MFTIS: Questions about the Law and What Tournaments Need to Register
Question 1: What is the reason for the new law requiring that all bass fishing tournaments be registered with the DNR, beginning in 2016?
Over the last several years organized bass fishing tournament groups have requested an expansion to the bass season. Specifically, they have requested catch-and-delayed-release fishing for bass during Michigan’s spawning closure in order to allow for tournament fishing in the spring. During public discussions on Michigan’s bass fishing regulations, the Natural Resource Commission (NRC) asked the DNR's Fisheries Division the following questions on tournament activity which at the time in 2015 could not be answered:
- How many bass tournaments are conducted in Michigan each year?
- How many anglers participate in bass tournaments in Michigan each year?
- How many bass are handled and released in Michigan tournaments each year?
- What is the economic impact of bass tournament fishing in Michigan?
In response, the NRC passed Fisheries Order 215.15A which in part requires that all bass fishing tournaments to be registered and that those tournaments provide basic participation and catch data after the tournament is complete.
FISHERIES ORDER 215.15A Reads in part:
Bass Fishing Tournament Regulations
- All bass fishing tournaments held in 2016 and thereafter shall be registered online using the Department’s Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System at the following website http://www.mcgi.state.mi.us/fishingtournaments/.
- Tournament directors shall verify all tournament participants and provide a unique registration receipt to all participating anglers. Tournament directors shall report tournament results to the Department by December 31, annually.
Question 2: Do all tournaments have to register with the DNR?
No. The law currently only requires that tournaments with a bass fishing component be registered with the DNR.
Question 3: Are bass tournaments required to register if they are not using a DNR owned access site? What if the tournament is accessing a lake from a county, township or privately owned launch?
Yes. The Fisheries Order states that beginning in 2016, all bass tournaments must register. This requirement is regardless of how the tournament plans to access the lake or river being fished.
Question 4: What about bass tournaments on the boundary waters (Michigan-Wisconsin, Michigan-Ontario, Michigan-Ohio and Michigan-Indiana)?
If the bass tournament is being hosted at or is launching from an access site on the Michigan shore, then it has to be registered under Fisheries Order 215.15A. If the tournament is being hosted at or is launching from an access site that is outside of Michigan it does not need to be registered.