Walleye Fishing on Au Sable River Michigan: Expert Tips and Techniques

Au Sable River Michigan PIC

The Au Sable River in Michigan is a renowned destination for anglers, offering diverse fishing opportunities and a scenic location. One of the highlights of the area is walleye fishing, which attracts both local and visiting anglers in pursuit of the coveted fish. Known for their excellent taste and challenging catch, walleye thrive in the river’s unique ecosystem, presenting anglers with the chance to hone their skills and try their luck at catching their next big trophy.

The river’s diverse landscape offers prime walleye habitats, ranging from deep pools to rocky structure and vegetation. In order to make the most of the walleye fishing experience at the Au Sable River, anglers must consider the right locations, optimal timings, and effective techniques to increase their chances of success. Furthermore, understanding the regulations and conservation measures in place helps ensure a sustainable fishing experience that does not harm the local ecosystem.

Key Takeaways

  • Walleye fishing in the Au Sable River, Michigan, is a popular activity for its challenging catch and tasty results.
  • Anglers should consider optimal locations, timings, and techniques to maximize their chances of success.
  • Adhering to local regulations and conservation measures helps maintain a sustainable fishing experience that protects the local environment.

The Au Sable River and its Significance

The Au Sable River is a renowned waterway in Michigan, known for its picturesque beauty, abundant wildlife, and excellent fishing opportunities. Stretching approximately 140 miles through the northern Lower Peninsula, the river passes through the towns of Grayling and Mio before entering Lake Huron at Oscoda1.

As a prime cold-water fish habitat, the Au Sable River attracts numerous anglers, particularly during salmon and steelhead runs. However, it is the river’s brown trout population that has gained it a reputation as one of the best brown trout fisheries east of the Rocky Mountains2. Encompassing 180 miles of blue-ribbon trout stream, the Au Sable offers a diverse range of fishing experiences, from top-notch dry-fly fishing to satisfactory bait-dunking3.

In addition to its thriving fish population, the Au Sable River is a popular destination for kayakers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to its calm waters, pristine scenery, and easy navigation4. The lower section of the river, stretching from 4001 Canoe Landing to Lake Huron, features numerous impoundments. These tranquil, lake-like areas foster diverse aquatic habitats and offer a unique fishing experience5.

The Au Sable River’s ecological and recreational significance is further cemented by its role in the foundation of Trout Unlimited, an organization dedicated to conserving cold-water fisheries and their watersheds. As such, the river serves as a vital conservation symbol, reminding us of the importance of preserving these invaluable ecosystems for future generations2.


  1. https://obtu.org/fishing/michigan/au-sable-river/
  2. https://www.outdoorhub.com/stories/2015/05/27/au-sable-river-trout-fishing-excellence/ 2
  3. https://www.outdoorhub.com/stories/2015/05/27/au-sable-river-trout-fishing-excellence/
  4. https://pyenye.com/kayaking-the-ausable-river-mi/
  5. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/hmnf/recarea/?recid=23980

Understanding Walleye Fish

Walleye are a popular game fish native to the freshwater lakes and rivers of North America, particularly in areas such as the Au Sable River in Michigan. They are highly sought after by anglers for their delicious taste and challenging nature to catch.

Walleye fish, scientifically known as Sander vitreus, are olive-green to brown in color with a white belly. They can grow up to 31 inches in length and weigh 20 pounds or more. Walleye get their name from their large eyes, which are specialized for night vision. This allows them to hunt more effectively in low-light conditions, making them an elusive catch for anglers.

These fish tend to inhabit cool, deep waters during the day and migrate to shallower areas to feed during dawn, dusk, and nighttime. They usually prefer areas with sandy or rocky bottoms, as these provide the best hiding spots for ambushing their prey. Walleye feed primarily on small fish, but they are also known to eat insects, crayfish, and other invertebrates.

Spawning in walleye occurs during spring when the water temperature reaches 42 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They typically migrate into feeder streams, shallow bars, shoals, or areas with vegetation to reproduce. In the Au Sable River, walleye have been observed moving between dams during their spawning season.

Anglers can target walleye using various fishing techniques, such as jigging, live bait rigging, and trolling. When fishing in the Au Sable River or similar water bodies, it is essential to understand the walleye’s natural habits and habitats to increase the chances of a successful catch.

Locations and Access Points for Walleye Fishing

The Au Sable River in Michigan is a popular destination for walleye fishing, offering beautiful scenery, crystal clear water, and impressive fish populations. There are several access points and locations along the river that cater to anglers seeking the thrill of catching walleye.

The town of Oscoda is widely known for its excellent walleye fishing opportunities. One prime location in Oscoda is the Au Sable River Pier, which boasts a launch area and ample parking. Anglers can easily access the river from the pier and cast their lines, taking advantage of the thriving fish population in the area.

Further upstream, the river is accessible in multiple locations for both boating and wading. Two of the most popular access points in this area include the Stephan Bridge and Thendara Road. These spots provide anglers with easy access to the water, and the diverse river features offer a range of fishing opportunities from calmer waters to deeper pools.

For those interested in exploring the Au Sable River downstream, the stretch from Wakeley Bridge to Mio Pond is another hotspot for walleye fishing. This area is characterized by a larger river with more pools, providing prime walleye habitat, and easy access points for anglers to launch boats or wade into the water.

Additionally, the area between Alcona Dam and Lake Huron offers many access points and parking options, making it convenient for those looking to spend a day fishing for walleye on the Au Sable River.

Best Time for Walleye Fishing in the Au Sable River

The Au Sable River in Michigan is a renowned destination for walleye fishing. Anglers flock to this river primarily for its diverse fish species and thriving walleye population. To ensure a memorable and successful fishing experience, it is essential to understand the optimal timing for walleye fishing in the Au Sable River.

During summer months, the best time to fish for walleye is typically in the early morning, between 5 am and 9 am, or late evening, an hour before sunset and a couple of hours after 1. The cooler water temperatures and reduced sunlight in the morning and evening allow walleye to be more active and easily approachable.

Fall is also an excellent time to fish for walleye in the Au Sable River. As the season progresses and water temperatures drop, walleye become more active during the day. This means that the late mornings and early afternoons become promising options for anglers to catch their prized walleye.

In addition to the time of day, several factors can influence walleye activity in the river. Weather and water conditions can have a significant effect on the walleye’s feeding patterns. Overcast days with turbulent water tend to increase walleye activity, presenting favorable fishing opportunities. However, always exercise caution in such conditions for your safety.

The lower section of the Au Sable River, with its lake-like atmosphere due to the impoundments, creates a favorable habitat for various fish species, including walleye2. Therefore, focusing on the lower reaches of the river can improve your chances of encountering walleye.

In conclusion, to make the most of your walleye fishing experience in the Au Sable River, consider the early morning and evening hours during the summer months, as well as the daytime in the fall. Pay attention to weather and water conditions, and be prepared to adapt your fishing strategy accordingly.


  1. https://finnsfishingtips.com/best-time-to-fish-for-walleye/
  2. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/hmnf/recarea/?recid=23980

Techniques and Equipment for Walleye Fishing

When fishing for walleye on the Au Sable River in Michigan, anglers should be aware of the appropriate techniques and equipment to increase their chances of a successful catch. One popular method is jigging, which involves the use of a weighted lure to create a vertical motion in the water. The most common jig sizes for walleye fishing are 1/8, 1/4, and 3/8 ounces, with color selection varying according to personal preference and local fishing conditions.

Another effective technique for catching walleye is trolling. Anglers can use a variety of lures, such as crankbaits or crawler harnesses, to attract fish. Trolling allows the lure to cover more water and target walleye that may be located at different depths. A video on drifting the AuSable River demonstrates how trolling with crawler harnesses can yield good results.

Spinner rigs are also a popular choice for walleye fishing, as they create vibrations and flashes of light in the water to entice the fish. Pairing spinner rigs with live bait, such as minnows or nightcrawlers, can further improve the chances of attracting walleye.

There are several pieces of equipment that anglers should consider for a successful walleye fishing trip on the Au Sable River:

  • Rod and reel: A medium action spinning rod, paired with a quality reel and 6 to 10-pound monofilament fishing line, is suitable for most walleye fishing situations on the Au Sable River. Baitcasting setups can also be used for those who prefer them.
  • Lures: In addition to jigs, crankbaits, and spinner rigs, slip bobbers can be used to suspend live bait at a specific depth to target walleye. Soft plastic lures, such as grubs or swimbaits, can also be effective when jigging or casting.
  • Electronics: Modern fish finders and GPS devices can help anglers locate structure and depth changes where walleye may be hiding. These tools can be particularly useful for finding fish in larger sections of the river.

Lastly, it is important to be aware of special fishing regulations in the Au Sable River area. For instance, the use or possession of baitfish is prohibited, and specific open seasons and limits apply for different fish species, including walleye. By following these guidelines and using the appropriate techniques and equipment, anglers can enjoy a fruitful walleye fishing experience on the Au Sable River in Michigan.

Regulations and Conservation Measures

Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has specific regulations in place for walleye fishing on the Au Sable River. Anglers must adhere to these regulations, which are in effect until March 31, 2024, as per the 2023 Fishing Guide. It is advised to consult the guide to familiarize oneself with these rules and understand the limits specific to walleye in the region.

In addition to following the regulations in the fishing guide, anglers can contribute to the conservation efforts on the Au Sable River. The river is well-known for its large trout population and is an important recreational area with a focus on protecting the coldwater stream ecosystem. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has a long history of research, restoration, and fisheries management on the Au Sable River, and their work contributes to a healthy and sustainable fishing experience for all.

One method of preservation used in Michigan is the Natural Rivers Program. This river protection effort seeks to protect the natural quality of select rivers, including the Au Sable River. They regulate use and development through zoning rules, ensuring that Michigan’s finest river systems remain protected and can be enjoyed by both residents and visitors. More information about the program can be found on the Natural Rivers page on the Michigan government website.

Adherence to the regulations and conservation measures helps maintain the ecological balance of the Au Sable River, which ultimately supports a thriving and accessible walleye population for anglers to enjoy. Staying informed and respecting both the rules and the conservation efforts is essential for sustainable recreational fishing on this beautiful Michigan river.

Reports and Record Catches

In recent years, Au Sable River in Michigan has become a popular destination for avid walleye anglers. A variety of fishing reports have highlighted the good numbers of walleye caught in this river, making it an ideal spot for those seeking to reel in this prize fish.

Anglers trolling in 50-60 feet of water out of Tawas have reported productive walleye fishing. While specific record catches are not readily available, these fishing reports indicate the growing popularity of the river due to its walleye population. In addition to walleye, the Au Sable River is also home to other game species like bass, pike, and panfish, making it an all-around angler’s paradise.

It is essential for anyone interested in fishing at Au Sable River to consult local resources before heading out, as conditions and fish activity may vary throughout the year. Fishing enthusiastics can access the latest information on the best baits, spots, and forecasts at Fishbrain, a valuable source of user-generated fishing reports and reviews.

Investing time in researching and planning the fishing trip will not only increase the chances of success but also ensure anglers are well-prepared to handle the ever-changing fishing conditions. Furthermore, following the updated Au Sable River fishing report will provide insight into the most effective strategies and guide prospective walleye hunters to a satisfying experience in an idyllic Michigan setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best spots for walleye fishing on the Au Sable River?

The lower section of the Au Sable River, from Alcona Dam to Lake Huron, features many impoundments that create a lake-like atmosphere, making it suitable for walleye fishing.

When is the peak walleye fishing season on the Au Sable River?

While walleye can be found throughout the year in the Au Sable River, their activity levels rise during the spring and fall seasons. Spring is particularly productive as walleye move to spawn in shallow waters.

Do walleye fishing regulations differ on the Au Sable River?

Walleye fishing regulations on the Au Sable River follow the statewide regulations in Michigan. Always make sure to check for the latest rules and regulations before heading out to fish.

Which lures are most effective for walleye in the Au Sable River?

Effective lures for walleye in the Au Sable River include jig and minnow combinations, crankbaits, and soft plastic baits. It is essential to experiment with different lures and colors to determine what works best in a given situation.

Are there any boat access points for walleye fishing on the Au Sable River?

Yes, there are several boat access points and canoe landings along the river, allowing anglers to explore various sections of the Au Sable. Utilize maps and local knowledge to locate the most suitable access points for your fishing trip.

What techniques work best for walleye fishing on the Au Sable River?

Successful techniques for walleye fishing on the Au Sable River include jigging, trolling, and casting crankbaits. Depending on the time of year and river conditions, it is important to adapt your techniques and target the areas where walleye are most likely to be found, such as drop-offs, weed lines, and structure.


Hi, I’m Kurt and I’m the author of walleyemania. I’ve been fishing for Walleye since I was a kid and I love sharing my tips, tricks, and stories with other anglers. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find something useful and entertaining on my site. I cover everything from the best gear, baits, and techniques to the best spots, seasons, and recipes for Walleye fishing. Join me on my journey to catch more and bigger Walleye!

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