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Q: What are the fishing regulations and when are the hunting seasons for various fish and game on Beaver Island?

A: Beaver Island is part of Charlevoix Country and we live under the same laws as folks on the mainland. Hunting and fishing regulations change each year to some extent. The best source of information is the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Q: Can you buy resident and non-resident licensees on the Island?

A: Yes indeed. McDonough’s Market is a DNR license dealer.

Q: Are there inland lakes on the Island, what kinds of fish are in them, and is the fishing any good?

A: Four inland lakes provide good to excellent fishing for pan fish, perch, pike and largemouth bass. The Beaver Island Wildlife Club has been working for several years to develop Lake Geneserath as a walleye fishery. Walleye as large as nine pounds have been caught. The excellent largemouth bass fishing on Font Lake is largely “undiscovered.” Bass in the 4-5 pound range are common. A seven pounder hangs on the wall of a summer resident’s home. Our lakes are small and fragile. Keep a trophy or a meal and release the rest.

Q: What about the salmon and lake trout fishing in Lake Michigan?

A: Salmon fishing varies from year to year but is generally good in July and August. The most popular area is a few miles east of Sand Bay. Fishing for the long-lived slow-growing lake trout continues to improve. The area west and south of Beaver is a lake trout sanctuary. See the DNR web site for details.

Q: How about smallmouth bass fishing in the Beaver Archipelago?

A: The summer 2013 fishing for smallies was very good. Cormorant control measures have shown great success. Smallmouth bass fishing around Garden and Hog Islands has improved a lot in recent years. Many very large (6-8 pound class) fish have been caught and released. We are hopeful that by continued work with the state DNR and federal officials the positive trend will continue. In the meantime the Chamber of Commerce asks that you practice artificial-bait catch-and-release only fishing for smallmouth bass in the archipelago. The season for bass in Beaver Archipelago waters does not open until July 1st.

Q: What’s this I hear about fly fishing for carp on Beaver Island?

A: Fly fishing for giant carp (30 plus pounds) is outstanding around Beaver Island. The archipelago flats are the best in the Great Lakes. Carp are respected game fish in the rest of the world. Only we Americans don’t get it. Salt water bone fish were considered trash until they were “discovered” by sport fisherman. Outdoor writers are already calling carp the “golden bone.” Read more at

Kirk Deeter – Field & Stream said on his Blog ………..“Located in the northern waters of Lake Michigan, Beaver Island is home to some remarkable smallmouth bass fishing. But we were there to explore the flats fishing. And (I kid you not) I would rate the flats action on Beaver Island with any other flats experience in America. Yes, that also includes Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Nantucket, Hawaii… it’s absolutely insane around Beaver Island.”

Q: What about deer hunting on Beaver Island?

A. Beaver Island is well down the road of Island wide Quality Deer Management (QDM). In 2011 “three legal points on one side” antler restrictions became the law. For more legal details please see The number of “doe tags” varies each year, but there are usually plenty to satisfy demand. Beaver Island is now able to offer a very good deer hunting opportunity. QDM principals have created a more balanced herd with a much improved opportunity to see or harvest a mature buck. Many land owners have been planting food plots for years and the island offers lots of state land that is open to hunting. The 2013 season was very good.

Q: How about small game like grouse and rabbit?

A: Small game populations are subject to a similar level of variation as on the Michigan mainland. Generally speaking, small game hunting is very good with a few “off years” and a few “outstanding years.”

Q: I hear that turkey hunting is good?

A: Yes, turkey hunting is excellent! The Wildlife Club provides winter-feed for a very large flock. It is worth the trip to Beaver Island for world class turkey hunting. The DNR web site is the best source for permit and season dates. Currently we have both a spring and fall season

What Others Say

Here are a few of the many articles about hunting and fishing that have run recently.

Indigo Guide Steve Martinez stars in the Michigan out of Doors TV episode #1532.
Indigo Guide Steve MartinezHere is a link where you can watch the Beaver Island show.

Feature Film Teaser, Gold Rush On Beaver Island

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Great Big Minnows Music Video.
A brief fun video about fly casting in the Beaver Archipelago

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