The Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division today announced details for proposed changes to statewide muskellunge and northern pike fishing regulations. Regulation changes were developed after public survey results showed anglers were open to new regulations designed to improve fishing opportunities for northern pike and muskellunge.
Fisheries Division staff conducted an internal review of current regulations starting in 2007 and after that solicited broad public input regarding potential changes via separate online and telephone surveys. More than 1,900 responses were received from the public. The proposed changes to current regulations were developed and based upon survey responses and discussions with the Fisheries Division’s Warmwater Resources Steering Committee.
Statewide muskellunge regulations are proposed to remain as they currently are except the possession limit would be changed to allow anglers to keep only one muskellunge per season instead of one per day. Muskellunge anglers would also be required to obtain a free harvest tag, similar to a lake sturgeon tag, from any license dealer and would be required to affix it to the muskellunge they intend to keep.
The statewide northern pike regulations proposal reflects angler responses to manage and provide for more diverse fishing opportunities compared to muskellunge. The existing regulation, a 24-inch minimum size limit and possession of no more than two per day, would remain on a majority of Michigan’s lakes. The existing regulation of no minimum size limit and a bag limit of five fish per day would be adjusted slightly for lakes with stunted pike populations. The proposal would allow for anglers to still keep five fish per day on selected waters, but only one fish could be 24 inches or longer.
Fisheries Division also proposes to eliminate the existing 30-inch northern pike minimum size limit, which has been in place since 2002, on a handful of lakes. Instead a 24- to 34-inch protected slot limit (PSL) is recommended, which means anglers would be required to release any fish measuring from 24 to 34 inches. The PSL would be used on a limited number of lakes across the state.
Fisheries Division is recommending adjusting northern pike regulations for a handful of lakes, based on their current population structures. Proposed changes for the 2013 fishing season, which would go into effect April 1, include:
Waters changing from 24-inch Minimum Size Limit to No Minimum Size Limit
- Nawakwa Lake (Alger County)
- Trout (Carp) Lake (Chippewa County)
- Eight Point Lake (Clare County)
- Lyman Lake (Delta County)
- Millecoquins Lake (Mackinac County)
- South Manistique Lake (Mackinac County)
- Bass (East) Lake (Marquette County)
- Shag (Big) Lake (Marquette County)
- Pug Lakes (Montmorency County)
- Diamond Lake (Osceola County)
- Ocqueoc Lake (Presque Isle County)
- Tomahawk Flooding (Presque Isle County)
Waters changing from 30-inch Minimum Size Limit to 24-inch Minimum Size Limit
- Fish Lake (Barry County)
- Porter Lake (Iron County)
- Cable Lake (Iron County)
- Gratiot Lake (Keweenaw County)
- Fish Lake (Marquette County)
- Grassy Lake (Schoolcraft County)
- McKeever Lake (Schoolcraft County)
- Big Bass Lake (Schoolcraft County)
Waters changing from no Minimum Size Limit to 24- to 34-inch Protected Slot Limit
- Pine Creek Flooding (Allegan County)
- Bass Lake (Kent County)
Waters changing from 24-inch Minimum Size Limit to 24- to 34-inch Protected Slot Limit
- Long Lake (Kalamazoo County, Pavilion Township)
- Blind Sucker Flooding (Luce County)
- Bodi Lake (Luce County)
- Townline Lake (Montcalm County)
The final decision regarding the proposed northern pike and muskellunge regulations will be announced at the Oct. 11 Natural Resources Commission meeting in Ontonagon, Mich.
For additional information on how these recommendations were developed, including full data from the public surveys, please read the Northern Pike Fishing Regulations Statewide Opinion Survey Review and Muskellunge Fishing Regulations Statewide Opinion Survey Review available at www.michigan.gov/fishing.
Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources