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Regulation amendment for select steelhead rivers takes effect this spring

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission recently adopted regulation changes to establish a daily possession limit of one (1) rainbow trout 20 inches or greater year-round on select rivers, effective April 1, 2024. The amendment will be a new component of the current daily possession limit regulation covering Type 3 and Type 4 waters where five (5) fish, but no more than three (3) trout 15 inches or greater with only one (1) rainbow trout 20 inches or greater are allowed.

The selected rivers are listed below by type regulation category. Where a confluence is mentioned, that simply means the point where two flowing bodies of water join together.

Type 3 waters

  • Bear Creek (Manistee County): upstream boundary, County Road 600; downstream boundary, confluence with the Manistee River.
  • Carp River (Marquette County): upstream boundary, confluence with Morgan Creek (T47N, R25W, S4); downstream boundary: Lake Superior.
  • Manistee River (Manistee County): upstream boundary, Tippy Dam; downstream boundary, Railroad Bridge below M-55 (T21N, R16W, S6).
  • Muskegon River (Muskegon and Newaygo counties): upstream boundary, Croton Dam; downstream boundary, M-120.
  • Pere Marquette River (Mason County): upstream boundary, Reek Road (Indian Bridge); downstream boundary, Old U.S. 31.

Type 4 waters

  • Betsie River (Benzie and Manistee counties): upstream boundary, Kurick Road; downstream boundary, M-22.
  • Little Manistee River (Lake, Manistee and Mason counties): upstream boundary, Johnson’s Bridge (Johnson Road); downstream boundary, 300 feet above the Little Manistee River Weir.
  • Pere Marquette River (Lake and Mason counties): upstream boundary, upstream edge of the boat ramp/slide at Gleason’s Landing; downstream boundary, Reek Road (Indian Bridge).
  • Pere Marquette River – Big South Branch (Mason, Newaygo and Oceana counties): upstream boundary, confluence with Beaver and Winnepesaug creeks; downstream boundary, confluence with the Pere Marquette River.
  • Prairie Creek (Ionia and Montcalm counties).
  • Rogue River (Kent County): upstream boundary, Rockford Dam at East Bridge Street; downstream boundary, confluence with the Grand River.
  • Whitefish River including East and West branches (Delta County): upstream boundary, from 38th Road (USFS 2236); downstream boundary, U.S. 2 bridge in T41N, R21W, S28.
  • White River – North Branch (Oceana County): upstream boundary, Arthur Road; downstream boundary, confluence with the main branch.

The new fishing regulations came in response to public comment to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in support of lower bag limits for steelhead to increase catch and release opportunities in certain rivers that support natural reproduction of steelhead.

The regulation changes will be reflected in the 2024 fishing regulations booklet, which will be available at Michigan.gov/DNRRegs in March 2024, and on the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app April 1, 2024.

Michigan DNR Hunt Fish, an official app of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, provides a mobile path to buy and store hunting, fishing, off-road vehicle and snowmobile licenses and permits, report harvests, access guides and digests, and get the latest outdoor recreation updates. Make future online fishing license purchases even quicker by selecting auto-renew at checkout to automatically receive licenses in the future.

The DNR manages Michigan’s fisheries resources for current and future generations by making scientific, research-based decisions and regulatory recommendations. Regulations are one tool the DNR uses to implement management strategies to protect, conserve and improve Michigan’s fisheries. Learn more about the DNR’s efforts at Michigan.gov/Fishing.