Michigan’s waters are threatened by numerous nonnative aquatic invasive plants and animals. Species such as the zebra mussel, round goby, sea lamprey, Eurasian ruffe, Eurasian watermilfoil, rusty crayfish, and spiny water flea are causing significant damage to Michigan’s natural resources. A number of species also are knocking at the door, including several species of Asian carp coming up the Chicago diversion that could potentially enter Lake Michigan and snakehead fish that are found in other Midwest states. Aquatic invasive species are harmful to recreational fishing and do extensive economic and natural resource damage. To help reduce the spread of invasive species, anglers are reminded to properly dispose of all bait containers including worms and soil, crayfish and minnows in a trash receptacle.
The following illustrations show a few of the most serious aquatic nuisance species in Michigan:
Adult bighead and silver carp are large fish that can be easily identified by the position of their eyes. Both species have eyes that are below a line from the fork of the tail to the mouth. Juvenile Asian carp can be easily confused with minnows and you may find one in your bait bucket.
If you believe you have seen or caught an Asian carp, DO NOT RELEASE IT. Please visit michigan.gov/asiancarp to fill out an online Asian carp reporting form, or call us at 517-373-1280.
Anglers and boaters can help prevent the spread of fish diseases and other aquatic invasive species by taking the following steps:
Natural resource managers are concerned about introduction of new species and have set up an Angler’s Monitoring Network to report any discoveries. Anglers should save and report unidentified fish to the nearest DNR Customer Service Centers.
If you have any questions, contact an Customer Service Center or visit michigan.gov/deq-anglers-monitoring-network.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.