Fishing in Cass County

Free Fishing Weekends for Michigan

Two days twice a year, families and friends can enjoy one of Michigan’s premiere outdoor activities, Michigan Fishing, for FREE!

2023 Free Fishing Weekends

Free Fishing Weekend dates for 2023 are Feb. 18 and 19 and June 10 and 11. All fishing license fees will be waived for two days. Residents and out-of-state visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes waters for all species of fish. Please check the 2023 Michigan Fishing Guide for Rules and Regulations. Rules apply from April 1, 2023 – March 31, 2024. Check the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more complete details on Free Fishing Weekends and printable certificates for kids!

A Recreation Passport will NOT be required for entry into state parks and boating access sites during Free Fishing Weekends.

See Discover Cass County Lakes for information about DNR-maintained lake access sites.

Fly Fishing

Located eight miles east of Dowagiac within the 580-acre Fred Russ research forest you will find the Fred Russ Forest Park. This 13-acre park with its rich history and natural beauty is one of the most visited parks in Cass County. Dowagiac Creek is a designated trout stream (second-quality, cold water) that flows through Russ Forest, which is owned by Michigan State University. This first-order stream originates in a chain of lakes near Marcellus and flows in a southwesterly direction to its confluence with the Dowagiac River. There is no state-owned land along the creek, but anglers currently have no problems obtaining landowner permission to fish most of the creek. The creek has many faithful anglers, some of who have been fishing there for decades. It is very good dry fly water, being sufficiently wide to permit fly casting by the novice. This feature is rare in many southern Michigan trout streams. Anglers do quite well, catching trout from 5-24 inches. Many limit catches are reported. Historically, Dowagiac Creek has been managed for trout since at least 1933. Brown, brook, and rainbow trout have all been planted; however, only browns have been stocked since 1964.

Location: 20379 Marcellus Highway, Decatur, MI 49045 – Directions
County Parks Office Phone: (269) 445-4456


Many of our lakes are populated with ice fishermen during the winter months. Popular catches include bluegills, croppies, bass, and walleye, to name a few. Some of the top-rated lakes for ice fishing and easy access in Cass County include:

  • Magician Lake
  • Chain Lake
  • Paradise Lake
  • Shavehead Lake
  • Eagle Lake
  • Diamond Lake
  • Stone Lake

For lake details, reviews, fish species, tips, and recommendations, click on the lakes above which will take you to the Lake-Link website. Additional lake access site information can be found on the Cass County Lakes page of this website.