Department of Natural Resources
Chinook salmon begin their upstream migration in late summer and are usually present in catchable numbers by mid August. They are pursued by river anglers with all manners of artificial baits - spoons, spinners, plugs - as well as with spawn (fish eggs) fished on the bottom in bags or in chunks of cut skein under a bobber.
Some of the best fishing for coho salmon can be found in early fall. During their spawning runs anglers can often catch them in the surf or while trolling. Most use crankbaits or floating/diving artificial minnows when targeting them.
The fall returns for Atlantic salmon typically occur in October-December. Anglers troll for them using downriggers, or some will drift for them or cast streamers or soft-plastic jerk baits. In the fall these fish come shoreward as they head toward the streams to spawn. Particular Lake Huron spots to target these fish would be Lexington, Au Sable River and Thunder Bay River. They typically start to show up in mid-October and bite pretty well when they first arrive.
Steelhead enter their spawning streams from late October to early May. Although many fish enter the rivers in the fall and overwinter there, they don't actually spawn until the spring. They are one of the most popular sportfish in Michigan. October/November are prime months for them - for Lake Michigan particularly on the Manistique, Betsie, Manistee, Pere Marquette, Muskegon, Grand Kalamazoo and St. Joseph rivers.
Insider tip: salmon are running big this year, so gear up accordingly!