The Dowagiac River is one of the major tributaries of the lower St. Joseph River. The upper reaches of the river support a nice brown trout population as well as some great hatches. The best hatches are from May until July. However, the river fishes very well with streamers when there aren't any insects hatching and the terrestrial fishing is also great later in the summer. This section of river is best floated due to some very large holes that can swallow unsuspecting wading anglers.
It is in the last few miles that this river gets very exciting. This is some of the most beautiful water in the state of Michigan. It is also in this last four miles that the river receives its run of migratory fish. Each year steelhead, salmon, and lake-run browns migrate up to the Pucker Street Dam and turn this quiet little stream into a major player in the fisherman's repertoire. The runs follow the same timing as the St. Joe, but unlike the main river, the Dowagiac also supports a good percentage of natural reproduction.
Private property on both sides of the river make it a lot of work for wading anglers to follow Michigan's trespassing laws. So, like the upper river, this section is also best fished with the aid of a boat. However, once you get to a likely holding area, there is ample wading friendly water, making this a great choice for the anglers that love to wade.