Lake Michigan, is the second largest Great Lake by volume with 1,180 cubic miles of water, and is the only Great Lake entirely within the United States. At approximately 118 miles wide and 307 miles long, Lake Michigan boasts more than 1,600 miles of shoreline. Averaging 279 feet in depth, the lake reaches 925 feet at its deepest point. The lake's northern section is in the colder, less developed upper Great Lakes region, while its more temperate southern basin contains the Milwaukee and Chicago metropolitan areas. The drainage basin, includes portions of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Lake Michigan is hydrologically inseparable from Lake Huron, since they are joined by the Straits of Mackinac. The lake's main fish species include chinook salmon, coho salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye and carp.
Lake Michigan is well known for it's great salmon fishery. Chinook salmon predominate in these waters, along with coho and pink salmon. Trolling spoons and salmon plugs in areas with marked fish and nearby baitfish schools is the most common open water fishing tactic. Fishing can be challenging at times due to sudden temperature changes, from internal waves (up wellings from the bottom). These up wellings can cause temperature drops of up to 15° in just a couple of hours along the coast. Small lunar tidal effects have also been documented on Lake Michigan and can effect the bite. The lake is very diversified, the northern part of the Lake's watershed is covered with forests, and is sparsely populated, where as the southern portion is heavily populated with intensive industrial development and rich agriculture. Salmon thrive in the under developed central and northern regions of the lake.
As with the salmon, the trout fishery on Lake Michigan is excellent. Both Rainbow trout and Brown trout are abundant in the lake. Trout are targeted by trolling spoons in and around baitfish schools. As with the salmon fishery, the depth and range is dependent on season and water temperatures. In spring, many anglers target some of the large rivers which feed the lake, namely, Fox-Wolf, the Grand and the Kalamazoo. Float fishing and still fishing with roe is always effective, especially at dawn. Casting spoons, such as cleos and krocodiles off piers or points can also produce good results, especially on windy days.
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