What Are the Best Bait for Fishing in Lake Michigan?

Fishing in Lake Michigan can be an incredibly rewarding experience. With over 500 species of fish living in the lake, there is something for everyone.

Knowing what bait to use for each species is key to success. Here are some of the best bait for fishing in Lake Michigan.

Live Bait

Live bait is a favorite among fishermen on Lake Michigan. Commonly used live baits include minnows, crayfish, nightcrawlers, and even small frogs.

These live baits can be found at many tackle shops around the lake or caught in the wild with a cast net or dip net. They are ideal for catching panfish, bass, walleye and more.

Artificial Lures

Artificial lures are popular among fishermen on Lake Michigan due to their flexibility and ability to imitate different types of prey. Popular artificial lures include jigs, spoons, spinners, crankbaits and soft plastics. These lures are great for Targeting a variety of species including large and smallmouth bass, northern pike, muskie and walleye.

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing is one of the most popular forms of angling on Lake Michigan. Fly fishing allows anglers to Target a variety of species such as steelhead trout, salmon and even smaller panfish.

Fly fishermen use specialized rods and reels along with an array of flies to catch these fish. Some of the most effective flies include streamers, nymphs and dry flies.

No matter what type of fishing you prefer – whether it’s live bait or artificial lures – there is something for everyone on Lake Michigan. Knowing what bait to use for each species can make all the difference when it comes to success out on the water.


In conclusion, there are many different types of bait that work well for fishing in Lake Michigan depending on what type of fish you’re Targeting. Live bait such as minnows or crayfish can be used to Target panfish while artificial lures such as jigs or spinners can be used to Target larger game fish like bass and walleye.

Lastly fly fishing with streamers or dry flies can be used to Target steelhead trout or salmon. Knowing which type of bait works best will help improve your chances at success when it comes time to cast your line into this great lake.

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins