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Inland fishing guides


To apply for an inland sport fishing guide license, the following steps will need to be completed:

  1. Complete the questionnaire on the Fishing Activity & Catch Tracking System website, which will be available on March 1, 2024. We will review your responses to verify requirements are met to obtain this license. Applicants will be notified via email within five business days. If the requirements are not met, applicants will be notified that additional steps are needed to become eligible to acquire the license.
  2. Applicants who meet the requirements and receive notification of approval can obtain their license via the online license system or the DNR HuntFish app.

Inland sport fishing guide license fee:

  • Resident license: $150
  • Nonresident: $300

The inland sport fishing guide license is valid for three years after the date it is issued.

Note: If you operate and possess a valid captain's license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard, you will receive a license fee waiver.

Requirements to be eligible to obtain a sport fishing guide license include:

  • Must possess a valid certification in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation issued by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association and can provide to the department, upon request, a copy of the certification.
  • Must possess a valid, lawfully obtained Michigan driver license issued under the Michigan vehicle code, an official state personal identification card, or a DNR-issued sportcard.
  • Have not been convicted of a felony or other violation listed within MCL 324.48714a(2)(c) in the last three years.
  • Must be eligible to purchase a license for the fish species targeted while acting as a sport fishing guide.
  • Must possess a valid state inland pilot’s license issued by the department or a valid captain’s license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard if you intend to operate a watercraft while acting as a sport fishing guide.
  • While acting as a sport fishing guide, you must possess a basic first aid kit that includes, but is not limited to, all the following: tourniquet, chest seals, and compression gauze, CPR mask, trauma shears, sterile eyewash, mylar emergency blanket, bandages, moleskin and tweezers.

If you have questions about the DNR inland pilot license, please contact a Law Enforcement Division representative at a DNR customer service center.

Mandatory monthly catch activity reporting

Beginning April 1, 2024, all licensed inland sport fishing guides must file an electronic report of their monthly catch activity for all trips that occurred on all waters except the Great Lakes, Great Lakes connecting waters, and lakes or ponds that have a surface area of less than five acres.  

Great Lakes connecting waters: refers to specific bodies of water in Michigan that connect the Great Lakes. The designated connecting waters are the St. Marys River, the St. Clair River (begins at the Fort Gratiot Light), Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River (begins at the imaginary line extending due south of the Windmill Point Light, Wayne County, and ending at the imaginary east/west line drawn through the most southernly point of Celeron Island).

The main reporting requirements include the following:

  • Catch activity reports must be submitted using the sport fishing guide’s unique username within the state’s contracted electronic reporting system, Fishing Activity & Catch Tracking System.  
  • A catch activity report must be filed within FACTS for each month of the calendar year, even if zero trips were taken during a reporting month.
  • Catch activity reports filed within FACTS must include accurate information pertaining to each trip taken.

Details about the reporting requirements are listed in Fisheries Order 255. Questions regarding submitting monthly catch activity reports or how to obtain an inland sport fishing guide license, please contact Kendra Kozlauskos, 231-330-2845. 


Pere Marquette River

In addition to the requirements described above, inland sport fishing guides are required to obtain a commercial fish guide permit to use state land, including DNR-managed boating access sites, for the purpose of providing fish guiding services on the Pere Marquette River. The number of permitted fishing guides on the Pere Marquette River system has been capped and no new permits are being issued at this time.

If you have questions about providing fish guiding services on the Pere Marquette River, please contact Lori Green, 989-889-9178

Commercial fish guide permit