Fishing in the Buchanan Area

fishingGreat fishing awaits you in the rivers and lakes around Buchanan. Bluegill, brown trout, carp, walleye, channel catfish, Chinook salmon, crappie, small mouth bass, large mouth bass, northern pike, rock bass, rainbow trout, steel head, suckers, and brown trout can all be found here.

For more than a quarter century, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been planting Chinook salmon, steel head and brown trout in the St. Joseph River. In combination with walleyes and the skamania stocking efforts, and abundance of other self-supporting species, this beautiful river provides a diverse year-round fishery.

The Buchanan Dam Fish Ladder was built in 1990. The areas above and below the dam offer fishing piers and a boat ramp below the dam. There is adequate parking. Both fishing piers are handicapped accessible.

For one of the finest trout and salmon streams in Southwest Michigan, try McCoy Creek, which empties into the St. Joseph River just above the dam on the Buchanan side of the river. This one is for the hardy fishermen who want to “hike in”. Park at the lot on Schirmer Parkway and take the trail to the creek. Bring your waders and check with DNR for open times. McCoy’s Creek is a designated trout stream.

Boating on the St. Joe

Kayak TravisPhoto Credit: S. TravisFrom pontoon boats to kayaks, jet skis, motor boats and skulls, the St. Joe river is a boater's dream. There is a boat ramp and a parking lot for your car, just past the dam on Red Bud Trail with no parking fee. Here, you will also find the Moccasin Bluff Site, an archaeological site along Red Bud Trail that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Kayakers and canoers will enjoy the slow, gentle paddle through Lake Chapin into Berrien Springs.

Anothe boat ramp is upriver on Marmont Street in Niles and offers public restrooms, or, head up to Riverfront Park, along the east side of the St. Joseph River from Wayne to Fort Street. The park has boat ramps, a children's play structure, an amphitheater, boat dock/fishing pier, walking trails, picnic shelters, picnic tables and grills.


Fuller’s Resort and Campground on Clear Lake, 1622 E. Clear Lake Road, Buchanan, 269/695-3785. It may be a private beach, but it is open to the public from mid April till October.

Lake Michigan Beaches (25 miles from Buchanan):

Warren Dunes Beach 2New Buffalo Beach is right off I-94 west into New Buffalo on Whittaker Ave. Drive through town and enjoy the gateway to Southwest Michigan. On beautiful lake Michigan beach for all to enjoy.

Silver Beach is located below the bluff in St. Joseph’s downtown. This beach includes all amenities; visitors’ center, bike racks, bathhouses, volleyball nets, public sculpture displays and much more.

Lion’s Park located on Lion’s Park Drive in downtown St. Joseph. This beach, which offers a playground and picnic pavilion, also connects to John and Dede Howard Recreation Trail. For more information call 269/983-6341.

Warren Dunes State Park 240 feet sand dunes that rise above lake Michigan are both exquisite and beautiful with wildflowers and campsites. Located off exit 12 of I-94 in Sawyer off Red Arrow Highway. For more information call 269/426-4013.

Weko Beach is located in the town of Bridgman, exit 16 of I-94, then north on Red Arrow Highway. Weko has a unique boardwalk that differentiates it from all other beaches. At dusk one will hear the playing of “Taps” in the summer evenings.