Walleye Fishing on Kalamazoo River Michigan: Expert Tips and Techniques

Kalamazoo River Michigan PIC

The Kalamazoo River in Michigan offers anglers an excellent opportunity for walleye fishing. This beautiful river runs through West Michigan, providing a diverse habitat for various fish species, including the highly sought-after walleye. Anglers of all skill levels can experience the thrill of casting their lines into this popular fishing destination, whether they are beginners or seasoned veterans.

Walleye fishing on the Kalamazoo River is well-known for its action-packed outings and trophy-sized catches. The river’s changing conditions and ample fish populations create a unique challenge for anglers looking to hook into the elusive walleye. With proper tackle, gear, and know-how, pursuing these feisty fish can be both exciting and rewarding for those willing to dedicate their time and effort.

Key Takeaways

  • The Kalamazoo River in Michigan is a great destination for walleye fishing
  • Seasonal patterns and knowledge of the river can improve angling success
  • Proper preparation, tackle, and gear are essential for an enjoyable walleye fishing experience

When is the Best Time to Fish for Walleye in Kalamazoo River

Spring Walleye Fishing (March – May)

During spring, walleye fishing in the Kalamazoo River is at its peak due to their spawning activities. As water temperatures rise, walleye will move upstream to spawn in shallow areas with a good current. Anglers should target areas with rocky or gravel bottoms, as these provide ideal spawning grounds. Using live bait or artificial lures, such as jigs and crankbaits, can increase your chances of success during this time.

Summer Walleye Fishing (June – August)

In the summer months, walleye in the Kalamazoo River may become more challenging to find as they seek out cooler waters. They can often be located in deeper areas of the river, such as drop-offs and submerged structures. Presenting baits and lures near the bottom can help attract walleye during this time. Keep in mind that low-light conditions, such as early morning, late evening, or overcast days, are the most favorable times for catching walleye in the summer.

Fall Walleye Fishing (September – November)

Fall is another productive time for walleye fishing on the Kalamazoo River. As water temperatures cool down, walleye will become more active and start to migrate back to shallower areas in search of food. This is an excellent opportunity for anglers to target them using a variety of techniques, such as trolling, casting, or drift fishing. During this period, walleye tend to be more aggressive, so using larger crankbaits or spoons can be beneficial in attracting them.

Ice Fishing for Walleye in Winter

Ice fishing for walleye in the Kalamazoo River can be enjoyable and productive during the winter months, when the river freezes over. Walleye are often found in deeper parts of the river during this period, favoring areas near drop-offs and other underwater structures. Utilizing ice fishing gear like tip-ups and jigging with live bait or small ice fishing lures can increase your chances of success. Be sure to practice ice safety and check ice thickness frequently when venturing out on the river during this season.

By choosing the right time and using the appropriate techniques, anglers can experience productive walleye fishing on the Kalamazoo River. The seasonal patterns and behaviors of walleye in this river make it a popular destination for both novice and experienced anglers seeking the thrill of catching this prized game fish.

Top Spots for Walleye Fishing on Kalamazoo River

The Kalamazoo River is a popular destination for anglers seeking an exciting walleye fishing experience. This section will provide a brief overview of some of the best spots for walleye fishing along the river, including upstream of Allegan Dam, around Plainwell, between Otsego and Allegan, and downstream of Morrow Pond Dam.

Upstream of Allegan Dam

While the lower two-thirds of the Kalamazoo River is known for its walleye population, upstream of Allegan Dam also offers promising fishing opportunities. Northern pike and smallmouth bass are commonly found in this area, making it a popular spot for anglers looking for variety in their catch. Remember to follow local regulations and stay alert for changing river conditions while exploring this area for walleye fishing.

Around Plainwell

The area around Plainwell is another spot worth investigating for walleye enthusiasts. As you venture downstream from Battle Creek, the Kalamazoo River flows through Plainwell, presenting anglers with a variety of fishing opportunities. Look for deep pools and structure in the water, where walleye often hide during the day. Patience and persistence are key when fishing this section of the river.

Between Otsego and Allegan

The stretch of the Kalamazoo River between Otsego and Allegan is also known for its walleye fishing potential. The river varies in depth and structure, providing the perfect habitat for these game fish. Keep an eye out for current breaks and underwater ledges, which can attract walleye seeking a place to rest and hunt for prey. Employing a diverse range of lures and techniques will increase your chances of success in this area.

Downstream of Morrow Pond Dam

Downstream of Morrow Pond Dam, the Kalamazoo River boasts an abundance of walleye, channel catfish, and flathead catfish, making it a popular spot for anglers. The deeper waters below the dam create an ideal environment for these fish species. Casting near the dam structure, as well as along any drop-offs or structure, can lead to successful walleye fishing. As always, respect local regulations and take care when fishing in proximity to dams.

In conclusion, the Kalamazoo River offers anglers a variety of opportunities for successful walleye fishing. By exploring the areas upstream of Allegan Dam, around Plainwell, between Otsego and Allegan, and downstream of Morrow Pond Dam, fishermen are sure to find a spot that suits their preferences and increases their chances of reeling in a prized catch. Happy fishing!

Best Techniques for Catching Kalamazoo River Walleye

The Kalamazoo River in Michigan is a popular destination for anglers looking to catch walleye. The best techniques for walleye fishing on the Kalamazoo River include jigging with live bait, trolling crankbaits and spinners, bottom bouncing rigs and crawlers, and drift fishing with slip bobbers and leeches. The following subsections will discuss each of these techniques in detail.

Jigging with Live Bait (Minnows, Nightcrawlers)

Jigging can be a highly effective method for catching walleye in the Kalamazoo River. Using live bait such as minnows and nightcrawlers can increase your chances of attracting walleye. To successfully jig with live bait, attach a minnow or nightcrawler to a jig head, then slowly lower the jig into the water near structure or drop-offs. Gently jiggle the bait up and down to generate interest from nearby walleye.

Trolling Crankbaits and Spinners

Trolling with crankbaits and spinners is another proven technique for catching Kalamazoo River walleye. Fishermen can cover more water while using large crankbaits such as Rapala Shad Rap or X-Rap Magnum and spinners like Cabela’s Canadian or Nitro Spin. When trolling, move your boat at a steady pace and adjust your lure depth to target different walleye layers in the water column.

Bottom Bouncing Rigs and Crawlers

Using bottom bouncing rigs with crawlers can be a successful way to catch walleye in the Kalamazoo River. With this technique, you’ll use a bottom bouncer weight combined with a nightcrawler on a snell rig. This setup keeps your bait close to the river bottom, where walleye tend to feed, and allows for a natural presentation. Make sure to maintain contact with the river bottom while trolling and adjust your speed to keep the crawler moving enticingly.

Drift Fishing with Slip Bobbers and Leeches

Lastly, drifting with slip bobbers and leeches can be an effective method for catching Kalamazoo River walleye. This technique involves using a slip bobber to control the depth of your leech bait while drifting downstream. Set your bobber stop to the desired depth, typically just above the river bottom, to target walleye that may be holding close to structure or drop-offs. This passive approach lets the river current do most of the work, and walleye can’t resist a well-presented leech.

Recommended Tackle and Gear for Walleye

When fishing for walleye on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, it’s essential to have the right tackle and gear. In this section, we’ll go over some recommended equipment to help you catch more fish.

Light Jigging Rods with Sensitive Tips

A critical component of your walleye fishing setup is a good quality light jigging rod with a sensitive tip. This type of rod allows you to feel subtle bites and detect when a walleye has taken your bait. A medium power rod with a length of 6 to 7 feet is a versatile choice for many walleye fishing techniques.

8-10 lb Test Fluorocarbon Line

Using 8-10 lb test fluorocarbon line is a great choice for walleye fishing on the Kalamazoo River. Fluorocarbon has low visibility underwater, so it won’t scare off the fish. Additionally, it has a higher abrasion resistance, which helps prevent break-offs when fishing around rocks and other structure.

Assortment of Jigs and Live Bait Rigs

Having an assortment of jigs in various sizes and colors is crucial for walleye fishing. Some recommended jig sizes include 1/8, 1/4, and 3/8 ounce. Pairing jigs with live bait rigs, such as minnows or nightcrawlers, can be highly effective for attracting walleye.


Crankbaits are another excellent lure option for walleye fishing on the Kalamazoo River. These lures can imitate a variety of prey and can be fished at multiple depths to target walleye throughout the water column. This source provides information on the best walleye lures, including crankbaits.


Spinners are an effective tool for attracting and catching walleye. They create vibrations in the water that mimic prey and trigger a predatory response from the fish. Make sure to include a few spinners in your tackle box for those times when walleye may not be biting on other lures or baits.

Bottom Bouncers

A bottom bouncer is a specialized rig designed for walleye fishing. It consists of a weighted wire that keeps your bait near the bottom while maintaining contact with the lake or river floor. This technique can be ideal for fishing in areas of the Kalamazoo River with varying depths, where walleye may be congregating near the bottom. Utilize different rigs and weights to efficiently cover various depths and structures where walleyes are likely to be found.

Fishing Regulations and License Requirements

Overview of Fishing Licenses – Options and Costs

In Michigan, a fishing license is required to target fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and reptiles. Fishing licenses are managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and can be purchased online, over the phone, or at a license dealer. There are various license options available, such as annual, 72-hour, or 24-hour licenses, depending on the angler’s needs. The annual fishing license is valid from March 1 through March 31 of the following year. To purchase a fishing license, one must have a valid Michigan Driver’s License, a valid Michigan ID Card, a valid driver’s license from their state of residency, or a DNR Sportcard12.

Daily Limit and Size Restrictions for Walleye

When fishing for walleye in Michigan, anglers must adhere to specific regulations set by the DNR. In most Michigan waters, the daily possession limit for walleye is six fish with a minimum size limit of 15 inches3. However, some waters may have different size and possession limits. It is crucial to check the specific regulations for the Kalamazoo River or any other body of water before heading out to fish.

Seasonal Considerations (Closures, Spawning Periods)

Seasonal fishing regulations are in place to protect fish populations during sensitive periods, such as spawning. For walleye, the spawning season typically occurs between late March and early May, depending on water temperatures4. In some Michigan rivers and streams, there may be closures during the walleye spawning period to protect the fish. Anglers should always consult the Michigan DNR’s fishing regulations to stay informed about specific closures and limitations that may apply to the Kalamazoo River or other bodies of water.


  1. https://www.eregulations.com/michigan/fishing/general-fishing-regulations
  2. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2023/07/26/michigan-fishing-license-regulations-season/70462252007/
  3. https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/-/media/Project/Websites/dnr/Documents/LED/digests/2022_fishing_guide_Web.pdf?rev=7098d08c2a5e4c59a5669c55e03793e9
  4. http://www.walleye411.com/spawning_areas.html

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best months for walleye on Kalamazoo River?

Walleye fishing in Kalamazoo River can be productive throughout the year, but the peak months are usually in the spring and fall. During these times, walleye are often found in shallower waters and are more active, making them easier to catch.

Where are the top spots for fishing walleye on the Kalamazoo River?

While specific fishing spots may change with water levels, temperature, and other factors, there are a few known areas where anglers have had success catching walleye on the Kalamazoo River. A popular section of the river for walleye fishing can be found within Kalamazoo County, as highlighted on this Fishing Reports, Map & Hot Spots. Exploring the river, identifying promising fishing holes, and talking to local anglers can also provide valuable information on where to find walleye.

Which baits and lures work best for walleye in Kalamazoo River?

Various baits and lures can be effective for catching walleye in Kalamazoo River. Popular choices include crankbaits, jigs, minnows, and nightcrawlers. As walleye can be selective in their feeding, experimenting with various types of baits, colors, and presentation styles can increase an angler’s chances of success.

What regulations apply to walleye fishing in the Kalamazoo River?

Fishing regulations for walleye in the Kalamazoo River are typically set by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Licenses, bag limits, size limits, and gear restrictions may apply. Before fishing, it is crucial to familiarize oneself with the local Walleye Management and fishing regulations to ensure compliance and conservation of the fishery.

What are the preferred techniques for catching walleye in the Kalamazoo River?

There are multiple techniques that anglers employ to catch walleye in the Kalamazoo River. Some effective approaches include jigging, trolling, and casting with lures or live bait. Adjusting techniques and presentation based on factors such as water temperature, clarity, and structure can improve catch rates.

How does the Kalamazoo River compare to other rivers in Michigan for walleye fishing?

The Kalamazoo River offers decent opportunities for walleye fishing. While it may not be as well known as some other rivers in Michigan, such as the Saginaw River or Detroit River, the Kalamazoo River still hosts a healthy walleye population. Anglers can enjoy a less crowded fishing experience and still have a chance at catching these sought-after gamefish.


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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