City
Ford River, Dickinson County (Upstream edge of Section 15, T43N, R30W to Henderson

Our Featured Iron County Lakes For Upper Michigan Fishing

  • Lake Michigamme is located in Crystal Falls, Michigan and is known for its northern pike, crappie, bass, and walleye.
  • Lake Chicagon is also located in Crystal Falls and has bass, lake trout, muskie, northern pike, and walleye.
  • Cable Lake is situated in Amasa and has bluegill, crappie,northern pike, bass, and walleye.
  • Lake Emily is in Crystal Falls and you can fish for bass, muskie, walleye, crappie, pike, and bluegill.
  • Located in Beechwood Michigan is Golden Lake with lake trout, pike, crappie, bluegill.
  • Indian Lake is in Crystal Falls and has bass, pike, and bluegill.
  • Ice Lake – species include, smallmouth, largemouth, northern, perch and crappie
  • Iron Lake has bluegill walleye, pike, bass, crappie, and is located in Beechwood, Michigan.
  • Lake Ottawa is located in Iron River and has pike, bluegill, walleye, crappie, and trout.
  • Paint Lake is in Kenton, Michigan and has crappie, pike, bass, muskie.
  • Peavy Reservoir is situated in Crystal Falls and is known for walleye, pike, bluegill, crappie, and bass.
  • Porter Lake is in Amasa and has bluegill, bass, pike, and walleye.

Click to view Iron County Michigan Fishing Lakes Listing

Ice-Fishing in Iron County

The Upper Peninsula is known for its great ice-fishing opportunities.  Tip-ups and shanties make the season fun for all ages.  Many fishermen work a jig and minnow combination.  Perch is the most sought after type of fish during this season.  Stanley Lake, Sunset Lake and Emily Lake are well known for successful walleye fishing in the winter.

Before your vacation, please visit: so that you may stay alert of any rules or changes.  Also, you may call 1-800-AskFish.  For a full list of fishing information, lake information, river information, and species, please click here.

Iron County Lodging