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Doing Business

Wholesale Fish Dealers

Every person who deals in fish by operating a wholesale fish market or fish house, or who solicits the purchase of or buys fish for wholesale distribution, must get a license from the department. This license expires on December 31 of each calendar year, and the fee for the license is $5.00.

Businesses that operate more than one establishment are required to license each business separately and display a copy of the license at each location.

Wholesale fish dealers must keep a record of the purchase of fish in a form as required by the department.

Learn more about Wholesale Fish Dealers and Licenses

Fishing Activity & Catch Tracking System (FACTS) Wholesale Reporting


Charter Fishing in Michigan

The charter fishing industry provides Michigan with significant economic benefits. The number of active charter fishing boats changes each year as new operators are added and others depart the fishing industry. 

Learn more about charter fishing in Michigan

Online Reporting System

Active charter fishing operations should report their catches via this online tool.

Online Reporting System

Sport Trolling License

Charter boat operators fishing for lake trout in Michigan waters are required to purchase a sport trolling license. It is not required for any other type of charter fishing activity.

Sport Trolling License

Wholesale Fish, Retail, Catcher and Wholesale Minnow Licenses

This application serves many different licenses including fur dealer's license (resident fur manufacturer, non-resident fur manufacturer, fur buyer, fur processor); taxidermy; wholesale fish dealers license; minnow; wiggler and crayfish dealers (retail; resident and non-resident); resident minnow catchers; permit to export bait; and sport trolling license.

Wholesale Fish, Retail, Catcher and Wholesale Minnow Licenses

Inland Fishing Guides

Inland Fishing Guides in Michigan are currently NOT required to obtain written permission in the form of a lease in order to use state owned public water access sites. Guides must provide proof of insurance, be a licensed inland pilot or Coast Guard captain, have a valid fishing license and have a Recreation Passport for vehicle entry to DNR launches.

Learn more about inland fishing guides

Commercial Fishing

Currently there are around 50 state issued commercial fishing licenses in Michigan spread out over all four of the Great Lakes. If you are out fishing or boating on the Great Lakes, you may encounter commercial trap nets, gill nets and hook lines. All state-licensed or Native American commercial equipment are required to be marked with floats or staff/flag combinations.

Learn more about commercial fishing on the Great Lakes