Amphibians & Reptiles

Fishing Regulations Michigan Freshwater Fishing

Regulations for Frogs, Toads, Salamanders,
Turtles, Lizards and Snakes

Amphibians and reptiles MAY NOT be shot with firearms (including spring, air, or gas propelled), bow and arrow, or crossbow.

The following shall not be taken or possessed except as authorized by the Director of the Department of Natural Resources: Blanding’s, spotted, wood, and eastern box turtle; black rat snake, Butler’s garter snake, eastern fox snake, copper-bellied water snake, Kirtland’s snake, queen snake, and eastern massasauga rattlesnake; boreal chorus frog, Blanchard’s cricket frog; small-mouthed salamander, marbled salamander, six-lined racerunner, and western lesser siren; all reptile eggs; and amphibians and reptiles protected under Part 365 (Endangered Species) of 1994 P.A. 451. For further information check online at michigan.gov/fishing or contact any Customer Service Center.

Personal Use: A fishing license is required to take amphibians and reptiles for personal use. Reptiles and amphibians may not be bought, sold or offered for sale.

Hand, trap, nets, seines (up to 12 x 4 feet overall dimensions), and hook-and-line may be used. Set lines may not be used to take turtles.

Frogs may be speared but NOT with the aid of an artificial light.

Traps used (or possessed) in areas frequented by reptiles must have a plate or tag attached bearing the name and address of the user in legible English.

For taking turtles, no more than 3 traps may be used, mesh traps must be no less than 1″ mesh, and traps must be set to allow turtles to surface and breathe.

It is illegal to possess or transport in the field, dressed or processed reptiles or amphibians that cannot be measured or identified.

Snapping turtle carapace length: to obtain the carapace (top of shell) length, use a flexible tape to measure from the nuchal scute (the scute directly behind the turtle’s head) to the base of the notch where the two most posterior scutes meet (see image below).



Minimum Size (inches)

Daily Possession Limit

Total Possession Limit

Frogs, toads, salamanders

Last Sat. in
May – Nov. 15


10 in any combination

10 in any combination

Snapping turtles (Note 1)

Jul. 15 – Sep. 15

13″ minimum

carapace length

2 in combination

(no more than 1 of either species)

4 total in combination

(no more than 2 of either species)

Softshell turtles


All other turtles (painted, musk, map, red-eared slider); snakes and lizards

Open All Year


3 in combination

(However, no more than
2 turtles and no more than 1
of any one turtle species)

6 total in combination

(However, no more than 4 turtles and no more than
2 of any one turtle species)

Note 1: Carapace length: use a flexible tape to measure from the shell behind the turtle’s head to the posterior end of the shell.