Michigan Boating and Fishing Laws Changes

Fisherman in boat depicting Michigan boating law changes

Are you taking your boat out this weekend?

Do you love to fish in Michigan’s waters?

Whenever the weather in Michigan starts to get warm, the people who live here and vacation here get excited. There is nothing better than looking forward to a day on the open water, fishing or just enjoying the lake.

A few laws that affect boaters and anglers have changed in Michigan. Before you head out onto the water, make sure that you know what the changes are.

Changes in Michigan’s Boating Laws

Late in 2018, Michigan made some changes to its boating laws to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species.

The new laws took effect March 21, 2019. However, with warmer weather here now, more people are encountering these new laws as they take their boats out on the water.

Michigan Laws for Boaters

Changes to Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act 451 of 1994 Part 413 took effect on March 21, 2019.

Before the changes, Michigan boaters were only required to remove aquatic plants from watercraft or trailers before placing into the waters of Michigan.

Now there are additional requirements before transporting any watercraft over land:

  • Boaters must remove all drain plugs from bilges, ballast tanks, and live wells.
  • Boaters must drain all water from live wells and bilges.
  • In addition, boaters must ensure that all watercraft, trailer and any conveyance used to transport the watercraft or trailer are free of aquatic organisms, including plants.

Michigan Laws for Anglers

There is a new amendment to Michigan’s DNR’s Fisheries Order 245 for anglers about the release of baitfish, the collection and use of baitfish, and cut bait and the release of captured fish.

Here are the essential points to remember:

  • Anglers must not release baitfish in any waters of Michigan.
  • If an angler collects fish to be used as bait or cut bait, he or she must only use it in the waterway where it was caught or in a connecting waterway where the fish could naturally move freely between where it was caught and where it is being used as bait.

The same law as above applies to fish caught and released other than baitfish in any waterway of Michigan.

You can only release it where it was caught or in a waterway connected to where you caught it if it could freely move between those waterways on its own.

Why the New Laws?

Invasive species move from place to place with the help of humans. Just one plant fragment can start a whole new colony in a lake where it didn’t exist before.

Invasive species are dominant in the ecosystem where they land. They compete with, and choke out, species that belong in the lakes.

The new angler laws also keep existing fish safe from diseases bait fish carry.

Bringing it Home

The new laws make it necessary to take extra precautions in Michigan’s lakes, rivers, and streams. It is worth the time to keep one of Michigan’s most precious natural resources clean and beautiful for years to come.

If you are facing a boating or fishing related charge in Michigan, call the David J. Kramer Law Firm, PLLC. Having an experienced defense attorney fighting for your rights can make all the difference.

Call today


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