Fishing Lake Michigan from Holland, Michigan

Posted by Chris Larsen on 29th Jan 2021

Fishing Lake Michigan from Holland, Michigan

Captain Matt Doozan has transitioned from fishing as a guest on charters, to working as a first mate, to sitting in the big chair as a captain for Powderhorn Sportfishing in Holland, Michigan.  We reached out to Doozan to ask him about fishing out of Holland.  He says the salmon fishing can be great when the timing is right.  But by mid-summer, most boats are targeting lakers.  “We are still getting some silver fish.  A lot of our fishery is lake trout.  We’re focused on getting our limit of trout every time we head out with our groups.  We do target silver fish when we know we can maximize that for our customers... if the water temperature changes and we know where that school might be moving to.  We will do that but the majority of the fish are trout.”

matt-doozan-laker.jpgThe marina in Holland sits on an inland lake that connects to Lake Michigan.  “We’re out of Lake Macatawa.  We head out through the channel into Lake Michigan.  Macatawa is also a nice lake to have some fun fishing.  Fishing out of Holland has been great.  This year we’ve had a very successful year.  We’ve had a lot of trout limits and our silver fishing in May was phenomenal.”

That “fun” fishing is often sheephead fishing.  “We do a lot of sheephead charters which are a ton of fun.  It’s actually one of the things I enjoy most.  It gives us a little bit of a break from the big lake.  What I enjoy most is being out there with the families and a lot of young kids.  Parents will book these trips for their children for birthday parties and stuff like that.  We run a three-hour charter and within that time frame, we’ve put everywhere from one hundred fish in the boat to about fifty or sixty.  We used to do four-hour charters but we bumped it down to three because the kids would just get worn out from how many fish they were reeling in.”

Once boats clear the harbor and hit the lake, they’ll find the floor of Lake Michigan to be gear friendly.  “It’s a gradual dropoff.  A lot of it is a sand bottom.  There’s not a lot of structure.  It’s pretty consistent as far as running your trout rigs on the bottom.  It’s a gradual dropoff once you get there.  We’re generally fishing in about 90 feet all the way to 150.  Today(July 7), some of my best fishing was in 110 FOW, so we did have some trout move in a little closer in shallower depths.  We did catch a lot of suspended trout this morning.  Normally, we are fishing for them on the bottom.  But we did have some of our rigs suspended five feet above the seafloor.”

Doozan uses a combination of downriggers and divers to get tackle to the bottom.  “We have Cannon Downriggers.  We have a couple of out-downs that we’ll put all the way on the bottom and then usually we will put our chute rigger in the middle and fishing for silvers.  We’ll run a spoon a little higher up, targeting the depth we’ve been catching our kings and cohos at this time.  We also run some divers.  Today we had one side of our boat fishing with divers suspended and our starboard side was bumping the bottom.”

Fish Hawk Electronics play a big part in formulating a successful day on the water for Doozan.  “I’m constantly using the Fish Hawk to check the different temperatures at depth.  I found it was five degrees colder as I raised it up five feet.  Once I realized it was five degrees colder from the bottom, I thought those trout would be suspended instead of laying right on the seafloor… it’s something we can’t fish without.”   

Captain Matt Doozan is a recent guest on the Great Lakes Fishing Podcast.  Click the player below to hear the entire conversation or click here to visit our podcast page.

Great Lakes Fishing Podcast · Fishing Lake Michigan from Holland, Michigan with Captain Matt Doozan - GLFP #39