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Angler Rights on Public Streams

Fishing Regulations Michigan Freshwater Fishing

On fenced or posted property or farm property, an angler wading or floating a navigable public stream may, without written or oral consent, enter upon property within the clearly defined banks of the stream, or without damaging farm products, walk a route as closely proximate to the clearly defined bank as possible when necessary to avoid a natural or artificial hazard or obstruction, including, but not limited to a dam, deep hole or fence or other exercise of ownership by the riparian owner.

However, per the Michigan Penal Code Section 552c, a person is prohibited from intentionally and without authority or permission from entering in or upon premises or structures belonging to another person that is a “key facility” if that key facility is completely enclosed by a physical barrier of any kind. A key facility includes: a chemical manufacturing facility; a refinery; an electric utility facility; a water intake structure or water treatment facility; a natural gas facility; gasoline, propane, liquid natural gas, or other fuel terminal or storage facility; a transportation facility; a pulp or paper manufacturing facility; a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility; a hazardous waste storage, treatment or disposal facility; and a telecommunication facility.

Railroad Rights-Of-Way

Railroad rights-of-way are private property. Trespassing on railroad property, including the trestles and bridges, is a misdemeanor. Written permission must be obtained from the railroad company to be exempt from railway trespass.

Angler Harassment Information

Anglers in Michigan have the right to enjoy their sport free from unreasonable and deliberate interference. Michigan law prohibits individuals from obstructing or interfering with the lawful taking of aquatic species. The DNR supports fishing as a legitimate form of recreation and as a useful tool in the management of aquatic resources. Michigan Conservation Officers are committed to protecting anglers from the intentional disruption of the fishing experience. Individuals whose fishing is being obstructed should promptly report the violation to the DNR by calling a local conservation officer, the nearest DNR office, or toll free at 800-292-7800 (Report All Poaching hotline).

Personal Flotation Devices (PFD)

When selecting a PFD, be sure to read the label to verify that it is appropriate for a person of your size and weight. Try your PFD on to make sure it fits properly and check to make sure it is U.S. Coast Guard approved.

Craft under 16 feet long:

For Great Lakes and connecting waterways, the U.S. Coast Guard requires all vessels less than 16 feet to carry one wearable approved Type I, II or III PFD for each person on board. For inland waters not connected to the Great Lakes, each person on board must have either a wearable or throwable PFD.

Craft 16 feet or longer:

If your boat is 16 feet or longer, you must have on board at least one throwable PFD (Type IV), PLUS one of any of these wearable PFDs for each person on board:

  • Offshore Life Jacket (Type I)
  • Near-shore Bouyant Vest (Type II)
  • Flotation Aid (Type III)

Michigan law requires:

  • Everyone operating, riding or being towed by a personal watercraft must wear a non-inflatable Type I, II or III PFD.
  • Persons less than 6 years old must wear a Type I or Type II PFD when riding on the open deck area of a boat.

Learn more at: www.boat-ed.com/michigan/handbook/book.html