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Great Lakes Trout & Salmon Fishing Regulations

Fishing Regulations Michigan Freshwater Fishing

The regulations in this table apply to fishing on the Great Lakes for the following species: Atlantic salmon, brook trout (Note 2), brown trout, Chinook salmon, coho salmon, lake trout (Note 4), pink salmon, rainbow trout (steelhead) and splake (Note 4). For regulations that pertain to fishing for trout and salmon on inland waters, see Inland Trout & Salmon Regulations.

Great Lakes Trout & Salmon Regulations (Note 1)

Seasons by Water Type

Minimum Size

Daily Possession Limit
(Notes 2, 3, 4)

Open All Year: (Note 4)

L. Superior, L. Michigan, L. Erie,
L. Huron, L. St. Clair, St. Marys R.,
St. Clair R. and Detroit R.

(Note 2, 4)
(also see Table 4 and 
Great Lakes Trout & Splake Regulations)

Great Lakes, L. St. Clair, St. Marys R., St. Clair R., and Detroit R.:
5 total in any combination; no more than 3
of any one species, except up to 5 coho,
Chinook, or pink salmon allowed.
On the St. Marys R.:
5 additional pink salmon allowed from last
Sat. in Apr. – Sep. 30.

Note 1

All Trout and Salmon: Refer to Exceptions to General Regulations by County, for waters that have regulations that differ from those shown above.

Note 2

Brook Trout: For L. Superior, the minimum size limit for brook trout is 20″ and possession limit is 1 fish. Within 4.5 miles of Isle Royale (Isle Royale National Park waters), catch-and-immediate-release; no possession.

Note 3

Drowned River Mouth Lakes: On the following inland waters trout and salmon regulations are as follows: 5 total trout and salmon in any combination; no more than 3 of any one species, except up to 5 coho or Chinook salmon; minimum size limit is 10″; fishing season is open all year and the possession season for lake trout is Jan. 1 – Oct 31. For all other species of trout and salmon, the possession season is open all year. Allegan: Kalamazoo and Silver Lks. Benzie: Betsie L. Manistee: Arcadia, Manistee, and Portage Lks. Mason: Pere Marquette L. Muskegon: Duck, Mona, Muskegon, and White Lks. Oceana: Pentwater, Silver, and Stony Lks. Ottawa: Macatawa and Pigeon Lks.

Note 4

Lake Trout and Splake Regulations: Lake Trout and splake regulations for the Great Lakes are listed by Lake Trout Management Unit (see Table 4, Great Lakes Trout & Splake Regulations). To help identify Management Unit boundaries, a few major ports are listed for each. The map on Great Lakes Trout & Splake Regulations provides a graphic to further define the boundaries. For a complete description of lake trout Management Unit boundaries, contact any DNR Customer Service Center or check online at

Great Lakes Commercial Fishing Nets

Anglers and boaters on the Great Lakes may encounter commercial fishing gear such as trap nets, gill nets and set hooks in Michigan waters. All state-licensed or Native American commercial fishing gear are required to be marked with floats or staff/flag buoy combinations depending on the licensing entity. Anglers and boaters should give wide berth to any markers, since anchor lines may extend several hundred feet in any direction from the floats or flags along the length of the gear. The diagrams to the right will give sport anglers and boaters an idea about some of the markings they might encounter and assist them in avoiding entanglement of fishing gear or boat propellers. Tampering with commercial fishing gear is illegal and can create safety problems for other boaters on the water.