What You Need To Know About Fishing Regulations in Michigan

What You Need To Know About Fishing Regulations in Michigan

The DNR releases an annual fishing guide that outlines the rules, regulations, exceptions, and penalties for violating fishing rules. Each season’s fishing guide typically comes out at the beginning of March. Every guide is similar to the previous year’s, but it is the responsibility of the sport fisher to stay abreast of changing fishing rules and regulations. To read about some of the changes made to the Michigan Fishing Guide in 2022*, click here. 

* The 2022 Michigan Fishing Guide is effective until March 31, 2023, when a new guide is expected to be published.

 jury-blog-img - Law Office of John Freeman

What Are Common Michigan Fishing Violations?

Two main statutes apply to fishing violations: Section 41105 and section 48702. Each law carries the potential for fines, jail time, and possible revocation of your fishing license. Common violations subject to these penalties include:

  • Fishing without a valid fishing license. In Michigan, the fishing season is between March 1st and March 31st of the following year. Your annual fishing license is valid until you will have to renew it if you want to continue fishing.
  • Exceeding the daily fishing limit. For example, fishermen can catch and keep up to 5 large or smallmouth bass per day during the bass season. If you exceed that limit, a conservation officer (CO) may confiscate all but the maximum number of bass and issue a ticket.
  • Catching and keeping a fish outside of its designated possession season. For example, you can only fish for walleye in inland waters in the Lower Peninsula between the last Saturday in April through March 15th of the following year.
  • Catching and keeping a fish that is smaller than the minimum size requirement. Different fish have different minimum sizes. Walleye, for example, must be at least 15″ long to catch and keep. However, Yellow Perch and White Bass do not have a minimum size requirement.

The above is not an exhaustive list of fishing violations. Visit the 2022 Michigan Fishing Guide for a complete list.

Different Lakes, Different Fish, Different Rules

Before fishing in a Michigan body of water, check the regulations for that specific body of water to ensure you are not violating any fishing regulations. For example, Lake St. Clair’s fishing regulations are available on its website. 

Understanding that these regulations exist to protect Michigan’s beautiful natural resources and ensure that hunting and fishing practices can continue for years is essential. Don’t take fishing regulations lightly; conservation officers are law enforcement, and fishing violations can be misdemeanor offenses if you are convicted.

If accused of violating any of Michigan’s sport fishing regulations, retain a lawyer with experience navigating the complex watershed of Michigan’s hunting and fishing laws. Your best means to avoid fines, possible jail time, or a misdemeanor on your record is to contact an experienced hunting and fishing lawyer today.