Houghton Lake has one of the most diverse and
abundant fish populations of any lake in Michigan.
Since the 1930's, the Department of Natural
Resources has identified 39 different species of
fish in Houghton Lake including sunfish, perch,
northern pike, walleye, and largemouth and
smallmouth bass. However, the lake is too warm
during the summer months to sustain coldwater
fish species such as trout. Since 1994, Houghton
Lake has had over 330 entries in the Department
of Natural Resources Master Anglers Program
including a 21-pound northern pike caught in 2003,
a 30-inch walleye caught in 2004, and a 14-inch
black crappie caught in 2004. Since 1979, the
Department of Natural Resources has stocked
over 1.9 million walleye in Houghton Lake ranging
in size from fingerlings to 6-inches.
The fishery in Houghton Lake has been studied
extensively. A study completed by the Department
of Natural Resources in 2004 found that the fishery
in Houghton Lake in 2001- 2002 was very similar
to the fishery in 1957-1961. In particular, the report
noted that the walleye fishery in Houghton Lake is
healthy and that the northern pike population was also fairly healthy.
In April and June of 2007, the DNR surveyed Houghton Lake to evaluate the fish community.
A report of results stated:
Bluegill sizes and growth rates ranged from Satisfactory to Superior in all years between 1972 and 2007. Catch rates in trap nets have increased steadily since 1983. This is inconsistent with angler reports of poor bluegill catches during recent years. Other
panfish also appear to have good size structure and large mean sizes. The panfish populations appear in good condition with no substantial changes since 1972.
Overall, the fisheries of Houghton Lake are dominated by panfish, walleye, and northern pike. The 2007 survey indicates stable or increasing abundance of these species. Substantial changes in growth rates and sizes were not evident.