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Harbor Beach Research Fishery

In 2015, the DNR partnered with state-licensed commercial fisherman Dana Serafin to explore new fishing grounds for lake whitefish in Lake Huron south of Harbor Beach and north of Port Sanilac. Special care has been taken to consider and balance the needs of the recreational community while at the same time working towards our goals for yellow perch fishing and gear reductions Saginaw Bay. Additionally, if sustainable and profitable, a limited commercial fishery for whitefish in Southern Lake Huron will add to Michigan's natural resource based economy. The Lake Huron Citizens Advisory Committee, as well as representatives of the Michigan Charter Boat Association, were consulted and their input was incorporated into the selection of the fishing grounds and other components of the permit.
Net Scoop 2015

Large Mesh Trap Nets

The Harbor Beach fishing opportunity is limited to 10 large mesh trapnets. Large mesh trapnets is the standard, authorized fishing gear for whitefish within the state-licensed commercial fishery and 10 nets is the standard number of nets authorized per license. Large mesh trapnets are typically 1,500 feet long, 500 feet wide, 30-40 feet high, and normally fished in water 80 to 150 feet deep.

Basic trap net anatomy consists of the following (also see trapnet diagram below):

  • A 1,000-foot, 14-inch stretch mesh lead that directs fish into the holding structure of the net.
  • Submerged netting that is supported by floats, frames and anchors.
  • Wing nets that lead fish into a V-shaped heart and box-shaped pot. Wings are the widest part of the net and are usually around 500 feet across.
  • A main holding enclosure consisting of the heart, tunnel and pot which is usually several hundred feet in length. Once in the pot, fish are held alive until the net is lifted and cleared.
  • Basic net marking consists of the following (also see trapnet diagram below):

  • Trapnets have a marker buoy or float at the main anchor on the offshore or lakeward side of the net.
  • The pot is marked with a double flag staff buoy that extends 5 1/2 feet above the water surface. The flags are orange in color.
  • Orange floats will also be present marking the ends of each wing.
  • On the inshore or shoreward side of the net, the lead anchor will be marked with a second single flagged staff buoy that extends 5 1/2 feet above the water surface.
  • trapnet diagram

    Left to right in the above diagram, represents offshore/lakeward to inshore/shoreward when encountered on the water.

    Two staff buoys and three additional floats are required markings on each trap net. All extra ropes and line are weighted and sunk so the only items on the water's surface are the marker buoys and floats.

    Single float

    Actual single float being used a Harbor Beach.

    Single flag staff buoy

    Actual single flag staff buoy and float used at Harbor Beach.

    Double flag staff buoy

    Actual double flag staff used at Harbor Beach. 

    Fishing Grounds and Net Locations

    Commercial fishing has commenced for the 2022 and nets are currently being set. Below is a list of the known coordinates of each net arranged north to south. 

    The fishing grounds include portions of grids 1614 and 1615 and all of grids 1714 and 1715. The northern fishing ground boundary is latitude 43°48'N and the southern boundary is latitude 43°30'N. The eastern boundary is longitude 82°20'W. The maximum depth nets may be fished is 150 feet so commercial fishing nets will not be set all the way to the eastern boundary. View map

     Nets Latitude Longitude
     #1  43o 39.567  82o 29.268
     #2  43o 39.342  82o 28.803
     #3  43o 37.530   82o 29.240
     #4  43o 37.404  82o 28.622
     #5  43o 35.243  82o 28.147 
     #6  43o 34.982  82o 28.738
     #7  43o 33.604  82o 28.388
     #8  43o 33.501  82o 27.768
     #9  43o 31.749  82o 27.114
     #10  43o 31.895  82o 27.719