When Does Fishing Season Commence in Michigan? Expert Insights and Dates Revealed!

When does fishing season start in Michigan?

Fishing is a popular recreational activity in Michigan, known for its abundant lakes and rivers teeming with various fish species. As an angler, knowing when the fishing season starts is crucial to plan your trips and make the most of your time on the water. In this blog post, we will explore the official fishing season dates in Michigan and provide you with useful information to kick-start your angling adventures.

Understanding Fishing Seasons in Michigan

In Michigan, fishing seasons are regulated by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The state has different seasons for various fish species to ensure sustainable management practices and protect wildlife populations.

Main Fishing Season Dates

The main fishing season in Michigan typically begins on April 1st and ends on March 31st of the following year. This extended multi-season approach allows anglers ample opportunities throughout the year while maintaining ecological balance.

Specific Fish Species Season Dates

Lake Trout:

In Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and their connecting waters: From January 1st until September 30th each year.

In all other Great Lakes waters: Open all year round unless otherwise specified by special regulations or designated brook trout lakes within Upper Peninsula counties during specific times of the year.


For both smallmouth bass and largemouth bass:

  • Northern Zone: The regular bass season runs from May 15th to March 15th of the following year.
  • Southern Zone: The regular bass season runs from last Saturday in April through December 31st.


For both northern pike and muskellunge:

  • Northern Zone: The regular season runs from the last Saturday in April through March 15th of the following year.
  • Southern Zone: Closed unless otherwise specified by special regulations in certain waters.


Walleye seasons vary depending on the specific water body. It is essential to check the Michigan Fishing Guide provided by the DNR for detailed information on walleye fishing regulations and open dates, as they can differ across regions and bodies of water.

Licenses and Regulations

Prior to casting your line, it’s crucial to ensure you are compliant with all licensing requirements set forth by the DNR. Michigan offers various types of fishing licenses, such as resident licenses, non-resident licenses for both individuals and families, seniors’ discounts, youth permits, etc. These licenses help fund conservation efforts that contribute to maintaining a healthy fish population.

Additionally, there are several rules regarding possession limits (the number of fish you can keep), size restrictions (minimum length requirements), catch-and-release guidelines for specific species during closed seasons or areas – all designed to preserve natural resources effectively. Familiarize yourself with these regulations before embarking on your angling adventures in Michigan.

In Conclusion

The fishing season start dates in Michigan generally revolve around springtime when fish become more active after winter dormancy. However, different species have their own specific season lengths and regional variations throughout this Great Lakes State. Understanding these seasonal nuances along with adhering to licensing requirements and following conservation regulations ensures sustainable angling practices while enjoying nature’s bounties in Michigan’s beautiful lakes and rivers.