Can I Fish Without a License in Michigan?

Can I Fish Without a License in Michigan?

When the weather gets warm, you may find yourself wanting to get outside and participate in some outdoor activities, including fishing. Fishing is a common pastime in Michigan, as the state offers several fantastic fishing locations. 

However, while packing up your tackle box, it is important to remember your fishing license. In Michigan, it’s illegal to fish without a fishing license. 

Whether you’re fishing in a small stream, a river, or a Great lake, adults need to have a fishing license provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. If you get caught fishing without a license, you may face legal repercussions. In that case, you should consult with an experienced attorney for assistance. 

Fishing Without a License in Michigan — Is It Legal?

Under Michigan law, it is illegal to fish without a license in most cases. If you are caught fishing without a license, you could be charged with a misdemeanor. Penalties for the crime include up to 90 days in jail and $25 to $250 in fines

There are limited exceptions to licensing requirements. Active military residents do not need licenses so long as they can prove their status. Also, veteran residents who are unemployed due to disability do not need fishing licenses. 

In addition, adults do not need fishing licenses if they are helping a child fish. They themselves cannot legally fish without a license, but they can help the child with certain activities. For instance, they are permitted to set up the fishing rod, bait the hook, and help land a fish to a net or with their hands. 

It’s worth noting that Michigan offers free fishing weekends twice a year. During these weekends, residents and nonresidents can fish without licenses. 

Who Needs a Fishing License in Michigan?

In Michigan, residents and non-residents alike require fishing licenses. Residents are those who have lived in the state continuously for six months or longer. 

Individuals 17 years of age or older require proper licensing to fish. Those under 17 may fish without a license as long as they observe all state rules and regulations.

Residents and nonresidents can get daily fishing licenses or annual fishing licenses. The latter option is valid beginning March 1 to March 31 of the following year. You can purchase a license online or in person at official retail locations. 

Most fishing licenses are all-species, which means that residents and non-residents can catch all types of fish. If you plan on going spearfishing, you may require a Department of Natural Resources sportcard. Additionally, if you hunt, you can obtain a combination hunting and fishing license. 

Getting Legal Help From a Qualified Michigan Attorney

If you’ve been caught fishing without a license and now face criminal repercussions, do not hesitate to speak with an attorney who regularly handles such violations. A defense lawyer can defend you from unnecessary charges and pursue a favorable case result.

A skilled attorney will diligently fight for your rights. When you let a lawyer handle your case, you can get back to fishing in no time.