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Charter boat operators

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NEW! Resources to help promote your business

We put together some marketing materials to help you promote your charter business. Included materials are a social media guide and calendar, videos, sample email marketing messages, a promotional flyer and more.

"Tacklebox" marketing toolkit »

Charter reporting

All charter boats used for fishing in Michigan waters are required to report their catch and effort. This reporting system, the Fishing Activity and Catch Tracking System (FACTS), provides valuable information for managing the fishery in Michigan and the Great Lakes.

Report your catch and effort »

Charter operators are identified from:

  1. A list of operators who submitted catch reports the previous year.
  2. Those who applied for and received a certificate of inspection for a fishing vessel.

It is up to new charter operators to inform us they are now an active charter fishing operation.

Please email or call 231-330-2845 to acquire NEW account login information and assistance with entering fishing activity into the system.

Data from reporting system

What data is collected?

The data collected includes date fished, fishing location, hours fished (dock to dock), total number of anglers, catch (harvested and released) and fish species targeted.

How is the data used?

Three measures of fishing effort are summarized:

  • Angler hours: Based upon total hours fished (dock to dock) by each angler.
  • Angler trips: One completed fishing outing by one individual.
  • Charter excursions: One completed boat trip.

Example: If a charter operator took four anglers fishing for 6 hours, total fishing effort would be 24 angler hours, 4 angler trips, and 1 charter excursion.

Charter data is also used to summarize the harvest, catch, harvest rate, and catch rate of fish listed on the form. Summaries of catch and effort for selected ports around the Great Lakes, totals for each lake, and annual reports are prepared each year.


Data from the past few years is available below. Additional charter-specific data can be obtained by emailing


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. If you are planning to supply bait to your clients (for purchase or for free), you must have a license to do so.

Find a fishing charter

Charter fishing businesses are located throughout the state and offer a great way to experience Michigan's world-class fisheries. Charters help new to experienced anglers have memorable fishing experiences, and make your trip easy and enjoyable as they provide the boat, the equipment and the knowledge!

Search online for charter businesses, contact area Chamber of Commerce or tourism offices; or visit the Michigan Charter Boat Association webpage. You can also use this list of sport trolling license holders.

Looking for a charter on the Great Lakes? Check out our Great Lake Fishing Charter page where we list hundreds of options across the Great Lakes.