As Michigan’s longest river at 252 miles, the Grand River offers a urban fishing experience that’s unique in Michigan, from drifting the remote sections of Lowell and Ada for smallmouth bass and northern pike, to the fast action of chasing steelhead in a jet boat through the rapids and under the skyscrapers of downtown Grand Rapids. This urban/remote combination provides the angler with plenty of opportunity to catch multiple species of fish as well such as salmon, largemouth bass, walleye and the occasional muskie. Many sections of the river offer solitude from crowds, boats and other fisherman.
The river starts in Hillsdale County, flows to Grand Rapids and to its outlet at Grand Haven on Lake Michigan, with the following major and minor tributaries.
The Grand River can arguably be called the best steelhead, smallmouth bass and northern pike rivers in the state and that’s why we guide on it. There is also plenty of opportunity to catch other species of fish. Those species include salmon, largemouth bass, walleye and the occasional muskie.
It’s Michigan’s longest river at 252 miles. There are several major tributaries that include, the Thornapple, Maple and Flat Rivers. In addition, there are several minor tributaries that feed into the system as well. Those include, Sycamore Creek, Looking Glass, Rogue, Plaster Creek and the Red Cedar River. The river starts in Hillsdale County, flows to Grand Rapids and to its outlet at Grand Haven on Lake Michigan.
Above all, many sections of the river offer solitude from crowds, boats and other fisherman.
Many of the Grand River’s bayous are excellent places to catch the panfish species of bull gills, crappie, perch and sunfish. They are also a great place to ice fish with tip-ups for northern pike.
THE HISTORY OF THE RIVER
The history of the Grand River is one of Ruin and Recovery. Unfortunately, there is still this stigma that the Grand that is a polluted wasteland. Quite the contrary, much focus and money has been dedicated to cleaning up Michigan’s largest and most iconic river.
Its watershed is massive and covers 5,572 square miles with nineteen counties draining into it. Overall, 13% of Lake Michigan’s total watershed falls within it. Because of that, a lot of federal, state and private dollars have gone into cleaning it up and restoring fish habitat.
All of this coordinated focus continues today. As a result, the Grand River’s water quality has improve over the years. The most recent Grand River Assessment from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources dated June 2017 proves this.
TODAY ON THE RIVER
Today, there is a world class fishery that exits on the river. That is to say, it’s one of the best steelhead, smallmouth bass and northern pike fisheries in the state. It now holds over 95 native fish species with a total 108 fish species inhabiting the watershed.
Many anglers have received their Master Angler Awards from fish caught in the Grand. Those include, carp and flathead catfish, rainbow trout (steelhead), brown trout, lake trout and chinook salmon.
THE FUTURE OF THE RIVER
Coordinated focus has helped bring the Grand to where it is today. A lot of money is being poured into its continued restoration, particularly with dam removal. Currently, there are over 232 dams on the Grand River and is tributaries. The removal of dams has started with Sixth Street Dam in downtown, Grand Rapids. Efforts are underway to raise $45 million to make this happen. As a result, migratory routes will open up for salmon, steelhead, trout, sturgeon, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye and a variety of other species to quality spawning habitat. Hopefully, over time, other dams can be removed which will open up even more migratory routes to more spawning habitat and improve the fishery even further.
So if you want to take advantage of all the Grand has to offer, give Werkman Outfitters a call or send us a message.