Pier Fishing - A New Way to Enjoy an Old Pastime

From the pier in downtown Escanaba and the cement walkway along the St. Mary’s river in Sault Ste. Marie, to the piers in Ludington, Grand Haven and Holland, you are sure to find a pier that fits your style of fishing. 

Day or night, people gather along these piers to enjoy their sport – and they are just as passionate as their counterparts who go out on their boats.

Piers are usually located at the mouth of a river, and as such, provide ample opportunity to catch a variety of fish.  All you’ll need is that rod and tackle you have sitting in the garage, a current fishing license, and maybe a lawn chair to sit back and relax in.  Pack a lunch, grab a few friends, or a good book, stop by the local bait shop to get the scoop, and you’ve got all the makings of a perfect, relaxing, summer day. 

Wondering how to get all your gear out to the pier?  The wagon your kids use to haul their toys makes the perfect fishing cart.  It’s compact, easy to maneuver, and just big enough to carry everything.  When you’re first starting out, do your research.  Visit the pier and check out what the other pier anglers have in their “fishing carts”. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind about some of the most popular pier fishing destinations:

  • The Detroit and St. Clair river systems call for a set line, so you’ll want to invest in a rod holder that you can use to clamp your rod to the steel posts along the walkways.

  • The St. Clair river is great for walleye.  If you fish near the Blue Water Bridge, tackle is heavy to get baits down. Further downstream, it gets lighter.

  • At Tawas it’s the white fish being sought. And at certain times of the year, the saying goes you can catch large walleye during the day and catfish at night off the Tawas pier.

No matter what you’re skill level or experience, pier fishing is a relaxed way to get out and enjoy angling while you take a breather from the hectic pace of life.  Pier fishers tend to be a good natured, helpful group, so if you’ve got questions, ask away.

Roger Beukema has been The Oakland Press since 1981 and became an outdoor writer in 1990. In addition he writes the weekly Travels in Michigan. Roger is a contributor to the Chicago Tribune for Michigan travel stories and also writes for the Great Lakes Angler magazine. He is a monthly contributor to Woods N’ Water News. Roger has been invited to attend and cover several BASS Master Classics. He is also a retired police officer with the Bloomfield Township Police Department.