Fishing / Boating

Experience the dunes from the perspective of crystal-clear Lake Michigan in your power or sail boat, or head to a quiet inland lake or river. Rentals are available nearby, and lakeshore cruises can take you for a memorable sunset ride. If you have your own vessel, several boat launches are available, including Empire Village Park in town.

The park and region offers fantastic fishing opportunities. Charter a boat or launch your own for a deep water catch in Lake Michigan or wade into one of the area’s best fly fishing spots. Get your gear—lures, flies, rods and reels, and more—at Empire Outdoors or sign up for fly fishing classes at the Orvis Fly Fishing School at The Homestead in Glen Arbor.


Lake Michigan Deep Water Fishing

To experience great fishing with amazing dune views, take a charter boat for a local's guide to the best seasonal spots or launch your own at Empire Village Park. Depending on the season, catch yellow perch, walleye, steelhead, lake trout, and salmon.


Sail along the crystal clear, Caribbean-esque duneshore or head to the Manitou islands to view the Francisco Morazan shipwreck. Several launch areas are available in the region, with Empire Village Park as the most convenient.

Glen Lakes

Little Glen Lake is shallow (13 feet) with a sandy bottom. Best fishing is in the spring and early summer with perch and bass. Deeper Big Glen Lake (about 130 feet) has lake and rainbow trout, bluegill, perch, bass, pike and some salmon.

Otter, Bass, and Deer Lakes

Three connected lakes along the Platte Plains trail system. Non-motorized Otter Lake has some of the park's best fishing. All-purpose Bass Lake has hiking, canoeing, and fishing. Deer Lake, wild and secluded, is hike-in only.

Fly Fishing

The park and region offers fantastic fly fishing. The Platte River has classic "hatch" fishing for brown, rainbow, and brook trout. The Crystal River offers spring steelhead, fall coho and lake-run brown trout.

Platte River / Big Platte Lake

The Platte River and Big Platte Lake, rumored to have some of the best fishing holes in the area, have brown, rainbow, and brook trout; bass, pike, walleye, bluegill, perch, steelhead, and salmon in the fall.

Loon Lake

Secluded along the Platte River, access this quiet lake just off M-22. A great place to take the family for fishing, boating, and swimming spot, be sure to listen for loon calls.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is popular throughout the Lakeshore in winter. Powered ice augers require a permit and are only allowed on Lake Michigan, Loon Lake, School Lake, Bass Lake, and Tucker Lake. Pick up a free permit from the visitor center in Empire.