Michigan DNR Puts Special Fishing Regulations in Place

Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, MI — October 19, 2021

Michigan fishermen often travel all over the state in pursuit of their favorite catch. It is important to know when fishing regulations change, even if the impact is outside of your home area. Last week the Michigan Department of Natural Resources introduced new regulations for warm-water species on select waters. Here is the announcement.

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission approved new regulations aimed at protecting fish populations in a newly acquired state game area and Lake Gogebic and allowing for increased harvest opportunities for northern pike on several lakes throughout the state. The regulations are in effect starting Friday, Oct. 15.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

Crystal Waters State Game Area (Monroe County)

Catch-and-immediate release regulations are now required on all bodies of water in the Crystal Waters State Game Area in Louden Township, Monroe County. The 680-acre property was acquired by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources earlier this year. No harvest of any fish species will be allowed. This regulation provides protection from overharvesting to the limited fish populations that currently inhabit these lakes and ponds.

DNR Fisheries Division surveys of the new state game area’s waters – former sand and gravel mining pits – indicated limitations in the existing fish habitat and communities. The new regulations are meant to protect the existing fish population from harvest while the DNR works to enhance habitat that will promote populations of aquatic insects and smaller fish to help improve food availability (and size structure of the fish population). This is expected to have long-term benefits to the existing fish community.

Lake Gogebic (Gogebic and Ontonagon counties)

Walleye regulations on Lake Gogebic are returning to the statewide 15-inch minimum size limit, with a daily possession limit of five fish in response to concerns from anglers over greatly reduced walleye catches. The previous, more liberal regulation, approved in 2016, allowed a daily possession limit of up to two walleye between 13 and 15 inches. The change in 2016 was in response to anglers’ desire to take advantage of an abundance of walleye smaller than 15 inches.

Additionally, northern pike regulations will move to the no-minimum-size limit with a daily possession limit of five fish, of which only one may be greater than 24 inches. This change is in response to increasing northern pike abundance, with a high proportion of the population being smaller than 24 inches.

Northern Pike Limits on 22 Waters

Twenty-two bodies of water now welcome anglers to enjoy a new daily possession limit for northern pike. Up to five northern pike of any size may be taken, with only one greater than 24 inches allowed. The new regulations are meant to address abundant and slow-growing northern pike populations and to provide additional harvest opportunities in the following waters:

Illustration by Joseph R. Tomelleri ©
  • Clare County: Long Lake
  • Dickinson County: Hamilton Lake, Lake Louise, and Lake Mary
  • Emmet County: Crooked Lake
  • Gladwin County: Lake Lancelot and Wiggins Lake
  • Gogebic County: Lake Gogebic and Sunday Lake
  • Houghton County: Prickett Impoundment
  • Iron County: Bass Lake, Paint Lake, Perch Lake­­­ and Shank Lake
  • Menominee County: Bass Lake
  • Montcalm County: Indian Lake
  • Ogemaw County: Sage Lake
  • Ontonagon County: Lake Gogebic
  • Roscommon County: Lake James
  • Schoolcraft County: Colwell Lake and MacDonald Lake
  • Wexford County: Pleasant Lake and Stone Ledge Lake

Due to the regulations taking effect outside of the typical April 1 start date, the regulations will not appear in the printed fishing guide until the 2022 edition becomes available next spring. For current regulations, anglers are encouraged to view and refer to the digital version of the fishing guide at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests.

The DNR manages Michigan’s fisheries resources for current and future generations by making scientific, research-based decisions and regulatory recommendations. Regulations are one tool the DNR uses to implement management strategies to protect, conserve and improve Michigan’s fisheries. Learn more about these efforts at Michigan.gov/Fishing.

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Steve Sweitzer
Steve is the Sports Editor for the Lasco Press and highlights our coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series. Steve is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association and a nationally published author of automotive related articles for industry trade magazines. He is also a freelance technical writer and accomplished photographer. A 25-year resident of Southeast Michigan, Steve’s passion for reporting on our community, it’s residents, and our automotive connections allow us to use his skills to cover a number of events. Steve’s ability to seek out the unique behind the scenes accounts that tell the often-overlooked aspect of a story makes for entertaining reading. Follow Steve at thelascopress.com with weekly NASCAR updates and featured articles.