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Michigan-Wisconsin Boundary Water Regulations

Fishing Regulations Michigan Freshwater Fishing

These rules and regulations supersede all others governing fishing on Michigan-Wisconsin Boundary Waters that in any way conflict. Where regulations of Michigan and Wisconsin differ, persons shall comply with the regulations of the state in whose territorial waters they are fishing.

The interstate boundary waters in which fishing is to be governed by the special regulations are: The L. Michigan waters between the breakwalls at the mouth of the Menominee R. beginning at an imaginary line drawn between the most lakeward point of each breakwall. Menominee R., its sloughs and impoundments (Menominee, Dickinson, Iron Counties, Michigan; Florence, Marinette Counties, Wisconsin); Brule R. (Iron County, Michigan; Florence and Forest Counties, Wisconsin); Brule Island Impoundment, upstream to a line running east-west through the first island upstream from the junction of the Brule and Paint Rivers (Iron County, Michigan; Florence County, Wisconsin); Smoky L. (Iron County, Michigan; Vilas County, Wisconsin); Norwood L., Lac Vieux Desert, Crystal L., Mill L., Big Bateau L., Mamie L. (Cisco Chain), West Bay L. (Cisco Chain), Big L. (Cisco Chain), Crampton L., Plum L., Tenderfoot L., Roach L., Little Presque Isle L., Cyrus L., Basin L., Stateline L. (Gogebic County, Michigan; Vilas County, Wisconsin); East Fork Montreal R. up to the mouth of Layman Cr. (Gogebic County, Michigan; Iron County, Wisconsin); Montreal R., Gogebic County, Michigan; Iron County, Wisconsin).

Legal fishing methods

  • Up to 3 lines per person with a total of 3 hooks or baits may be used.
  • Lines must be attended at all times.
  • Dip nets not exceeding 9 feet square or in diameter, without walls may be used in the Menominee R. from Apr. 1- May 14 for taking of suckers, redhorse, carp, smelt, and burbot (except from Hattie Street Bridge in Marinette-Menominee to the first dam upstream and within 200 feet of all other dams).
  • Fish shanties used in ice fishing must be legibly marked with the name and address of owner, and persons placing a shanty on these waters shall remove the shanty by midnight of Mar. 15. In Wisconsin boundary waters, fish shanty doors cannot be locked from inside during occupancy.
  • Crayfish may not be possessed or used for bait on Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters.
  • You may fish (troll) from a motorboat with the motor running or a sailboat under sail except on the Wisconsin side of the boundary waters of Vilas County.
  • All residents of Michigan and Wisconsin holding a resident sport fishing license from their respective state, or residents of states other than Michigan and Wisconsin holding a sport fishing license issued by either Michigan or Wisconsin, may fish in the boundary waters.

Table 7: Michigan-Wisconsin Boundary Water Regulations
(Hook & Line Only Use of spear, bow and arrow and crossbow prohibited)

(Note 1)



Minimum Size (inches)

Daily Possession Limit

Trout, Salmon

Smoky L., Montreal R., and Menominee R. mouths to 1st dam.

Open All Year



Menominee R. and Montreal R. above 1st dam. Brule R. mouth to US-2

Last Sat. in

Apr. – Sep. 30


Brule R. above US-2 bridge

Brook Trout 8″

Brown Trout 12″

Smallmouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

All boundary waters

1st Sat. in May – Fri.

before 3rd Sat. in Jun.


3rd Sat. in Jun. – Nov. 30


5 in combination

Walleye, Sauger

All boundary waters except

rivers and impoundments

1st Sat. in May – Mar. 1


5 in combination

All rivers and impoundments

Mar. 2 – Fri. before 1st Sat. in May


1st Sat. in May – Mar. 1

5 in combination (See Note 2)

Northern Pike

All boundary waters

1st Sat. in May – Mar. 1



Bluegills, Crappies, Sunfish,

Yellow Perch

All boundary waters

Open All Year


25 in combination

Muskellunge (including Tiger Muskellunge)

All boundary waters

May 15 – Nov. 30


(See Note 3)

Lake Sturgeon

All boundary waters

1st Sat. in Sep. – Sep. 30


(See Note 4)

Channel Catfish

All boundary waters

Open All Year



Lake Whitefish

Cisco (Lake Herring)

All boundary waters

Open All Year


10 in combination

All others

All boundary waters

Open All Year



Note 1: Fishing for trout is not allowed during the closed season in the Brule R. upstream from U.S. Hwy 2 Bridge (T41N, R32W, S9) Iron Co., MI and the Montreal R. above Superior Falls flowage. Note 2: On Lac Vieux Desert, the daily limit for walleye is 3. Note 3: A non-transferable Muskellunge Harvest Tag must be obtained prior to harvesting any muskellunge. The tag has no cost and is available at all license vendors. A harvested muskellunge shall be immediately tagged with a validated Muskellunge Harvest Tag. Muskellunge harvest is limited to 1 muskellunge per angler per year (Apr. 1 – Mar. 31). For the Menominee River, from Hattie Street Dam downstream to the end of the breakwalls in Green Bay, the minimum size limit for muskellunge is 50″. Note 4: A non-transferable Lake Sturgeon Fishing Permit and Harvest Tag must be obtained prior to fishing for lake sturgeon. The permit/tag is at no cost and available at all license agents. A harvested lake sturgeon shall be immediately tagged with a validated Harvest Tag and be registered within 24 hours at a designated registration site (for more information visit Lake sturgeon harvest is limited to only 1 lake sturgeon per angler per year (Apr. 1 – Mar. 31). For the Menominee River, from Grand Rapids Dam downstream to the end of the breakwalls in Green Bay, the daily possession limit for lake sturgeon is 0, catch-and-immediate-release sturgeon fishing only.

Weekly Fishing Report

Each week discover the latest fishing hot spots and tips used to catch specific species all throughout Michigan—all courtesy of the DNR’s Weekly Fishing Report! Here’s how you can access the report: