Black Lake (MI) Fishing

Black Lake is a beautiful clearwater lake and fishing destination located in Michigan’s lower peninsula. The water here is so clear at times it’s not uncommon to observe fish swimming several feet below the surface. Is one of the most pristine and productive walleye, northern pike and muskellunge fisheries in the region.

Black Lake is Michigan’s 9th largest inland lake, reaches a maximum depth of 50 feet, and has 19 miles of shoreline. Fishing from shore is limited as much of the shoreline is covered with dense weeds and foliage.

Best Fishing Spots on Black Lake

You’ll find good fishing just about anywhere you wet your line on Black Lake. There are, however, various areas and habitats throughout the lake that are more or less conducive to specific fish species.

black lake michigan fishing map with hotspots

Area 1

Area 1 runs along the north end of the lake. It is characterized by shallow depths and heavy vegetation and weedbeds.

This area is a hotspot for perch and walleye activity during early spring and summer. Fish the cabbage weeds and grass beds at the mouth of the Upper Black River. You’ll also find abundant pike and muskie here.

Minnows, jigging spoons or jigging spoons tipped with minnow are the go-to presentation most anglers use when fishing this area of the lake.

For some decent walleye action, target the mouth of the Upper Black River mid March during spawn as well as the drop-offs along the west side where depth drops from 10 to 30 feet quickly. Jigs work best along the drop-offs.

Area 2

Walleye fishing in the shallows along Onaway State Park really picks up as the sun goes down. A half mile east of the park to a mile west of the park is prime walleye territory.

When winter fishing, jigging spoons and tip-ups will yield some nice size walleye catches in this area. Baited willow spoons are effective when fishing the shallows.

Area 3

Area 3 is encompassed the bay located in the shallow waters between the mouth of Upper Black River and where the Lower Black River empties from the lake. This area is full of cabbage weed and vegetation.

This areas is where you’ll find many of the larger pike and muskie in the 40 to 48 inch range. Anglers report pulling catches over 30 pounds from these waters.

If you want to catch big fish, use big bait. Sucker minnows work really well here for hooking lunker pike and muskellunge. You can also jig with larger size spoons.

When jigging with spoons you’re also likely to hook some walleye.

Area 4

Area 4 is where you’ll find the tighest contour lines on Black Lake, and abundant walleye and perch populations.

For walleye, target the steep breaks and sudden drop-offs. For perch target the deep flats. Anglers report success catching perch using bright color teardrop lures and smaller jigging spoons.

For walleye and perch, tipping your lure with a small minnow or cut bait will increase our strike rate.

The key is to focus your efforts on transition zones. Weedbed edges, weeds to no weeds, sand to rock, etc are ideal spots to get some good hookups.

Fish Species

Black Lake as historically been a wild fishery without any regular stocking. If you caught a walleye, you could pretty much assume it was a wild fish. As such, fish populations fluctuated from year to year for a long time. Today much of the walleye population in Black Lake as been introduced through managed stocking programs.

It’s hard to say which attracts more anglers to Black Lake, walleye or pike. Every Michigan angler knows Black is one of the best pike lakes in Michigan’s Inland Waterway region. It’s not uncommon to hear anglers hooking pike on the upwards of 40 inches, although legal pike in the range of 24 to 32 inches are more common.

Not surprising, Black Lake also offers some of the best muskellunge fishing in the Lower Peninsula. Muskie are abundant in Black Lake for the same reason as the pike, good vegetation and an ample supply of baitfish to feed on. Spear fishing through the ice for pike and muskie is a favorite pastime for many local anglers.

Sturgeon spearing has historically been a big draw to fish Black Lake. However, due to over fishing and depletion, sturgeon fishing on Black is limited, and harvesting this fish is highly regulated. To allow numbers to rebound, only 6 sturgeon are allowed to be harvested annually.

While most anglers come for the pike, muskie and walleye fishing, anglers may also encounter bass, channel cats, gar, perch, crappie, as well as a variety of panfish species.

Black Lake Boat Ramps

The following boat ramps provide access to Black Lake.

Black Lake State Forest Campground and Trail Camp Boat Ramp
Black Lake, MI

Black Lake -N Boat Ramp
1841-2083 Bluffs Hwy Cheboygan, MI

Black River Marina Inc Boat Ramp
3198 Abbey Rd Grant, MI 2316252500

Boat Ramp – Benton Harbor Boat Ramp
20918-21040 Bonz Beach Hwy Onaway, MI