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Guide to Fishing in Michigan 2012

By Edited Aug 27, 2015 0 1


 A beginner angler needs a license according to the  Michigan Government, Department of Natural Resources.  Just as a dog owner needs a dog license or  a couple getting married needs a marriage license, you need a license to fish.  If you are a beginner angler, you might just want to get a day license to decide if this is something that you like.  Although, not everyone likes fishing, I love it.     In Michigan you need a fishing license if you are 17 years of age or older.  I started fishing at age 4. It did not matter what size fish I caught.  I loved to catch fish.    If I wanted to fish, I must put the bait on my hook.  I learned very quickly.  I thought fishing was so exciting.  I get a thrill out of seeing the fishing bobber go under the water.  Then to reel in a fish is like icing on the cake.       Children under age 17 do not need a fishing license.  You must have a valid Michigan Drivers License or Michigan ID Card.

Stores such as Meijer and several sporting goods stores are able to sell you a fishing license. According to the Michigan Government licensing Information, a one-day license 24 hour is $7.00. This applies to nonresident also.    A fishing license is $15.00, which is good for a year.   Seniors 65 years of age or older only pay $6.00.   If you are visiting and you are a nonresident, a 72-hours license is $21.00.   For a longer period, non-residence is $34.00.  

Below is a picture of a Bass fish  that I caught before the season started for Bass.  Unfortunately, I had to return  it back to the  water, because Bass season had not started.  According to the 2012 Michigan Fishing Guide,  Bass season started the Saturday before Memorial Day.   The fish I caught would have been worth keeping.  The smallest size of Bass  is 14 inches to keep,   even when the season starts.   We generally keep a ruler attached on the inside of our boat to measure.  

Large Bass

Even though I had to return  the Bass back to the waters, I caught a Walleye the next time we went fishing.  This Walleye was a keeper.  See below:

Always keep your fishing license with you when fishing.   The game warden can check your license at any time when you are on the waters in boat fishing, or just fishing from the shore.  I recall one day just fishing from the shore without our boat.   The game warden  drove her boat all the way up to me to ask to see my license just as a police officer requires seeing your license when driving a vehicle.   

Specks aka Crappie

You can find Speck fish usually in shallow water with weeds.   I also find Specks in deep water with weeds.   I have caught specks in 4 feet of water.  I have also caught specks in 12 feet of water.  Specks tend to bite slightly different from a bluegill or catfish.   If a bluegill bites your line, he usually pecks it.  You might see your fishing bobber bounce under the water and come back up a couple of times.  A speck usually slowly eases your bobber under the water.  Now a catfish or a Bass, does not play around, he will just grab your line and go for it.   Your fishing bobber might be floating one second, and then the next second it is under the water.

I fish for specks aka as crappie.  Specks are  light-colored or dark in color.   As you can see below, this speck  has dark  specks all over its body.   See the picture below: 

Large Speck

Fishing in a Boat:   

When fishing in a boat, always remember to wear a life preserver, regardless to how great a swimmer you are.  You never know when you might need it.  When you catch the fish from your boat, you keep them in an area called the “live well.”   It is to keep your fish live while you continue fishing.   When you catch, your first fish make sure to take the plug out of the live well.  This allows a small amount of fresh water   for your freshly caught fish.  Before you leave to return home, be sure to plug your live well.  If not all of your water will drain out before going home.   

When fishing in a boat,   pay attention to signs  posted such as “No Wake”   This means you must drive your boat slowly in the water.  Have you seen some boats that are traveling very fast in the water?   Well if you see a sign that says “No Wake.”   Traveling fast in the area is a “no-no.”


I find when I go fishing; I tend to want to snack.   Handy snacks that I bring along are potato chips, bacon skins, Vienna sausage and crackers, and ice waters.  I recall when I was  4 years old and went fishing with my aunt and uncle, she would always bring bologna, crackers, and cheese.  I loved that. 


You  want to take  minnows, leaf worms, waxed worms, night crawlers, crickets, or lures.  Just as we have different appetites, so do the fish.   Most times Specks like minnows or lures, but when fishing for Specks, I have caught a Speck  on a night crawler and a bluegill on a minnow occasionally.   These are the exceptions.

Fishing possibly is not  any fun when the fish are not biting.  Therefore, you might want to move around. The good thing about a boat is that you can travel to different areas of the lake.

Fish finder

With your boat, you definitely want to use your fish finder, but keep in mind, just because you find where the fish are with this great technical gadget, that is no guarantee that the fish are going to bite. 

I recall someone saying to me, “Poor little fish.”   I then thought about it and responded, “God made the fish for us to eat according to Leviticus 11:9.”   These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters:  whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.”

You should know that laws are different in other states.  I recall fishing on private property in Georgia. We fished on the property of friends of ours.    I caught a few nice Bass.   Bass is  very good fish to eat.  I recall my granddaughter first time fishing at that time.  I told her to watch her bobber.  I looked over and did not see her bobber.   I asked, “Where is your bobber?”  She replied, “I do not know.”  I shouted, “A fish is on your line, your bobber is under the water.”  Well she reeled the Bass in and she was ecstatic. I was happy for her.  She shouted and ran up the hill, “Nana come see the big fish I caught.”  Nana, our friend, is her godmother.  The fish was a nice size too.  I was so proud of her.  The good thing about private property is that you do not need a fishing license. I like that.   Just keep in mind there might be days that you will catch many fish.  Then on other days  this is not  the case.   Remember to relax and have fun. [3961][3962][3963]



Jun 4, 2012 4:47am
Thank you for great fishing stories! Well documented by photos.
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  1. Michigan.Gov/Department of Natural Resources "Licensing Requirements." Department of Natural Resources. 01/o1/2001. 01/01/2001 <Web >
  2. Michigan.Gov/documents "License Type." License Information. 01/01/2001. 01/01/2001 <Web >
  3. Michigan.Gov/documents "2012 Michigan Fishing Guide." Michigan.Gov/documents. 01/04/2012. 01/04/2012 <Web >

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