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It is Unlawful To

Fishing Regulations Michigan Freshwater Fishing

It Is Unlawful To:

  • Chum with organic material in all types (1, 2, 3 and 4) streams

  • Possess or transport any live transgenic (genetically engineered) organism or any live specimen of the following non-native fish, crayfish, or freshwater mollusk: bighead carp, black carp, silver carp, grass carp (white amur), members of the snakehead family (Channidae), Wels catfish, bitterling, stone moroko, zander, Ide, Japanese weatherfish, rudd, tench, Eurasian ruffe, tubenose goby, round goby, red swamp crayfish, yabby crayfish, rusty crayfish, killer shrimp, zebra mussel, golden mussel or quagga mussel. To do so may result in civil fines up to $10,000.
  • Use for bait any crayfish species not native to Michigan waters, whether alive or dead, on any waters of this state.
  • Import, plant or transplant live game fish including viable eggs of any game fish without permit.
  • Buy or sell fish or parts of fish, reptiles, amphibians or crayfish taken under a sport fishing license.
  • Take fish for the sole purpose of removing the eggs.
  • Harvest, attempt to harvest, or possess any threatened or endangered species except as authorized by the DNR. For more information, see and click on Managing Michigan’s Fisheries.
  • Harvest or attempt to harvest freshwater mussels (clams or bivalves) whether living or dead, including the shell or parts thereof, from any waters of the state.
    • Exception 1: Zebra and quagga mussels may be taken.
    • Exception 2: A special cultural or scientific investigation permit may be obtained from the DNR for the taking of freshwater mussels.
  • Use multi-pointed hooks exceeding 3⁄8″ between point and shank and/or single-pointed hooks exceeding ½” between point and shank on all streams (including tributaries to the Great Lakes) from Aug. 1 – May 31.
  • Use lures exceeding one ounce on all streams from Aug. 1 to May 31 except when fishing in the Detroit R., St. Clair R., and St. Marys R.
  • Possess or sell a multi-pointed hook with a weight permanently attached.
  • Possess illegally harvested fish or mutilated fish that cannot be measured or identified.
  • Possess more than the Michigan daily possession limit when fishing in Michigan waters even if holding licenses from more than one state or province.
  • Commercially take, possess, or sell rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) in Michigan.
  • Commercially take amphibians or reptiles in Michigan.
  • Disturb or remove reptile eggs from the wild without a permit.
  • Fish for any species or possess fishing devices along a stream or lake closed to fishing.
  • Fish with your hands, firearms, explosives, setlines, poisons or methods other than lawful fishing methods.
  • Fish anywhere in a fish ladder or within 100 feet of a lamprey control weir.
  • Use a net to take a fish within 100 feet of a dam (landing nets are allowed to secure a legally hooked fish).
  • Use a seine for any species other than minnows.
  • Use cast nets in any inland water.
  • Shoot reptiles or amphibians with a firearm (including spring, air or gas propelled), bow and arrow, or crossbow.
  • Have a weight rigidly attached to a multi-pointed hook, or suspended from a multi-point hook.
  • Fish on a river, stream or drowned river mouth (note 3, Great Lakes Trout & Salmon Fishing Regulations) using a weight suspended below any hook unless the hook is on a dropper line (a leader) that is at least 3″ long.
  • Deposit litter, fish, offal or any foreign matter in any waters of the state or any lands, private or public.
  • Take or attempt to take fish outside of the open season for that species.
  • Commercially harvest wigglers from any state waters from Jun. 1 – Sep. 1.
  • Snag a fish or retain a fish not legally hooked in the mouth.