Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography 

Find your Perfect Fishing Spot on Hamlin Lake

There are numerous places for anglers to try their luck, and Hamlin Lake has such a great variety of fish. Walleye is plentiful in Hamlin Lake, as are bass, perch, bluegill, crappie, pike, and more.

Fishing is popular all year on Hamlin Lake.

Here's the kind of fishing you can expect in the Hamlin Lake area:

March and April

Although some ice fishing anglers are reluctant to see the last ice leave the lake, boaters are anxiously awaiting the lake levels to raise and the boating/fishing season to begin. Late April kicks off the walleye, northern pike, and muskie season on Hamlin Lake.

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May through August

This is the season for fine crappie and pike fishing on Hamlin Lake. Crappie, bluegill, and small mouth bass fishing are also excellent.


During the autumn steelhead and Salmon Runs, anglers line the banks of the Big Sable River which courses through the Ludington State Park. These fish jumping over the Hamlin Dam is a sight to see! This mile-long stretch from Hamlin Lake is a favorite as the catches are definitely worth writing home about.

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Ice Fishing


Once the ice freezes, anglers venture out onto Hamlin Lake for some bluegill or walleye fishing.

January through March

It’s ice fishing season and Hamlin Lake offers plenty of action. Northern pike season begins in January, while February and March bring crappie action on Hamlin Lake where perch, walleye, and bluegills also can be found.

Area sports shops provide licenses, equipment, and up-to-date information on ice and fishing conditions. Grab some bait, your fishing pole, and create your very own “fish story” right here on Hamlin Lake.

Anglers love fishing on Hamlin Lake during the winter. Hamlin Lake is located just four miles north of Ludington in West Michigan. Ice fishing on Hamlin Lake is a great way to enjoy the winter — just set up a shanty and get ready to catch some bluegills, crappies, perch, walleye, pike and muskie. Several ice fishing tournaments are held each winter on Hamlin Lake.

Dave Mahannah, former owner of North Bayou Resort, says there are many good spots. “Jig fishing for walleye occurs on the drop off of the North Bayou north towards the narrows and in front of the dunes.” He says the edge of the drop off of the channel coming out of the narrows in Upper Hamlin Lake is also a good spot for walleye. “Small jig fishing for bluegill occurs primarily on Upper Hamlin Lake north and northeast of Wilson Hill Park boat launch,” he says. “The South Bayou is also a spot fished for bluegill.”

Mahannah says crappie fishing at night occurs primarily from late January through February on the drop offs at the north and south sides of Upper Hamlin Lake.perch

Mahannah prefers the tip-up method of fishing, also known as jigging, compared to spearing, “primarily because there is no such thing as spear and release. Some fishermen see spearing as an advantage because the fisherman remains in a heated shanty next to the hole. Plus, there are no worries of breaking a line.” According to Mahannah, the disadvantages include not being able to cover a large area, and sitting in a dark shanty because of the need for darkness to see in the hole.

Free Fishing

The State of Michigan offers its residents and out-of-state visitors two Free Fishing Weekends per year. According to the Michigan Fisheries Department (517) 373-1280, the Free Fishing Weekend February date is always the weekend before President’s Day. For both days, all fishing licenses will be waived, but fishing regulations still apply. Enjoy great fishing on inland lakes and all five Great Lakes.

At more than 12 miles long and 5,000 acres large, Hamlin Lake touches Manistee National Forest on the north, towering dunes in the west and miles of undeveloped wilderness all around. This man made lake originated during the logging hey-day when lumbermen dammed the Big Sable River to make an enormous holding pond for trees felled upstream.

Experience Hamlin Lake

Hamlin Lake is a beautiful 5,000 acre water paradise just north of Ludington in West Michigan! Read the stories below or go to the Hamlin Lake destination page.

Experience Hamlin Lake

South Bayou Park

Enjoy this small, relaxing park as an easy place to place your boat in the water or throw a line out to catch some pan fish for dinner.

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See what Hamlin Lake has to offer!

Scroll below for more articles about the Ludington area fishing information.

More Ludington Area Fishing Information

Fishing Tournaments & Events

Ludington fishing tournaments give anglers a chance to add a little money to their pocket in addition to the fish in their bucket.

Ludington Salmon Fishing

Ludington’s natural resources, charter captains, and outfitters provide great salmon fishing on Lake Michigan and the Pere Marquette River.


There are many places for anglers to try their luck, and Ludington has such a great variety of fish. The area also has great charter captains.

Charter Boat Fishing

No matter your experience level, Ludington area charter captains will guide you in what to bring and what to expect on the big lake.

Fishing on Hamlin Lake

Hamlin Lake Fishing Map

This Hamlin Lake Fishing Map details what kind of fish you might catch in various sections of the lake. Helpful for all anglers.