What Kind of Fish Are in Lake Orion? – A Michigan Treasure for Fishing Enthusiasts

Fish in Lake Orion

Lake Orion is an all-sports, 470-acre lake situated in Orion Township in Oakland County, Michigan. It’s the eighth-largest lake by area in the county and has a maximum depth of 58 feet.

The lake is located within the Village of Lake Orion and Orion Township. Over time, the current area of the lake was formed by a collection of smaller lakes, beginning with the damming of Paint Creek in the 1830s.

Canals have also been dredged to maximize lakefrontage. There are several islands in Lake Orion, some of which feature seasonal and year-round residences.

Fun Fact: Lake Orion’s largest islands, Bellevue and Park, are connected to the mainland by two-lane bridges and are populated year-round.

Fish Diversity in Lake Orion

Fish Diversity in Lake Orion

The lake’s substantial size and depth contribute to a rich ecosystem that supports various types of fish. The presence of islands and the lake’s connection to other water bodies also play a role in the diversity of species.

Pro Tip: When fishing in Lake Orion, understanding the local ecosystem and seasonal patterns can help anglers target specific species.

Native Fish Species

Native Fish Species in Lake Orion

Lake Orion, is home to a diverse array of native fish species. The lake’s ecosystem supports both game fish and panfish, providing opportunities for anglers and contributing to the natural balance of the lake. Here’s a closer look at the native fish species found in Lake Orion:

Game Fish

Largemouth Bass

The largemouth bass is a voracious predator, known for its aggressive strikes and thrilling fights. With a distinctive upper jaw extending beyond the eye, this species is a favorite among bass anglers. Its habitat includes warm, shallow waters with plenty of cover, making it a common catch in Lake Orion.

Northern Pike

A fearsome predator, the northern pike has a streamlined body and sharp, needle-like teeth. It’s known to ambush its prey, including other fish and even small waterfowl. Anglers in Lake Orion appreciate the challenge of catching this elusive fish, which often hides in weedy areas of the lake.


Prized for its delicious taste, the walleye is a nocturnal hunter, often caught during the evening or under overcast skies. Its unique reflective eye helps it see in low light, giving it an advantage over its prey. In Lake Orion, walleye fishing is a popular activity, especially in deeper, cooler waters.




A colorful panfish, the bluegill is easily recognizable by its deep blue gill cover and dark vertical stripes. Often found in schools, bluegill provides enjoyable fishing for anglers of all ages. In Lake Orion, they are commonly found near docks and shallow waters, where they feed on insects and small fish.


Both black and white crappie inhabit Lake Orion, known for their large, paper-thin dorsal fins and deep bodies. Crappie are social fish, often found in large schools, and are considered excellent table fare. Anglers target them using small jigs and live minnows, especially during their spring spawning season..


The sunfish family includes various species, such as pumpkinseed sunfish, each with its unique coloration. These panfish are often found near the shoreline, where they feed on small insects and crustaceans. Their vibrant colors and willingness to bite make them a delightful catch in Lake Orion.

Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch

Recognizable by its vibrant yellow body and dark vertical stripes, yellow perch are a favorite among ice fishermen. They travel in schools and feed primarily on small fish and aquatic insects. In Lake Orion, yellow perch provide year-round fishing opportunities, with peak activity during winter months

Other Notable Species


The common carp, though not native to North America, has become naturalized in many water bodies, including Lake Orion. Known for their large size and strength, carp are often pursued by bowfishermen. A recent event in Lake Orion saw hundreds of carp deaths due to koi herpesvirus, highlighting the importance of monitoring fish health.


Catfish species in Lake Orion include both channel and flathead catfish. With their whisker-like barbels and bottom-dwelling habits, catfish are often caught using bait such as nightcrawlers and liver. They are known for their strong fights and are considered a delicacy by many anglers.

Brook Trout

Though primarily found in cold, clear streams, brook trout may also inhabit Lake Orion. As Michigan’s state fish, the brook trout is celebrated for its beautiful coloration and tasty flesh. Anglers often target them using flies and small lures, appreciating the challenge and reward of catching this native trout species.

Important Fact: (Conservation Efforts) It’s essential to follow local fishing regulations and practice catch-and-release for certain species to maintain the lake’s ecological balance. Understanding the role of native species in the ecosystem helps in conservation efforts.

Fish Species Type Notable Characteristics
Largemouth Bass Game Fish Aggressive, popular among anglers
Northern Pike Game Fish Sharp teeth, predatory nature
Walleye Game Fish Prized for taste
Bluegill Panfish Common, enjoyable for all ages
Crappie Panfish Distinctive shape, tasty
Sunfish Panfish Various species, colorful
Yellow Perch Panfish Vibrant stripes, popular in ice fishing
Carp Other Naturalized, affected by koi herpesvirus
Catfish Other Diverse species
Brook Trout Other May be present, adds to trout opportunities

Lake Orion’s native fish species contribute to a rich fishing experience and play a vital role in the lake’s ecosystem. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting, understanding the native fish species enhances your fishing experience and helps in conservation efforts.

Fishing Regulations and Conservation Efforts

Fishing Regulations and Conservation Efforts

As of the information available, specific fishing regulations for Lake Orion are not listed. However, it’s essential for anglers to consult with local resources and follow general fishing regulations in Michigan. These may include:

Fishing Seasons

Specific seasons for fishing certain species to protect breeding populations.

Catch Limits

Restrictions on the number of fish that can be kept to maintain sustainable populations.

Size Limits

Regulations on the size of fish that can be kept to ensure that younger fish have a chance to reproduce.

Fishing Methods

Guidelines on acceptable fishing methods and gear to minimize harm to fish and other wildlife.

Conservation efforts in Lake Orion may include monitoring fish populations, habitat restoration, and public education on responsible fishing practices.

Best Fishing Techniques and Tips

Best Fishing Techniques and Tips

Lake Orion offers a variety of fishing opportunities, and knowing the right techniques can enhance the experience. Here are some tips for fishing in Lake Orion:

Bass Fishing

Largemouth bass are often caught using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, or soft plastics near cover like docks and weed beds.

Pike Fishing

Northern pike can be targeted with spoons, spinners, or live bait in weedy areas or near drop-offs.

Panfish Fishing

Bluegill, crappie, and other panfish are often caught using small jigs, live minnows, or worms near the shoreline.

Walleye Fishing

Trolling with crankbaits or using live bait like leeches and minnows can be effective for walleye, especially in deeper waters.

Fun Fact: Lake Orion is known for its assortment of great species, and anglers have reported catching significant fish, including a 6lb walleye.

Challenges and Threats to Fish in Lake Orion

Challenges and Threats to Fish in Lake Orion

Lake Orion’s fish populations face several challenges and threats, including:

Invasive Species

The introduction of non-native species like zebra mussels and common carp can disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.


Without proper adherence to fishing regulations, overfishing can deplete fish populations and harm the lake’s ecology.


Events like the recent outbreak of koi herpesvirus that affected common carp highlight the importance of monitoring fish health.

Water Quality

Pollution and changes in water quality can have detrimental effects on fish and other aquatic life.


What are the most caught species in Lake Orion?

Largemouth bass, northern pike, rock bass, black crappie, bluegill, common carp, yellow perch, and walleye are among the most caught species.

Is Lake Orion suitable for family fishing?

Yes, with family-friendly picnic areas, boat ramps, and accessible piers & docks, Lake Orion offers a great environment for family fishing.

Are there any fishing regulations specific to Lake Orion?

As of the information available, specific regulations for Lake Orion are not listed. Anglers should consult with local resources and follow general fishing regulations in Michigan.

What are some recent notable catches in Lake Orion?

Recent reviews mention catching a 6lb walleye and bass over 2 lbs. Anglers often report success in various fishy areas around the lake.


Lake Orion, situated in Michigan’s Oakland County, is a haven for anglers and nature enthusiasts alike. With its diverse array of fish species, both native and introduced, the lake offers a rich fishing experience.

From the thrill of catching a largemouth bass to the joy of a family fishing day near the picnic areas, Lake Orion has something for everyone. The lake’s ecosystem faces challenges, but with responsible fishing practices, adherence to regulations, and community engagement, it continues to thrive.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting, Lake Orion invites you to explore its waters, learn about its fish, and enjoy the art of fishing.