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Great Lakes Commercial Fishing Nets

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Anglers and boaters on the Great Lakes may encounter commercial fishing gear such as trap nets, gill nets and set hooks in Michigan waters. All state-licensed or Native American commercial fishing gear are required to be marked with floats or staff/flag buoy combinations depending on the licensing entity. Anglers and boaters should give wide berth to any markers, since anchor lines may extend several hundred feet in any direction from the floats or flags along the length of the gear. The diagrams below will give sport anglers and boaters an idea about some of the markings they might encounter and assist them in avoiding entanglement of fishing gear or boat propellers. Tampering with commercial fishing gear is illegal that can create safety problems for other boaters on the water.


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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Conservation Partner Advertisements: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources allows appropriate advertising in its annual regulation guides in print and online, in order to defray or eliminate expenses to the state, and support enhanced communications with Michigan Department of Natural Resources Constituents. Through a unique partnership with J.F.Griffin Publishing, LLC &, ‘Conservation Partners’ have been established that pay for advertising in support of the regulations both in print and online. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources neither endorses products or services listed or claims made; nor accepts any liability arising from the use of products or services listed. Advertisers interested in the Conservation Partners program should contact J.F.Griffin/ directly at 413-884-1001,
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