Using the Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System

In October 2018 the Natural Resource Commission changed their order regarding fishing tournaments in Michigan. The new order, which goes into effect January 1, 2019, replaces the legal definition of fishing tournament with the following:

  1. Fishing Tournament: means an organized competition between anglers or teams of anglers that meets all of the following criteria:
    1. The determination of a winner is based on the cumulative weight or length of the targeted fish species caught by an angler or team of anglers.
    2. Occurs during a defined period, which can be on one or multiple days but does not exceed 5 days.
    3. Is anchored to a single boating access site or designated nearby location where fish caught by participating anglers or teams are to be weighed in, entered, or the group is otherwise operating their event from.
    4. Are limited to a single water body or connected waterbodies (Example: Lake St. Clair, Detroit R., and Lake Erie) that are accessed by a common access site.

A Fishing Tournament is not a competition where "winning" or prize distribution is determined solely on one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Who caught the largest fish or some combination of big fish awards
  2. Who caught the smallest fish
  3. Who caught the first fish
  4. Who caught the most fish species
  5. Any other format that does not involve an angler or teams of anglers entering a cumulative weight or length of the target species.
  1. Competitive Fishing Event: means any other organized competition among anglers involving prize distribution or the declaration of a winner that is not defined as a fishing tournament with specific rules applying to that particular event.

In addition to updating the definitions, the FO 250 also requires that beginning January 1, 2019, the following events shall be registered and report their results online using the Department's Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System:

  1. All bass fishing tournaments;
  2. All walleye fishing tournaments; and
  3. All competitive fishing events targeting muskellunge.

These changes expand the registration and reporting requirements to include walleye tournaments and competitive fishing events targeting muskellunge.

The new definition of "Fishing Tournament" may also impact a small number of "Competitive Fishing Events" that include a bass component. Such competitive bass events have been required to register and report from 2016-2018 under the previous definitions, however going forward, only bass tournaments as defined above will be required to registered and report their results in the Fishing Tournament Information System.

Data to be reported for bass fishing tournaments

Data to be reported for walleye fishing tournaments

Data to be reported for muskellunge fishing tournaments

While the new order takes effect in January, the Fishing Tournament Information System has been updated to meet the new registration requirements and is currently accepting bass, walleye and muskellunge registrations for the upcoming year.

General tournament registration, reporting, and program related questions on this can be directed to:

Tom Goniea, DNR Biologist
Fishing Tournament Specialist