Michigan Free Fishing Weekend this February 2018

Experience #MiFreeFishingWeekend Feb. 17-18 and enjoy the outdoors

Grab a fishing rod and enjoy some of the finest fishing Michigan has to offer during the 2018 Winter Free Fishing Weekend Saturday, Feb. 17, and Sunday, Feb. 18. On those two days, everyone – residents and non-residents alike – can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.

In addition, during #MiFreeFishingWeekend, the Department of Natural Resources will waive the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that grants vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks and recreation areas. Several locations also may be hosting official 2018 Winter Free Fishing Weekend events that are perfect for the whole family.

Michigan has been celebrating winter’s #MiFreeFishingWeekend every year since 1994 as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams, and 11,000 inland lakes, Michigan and fishing are a perfect match.

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Tagged fish provide DNR with critical information

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources again this year is encouraging Great Lakes anglers who catch marked and tagged fish to report them. The DNR has used the coded-wire tag program to mass mark various fish species in Michigan since the 1980s. Mass marking provides critical data as fisheries biologists look to determine the value of naturally reproduced fish versus stocked fish, and lakewide movement of fish.

The coded-wire tag program involves implanting a small, coded-wire tag, which is invisible to the naked eye, into the snout of a fish. A fish containing a coded-wire tag can be identified because its adipose fin (the small, fleshy fin between the dorsal and tail fins) has been removed. An angler who catch a tagged fish then can record needed information about the fish, remove and freeze the fish’s snout, and drop it off at a designated location. A statewide list of dropoff locations can be found on the DNR website.

For years the DNR primarily tagged Chinook salmon and lake trout as part of its mass marking effort in Lake Huron. Tagging these fish has helped biologists understand more about lakewide natural reproduction and how many wild fish are available in the Great Lakes. It also has helped determine if the percentage of wild fish varies from year to year and how fish stocking locations contribute to lake and river fisheries. Additionally, it provides insight into fish movement and where fish are stocked compared to where they are caught.

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DNR creel clerks to collect angler information this summer

As this year’s open-water fishing season gets under way, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that Fisheries Division personnel are at lakes, rivers and Great Lakes ports collecting fishing data from anglers.

Giant Lake Erie Pike

Monster Lake Erie Northern Pike aboard the Stray Cat

DNR creel clerks will be stationed at boat launches and piers around the state asking anglers questions as they return from fishing trips. Information will be requested on trip length, target species and number and type of fish caught. In some cases, creel clerks may ask to measure or weigh fish and to take scale or other body parts for aging. These data are key information in the DNR’s management of the state’s fisheries resource.

The DNR appreciates anglers’ cooperation with these interviews, and it will only take a couple of minutes to answer the questions.

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DNR hiring summer seasonal workers at Belle Isle Park and Milliken State Park and Harbor

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications for summer seasonal workers at Belle Isle Park and Milliken State Park and Harbor in downtown Detroit. 

Applications are being accepted until positions are filled. Applicants must be 18 years old (or 17 and graduating from high school this year) with a valid driver’s license and must be able to pass a criminal history background check and a drug and alcohol screening. Uniforms, which include a shirt, name bar and hat, are provided.

The following summer seasonal positions are available:

  • Operations: Register park visitors via computerized reservation system, sell Recreation Passports, provide information to visitors, clean park grounds and public restrooms and other duties. Good cash-handling skills required. Hiring day, afternoon and midnight shifts.
  • Janitorial: Clean buildings including toilets, showers, sinks, floors and other areas that require physical effort. Also includes minor maintenance and other duties.
  • Maintenance: Mow grass, pick up litter, maintain trails, light construction, paint, stain, rake, clean public restrooms and other duties. Physically strenuous outdoor work in a variety of weather conditions

The 40-hour-per-week positions run May through September and pay $8.50 per hour. Positions include weekends and holidays.

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Michigan 2016 Spring fishing seasons opening soon

We’re just days away from the opening of numerous Michigan fishing seasons:

Lake Erie walleye fishing charter trip

Trevor with a Lake Erie walleye and Muskie

Bass Catch & Keep Season: Starts May 28 on all waters including Great Lakes
  Starts June 18 on Lake St. Clair and St. Clair & Detroit Rivers
Muskellunge, Northern Pike &   Walleye:              Starts April 30 on Lower Peninsula inland waters
  Starts May 15 on Upper Peninsula Great Lakes, inland waters & St. Mary’s River
Statewide Salmon & Trout Season:
Starts April 30 on (inland) type 1 & 2 streams and type A & D lakes

DNR hatchery sets gold standard for water quality management

After Michigan’s salmon program kicked off in the 1960s, Platte River State Fish Hatchery in Beulah was quickly labeled as the primary Pacific salmon hatchery for the state. With the wild success of the salmon fishery in the Great Lakes, production ramped up swiftly with more than 5 million Chinook salmon and about 3 million Coho salmon getting pushed out the door each year in the 1970s. But just like any other large-scale production effort – there were drawbacks to this growth.

To put it bluntly, all those fish created a lot of waste. Poop to be precise. When production really took off, not a lot of attention was given to what was happening to that waste after it left the facility. Unfortunately it had to go somewhere – which included Platte Lake, downstream from the hatchery.

Understandably so, residents of Platte Lake were concerned. They organized as a collective unit (the Platte Lake Improvement Association) and eventually filed suit against the Department of Natural Resources in circuit court in 1986 claiming the actions at Platte River State Fish Hatchery were impairing the resource.

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Free Boater Safety Coarse at Detroit Boat Show

Free boating safety course offered at Detroit Boat Show Feb. 21

The Detroit Boat Show is partnering with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Conservation Officers and the Oakland County Marine Division to offer a free boating safety class at Cobo Center during the Detroit Boat Show. Those who finish the class will get one free ticket to the show. Boaters young and old are invited to learn the rules of the water and other helpful safety tips for boating during a free six-hour seminar held Saturday, February 21st.

“Not only is it smart to take a course to keep your friends and family safe on the water,” said Detroit Boat Show Manager Nicki Polan. “Passing this exam also often accounts for discounts on your boat insurance.”

Michigan conservation officers and Michigan county sheriffs encourage all persons operating boats in Michigan to enroll in a boating safety course, according to the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources. Michigan Law mandates boaters 12 to 16 and PWC operators, 14 and older (born after 1978) must pass the boating safety course to operate on state waters. All those born on July 1, 1996 or after must have a certificate to operate any vessel.

Registration starts at 10 a.m. followed by the course from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Space is limited so pre-registration is recommended at www.detroitboatshow.net or contact Sgt. Al Bavarskas via email: bavarskasa@michigan.gov. Walk-ins will be accepted if space allows.

The 57th annual Detroit Boat Show is February 14-22 at Cobo Center in Detroit. Admission to the boat show is $12 for adults; children 12 and under are free with an adult, and seniors 65 and older receive free admission on Monday. Discount tickets, other special admission days and hotel accommodations provided by Courtyard by Marriott Downtown are available at www.detroitboatshow.net. HOURS: Saturdays: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sundays and Monday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Tuesday through Friday: 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. Parking is available at Cobo Center and surrounding lots.
DNR Press Release

Antlerless deer license applications on sale until Aug. 15

Antlerless deer license applications on sale until Aug. 15

The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the application period for antlerless deer licenses ends Aug. 15. Hunters may apply for one license in any open Deer Management Unit statewide; a nonrefundable $5 fee is charged at the time of application. Drawing results and leftover license availability may be viewed at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings beginning Sept. 4.

Hunters may apply for one private-land or public-land license online at E-License, or at any authorized license agent or DNR Customer Service Center.

Those purchasing antlerless deer applications and licenses will notice some differences in the way hunt choices are listed this year, due to system changes that came with Michigan’s new license structure. Applications for all antlerless deer hunts are now listed on the same page – with public-land hunts listed first (item numbers begin with a 1), followed by private-land hunts (item numbers begin with a 2). Those viewing the list of available hunt choices should scroll down until they find the correct number for the hunt they wish to apply for.

Young hunters, ages 9-16, can also purchase one junior antlerless deer license over the counter July 15 – Aug. 15. No application is required. A 9-year-old must be 10 by Sept. 15 to purchase this license.

Antlerless deer quotas have been reduced to about 494,000 licenses statewide, down from about 550,000 for 2013. In the Upper Peninsula, licenses are available only in DMUs 122, 055 and 155, and have been eliminated in other Upper Peninsula DMUs due to the severe winter of 2013-2014 and the resulting losses in the deer herd.

License quotas for each DMU can be found at www.michigan.gov/deer.

Any leftover antlerless deer licenses not issued in the drawing will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. EDT until license quotas are met. Leftover licenses may be unavailable or sell out quickly in high-demand hunt units. While there is no requirement to apply, hunters who are concerned about getting a license are encouraged to apply for the private- or public-land hunt of their choice.

PLEASE NOTE: In the printed 2014 Antlerless Deer Digest, DMU 115 is listed as open during the early and late antlerless firearm deer seasons. This is an error. DMU 115 is open only during the Liberty, Independence, archery, regular firearm and muzzleloader seasons.


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Lake Erie walleye fishing report Monroe Michigan 4-17-2014

Lake Erie Michigan: walleye fishing is very slow, the lake is still a little muddy

Detroit River is a much different story, when the weather cooperates, walleye fishing is in full swing. A lot of limit catches were reported with numerous large females in the mix. The usual areas from the lower river at Trenton all the way up to Belle Isle are producing fish. 

Catfish State Record Broken in Michigan

The Department of Natural Resources confirmed the catch of a new state record flathead catfish on Monday, Jan. 13.

The catfish was caught by Dale Blakley of Niles, Mich., on Sunday, Jan. 12, on Barron Lake in Cass County at 3 p.m. The fish weighed 52.0 pounds and measured 46.02 inches. Blakley was ice fishing for crappies when he landed the record fish.

The record was verified by Brian Gunderman, a DNR fisheries biologist, at the Plainwell office.

The previous state record flathead catfish was caught by Rodney Akey of Niles on the St. Joseph River in Berrien County on May 22, 2012. That fish weighed 49.8 pounds and measured 45.7 inches. Prior to that, the record hadn’t been broken since 1943.

State record catfish Jan 12, 2014