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Land use permits for fishing tournaments

In addition to registering a tournament on the Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System some tournaments may also need to apply for an event use permit.

Determine if the site you are using is managed by the DNR or by a local municipality. Contact the appropriate entity to determine their permitting requirements. Most (but not all) locations can be found on this map of boating access sites with contact information.

The following criteria outline when a permit is or may be required at a DNR-managed boating access site:

A permit IS necessary when:

  • conditions or procedures contrast with an existing state land use rule or land use order of the director.
  • a fee is assessed to the participants for a commercial event or where commercial filming or photography is occurring (this does not include use of a camera for personal use). This does not apply when donations are asked but not required for participation, or when the sale of organizational memberships or organizational merchandise is provided by the tournament organizer.
  • the event is not located completely within a designated boating access site (BAS). If the event will be using DNR-managed public land beyond the BAS (for example, the day use area of the state park where the BAS is located), a use permit may be needed. If the event will be using land outside of the BAS that is not state land, it is the event organizer’s responsibility to get approval from the owner of that property, the DNR can only permit use on DNR-managed public land.
  • department oversight is required, facility impact is beyond normal recreation use and/or onsite department utilities such as water or electrical will be used.
  • equipment tied directly to the fishing tournament recreation event will be used on the site, such as stages, amplification system and/or other large infrastructure, not including pop-up tailgate style canopies, and/or weigh-in trailers that are parked entirely within an identified vehicle-trailer parking spot.
  • the date or timeframe of the fishing tournament recreation event is scheduled during a time when the facility is closed. This use permit can take the place of an overnight parking fee when applicable.

A permit MAY be necessary when:

  • the applicant provides dumpsters and/or Porta-Johns for the event
  • multiple fishing tournament recreation events are registered for the same site on the same day at overlapping times and collectively will have more than a recreational impact on the site. Multiple tournaments may be approved/permitted if the site meets the following criteria:
    • the boating access site parking lot capacity will not be exceeded
    • there are adequate lawn areas available for the multiple uses

Note: Tournament directors will be provided the option of moving their event to an alternate location or, should approval of multiple tournaments be possible, make use of alternative parking or arrangements through a permit. The permit would only apply to the additional event(s).

How to apply for a permit:

If it is determined a permit is required to hold the tournament, an event use permit application should be sent to the management unit of the boating access site where the tournament will take place.


Please contact the facility where the event will occur for questions about whether or not a permit is needed.

For general questions regarding event use permits, please contact Elissa Buck via email or call 989-313-0000.