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General Netting Regulations

Fishing Regulations Michigan Freshwater Fishing

The following restrictions apply for the species, seasons and waters listed below:

  • Nets and seines may not be fished within 100’ of any dam.
  • Hand nets may be of any circumference and handle length, except for taking minnows (see Common Terms and Lawful Methods).
  • Dip nets may not exceed 9’ x 9’ square.
  • There is a two-gallon daily possession limit on smelt.
  • Seines may not exceed 12’ x 4’ and may only be used for minnows except under a scientific collector’s permit issued by the DNR.

Table 5: General Netting Regulations





Mar. 1
– May 31

Hand Net

Bowfin, Carp, Goldfish, Gizzard Shad, Longnose Gar, Smelt, Suckers

All Great Lakes, L. St. Clair, St. Clair R., Detroit R., and St. Marys R. including all tributaries to those waters from the mouth to ½ mile upstream (except that Thompson Cr. ([Schoolcraft Co.], is closed). See List A for inland streams open to hand netting.

Mar. 20
– May 31

Dip Net

Bowfin, Carp, Goldfish, Gizzard Shad, Longnose Gar, Smelt, Suckers

All Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula streams, except Designated Trout Streams. See List B for additional streams closed to dip netting.

Dec. 15 –
end of Feb.

Hoop Net

(permit required from local DNR office)

Peshekee R. (Marquette Co.); Au Train R. (Alger Co.) from Au Train L. to mouth; Sturgeon R. (Baraga Co.) from M-38 bridge to mouth; Sturgeon R. (Houghton Co.).

Open all year

Seine, Hand Net, Dip Net


All waters, except Designated Trout Streams and those waters closed to minnow harvest.

Open all year

Cast Net

Alewife, Minnows, Smelt, Gizzard Shad

Great Lakes, L. St. Clair, St. Clair R., Detroit R., and St. Marys R.

*Review the netting exceptions list below and on  General Netting Regulations for regulations that differ from those listed in the table above.

**For the purpose of this Order the term “suckers” refers to: suckers (longnose, white, northern hog, spotted), redhorse (silver, golden, black, greater, shorthead), buffalo (bigmouth, black), lake chubsucker, and quillback carpsucker. The term “minnows” refers to small baitfish used as bait: chubs, shiners, dace, stonerollers, sculpins (muddlers), mudminnows, and suckers.

Netting Exceptions

LIST A – Inland Waters Open to Hand Netting

The following inland waters are open to use of hand nets from March 1– May 31 for Bowfin, Carp, Goldfish, Gizzard Shad, Longnose Gar, Smelt, and Suckers:

ALGER: Towes Cr.; W. Br. Whitefish R. from Sea Lamprey Barrier (T44N, R21W, S29) downstream 500’ to posted signs; CHARLEVOIX: L. Charlevoix and tributaries to 1/2 mile upstream; CHIPPEWA: Trout Cr. down from Big Trout L. (T42N, R3E, S31); Prentiss Cr. (T42N, R2E); DELTA: Days R. from sea lamprey barrier downstream for 500’; Rapid R. from Rapid River Falls (T42N, R21W, S19) down to Co. Rd S15; Escanaba R. from mouth to 1st dam upstream of US-2; Ford R. down from Jaeger Rd.; HOUGHTON: Portage L. and tributaries to 1/2 mile upstream; N. and S. Portage Canal and tributaries to 1/2 mile upstream; Torch L. and tributaries to 1/2 mile upstream; LUCE: Little Two Hearted R. from mouth upstream to bridge on Co. Rd. 412 (T50N, R9W, S25); MACKINAC: Doe Cr. (T43N, R10W, S9); Foley Cr. down from I-75; Hoban Cr. down from US-2; Hudson Cr. (T41N, R11W, S8); Martineau Cr. down from I-75; McClouds Cr.; Milakokia R.,
Milakokia L. down to Heinz L.; Norton Cr. from M-135 down to S. Manistique L.; Nunn’s Cr. from M-134 to mouth; Pearson’s Cr. (T42N, R1W and R1E); Rabbits Back Cr. down from Mackinac Trail; Scrams Cr. (T42N, R11W, S11); Taylor Cr. (T43N, R12W, S2, 11, 12, 13); MANISTEE: Little Bear Cr. down from Bear L. to trunkline US-31; MENOMINEE: Big Cedar R. down from mouth of Elwood Cr. (T35N, R25W, S11).

LIST B – Inland Streams Closed to Dip Netting

It shall be unlawful to take or attempt to take any species of fish with dip nets on the following named streams:

ARENAC: Au Gres R. from Saginaw Bay upstream to M-65 (T22N, R5E, S26); Rifle R. from Steve’s Rd. (T19N, R5E, S9) upstream; BENZIE: Cold Cr. from Crystal L. (T26N, R15W, S26) upstream; GRAND TRAVERSE: Unnamed Cr. from Green L. (T26N, R12W, S20) upstream to Bridges L.; IOSCO: Au Gres R. from Saginaw Bay upstream to M-65 (T22N, R5E, S26); LEELANAU: Houdek Cr. from North Lake Leelanau (T31N, R12W, S35) upstream; MONROE: Huron R. from L. Erie upstream to Belleville Dam; Stony Cr. from L. Erie upstream to Finzel Rd. (T5S, R8E, S23); WAYNE: Huron R. from L. Erie upstream to Belleville Dam.