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Tribal Coordination

Managing fisheries in treaty areas

The entire state of Michigan is covered by several federal treaties that exist between the United States government and tribes residing in Michigan.

Two treaty areas are currently subject to fishing by tribes:

  • The Treaty of Washington, signed in 1836, covers the eastern Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.
  • The Treaty of La Pointe, signed in 1842, covers the western U.P. and areas of northern Wisconsin.

The DNR's Tribal Coordination Unit implements formal and informal fishing agreements between the state and tribal entities. We also coordinate with other agencies on projects of mutual interest to the state and tribes. Our work spans both inland and Great Lakes waters and covers a variety of species and life stages of fish, with the goal of protecting sustainability and enjoyment of this shared natural resource.

A map showing treaty boundary areas across Michigan

Great Lakes and inland lakes co-management

Trap net marker

Great Lakes co-management

The state shares management authority with tribes in many areas of Michigan's Great Lakes. Both formal and informal agreements govern many aspects of fisheries management and enforcement of regulations.

Learn more and view the Great Lakes Decree.

DNR employee holding a northern pike

Inland co-management

The state also shares management authority with many tribes on inland waters. Shared management activities include conducting surveys, crafting regulations, stocking fish, improving habitat and ensuring compliance.

Learn more and view the Inland Consent Decree.

Featured field work, outcomes

Learn about some of the current studies on Great Lakes and inland waters in Michigan's treaty areas.

Great Lakes: Whitefish monitoring study

We work cooperatively with tribes to monitor lake whitefish populations and commercial fisheries in many areas of Michigan’s Great Lakes.

Great Lakes: Lake trout harvest limits

Lake trout populations are managed to promote long term sustainability of the fisheries and to support the overall stability of the Great Lakes ecology.

Inland lakes: Walleye monitoring study

We are conducting long-term monitoring - over the next 20 years - on a select set of inland lakes in the 1836 Treaty territory.

Inland lakes: Lake sturgeon monitoring

Surveys on inland lakes help assess lake sturgeon populations and provide data important to management planning.

Contact Tribal Coordination staff

Phone: 231-350-8654