State law prohibits minnows, wigglers, and crayfish that are harvested in Michigan from being exported and sold out of state.
Most of Michigan's in-state bait supply is provided by about a dozen large wholesale catchers, however, it is also common for inland bait shops to sometimes have a catcher's license. At certain times of the year, the inland shop will catch smaller amounts of minnows from local creeks, ditches and small streams to supplement the minnows in their shop they purchase from the large wholesalers. Usually the minnows caught by local retailers are different from the emerald and spottail shiners produced in the Great Lakes and provided by the wholesalers.
The commercial collection and sale of minnows, wigglers and crayfish from the wild requires DNR licensing as well as monthly harvest reporting to the department.
- Bait: refers only to live minnows, wigglers, and crayfish
- Minnows: refers to shiners, chubs, suckers, dace, stonerollers, muddlers, and mud-minnows
- Wigglers: refers to mayfly nymphs or any other aquatic insect nymph of larvae