Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography 

World Class Fishing & Boating on the 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–draining 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.

Sections of the River

The Pere Marquette Loop makes for a nice short trip. It starts at Old US-31 in Ludington and circles near the State Road Bridge. From there to Scottville Riverside Park, the river becomes wider with no landings, making for a long trip. Custer Park and Indian Bridge are two landing spots within the section between Scottville and Walhalla, where the river is wide and deep. Starting in Walhalla, there are three major sections: Walhalla to the Upper Branch Bridge; Upper Branch to Bowman’s Bridge and Bowman’s Bridge to the M-37 Bridge in Baldwin. 


The PM River is an extremely popular fishing location, due to the abundance of rainbow trout. Steelhead are also very prominent, as well as various species of frogs, crayfish, snakes, and turtles. Within the Manistee-Huron National Forest that surrounds the Pere Marquette River, there’s an abundance of wildlife including deer, wild turkey and small game. 

A fishermen casts his line into the river hoping for a bite. | Todd & Brad Reed Photography

Canoeing & Kayaking the PM River

The current of the Pere Marquette River is steady and considerably clear, which makes it perfect for paddlers with basic skills. Depending what section you decide to canoe or kayak, your trip can take you anywhere from a few hours to a few days. There are numerous canoe liveries along the river, and over 2,000 private campsites dispersed throughout the watershed.

Boat Launches & Fishing License Information

Locally, you can enter the Pere Marquette River from old Pere Marquette Highway, just south of Ludington…Scottville Riverside Park…Indian Bridge on Reek Road southeast of Custer and Walhalla Road Bridge south of Walhalla. 

Whatever your preference- sport fishing, a relaxing canoe trip, or camping in the forest, the Pere Marquette River and surrounding area is the perfect spot for your next vacation or day trip.

Discover Pere Marquette River Businesses

Events Along Pere Marquette River

The communities along the Pere Marquette River host many unique events throughout the year. In Baldwin, one of the most popular events is the annual Troutarama which includes rides, a beer tent, live music, food booths, and more. The event spans over four days in July. Pere Marquette Expeditions hosts the popular Monster Pike Fishing Tournament each February. This tourney is only for pike and awards a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner. Scottville’s Riverside Park on Pere Marquette River hosts the West Michigan Old Engine Club Shows which are held periodically from May-October. 

Activities & Attractions in West Michigan

Silver Lake State Park

The Silver Lake State Park is 3,000 acres and is situated between Silver Lake and Lake Michigan, offering boating, fishing, swimming, & ORV.

The Pentwater River

The Pentwater River provides opportunities to experience a paddle sport for the first time or take on a challenge for those more experienced.

West Michigan Arts Scene

West Michigan is home to numerous artists with so many different talents. Groovy music, vivid paintings, gorgeous photography, and more!

Manistee National Forest

Manistee National Forest together with the Huron National Forest occupies almost a million acres of land in Michigan’s lower peninsula.