Michigan's new fishing licenses create better fishing opportunities for anglers

Michigan's 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, more than 11,000 inland lakes, and tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams make the state a top destination for world-class freshwater fishing.

Approximately 1.2 million fishing licenses are sold each year in Michigan to residents and non-residents who fish the state's waters, spending nearly 28 million days casting lines and contributing more than $4.4 billion to the state's economy*.

Fishing licenses in Michigan changed in 2014, reducing the fishing license types down to five. The most significant change is the simplified license types; rather than choosing between a restricted license and an all-species license, each license covers all species. Anglers have the option of a 24-hour license, a 72-hour license or an annual license. A senior license is still available for Michigan residents age 65 or older. Please note anyone age 17 or older is required to purchase a license to go fishing in Michigan. Those under the age of 17 may fish for free.

Michigan's new fishing licenses will bring additional revenue into the state that will be invested into the state's fisheries.

"We want to continue providing terrific opportunities for individuals of all ages to go fishing in Michigan," said Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division Chief, Jim Dexter. "We've got great plans for the revenue generated from license sales and will tackle many activities that aim to protect the state's aquatic resources for today and tomorrow."

These efforts include:

  • Establishing a fisheries grant program to enhance fish habitats.
  • Implementing statewide management plans for various species.
  • Improving Natural Rivers Program management.
  • Improving field staff coverage in high angler-use watersheds.
  • Beginning work on a statewide coldwater species management plan.
  • Rearing and stocking prescribed numbers of Atlantic salmon.
  • Improving the health of stocked species through stronger biological and electronic security.
  • Addressing critical maintenance issues at egg-collection weirs and hatcheries.
  • Increasing angler access to inland waters.
  • Developing family-friendly and kids-only fishing opportunities.
  • Making it easier, through reduction and simplification of regulations, for new and existing anglers to participate in fishing while still protecting Michigan's world-class resources.
  • Ensuring sufficient lake and stream surveys are conducted to determine how well management efforts are meeting objectives.
  • Enhancing data reporting to stakeholders to broaden knowledge and improving timely decision-making.
  • Enriching the aquatic education program, as well as providing increased opportunities to learn how to fish.

Healthy and sustainable fish populations and aquatic resources provide rich outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities. With this additional revenue, the DNR can focus on the tasks needed to make sure Michigan continues to be one of the best freshwater fishing locations in the world!

For more information on the new structure for hunting, fishing and ORV licenses, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr

*Information courtesy of 2013 American Sportfishing Association report.