Pere Marquette River

The Pere Marquette River is a designated National Wild and Scenic River, covering 66 miles over four counties. It flows westerly from Lake County, through the communities of Baldwin, Branch, Walhalla, Custer, Scottville, and Ludington where it drains into Pere Marquette Lake and eventually Lake Michigan. The PM River is not deep, averaging two to four feet deep and about 30-40 feet wide. It is home to several species of fish which include Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brooke Trout, Northern Pike and also migratory Salmon and Steelhead. The PM River is world renowned for its Annual Salmon and Steelhead runs.


This river is named after the French Roman Catholic missionary Jacques Marquette, who explored the Great Lakes and Mississippi River areas during the mid-17th century. This river's original native fish was the Grayling, but due to deforestation they disappeared from the river. It was then stocked with Rainbow Trout in 1876. In 1884, the Baldwin River, a major tributary, became the first American river to ever be stocked with European brown trout, which were imported from Germany, and is why they are referred to by some as German Brown Trout.


For the last 15 years, the PM River has not received state stockings of Chinook Salmon and Steelhead. It is now a self sustaining river which supports large amounts of natural reproduction. Rarely will you catch a hatchery fish.