New 2006 Fishing Regulations Approved: MI

Article Posted: October 12, 2005

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New 2006 Fishing Regulations Approved

The Natural Resources Commission recently approved eight new fishing orders (FOs) for regulation changes that go into effect for the 2006 fishing season, which begins April 1.

Highlights of the changes include:

* Spawning Closures. The spawning closure on Prairieville Creek, an inlet to Gull Lake in Barry County, was removed since Gull Lake is no longer managed for Atlantic salmon and the Type I trout regulation currently in place for Prairieville Creek adequately protects spawning trout and rainbow smelt.

* Designated Trout Streams. Stony Creek in Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties were added to the order to protect spawning brook trout. Adding this water to the list of Designated Trout Streams provides for coldwater protection under the state's water quality rules and allows for protection of trout during the fall spawning period when the stream is closed to fishing. Thread Creek in Oakland County was removed from the order since continuous water temperature monitoring indicated marginal temperatures for trout occasionally exceeding 80 degrees during mid-summer.

* Northern Pike. The following lakes were added to the list of waters where northern pike may be taken at any size: Lake Thirteen in Clare County; Big Creek Impoundment and River Lake in Crawford County; Pickerel Lake in Crawford and Oscoda counties; Lake Lancer in Gladwin County; Bass Lake in Kent County; and Lake Ogemaw in Ogemaw County. The following lakes were removed from the list so general hook and line regulations will apply: Pickerel Lake in Dickinson County; Harper Lake in Lake County; Hamlin Lake in Mason County; and Meauwataka Lake in Wexford County.

* Gear Restrictions. Changes to the gear restrictions order were made to allow anglers to suspend a weight below a hook tied directly to the main line (without using a three-inch dropper line) on certain waters. The method of using this gear is called "drop shotting" and will now be legal to use on inland lakes, the Great Lakes and connecting waters. However, the gear restriction is still in effect on all rivers, streams and drowned river mouths where snagging potential is highest. The list of drowned river mouths by county is: Kalamazoo River and Silver Lake in Allegan County; Betsie Lake in Benzie County; Arcadia Lake, Manistee Lake and Portage Lake in Manistee County; Pere Marquette Lake in Mason County; Duck Lake, Mona Lake, Muskegon Lake and White Lake in Muskegon County; Pentwater Lake, Silver Lake and Stony Lake in Oceana County; Macatawa Lake and Pigeon Lake in Ottawa County.

* Special Muskellunge and Pike Regulations. Several waters were removed from the special muskellunge and northern pike regulations listing. General hook and line regulations will now apply to these waters. The waters removed are as follows: Lower Crooked in Barry County; Austin Lake, Eagle Lake and Crooked Lake in Kalamazoo County; and Big Star Lake in Lake County.

* Lake Trout in MI-6 Lake Superior. Lake trout regulations in Lake Superior management unit MI-6 were changed to a 15-inch minimum size limit and a three fish daily limit. The change makes lake trout regulations consistent throughout Lake Superior.

* Hook and Line Regulations. The hook and line regulations were extended on the Saginaw River from LaFayette Bridge downstream to its confluence and the portion of the Kawkawlin River downstream from the Euclid Avenue Bridge has been added during the walleye spawning runs. On these waters during the period from March 16 through the Friday before the last Saturday in April, it is unlawful to fish with artificial baits. Natural baits may be fished only on single pointed hooks not more than a half-inch between the point and shank, and no beads, spinners or reflectors may be attached to the line within six inches of any hook.

* Sturgeon Regulations. Minor adjustments were made to the lottery drawing procedure for the Black Lake sturgeon spearing season. Changes will benefit anglers interested in this type of angling opportunity and will allow Fisheries Division to streamline the lottery drawing process.

At the Nov. 3 meeting of the NRC, five additional FOs are expected to be approved by Department of Natural Resources Director Rebecca Humphries that will take effect for the 2006 fishing season. All of the regulations will appear in the 2006 Michigan Fishing Guide and the 2006 Michigan Inland Trout and Salmon Guide. The information and regulations published in both fishing guides will be in effect for two complete fishing seasons -- April 1, 2006 through March 31, 2008.

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