The Department of Natural Resources would like to remind anglers that although it has felt like summer on many days recently, the bass fishing season is not open yet.

The catch-and-immediate-release bass fishing season will not open until Saturday, April 28 on Lower Peninsula waters, and Tuesday, May 15 on Upper Peninsula waters. Michigan conservation officers have noticed an increase in anglers targeting bass illegally this spring, likely due to the warm weather Michigan has been experiencing.

“Anglers need to be aware it is not legal to target largemouth or smallmouth bass prior to April 28 in the Lower Peninsula and May 15 in the U.P.,” warned the DNR’s Sgt. Robert Torres. “If anglers are seen deliberately targeting those species prior to the catch-and-release season openers, they can be ticketed.”

Instead of targeting bass illegally, the DNR advises anglers to take advantage of the many other spring fishing opportunities available in Michigan.

“Fishing for panfish and steelhead are the two main fishing activities plentiful this time of year,” said DNR fisheries biologist Mark Tonello. “Anglers should pursue crappie and bluegill in particular, as April can offer some of the best panfishing of the entire year. Steelhead runs have also been very impressive this year, with many fish entering Michigan rivers during the warm, wet month of March.”

For more information on fishing for these species in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing and click on Angler Information.

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