Spring Salmon & Trout

Trout and Salmon boat-fishing season along the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan usually begins with the departure of ice around mid-February to April. Between March and mid-May, most of the fishing activity occurs within a two-mile band along the shoreline with coho salmon contributing close to 90% of the catch.

Most coho salmon stocked in the lake by Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana will stage in southern Lake Michigan in the spring, due to annual migration patterns. The 2 and 3-year-old coho gain weight rapidly, approximately 2 pounds in March and up to 4 pounds in May when they begin moving offshore.

Steel head, brown trout, Chinook salmon, and some larger coho are also taken during this period. Trolling with thin-fins, rapala, thunder-sticks (and various other body-baits and spoons), spinners, or dodgers and flies are the fishing methods most frequently used by boat trollers. Using planer boards this time of year is especially effective

Casting into warm water plumes in early spring when the lake temperature is still in the high 30’s or low 40’s has had some success. Suggested color combinations include blue/white; bright red w/black; solid chartreuse, solid hot pink, solid orange w/silver, chrome or gold. Shore anglers have found the months of March (and as early as mid-February) through April to be the best for catching coho and lake whitefish in the spring. Casting using the same types of artificial baits as the boat trollers or still fish with bait (night crawlers, spawn, wax worms, squid and shrimp, suspending bait off bottom or from 4-6 feet below the surface). Various piers & banks provide fishing access along Indiana’s Lake Michigan shoreline.