Great Lake State Fishing: Recent Changes to Fishing Regulations in Michigan

Great Lake State Fishing: Recent Changes to Fishing Regulations in Michigan

To many, fishing is the ultimate pastime. Fortunately for Michigan residents, the state is home to more than 10,000 inland lakes and tens of thousands of miles of waterways containing fish of all different varieties, from brown trout to salmon and bass.

Protecting this fish stock is of the utmost importance, which is why all Michigan residents must abide by state regulations. Tracking the changes to these regulations is just as essential.

Recent Changes to Michigan’s Fishing Regulations

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission approves changes to statewide and local fishing regulations every year. These changes often deal with possession limits, season lengths for individual fish, and other important matters.

Walleye Season Change

As of January 1, 2023, the walleye possession season on certain waterways lasts year-round.

Prior to the new year, fishing enthusiasts were restricted to a possession season that began on the last Saturday of April and ran until March 15th. With the recent changes, anglers will enjoy more walleye fishing on the lower Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay.

Although walleye fishing is permitted year-round, the fish must be released during the off-season.

The change comes in response to the perceived need to increase the area’s walleye fishing and harvesting opportunities.

Reduced Penalties for Two Fishing Violations

In 2022, two minor fishing crimes were reclassified as civil infractions. Previously, the following crimes were considered misdemeanors:

  • Failure to have one’s name attached to a tip-up during ice fishing
  • Using more lines than authorized to engage in fishing

Both charges came with a penalty of jail time of up to 90 days and fines reaching up to $500. Additionally, a conviction would saddle the offender with a criminal record. Now, the charges are infractions that present the possibility of fines.

Spearfishing Regulations

As of 2022, spearfishing enthusiasts can engage in the activity in parts of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron when in search of walleye, northern pike, and lake trout. However, the regulations require an underwater spearfishing license, as well as monthly harvesting reports.

Avoiding Violations

Most anglers know that they need a fishing license. However, fewer are aware of the regulation changes that occur every year.

As a fishing enthusiast, you can avoid costly fines and penalties by staying abreast of Michigan’s continually evolving fishing laws and regulations. You’ll also learn about changes that benefit enthusiasts and commercial fishers, such as the extension of the walleye possession season.


The Michigan Fishing Guide is the most comprehensive resource for commercial and recreational fishing enthusiasts. This thorough overview of Michigan’s fishing rules and regulations is available online for free and is quite user-friendly. It’s recommended that you read it before gearing up to hit the water.

The DNR’s Fishing Regulations webpage is another excellent resource, with links to trout and salmon maps, detailed fishing regulations, and more.

Speaking of salmon, check out this POV salmon brawl attorney John Freeman recently found himself in while fishing in Western Michigan.

Get Help From a Fishing and Hunting Violations Lawyer

If you’re facing legal issues related to a fishing incident, an experienced fishing and hunting violations lawyer can help you resolve your case and answer any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to consult an attorney if you’re in need of reliable representation.