Muskegon Salmon Fishing

Update: 9/25/2016 – Chad and his son caught this Salmon at around 7:30 on Muskegon Lake just before the channel. There were a ton of boats out fishing with most jigging and some trolling. It seems that those trolling had fish on while those jigging did not. Chad was 45 feet down and using a silver red head. Picture shown below:

Salmon caught in Muskegon Lake using Silver Red Head while trolling

And here is another picture of a nice catch not too far away from Chad, and also trolling. Impressive!
Salmon caught in Muskegon Lake

Want to catch some of the best tasting salmon you’ll ever have? We have it right here in Muskegon! People from all over come to get in on the action and are catching their limit of great lakes salmon!

Update: September 15, 2016 – Jonathan Phillips sent us a picture of this impressive catch! According to fish whisperer Vince Pannucci of North Muskegon Charters, this is a Brown Trout worthy of mounting! Caught from the Muskegon Pier, just as you enter the channel from Muskegon Lake on the Muskegon Side. Jonathan was using a silver & white Luna Jig and hooked this monster on 9/10/2016 at 7:30am.

Fish caught by Jonathan Phillips from the Muskegon Pier

Jonathan Phillips hooked this fish from the Muskegon Pier

Update: August 7,2016 – Massive Salmon being caught just outside arms of Muskegon Channel. Below is a picture of Captain Kurt Hildwein who went out at 7:30pm on 8/7/2016, dropped two lines (down riggers) 50 feet back, 30 and 40 feet down using his special jplug that caught these two monsters well before sunset! His trolling speed was a bit faster than other boats and fish hit the jplug as he passed bait balls (schools of bait fish that look like a ball on the fish finder). The location (marked by “1”) was just outside the green and white lighthouse of the Muskegon Channel. Both fish were caught within 45 minutes of each other.

Captain Kurt

Picture of Coho Salmon – what you can expect!

First Salmon!

First Salmon!

Using Neil’s Limit and Mongolian Beef (both green spoons that glow), trolling at 2.5 with down riggers set at 40 and 45 and 50 to 75 back about a quarter mile from the arms of Muskegon Channel in Lake Michigan, my daughter picked up the fighter shown in this picture. The line was screaming, fish jumped out of the water and back in to continue an incredible fight that we will never forget! Priceless!

Muskegon Coho Salmon

When is the best time to fish for Salmon? It shouldn’t be for a few weeks yet, but the latest cold spell has them moving and as you can see from the pictures below, fishing has picked up. These pictures were taken only a few days ago.

Salmon Fishing in Muskegon

Too crowded for you? Fishing with lead core? Then head out of the pier heads and to the left like this fisherman in the picture below did – I think he has the right idea :)

Fishing for salmon outside the Muskegon channel

You don’t have to go to Alaska to fish quality Salmon, you can get them right here in West Michigan. You can camp out and launch your boat at Fisherman’s Landing located at 501 E Western Ave, Muskegon MI, 49443 (231) 726-6100.

Once you’re in the water, head out to the channel and stop at the entrance to Jig for Salmon, or, use a dipsy diver or down rigger and troll through and just outside the channel arms entering Lake Michigan.

Lead core works great as well (fishing line with a lead core, the more you let out, the deeper it goes while trolling) as long as you’re not trolling near other boats – the last thing you want on your hands is your lead line tangled with others!

Don’t have a boat but still want to get in on the action? No problem, drive out to the Pere Marquette area and fish off the channel walls!

Salmon SaladTip — > Don’t want to cook the fish you just caught? Visit Docker’s Fish House and have Chef Scott (Does a fantastic job!) prepare your Salmon in a number of ways, including: Grilled, Sautéed, Pouched, Blackened, Cajun, Bourbon Glazed or Mango Salsa.

Chef Scott asks that you give him a two hour lead time (231) 755-0400 and fish must be cleaned before bringing them in (there is a cleaning station next to Dockers).

If you are going to freeze your Salmon, do it the right way – place them in a freezer bag filled with water; this will prevent freezer burn and works like a charm!

Enjoy the fishing!

PS. Have some pictures of your big catch? Drop me an email ( with your story and pictures and I’ll do my best to get them posted!

PSS. Want to see if boats are out in the channel right now? Check out the webcam from NOAA/GLERL on our Muskegon Weather page.

25 replies
  1. Jim says:

    This eco friendly fisherman has the right idea! Zero maintenance for the boat (kayak), all the equipment for fishing including the ability to troll, no boat storage fees and fits in your truck!

    Eco friendly Muskegon fisherman jigging for Salmon

    Picture taken on Sept 7 at the mouth of the channel. You don’t see them, but there were a ton of boats all jigging for Salmon. As we passed through, it was reported that 10 Salmon were caught in a two hour time period (combined).

  2. Robbin says:

    I can only imagine what fighting a 20 pound salmon would be like in a kayak! What happens when the fish starts pulling you away? How do you keep your balance, especially if the fish goes under your kayak? What is the longest he has ever been pulled?

    What a great idea; gives a whole new meaning to ‘fighting the fish’ :)

  3. Ron T. says:

    Do you have a forecast of what the waves will be like tonight and tomorrow? I know Muskegon Lake stays relatively calm, but I have a small 15′ fishing boat and want to try the spot you mentioned on Lake Michigan. Also, what is the closest boat launch?

  4. Jim says:

    Interested in handicap accessible fishing? Check out the channel wall and join the rest in jigging for salmon.

    This fishing spot is located on NOAA property. Anglers drive along Lake Shore drive and park in a separate lot east of the NOAA Station, then walk about 1,800 feet along a barrier-free paved walkway. Able-bodied anglers wanting to access the fishing platform should consider parallel parking along the entrance to Margaret Drake Elliott Park, also located off Lake Shore drive.

  5. Carleen Champagne says:

    Hi, we’re amateurs, but I want to take my 12 year boy salmon fishing. We don’t have a boat, so what is the best location to go without a boat? Also, are there charters to choose from? If anyone knows this information, please let me know. We are in the S.E. Michigan area, and are planning to be up on the weekend of the 19th of September. Is this a good time?


  6. Jim says:

    Hello Carleen,

    I think your best bet will be to fish along the channel wall on the NOAA property I mentioned above.

    As for the the 19th being the right time, it’s unknown. The weather is everything and if it’s cold that week, it will be good fishing. There is also the Muskegon River from which you can catch some massive salmon!

    The City’s Business Directory will contain any approved charters along with a summary of their services, see the Muskegon Fishing charters section.

    You can track the weather by visiting our Muskegon Weather page which has wave information and more.

    Do all of us a favor will you? Let us know how it turns out and where you decided to fish.

    Good Luck!

  7. Peter Jones says:

    This is great, well written informative and fantastic photos, keep up the good work!

    Take care and have a good weekend.

  8. Carleen says:

    Hi Jim,

    Here is another question for you regarding salmon fishing in Muskegon.

    We wondered, is it better to go out to the pier late at night (like midnight) for the best catches? My son seems to think so.



  9. Jim says:

    Hi Carleen,

    I’ve been told that when it gets dark, the Salmon come closer to the surface. I think that if you are out on the pier an hour before sunset and shortly after, you’ll do well.

    I have found however, that morning is always better than night (get out there an hour before sunrise and fish a hour after and you should do well.

    Morning or night, I think you’ll get good results right now :)

    For sunrise and sunset times, check out our Muskegon Weather page.

    Note: I’m not a pro by any means and just got into fishing a few years ago. I have also never fished off the pier and am going on what I hear from those that do fish the pier.

    Let us know how you do, and good luck!


  10. Mark says:


    What is the best bait/lure to use for salmon off the channel wall? I also have a canoe, would it beneficial to bring it, if so where would be the best place to fish?

    Thank you,


  11. Jim says:

    Hey Mark,

    The Salmon are up the river and you’re not likely to do well on the wall right now.

    The next week will begin the Steelhead Fishing season (Giant Rainbow Trout) – actually, steelhead migration begins the end of October and run up to early March, but many locals will be getting in on the action early to beat the crowd [steelhead and salmon].

    I’ve not done this yet (never seemed to be enough time) but I hear the steelhead put up the best fight and are absolutely fantastic eating! I’m not missing out this year!

    I’m just learning, so your best bet is to ask one of the pros listed in our business directory – right now, we have only one Muskegon Fishing Guide listed. His name is Earnest Miller and you can call him at (231) 557-9582; he’ll tell you exactly where to launch on the Muskegon River and what to use free of charge.

    Please, let me know how you did and send me some pictures if you can – I’ll be sure to get them up on the site!

    Good luck!


  12. Len says:

    Jim My dad is 83 yrs old and he wants to try his hand at salmon fishing off of the pier. Can you tell me how high the channel walls are? He is not sure if fishing off the wall is something that he can handle. I want him to have fun but I also want him to be safe. Can you recommend an area other than the pier to fish off shore? Thank you, Len

    • Jim says:

      Hi Len,

      I’m not sure how high the channel walls are, but I’d guess about 10 plus feet?

      Other areas to fish are the walkway down from seaway, casting at the end of Giles road near Reeths puffer high school.

      Use glow spoons before dawn and just before sunset.

      Hey Len, let me know how it turns out for you and your father, will you?




    Hi, are the Salmon starting to hit yet? If so, what lures are best and how far out and how deep?

    • Jim says:

      Hi Russell,

      Yes they are, and just outside the arms to the Muskegon Channel. You can’t miss it, just look for all the boats doing circles in that area. Glow spoons, green in color. Note: When there are this many boats, you don’t want to use lead core line, it’s a sure way to get yelled at :)

      Good Luck!!!

  14. Jim says:

    August 30th, 2011 – If you’ve been waiting to catch some of the best Salmon around, now is the time! jigging, trolling and fishing off the channel wall are all producing incredible results! Best time to get out there is early in the morning before sunrise or an hour before sunset into 30 minutes past dark.

    Tonight, the sun starts to set at 8:22pm so 7:00, 7:30pm would be a great time to head out. I’ll be out there spending some quality Father Daughter time tonight, would be awesome if she caught her first Salmon :)

  15. Jim says:

    Went out tonight and started trolling at 7:15pm. Used Neil’s Limit and Mongolian Beef (both green spoons that glow), trolling at 2.5 with down riggers set at 40 and 45 and 50 to 75 back about a quarter mile from the arms of Muskegon Channel in Lake Michigan.

    First Salmon

    Picked up a baby right away and let it go, picked up big one about 15 minutes later but it got away, and daughter picked up the fighter shown in this picture. The line was screaming, fish jumped out of the water and back in to continue an incredible fight that we will never forget! Priceless!

    Against my daughter’s wishes, we went in after that :)

    While we were out there, I passed a fisherman that looked like he was fighting a big one as well – it got away, but he told me that he had 5 on, lost 2 and was using a silver plug. Green Glow Spoons and Silver Plugs seems to be working great.

    Honestly, I think anything would have worked – everyone seemed to be pulling them in!

    If you have been waiting for the right time, it’s now!

    And, if you want to know how to filet that Salmon :)

  16. Jim says:

    Two solid reports…

    First was from Captain Kurt who states the boats were trolling just outside the arms, but no fish were being caught and suspected they moved back out to 140 feet.

    Second was from Captain Ernest who reports that on the way out to 150 feet he noticed a large number of boats jigging and doing well just before the Muskegon Channel. He also did well out at 150.

    There is still plenty of time to fish for Salmon!

  17. Stone says:

    Went out last night to 130, green and silver spoons, caught 4, 1 got away due to size! Everything started hitting as soon as the sun dipped into the clouds at sunset.

  18. Jim says:

    I was on my way out of the Muskegon Channel and captured this video around 5:30pm yesterday. This was taken just before the mouth of the Muskegon Channel and caught jigging; turns out that he has caught 40 Salmon in the last five days at this spot.

    Now that is Quality Time! Amazing!

  19. Haywood says:

    The “arms” are called the “breakwater.” You’re fishing outside the breakwater, not the “channel arms.”

Comments are closed.