General Information

Fishing Regulations Michigan Freshwater Fishing

Thank you for purchasing a Michigan Fishing License

Each year an estimated two million Michigan residents and nonresidents fish Michigan waters. Recreational fishing is the largest and highest-valued use of the state’s fishery resources. The economic impact of sport fishing is in excess of $4 billion annually and provides more than 38,000 jobs.

The mission of the DNR Fisheries Division is to protect and enhance Michigan’s aquatic life and habitats for the benefit of current and future generations.

Revenue from fishing and hunting license sales supports DNR activities to enhance Michigan’s natural resources. The license sales also increase federal revenue to the State of Michigan for the management of these resources. Please help to support Michigan’s abundant natural resources by purchasing a fishing and hunting license each year. Learn more at michigan.gov/itsyournature.

Fisheries Division Appropriation Budget:
Fiscal Year 2015-2016 ($31,814,300)

Funding Sources

Game and Fish Protection Fund: $19,152,000 (60%)

The funds are mainly derived from fishing and hunting license revenues and all monies are earmarked for fishing- and hunting-related operations.

Federal Funds: $11,047,700 (35%)

Our primary federal funding source is the Sport Fish Restoration fund program, which comes from a federal excise tax on fishing equipment and a portion of the federal fuel tax revenue attributed to motorboats. Michigan received $11 million in fiscal year 2015 (seventh highest in the nation) based on a distribution formula of land/water area and number of state fishing license holders. Of this amount, $9.3 million was used for Fisheries Division programs. The remaining $1.7 million was used by Parks and Recreation Division for projects in support of fishing and boating.

Other Funds: $1,614,600 (5%)

State general fund/general purpose, litigation settlement and private funds.

Appropriations by Program (Total: $31,814,300)

Fisheries Resources Management and Cormorant Population Mitigation Programs: $20,696,600 (65%)

Expenditures are for the protection and maintenance of healthy Great Lakes and inland waters and fish communities and for the rehabilitation of those species and habitats that have been degraded.

Fish Production Program: $10,141,700 (32%)

Expenditures are for the hatching, rearing and transportation of fish required for management of both the Great Lakes and inland fisheries.

Aquatic Resource Mitigation Program: $976,000 (3%)

Expenditures are for the mitigation of damages from development projects in Michigan waters. Funds are used for fish habitat rehabilitation, for the protection of intact habitat as compensation for damages, and to improve fishing access.

Other sources of information:

Great Lakes Fishery

Great Lakes Fishery Trust:

Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council:

Great Lakes Council of the
Federation of Fly Fishers:


Michigan Charter Boat


Michigan Council of
Trout Unlimited:


Michigan Steelhead
and Salmon Fishermen’s


Michigan Sea Grant:

Michigan United
Conservation Clubs:


Recreational Boat and
Fishing Foundation:


Chippewa Ottawa
Resource Authority:


Great Lakes Indian Fish
& Wildlife Commission:


Michigan Department of Health & Human Services’ Eat Safe Fish Information: