Torch Lake has 40 different fish species - about the same today as it was more than 100 years ago. But, fish populations are significantly smaller today.
Did You Know?
- Torch Lake has 36 native and 4 non-native fish species.
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources requires anyone over the age of 17 to purchase and carry a Michigan fishing license.
- Recent changes in MDNR regulations require a Musky tag be issued when you buy an annual license. Musky harvest has a limit of one fish per season per fisherman with a Musky tag.
- Because Torch Lake is a cold water fishery, many fish species (lake trout, lake whitefish, sturgeon) live in cold, deep water. (When you see boats with downrigger fishing gear, please steer clear. Downriggers can have fishing lines 300 feet long.)
It’s simple…they swim around the lake and procreate, so there are great fish to catch.
This is simple too.
Buy a License
Get yours at a local bait and tackle shop such as Butch’s Tackle & Marine on Clam River or online. If you want to fish for Musky, you must have a Musky tag!
Practice Sustainable Fishing
Practice catch & release. Switch to safe tackle: barbless hooks, single hooks and non-lead tackle. Practice fishing etiquette.
- Kyle Anderson caught a record muskellunge in Torch Lake on September 27, 2009. The fish weighed 50 pounds, 8 ounces and was 55” long. Read the whole story.
- Tom Aufiero caught a record Atlantic salmon in Torch Lake on March 24, 2011. The fish weighed 26 pounds, 12 ounces.
Native Fish of Torch Lake
Lake trout, lake whitefish, brook trout, lake herring/cisco, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, yellow perch, log perch, Iowa darter, Johnny darter, emerald shiner, sand shiner, bluntnose minnow, creek chub, blacknose dace, longnose dace, redbelly dace, rosyface shiner, common shiner, deepwater sculpin, mottled sculpin, slimy sculpin, lake sturgeon, longnose gar, white sucker, brook stickleback, trout perch, brook lamprey, rainbow smelt, northern pike, muskellunge, central mudminnow.
Non-native Fish of Torch Lake
Brown trout, rainbow/steelhead trout, Atlantic salmon, Kokanee salmon.
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been stocking fish in Torch Lake since the late 1880s. In 2014, the MDNR stocked more than 53,000 Atlantic salmon. Go to MDNR website for the most recent stocking information.
- As trees have been removed from along the shore, the cool, shady habitat needed by spawning adults and younger fish has disappeared. When invasive species such as zebra mussels invaded Torch Lake, the balance was upset further. Non-natives consume the microscopic food needed by younger fish and other aquatic animals, so we see fewer minnows and crayfish today.
What Torch Lake Fish Are Safe to Eat?
See our Eat Safe Fish Guide for current guidelines.
Prevent problems before they happen
Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers
BEFORE you come to the lake, please wash your boat, motor and trailer with hot water to remove invasive species.
Get the Lead Out
A single lead jig or sinker can weaken a loon and cause death within a month after ingestions. More than 25% of the dead loons autopsied in Michigan have died from lead poisoning. Lead tackle left in the lake may last for 100s of years. Please switch to lead-free tackle.