Lake Michigan Fishing Regulations

Salmon and Trout Regulations

Lake Michigan and its tributaries offer diverse fishing opportunities for various species, especially salmon and trout. The following are the sizes and limits for these species:

  • Atlantic Salmon: Part of a combined daily bag limit of 5 total salmon and trout, with no more than 3 being lake trout. Minimum size is 14 inches for Lake Michigan, streams, and St. Joseph River.
  • Chinook, Coho, Pink Salmon, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Steelhead Trout: Included in the daily bag limit of 5 total salmon and trout, specifics on size and number vary by species.
  • Yellow Perch: 15 on Lake Michigan only, no minimum size.
  • Lake Whitefish: Daily bag limit of 12 (statewide), no minimum size.

Method Restrictions

Certain methods are prohibited or restricted for fishing in Lake Michigan and its tributaries:

  • Hooked in the Mouth: Any trout or salmon must be hooked in the mouth. Foul-hooked fish must be returned immediately to the water.
  • Bowfishing: Bowfin, buffalo fish, carp, gar, shad, and sucker can be taken with a bow and arrow.
  • Trot, Set, Throw Lines: These are not permissible for taking fish from Lake Michigan.

Tributary Restrictions

Several tributaries have restrictions regarding the possession and use of certain equipment:

  • Prohibited Equipment: Includes fish spear, gig, gaff, bowfishing gear, crossbow, grab hook, spear gun, club, snag hook, or underwater spear in specified water bodies.
  • Affected Areas: Specific tributaries and water bodies are listed, including portions of Galena River, Trail Creek, East Branch of the Little Calumet River, Salt Creek, West Branch of the Little Calumet River, Burns Ditch, Deep River, and adjacent tributaries.

Hook Restrictions

  • Single Hook or Lure: Only one is allowed in Lake Michigan tributaries and certain parts of St. Joseph River.
  • Size Limit: Single hooks on artificial lures cannot exceed ½ inch from point to shank. Double and treble hooks are allowed only on artificial lures and must not exceed 3/8 inch from point to shank.

Special St. Joseph River Regulations

  • Minimum Size: 14 inches for trout and salmon.
  • Fishing Prohibitions: No fishing in the East Race Waterway in South Bend, within 100 feet of fish ladders, from boats in certain areas below the South Bend Dam, and other specified locations.

Tributary Closures

Specific closures are enforced to protect habitats and species:

  • Trail Creek: No fishing within 100 feet upstream of the sea lamprey barrier or downstream to the adjacent golf course property line.
  • East Branch of the Little Calumet River: No fishing within 100 feet above or below the Praxair Dam.

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