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Common Terms

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Artificial Flies: Any commonly accepted single hook wet and dry flies, streamers and nymphs without spinner, spoon, scoop, lip or any other fishing lure or bait attached. The fly or leader may be weighted, but no weight shall be attached to the fly or to the terminal tackle in a manner that allows the weight to be suspended from or below the hook.

Artificial Lure: A manmade lure manufactured to imitate natural bait. Artificial lures include spoons, spinners, flies and plugs made of metal, plastic, wood and other non-edible materials. They also include plastic products made to resemble worms, eggs, fish and other aquatic organisms. For the following waters: all waters of the Betsie R. (Benzie and Manistee Cos.), all waters of Bear Cr. (Manistee Co.), the Manistee R. from Tippy Dam downstream to Railroad Bridge below M-55 (T21N, R16W, S6; Manistee Co.), and the Big Sable R. from mouth upstream to Hamlin Lake Dam (Mason Co.), an artificial lure is defined as a body bait, plug, spinner or spoon.  An artificial lure is not a device primarily constructed of lead. From Aug. 1 – Nov. 15, inclusive, terminal fishing gear is restricted to single-pointed, un-weighted hooks, measuring 1/2-inch or less from point to shank or treble hooks 3/8-inch or less from point to shank only when attached to a body bait, plug, spinner or spoon.

Cast Net: A net not exceeding 8 feet in diameter without walls or sides that is thrown to take minnows, alewife, smelt and shad in the Great Lakes and Connecting Waters.

Catch-and-Immediate-Release: The act of returning fish immediately to the water without injury and without holding in livewell or similar device.

Daily Possession Limit: The total number of fish, amphibians or reptiles that may be caught and retained in one day. See also Possession Limit.

Designated Trout Lake: Any lake so designated by the state that contains a significant population of trout or salmon. All Type A, all Type D, and those Type B* lakes marked with an asterisk (*) are designated trout lakes (see Inland Trout & Salmon Regulations).

Designated Trout Stream: Any stream so designated by the state that contains a significant population of trout or salmon. All Type 1, all Type 2, all Gear Restricted Streams, most Type 3 and most Type 4 waters are designated trout streams (see Inland Trout & Salmon Regulations).

Dip Net: a square net that is constructed from a piece of webbing of heavy twine, hung on heavy cord or frame so as to be without sides or walls, and suspended from the corners and attached in such a manner that when the net is lifted no part is more than 4 feet below the plane formed by the imaginary lines connecting the corners from which the net is suspended. As used in fishing, it shall be lowered and raised vertically as nearly as possible (also referred to as a drop net or umbrella net).

Dropper Line: A line in addition to the main fishing line that contains a hook. Dropper lines are usually attached to the main line.

Drop-shotting: using a weight suspended below a hook that is tied directly to the main fishing line.

Drowned River Mouth Lakes: An area of a river where it enters the Great Lakes. Considered inland waters and are listed in Note 3 on Great Lakes Trout & Salmon Fishing Regulations.

Fishing Season: the period of time a body of water is open to fishing. It is unlawful to fish in any body of water outside of the fishing season.

Fishing Tournament: An organized competition among anglers with specific rules applying to that particular event. See also Tournament Registration below and Fishing Tournament Information.

Great Lakes Connecting Waters: Specific bodies of water in Michigan that connect the Great Lakes. Designated connecting waters are L. St. Clair, St. Marys R., St. Clair R. (begins at the Fort Gratiot Light) and the Detroit R.

Hand Net and Landing Net: A mesh bag of webbing or wire, suspended from a circular, oval or rectangular frame attached to a handle. These are the most common fishing nets used in Michigan (see Lawful Methods).

Hook: A single, double or treble pointed hook. All hooks, single, double or treble pointed and attached to a manufactured artificial lure shall be counted as 1 hook.

Inland Waters: All waters in Michigan EXCEPT the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes Connecting Waters.

Lake Sturgeon Fishing Permit and Harvest Tag: The fishing permit and harvest tag are combined into one item and the name has been changed. They are free and legally required for all anglers who fish for lake sturgeon. The fishing permit is the upper portion and the harvest tag is the lower portion. Lake sturgeon harvest is limited to 1 per person per angling year (Apr. 1 – Mar. 31), where harvest is allowed. The permit/tag are non-transferable and are only available at license agents or DNR Service Centers. For more information see Lake Sturgeon Regulations.

MH-4: A Lake Huron fish management unit which is bounded on the north by a line beginning on the shore on Au Sable Point in Iosco Co. at latitude 44°20’N and extending eastward along said latitude to longitude 083°10’W, then southward along said longitude to latitude 44°10’N, then eastward along said latitude to longitude 082°40’W, then southward along said line to latitude 44°00’N, then westward along said line to shore about 2.6 miles southeast of Point aux Barques light in Huron Co.

Minnows: Chubs, shiners, dace, stonerollers, sculpins (muddlers), mudminnows and suckers of a size used for bait in hook-and-line fishing. See Lawful Methods and Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus Regulations.

Muskellunge Harvest Tag: The tag is free and legally required for anyone to harvest a muskellunge (including tiger muskellunge) in Michigan waters. Muskellunge harvest is limited to 1 per person per angling year (Apr. 1 – Mar. 31). The tag is non-transferable and is only available at license agents or DNR Service Centers. A muskellunge shall be immediately released or tagged with a validated muskellunge harvest tag.

Possession Limit: In addition to 1 day’s daily possession limit of fish, a person may possess an additional 2 daily possession limits of fish taken during previous fishing days provided that the additional limits of fish are processed (canned, cured by smoking or drying, or frozen). This provision does not apply to lake sturgeon or muskellunge. Anglers who have not attained the age of 17 are entitled to the possession limit even though they do not have a fishing license. A person fishing waters bordered by other states or provinces AND possessing multiple fishing licenses may possess the limit allowed for ONLY ONE license while in transit, but while fishing in Michigan waters, must comply with Michigan possession and size limits.

Possession Season: That portion of the fishing season during which it is legal to harvest fish.

Protected Slot Limit: Prohibits the possession or harvest of fish that fall within a protected minimum and maximum size interval (see General Hook & Line Regulations).

Snagging: Attempting to take fish in a manner that the fish does not take the hook voluntarily in its mouth. It is unlawful to snag a fish.

Tournament Registration: Means following the appropriate process to register a bass tournament with the Department.

Trapping: Catching or taking fish by use of a device, such as a cage or net, designated to capture a fish or animal.

Weir: A fence or enclosure set in water to block or retain fish.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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